The Center-Periphery Constellation of English Language Co-Teaching in Taiwan: Examples from the Spectrum of Four Different Classrooms

Jhih-Kai Yang, Genevieve Leung


This paper examines the tensions and links in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) co-teaching in Taiwan. Using four vignettes from teacher observations, face-to-face discussions, and teaching reflections, we describe the various ways in which the “Center(s)” and “Periphery(ies)” operate on the local level in Taiwan. Data come from our field notes and one-hour formal observations of these teachers’ co-teaching. In addition, we mediate these observations with our own reflections serving as teacher trainers for these co-teaching pairs. These reflections serve not as a critique of individual teachers but rather as a comment as to the ways in which the current system of institutionalized co-teaching and beliefs about native speakerhood need to be re-evaluated. Our observations show what seems to be a disconnect between government language policies of internationalization and globalization, parental ideologies about what counts as “good” English and “good” English instruction, and local-level interactions what is actually happening in the classroom. In considering the interrelationships between center and periphery in EFL in the Taiwan context, we call for the need to look more carefully at both local and global concerns when thinking about language policy and planning.

Keywords: English as a Foreign Language, English Language Teaching, co-teaching, teacher training, Taiwan

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