This chapter takes a language-ideological perspective on innovation in language education and argues that recent proposals maintain many of the same assumptions about language and groups as the dominant ideology of native-speaker superiority.
It first summarizes the development of the influential research paradigm of English as a Lingua Franca (ELF), characterizing it as a successful intervention in a language-ideological debate over models of English use in the era of globalization. It identifies naming and boundary-drawing as the key language-ideological practices that enable ELF to play a role in this debate, and further argues that the associated model of language use – one characterized by relative conceptual stability and by linkages between language and identity – is that of the modernist worldview that the “postmodern” ELF model claims to be challenging. The chapter is thus concerned with the nature of the ideologies that influence English language education, and with the discursive mechanisms by which these ideologies are turned into prescriptions for policy and practice. It concludes that taking a language-ideological perspective not only provides insights into these processes but also hints at the existence of fundamental tensions in the study of language, for example, between the roles of language experts as neutral observers and as engaged activists.