Periphery ELT: Myths about English in the Philippines

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This chapter presents English in the Philippines from the perspective of English language teaching (ELT). The history of English in the country cannot be mapped out without having scrutinized the ELT agenda. English arrived in the Philippines during the American colonial period, when canon and pedagogy merged to produce a public education system that marginalized Philippine literature in English and propagated present-day myths about the English language. These myths are (1) American English is the only correct English, (2) English is the only cure to all economic ailments, (3) English and Filipino are languages in opposition, and (4) English is the only language of knowledge. ELT in the Philippines is essentially teaching and learning English in a multilingual and linguistically diverse setting; this will remain so for many years to come. However, if the present-day myths about English in the Philippines persist, teaching and learning the language will only push Filipino students further to the margins, preventing them from embracing the English language as their own.