Professor Jack Richards public lecture
HOW WELL DOES A LANGUAGE TEACHER NEED TO KNOW A LANGUAGE, TO TEACH IT? THE IMPACT OF LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY ON TEACHING ABILITY
JACK C RICHARDS
One consequence of the dominant status of English in many countries is the growing demand for qualified teachers of English. The introduction of English at primary level, the use of CLIL in some contexts where subject-teachers teach part of their courses in English, and the expanding role of private language teaching institutes has created both opportunities as well as demands for competent English teachers. However the burgeoning demand for English worldwide has led to a demand for teachers that is often met by employing teachers with limited proficiency in English. Limitations in teachers’ command of their teaching language (e.g. Italian, French, Chinese, Maori) is a problem that has also been a concern in the teaching of other languages. The nature and implications of the problem of language teacher proficiency will be examined through an an overview of the relationship between language proficiency and teaching ability, analysis of the impact of proficiency on different dimensions of teaching, and a review of the implications for language assessment and for the design on language enhancement programs for language teachers.
Jack Richards has had an active career in the Asia Pacific region and is currently an Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work at The University of Sydney and at The University of Auckland and an Adjunct Professor at Victoria University of Wellington. He is a frequent presenter worldwide and has written over 150 books and articles on language teaching as well as many widely used classroom texts including the Interchange and Four Corners series. Recent publications include Key Issues in Language Teaching (Cambridge), Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching 3rd edition (Cambridge, 2016), Language Learning Beyond the Classroom (with David Nunan, Routledge, 2015) and Creativity in Language Teaching (with Rodney Jones, 2016), Routledge. Jack Richards has active interests in music and arts and supports a number of scholarship programs. In the musical domain he is sponsor of the Composer in Residence program at Victoria University, Wellington. He has commissioned numerous works for composers, most recently Concerto for Piano and Orchestra by New Zealand composer Gareth Farr. In 2014 the Jack C Richards Decorative Arts Gallery was opened at the Tairawhiti Museum, Gisborne New Zealand. In 2011 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of literature by Victoria University, Wellington, for his services to education and the arts and in 2014 received the Award for Patronage from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand. In March 2016 the International TESOL organization as part of their 50th anniversary honored Jack Richards as one of the 50 TESOL specialists worldwide to have made a significant impact on language teaching in the last 50 years.