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Volume 2 Number 1, Spring 2005, Pages 1-205   

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Schools of Fish: English for Access to International Academic and Professional Communities

    Elaine Tarone

What language variety should be the target of learning for English as an international language? This paper proposes that in those Asian countries where English learners' primary purpose is to be able to use English for academic and professional purposes (EAPP) in order to join international academic and professional discourse communities, it is the language and culture of the academic and professional varieties of English which should be the primary target of instruction rather than 'general English' and 'general culture'. The analytical framework of genre analysis (Swales, 1990) naturally shifts the focus of analysis away from the "idealized native speaker" of an idealized target language defined by national borders, and allows us instead to analyze and teach to the actual performance of expert members of real professional English-medium discourse communities. Such expert members may as easily be non-native speakers of English as native speakers. Content-based instruction (CBI), and language immersion provide promising models of instruction in the primary and secondary institutions to prepare students for this kind of learning purpose; alternative models for CBI and EAPP are also suggested for tertiary education. Web-based resources for teachers and administrators on CBI and language immersion are included in the references.

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