Perspectives: To Challenge the Unchallenged: Potential of Non-“Standard” Englishes for Japanese EFL Learners

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Kazufumi Miyagi, Masatoshi, and Sato Alison Crump



This paper calls for a broadening of the discussion of English language teaching (ELT) practices in Japan. We review issues associated with the global spread of English and link this discussion to the present “standard” English model of ELT in Japan. We propose three major benefits that would follow from an inclusion of non-“standard” (i.e., non American/British) Englishes in Japanese EFL classrooms. First, familiarity with different varieties could increase learners’ confidence when interacting with other non-native speakers (NNSs). Second, we review literature that shows that NNS-NNS interactions actually help learners improve their language skills. Finally, recognition of non-“standard” varieties of English would help Japanese learners challenge monolithic western-centric worldviews that marginalize regional, cultural, and linguistic norms and values. We connect this theory to practice by suggesting some possible changes to ELT in Japan.