Is Teaching English as an International Language All about Being Politically Correct?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


One comment I often receive when I talk about teaching English as an international language (TEIL) is that TEIL is all about being politically correct – a mere gesture to be inclusive and egalitarian, promoted by a certain ideological stance. It is true that there are certain ideologies, language and beyond, that are compatible with certain aspects of TEIL and this encourages some English Language Teaching (ELT) professionals to embrace or reject this approach to English language teaching. My stance on this issue, however, is that TEIL is not about being politically correct or promoting certain ideologies; rather, it is about understanding and accepting the realities of global use of English today and having our teaching grounded in this reality. The article provides a brief overview of what TEIL is and reviews some ideological arguments that seem compatible with TEIL. It then moves on to argue that TEIL is something all English language teachers can and should embrace, regardless of their ideological stance or beliefs about what English should be. This is for a pragmatic reason: to better prepare our students for the messy world of English today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-35
Number of pages12
JournalRELC Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • English language teaching
  • Teaching English as an International Language
  • World Englishes and language pedagogy
  • language ideologies
  • native speakerism
  • political correctness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


Dive into the research topics of 'Is Teaching English as an International Language All about Being Politically Correct?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this