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ELT, Gender and International Development Myths of Progress in a Neocolonial World Author: Roslyn Appleby

Paperback - 264 pages
03 Aug 2010
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148 (A5)


This book draws on the narratives of white women as English language teachers in the neocolonial world of international development. It explores the paradoxes of language as aid, and questions the mythical power of English to deliver on the promises of a brighter future for the developing world.


The book's focus on gender relations in development contexts, its superb deconstruction of aid agencies in situ, the gendered space of ELT classrooms and the voices of ELT teachers working in development contexts is unique. This book should be read not only by sociolinguists, sociologists, critical theorists and theorists of development working in the academy but also NGOs and aid agencies working in post-trauma societies. There is much to be learned here.
Naz Rassool, The University of Reading, UK

This book presents a penetrating analysis of teachers’ narratives about their everyday experiences of English language teaching (ELT) in international aid programmes in East Timor and Indonesia. Starting from these narratives, the author interrogates the social and cultural significance of ELT in such contexts and unpacks some of the discourses and practices that produce gendered subjectivities in international aid projects. The book is a very welcome contribution to the all-too-sparse literature on language in development.
Marilyn Martin-Jones, Director, MOSAIC Centre for Research on Multilingualism, University of Birmingham, UK

Appleby’s book is well theorised and well written, presenting vivid, intriguing and engaging accounts of white women language teachers in development contexts, not so much as ‘agents of change’, but rather as participants in a complex process where multiple trajectories and
shifting identities play out in language teaching practice. Overall, many will find this book extremely instrumental in understanding the complex nature of ELT as a contact zone between multiple cultures and communities, not as an apolitical, ahistorical and autonomous enterprise.
Hye-sun Cho, University of Kansas, USA in Language and Education, Vol. 25, No. 3, May 2011, 257-266

The overall impact of the book is that of a much-needed resource to provoke deeper thought about the three issues – ELT, gender and development aid – which it addresses. This is a book that informs deeply about the aid context in general, about the need for locally responsive ELT practices, and about gender in the aid context. However it does more than that. In offering ways to rethink the interplay between space and time, Appleby effectively contributes to long-running debates about context in English language teaching. Additionally, through the insights it offers on the experiences of women teachers in ELT aid contexts, both as teachers and as women, the book also has the potential to ‘teach’ those of us who may never have considered the political aspects of ELT, gender and aid. It is a book which should be read by all who are responsible for ELT aid programs, by those who teach on aid programs, by anyone interested in issues of language planning and above all, by
anyone interested in asking “what would a decolonized, dewhitened, postcolonial English language teaching actually look like?”
Constance Ellwood, The University of Melbourne in Australian Review of Applied Linguistics 2011 34,2.

Author Biography:

Roslyn Appleby is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Technology, Sydney. She holds a PhD in education, and her scholarly work has been presented and published in the fields of applied linguistics, English language teaching, and international development. Her transdisciplinary research brings together critical language studies, gender and sexuality, spatiality and development. She has extensive experience as a teacher of English language and academic literacy development in higher education.

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate

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