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Title: Commodity, capital, and commercial ELT : a political economy of Eikaiwa English language teaching
Author: Simpson, William
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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The aims of this research are threefold. Firstly, to understand how the drive for profit in commercial English language teaching (ELT) affects the manner in which language is taught. Secondly, to understand the how the various ways in which teachers are valued (monetarily in wages, valued as a ‘good’ teacher, and valued as an ‘authentic’ speaker of a language for example) interrelate with one another. Finally, the research aims to give an account of how teachers’ experiences of potential contradictions and tensions between commercial and pedagogic interests, and multiple forms of valuation, inform the way they understand themselves in relation to the economy and society more broadly. The research synthesises a body of research on political economy and language with Marxist political economy in order to understand commercial ELT through the moments of capital as value in motion: from the production and consumption of lessons, to the realisation of the lesson’s value in its sale, through to the distribution of this value in the form of wages. In focussing in on these moments throughout the circulation of capital, the research gives an account of the contradictory forces and interests at play within commercial eikaiwa – a form of ELT in Japan in which teachers are often precariously employed. The thesis illustrates how teachers within eikaiwa manage contradictory interests within the school in the act of producing lessons, and how a keen sense of alienation was felt in terms of both the process of production - how the lesson was to be produced, and product – the value that they were producing in the role of labour. While many in eikaiwa saw this alienation as unjust, teachers struggled to ascertain exactly where this value was going to, as well as who had decided it should be that way.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available