Breda O'Hara-Davies (2010): The paradox of English, Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural
Development, 31:2, 107-118
In this article the author explores the contradictions present as a result of teaching English within the Brunei society. The study is important because it examines the vestigial influences of colonization. Deep currents of nationalistic fervor run counter to the need to fit into the wider global environment. Additionally, the study examined the question of the existence of a "colonized consciousness" and sought to understand the spread of the English language through Brunei. The author examines the theoretical framework of English as a colonizing tool, as opposed to English as a medium to preserve otherness and segregation. Using a qualitative research design the author found a multiplicity of themes that pointed to a movement of students towards a more centrist position. Many of the young persons were not unconsciously subsumed into the English culture. They engaged the use of English in a more pragmatic fashion.
The use of multiple data collection methods gives the study the benefit of data triangulation which enhances its credibility. Another key strength of the work was the emphasis given to the emic perspective. This approach adds value to the internal consistency of the study and its logical coherence. The use of diaries is an excellent method of data collection because you are more likely to receive valid data from the respondents since they do not have to depend on memory. The final strength of the work is that it is a longitudinal study. The design therefore is suitable to identify change in attitude and opinion. A notable weakness may be the centrality of the biases of the researcher. While they were noted there was no clear statement as to how the effects of these biases were minimized.
The use of a video or audio journaling could improve the data collection by the researcher. Video journaling collects more accurate data than other type of journaling. For future studies the author could improve the sample composition to reflect the greater heterogeneity within the population. Another consideration for future research could be a consideration of the influence of religion on the status of English within the society. An ethnographic study could be very useful in exploring this subject and providing adequate data for theory building.
Gu, Mingyue (2010) 'National Identity in EFL Learning: A Longitudinal Inquiry', Changing
English, 17: 1, 57 -- 67
Gu (2010) explores the construction of a national identity by students learning English in their native country. The author notes that the literature in the field suggests that learning another language can create identity changes in the learner. Other studies suggest that the effect depends on…