The question of professional ethics in TESOL: Hospitality as an (im)possible demand?


  • Alex Kostogriz Monash University, Australia



English language education, teacher professional ethics, hospitality, justice.


25 years ago, TESOL in Context published a paper on the ethics of TESOL. In this paper, Alan Williams, who was the ACTA Councillor and Policy Committee Convenor at that time, reminded the professional community of some moral predicaments in teaching English to others. On the one hand, he recognised the “productive and socially worthwhile” work that most TESOL educators do in providing access to the dominant variety of English language (e.g., SAE), thereby empowering the speakers of other languages and dialects to become socially mobile. On the other hand, Williams argued that the effective teaching of English to others can also lead to their disempowerment due to the alienating effect of assimilation on cultural and linguistic identities of learners. Over the years, this dilemma has received due attention from some leading educators and researchers in the field who have attempted to address the access paradox from a critical-pragmatic perspective (Janks, 2004, 2010). This article returns to the question of access paradox in TESOL, arguing the primacy of the ethical in professional practice. In particular, it draws on ethics as hospitality in thinking about the ethicality of professional ethics to problematise the possibility of socially-just language and literacy education in multicultural conditions.


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Author Biography

  • Alex Kostogriz, Monash University, Australia

    Alex Kostogriz is Professor in Languages and TESOL Education at the Faculty of Education, Monash University. He has previously held leadership positions at Deakin University and Australian Catholic University. Alex’s research is based on sociocultural approaches to learning and teaching. Alex’s current research projects focus on the professional practice and ethics of language teachers, teacher education and experiences of beginning teachers.


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How to Cite

The question of professional ethics in TESOL: Hospitality as an (im)possible demand?. (2018). TESOL in Context, 27(2).
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