Marek Kiczkowiak: Teaching English as a Lingua Franca: Practical classroom ideas

Presentation focus

English is undergoing a profound change. Currently, over 80% of interactions in English take place between non-native speakers, in what is known as English as a Lingua Franca (ELF). This means that we might need to rethink not only how English is taught, but also which English. In this session we will look at:

What ELF is and what this perspective means for us as teachers;

Why and how can we raise awareness of the global nature of English;

Why using ‘non-native speakers’ as models can be very motivating for students and how we can go about it;

What is Lingua Franca Core and what are its implications for teaching pronunciation?

How you can adapt the course book to suit the ELF perspective.

So by the end of the session you will have a greater understanding of what ELF is and how you can teach it. We will look at teaching pronunciation and how to help learners be intelligible in international settings. You will have reflected on the importance of exposing learners to a variety of models of English, including non-native models. You will also have seen and tried out different materials and activities that promote and expose learners to successful ELF use. The session is focused on teaching practice, but will also make reference to theory when relevant, such as recent research into ELF or teaching pronunciation.

Why have you chosen this topic for your presentation?

While English as a Lingua Franca (ELF) is a topic that has received a lot of attention of researchers, and one that has been extensively studied in the last twenty years; it has not yet had much of an impact on how ELT professionals see the English language, nor on how they teach it. When I was researching ELF for my PhD I also noticed that a lot of the relevant literature was unfortunately rather theoretical and didn’t offer too many practical tips or solutions for day-to-day classroom practice. As a result, coming to my PhD from a teaching background, I became interested in what the implications of this new perspective were for English language teachers, teacher trainers and materials writers. ELF asks us to rethink many of the fundamental concepts in ELT and revisit how we see the English language and how we teach it. And this is what I’d like to explore in the presentation.

What do you want participants to take away from your presentation?

So by the end of the workshop, you will have a better understanding of what ELF is and what implications this new paradigm has for all of us in ELT. While it’s not possible to discuss all these implications, I will focus on a few areas that I think are of immediate relevance to teachers. So, you will see why and how you should use ‘non-native speakers’ as models of the English language. You will also learn how to raise students’ awareness of the global nature of the English language. Finally, you will discuss how we can help our students be more intelligible in international contexts.


Marek has taught in seven countries and currently works at the KU Leuven, Belgium. He holds a BA in English, CELTA, DELTA and is doing a PhD in TESOL. He co-authors podcasts at and advocates professional equality between ‘native’ and ‘non-native speakers’ at He frequently presents at international conferences and gives teacher training sessions both face-to-face and on-line focusing on English as a Lingua Franca and native speakerism. To find out more about the on-line courses visit: