1 Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (COLOMBIA)
2 Universidad de Málaga (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 413-421
ISBN: 978-84-616-0763-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
A recent trend in language education has emerged that questions how we talk about languages and language learning today. Some of these reflections have begun to question the traditional binaries that permeate the regular discourse of language education, such as second/foreign language (Nayal, 1997; Mora, 2011) or native/non-native speaker (Graddol, 2006). Terms such as world languages (Canagarajah, 2006; Rajagopalan, 2004, 2010), new languages (Sanz, 2008), or additional languages have added new, more progressive layers to the traditional views of languages. These new positions are concerned with the images and imaginaries that are portrayed regarding language learners and teachers, with the intention to foster more equitable frameworks that move beyond linguicist practices. A group of researchers in Colombia and Spain have engaged in a dialog to promote a definition of second language that transcends the binary, as a means to improve how we learn and teach languages.

In this presentation, the authors intend to expand this revisited view of second language through a research study. The study presented here will discuss the cross-case analyses of a series of TV ads for two online English courses in the Ibero-American contexts: Open English (Latin America) and CCC-Inglés en mil palabras (Spain). Both courses rely on showing youngsters as a target audience and in promoting flexible schedules and access to native speakers as their strengths. However, the TV advertisements do not stop in promoting their assets. Instead, their messages also include systematic (whether overt or covert) efforts to lowlight the pedagogical value that one could find in “traditional” English institutes. Imagery in the ads includes aesthetic references to native and non-native teachers, the use of sarcasm to devalue the kind of English one can learn in local settings, and other features that seem to perpetuate the traditional binaries aforementioned.

The use of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA, Blommaert, 2005; Cots, 2006; Gee, 1999; Luke, 1995; van Dijk, 2008) in education has opened valuable spaces to question how classrooms (Gebhard, 2005; Hammond, 2006), everyday conversations (Rogers, 2003), textbooks (Taki, 2008), policies (Rogers, 2003), or television (Mora, 2006) are embedded with ideas about inequality and power dynamics. In this presentation, we will rely on CDA to discuss the kinds of messages about language teaching that emerge in the different advertisements for Open English and CCC-Inglés en mil palabras, relying on the implications of rethinking second languages beyond the traditional binaries (Mora, 2011, 2012)
The presentation will first introduce the conceptual framework for second language that supports the study. We will situate the framework within the current debates about language and why it is important to look at media promoting language courses with a critical lens. We will then discuss the findings of the analysis of the TV commercials, problematizing the conceptual constructions and what they imply in terms of English Language Teaching. Finallly, we will suggest ways in which the ELT community should address the different claims and stereotypes emerging from the media as a first step toward a true advocacy for quality instruction.
Second Language, Critical Discourse Analysis, On-line Courses, TV.