chapter  33
13 Pages

Which norms in everyday practice: And why?

ByT. Ruanni F. Tupas

This paper was initially conceptualized around the question, Which norms – and why? However, on closer analysis the question itself generates even more fundamental questions and problems. For example, if the question is about choices of norms, then all available models of English in the classroom gravitate towards normative – not descriptive – practice. Whether particular models lean towards, using Halliday’s (2003) trajectories, global English or international Englishes, any choice will inevitably be implicated in ethical and political questions about ideology, power and standardization. Thus, the nature of pedagogical norms must be investigated in the first place in order to find out how they work and why they matter. Only then can we go back to the initial question and attempt to answer it in a more nuanced way. The following key arguments run through this chapter. First, it argues that pedagogical

models are Standard Englishes primarily because of their normative nature. Second, it argues that Standard Englishes, as viewed from the ground (or real classroom contexts), are rarely taken up, and if they are, we do not know how much the teachers and learners know about the range of options (including their ideological underpinnings) available to them from where they could have made appropriate decisions. Third, it likewise argues that, if teachers indeed have critical awareness of the different choices of pedagogical Englishes, their decisions are much more nuanced than we expect them to be. Last, this chapter contends that norms are both social constructions and constructors of possibilities in the classroom. The question Which norms – and why? is and must continue to be a key question in the sociolinguistics of English language teaching around the world. But a major shift in research has to occur – the question must be answered from the perspective of actual classroom practice, and the extent to which this allows autonomous decision-making on the part of the teachers.