Managing method : a critical inquiry into language policy in a tertiary institution in the United Arab Emirates

Neil D. HUNT*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The development of critical sensibilities in English Language Teaching (ELT) in recent years has seen challenges to assumptions and methodologies in the field, placing an explicit focus on the manifestation of structures and relations of power. The critical stance affords a growing acceptance of English Language Teaching as a complex situated social practice, recognizing the issue of power in teacher-learner relationships. As such, the practice of minimizing learners' first language use in classrooms has been questioned from both pedagogical and political directions. This study critically examines attitudes, practices and policies surrounding the role of Arabic in English Language Teaching at an English medium institution in the United Arab Emirates. Findings reveal that teachers, students and college administration both resist and comply with instructions to minimize Arabic, and that individuals intervene in institutional methodological structure with often contradictory positions emerging. A secondary aspect portrays managerial policing of teachers for methodological rigour with implications for teachers' professional autonomy and development. I argue that such responses reflect English Language Teaching methodology's position as an aspect of the global pattern of deployment of cultural and economic power.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-311
Number of pages17
JournalRELC Journal
Issue number3
Early online date17 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • critical linguistics
  • English language methodology
  • Institutional language policy
  • linguistic imperialism
  • post-method


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