Being ‘the villain’: Globalization and the ‘native-speaker’ English language teacher

Erling, Elizabeth J. (2017). Being ‘the villain’: Globalization and the ‘native-speaker’ English language teacher. In: Borjian, Maryam ed. Language and Globalization: An Autoethnographic Approach. Routledge.



In this chapter, I will look back at a particular point in my early career as an English language teacher in the 1990s in Seoul, South Korea. Using auto-ethnography as a lens, I will consider the role of English language teachers and the ELT profession in globalization. I will revisit some of the uncomfortable moments that I faced during that time in terms of the global spread of English, the palpable demand for English teaching I sensed and the way in which I was positioned as an English language teacher. As I transverse through my career as an applied linguist, I continually relate concepts and theories that I encounter to my experience in South Korea – which means that they continue to gain meaning for me. In this chapter, I will attempt to highlight some of these, including linguistic imperialism and the role of the native speaker English teacher. I will explore how I was affected by the spread of English and the idealization of the native English speaker in the global English teaching industry. It is my hope in doing so that readers will find ways to relate their own experiences to the discipline of applied linguistics, no matter in which stage in their career they currently find themselves.

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