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Research project

Decolonising English in higher education

Project overview

Higher education (HE) and English are both seen as vehicles for opportunities and success in education. Furthermore, English is increasingly core to HE experiences through entry and exit exams and compulsory ELT (English language teaching) courses. However, there are issues with access to ELT and colonial ideologies associating English with Anglophone settings. In many societies, English is perceived as a language of the elite with 'quality' ELT only available to wealthier students, risking excluding others and further exacerbating existing inequalities in HE. Moreover, persistent ideologies that associate English with Anglophone countries may disempower, rather than empower, those who use English as a lingua franca in multilingual settings, where English use is very different from an idealised and limiting monolingual standard Anglophone native variety. In collaboration with local research teams, this study investigates the role of ELT in empowering/disempowering linguistically and culturally diverse ‘marginalised’ students in five under-researched HE contexts (Colombia, Mexico, Iraq, Thailand, Vietnam).


Lead researcher

Dr Will Baker

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • English as a lingua franca and Global Englishes
  • Intercultural and Transcultural communication
  • English as a medium of instruction and education
Other researchers

Dr Sonia Moran Panero

Lecturer B

Research interests

  • English as a global lingua franca (ELF)
  • Sociolinguistics, identity and semiotics in an era of globalisation
  • Translanguaging and transcultural communication

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups