Document Type : Research Paper


1 Lorestan University, Iran

2 Health Information Technology Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Overviewing the current literature on Western and Islamic orientations to English language education and illuminating the advantages and challenges of each orientation, this study endeavored to critically examine English language teaching in the context of Iran. In effect, this study elaborated on modernist, postmodernist, and Islamic orientations to language teaching. In tandem, this critical examination initiated from the modernist orientation because this orientation constituted the basis of contemporary academic disciplines. The findings revealed that there exists a strong similarity between postmodernist and Islamic orientations, when Islam is studied as an educational paradigm rather than a political issue. Moreover, the critical examination of the relevant studies on the context of Iran showed the prevalence of the native speaker ideology, systematicity, and standardisation as manifestations of the modernist orientation leading to unequal Englishes. In reality, unequal Englishes can be considered as a colonial enterprise illegitimizing non-native speakers and downplaying local varieties. Analyzing the concept of unequal Englishes, we have also argued that there is a real need to establish a dialogue across postmodernist and Islamic orientations to challenge power relations and foreground knowing as an act of identity. Accordingly, we called for an ontological turn in English language education in Iran, which revolves around super-diversity and perceives language as a practice situated in a social-cultural-historical context.


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