Date: Friday 17th February - Opening Plenary

Title: The Future of English

Speakers: Steve Copeland and Mina Patel

We are living through a period where the pace of change seems relentless. This changing world has implications for the use and the teaching of the English language.

We will briefly reflect on where we think we were in the area of ELT before the onset of the Covid pandemic and where we possibly find ourselves now. Then we will suggest implications for English language teachers to think about as we move forward into a world where the education space and the stakeholders have changed. To frame our presentation, we will present progress and findings to date of a project initiated by the British Council in 2020.

The Future of English (FoE) is a multi-phase research project with the aim of identifying key trends that will define the role of English as a global language in the coming decade, and the issues and opportunities for countries around the world in achieving their goals for the use of English in their contexts. Previous studies on the future direction of English (Graddol, 1997 and 2006) have been reviewed and the findings form the basis of the Future of English project.

Teachers and learners have been at the forefront of discussion and debate as education systems have attempted to navigate new learning environments to ensure the continued provision of high-quality, effective teaching and learning. This presentation will discuss findings from the project which illuminate the role of the English teacher in a world that has recently seen dramatic change and disruption.

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