Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 December 2019
In this paper I review three models of language that have dominated language learning and teaching in the last 40 years: the textual model, the information exchange model, and the multilingual model. I analyze each one and consider how it stacks up to instances of language use in a globalized world. I then propose moving beyond the metaphors of citizens and consumers, and consider language teaching as educating denizens of a global ecology that requires sensitivity to context, political awareness, ethical answerability and a good dose of situational cunning.
This paper is a combination of three keynote speeches delivered over the last two years at various venues. The first, ‘Translating culture as epistemological challenge in global times’ was presented at the conference Language Education Across Borders’ at the University of Graz, Austria, in December 2017. The second, ‘The politics of culture in foreign language education’ was presented at the 7th Liberal Arts international conference Liberal Arts in the Global Age at the Texas A&M University in Doha, Qatar, in March 2019. The third, ‘Educating global citizens or global consumers?’ was presented at the conference Global Citizenship and Foreign Language Education at the University of Munich, Germany, in March 2019. I wish to thank Sarah Mercer and Sabine Schmölzer-Eibinger in Graz, Aymen Elsheikh in Doha, and Christiane Lütge in Munich for their kind invitation to present at their respective institutions.