Critical multilingualism in TESOL in practice: Language, power, and decoloniality

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The Global South has been characterized by power struggles between local and foreign languages. In particular, Morocco is a southern space that has been grappling with its postcolonial positionality and linguistic dependency on foreign languages. With the spread of English in the country, local languages are facing more threats since French is the ex-colonial code while English might represent modern coloniality. Critical multilingualism seems a nuanced approach in balancing these power inequalities between languages and alleviating the possible hegemonic understandings of English. However, practicing multilingualism in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)/English as a foreign language (EFL) in the Global South is complex as the presence of English is often linked to the issues of linguistic imperialism, coloniality, and the supremacy of Anglophone cultures and perspectives. This chapter argues that (a) implementing multilingualism in Moroccan EFL classes has to be informed by a decolonial option that critically understands the linguistic dependency of the country, (b) multilingualism has to go beyond the mere integration of local languages by raising both teachers’ and students’ awareness of the potential hegemonic attitudes of English, and (c) EFL classes are sites of political activity where English might be implicitly understood as a better and more alluring alternative of local languages. This chapter (a) presents my attempts as an English language teacher to decolonize EFL classes through a decolonial approach, (b) argues for the necessity of embracing a form of multilingualism that is informed by decoloniality to present local languages and English on equal footing, and (c) offers practical applications of critical multilingualism that seeks to decolonize EFL classes. Copyright © 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of multilingual TESOL in practice
EditorsKashif RAZA, Dudley REYNOLDS, Christine COOMBE
Place of PublicationSingapore
ISBN (Electronic)9789811993503
ISBN (Print)9789811993497
Publication statusPublished - 2023


R’boul, H. (2023). Critical multilingualism in TESOL in practice: Language, power, and decoloniality. In K. Raza, D. Reynolds, & C. Coombe (Eds.), Handbook of multilingual TESOL in practice (pp. 99-109). Singapore: Springer.


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