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Issues in Educational Research, 2024, Vol 34(1), 359-377.
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Exploring Bhutanese English teachers' attitudes toward English as a lingua franca in Bhutan

Thinley Wangdi
Walailak University, Thailand

Sonam Dhendup
Yangchen Gatshel HSS, Thimphu, Bhutan

This study explored attitudes toward English as a lingua franca (ELF) among in-service English teachers in Bhutan. Employing a mixed-method design, we collected data from 191 participants through surveys and interviews. The findings revealed that the majority of teachers held positive attitudes toward ELF. They identified English as a communicative lingua franca in Bhutan and suggested a shift in English teaching priorities toward enhancing learners' communicative skills, increasing exposure to English varieties, and moving away from the native speaker-centric model. Additionally, the participants were inclined to believe that imitating native-like accents and pronunciation is not essential for Bhutanese English speakers/learners. However, concerns were raised about potential adverse effects on Bhutanese English learners' English proficiency test scores, such as IELTS and TOEFL, which play a crucial role in determining the educational and career opportunities for most of them both within and outside the country, if ELF was to be prioritised in the context. The study concludes with suggestions on the potential integration of ELF-informed materials in the Bhutanese context and beyond.
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Authors: Mr Thinley Wangdi (corresponding author) is a lecturer in the School of Languages and General Education at Walailak University, Thailand. His research interests include educational psychology, education and technology, teacher education, and areas related to applied linguistics and teaching English as a second/foreign language.
Email: thinley11@gmail.com

Mr Sonam Dhendup, Yangchen Gatshel Higher Secondary School, Thimphu, Bhutan, completed his MA from the University of Canberra, Australia in 2013. Currently, he is a senior Research Officer with Financial Institutions Training Institute, Bhutan. He is a passionate emerging researcher with a research interest in quantitative methods (multivariate analysis) and has published several papers in peer-reviewed national and international journals. His research interest areas are in happiness of schools, educational technologies, digital learning systems, and financial education.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4475-6726
Email: sdhendup11@education.gov.bt

Please cite as: Wangdi, T. & Dhendup, S. (2024). Exploring Bhutanese English teachers' attitudes toward English as a lingua franca in Bhutan. Issues in Educational Research, 34(1), 359-377. http://www.iier.org.au/iier34/wangdi.pdf

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Created 30 March 2024. Last update: 30 March 2024. Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]