Are BANA & TESEP necessary terms for understanding teaching contexts?

In my other blog, I reviewed Dr. Adrian Holliday’s guest lecture at Warwick University (UK) and wrote how his work has influenced by research and pedagogy over the past few years.  If interested, you can read it at  His earlier and current work, I believe, is very relevant to sojourning English language teachers.

His lecture and this post covers one of his earlier concepts: BANA and TESEP, which represent two English language teaching and learning structures, and are elaborated upon in Holliday’s Appropriate Methodology and Social Contexts (1994). These terms really have not caught on in the world of TESOL for a number of reasons.  One is that these categories arose through the perspective of a sojourning English language teacher (ELT), a population that is much smaller than English language teachers who teach in their home countries.  One of my goals is to shed more light on the perspectives of sojourning ELTs to help bridge the gap of understanding between them and other ELTs.  I believe the BANA and TESEP concepts help to demonstrate why there is a gap of understanding and how and why there are many assumptions the two groups have about each other.

BANA – Britain, Australasia, and North America

This concept is similar to the”Inner Circle” found in Kachru’s Circles of English as elaborated in in the ongoing discussion of World Englishes.  For sojourning ELTs from these countries (UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the US), BANA is the language and pedagogy they bring to the host countries.  BANA is most visible overseas in the private sector in private English language schools where native speakers are commodified.  You can see some of this in Japan in eikaiwa gakko and in Korea in English language hagwon.  I’d like to dedicate a whole post to the idea of native speaker as commodity in a later blog post.

The United Kingdom’s best example of BANA is through the British Council.  My preliminary social media research on sojourning ELTs has shown me that teachers in the British Council represent a higher proportion of sojourning ELTs online than other sojourning ELTs.  I am not familiar enough with the British Council to expand any more on this.

As as American, I am unsure of what our best example of BANA is.  Our closest counterpart to the British Council may be the Peace Corps.  Comparing the British Council and the Peace Corps may be like comparing apples to oranges, but thinking about how these two organizations compare and contrast in the sociopolitical context of English language education is quite engaging.

TESEP – Tertiary, Secondary, and Primary English language schools

This refers to the education systems outside Kachru’s “Inner Circle.”  My dissertation research study helped show that many sojourning ELTs are placed within TESEP.  The most famous example over the past few decades is the JET Programme, where sojourning ELTs (not necessarily native speakers) are placed in Japanese secondary and primary schools.  From the point of view of a sojourning ELT in Japan, one major difference between BANA and TESEP is that TESEP (JET Programme) is more embedded into Japanese culture.  The JET teacher learns a lot about Japanese culture through the lens of the Japanese JET organization, the Japanese schools where he or she teaches, and the Japanese teachers and students.  Therefore, TESEP teachers find themselves more embedded in the cultures associated with education, where BANA teachers are more embedded in a business or corporate culture.

More importantly, most of the rest of the world’s English language teachers are found in TESEP.  I argue that most research literature investigates English language teaching and learning in TESEP.  One reason for this is that governments have a vested interest in the linguistic and cultural development of their citizens.  Globalization plays a large factor and governments offer grants to researchers to investigate English language teaching and learning.

Public & Private

Let me conclude with a step back to a more naive view of the new sojourning English language teacher.  Making the distinction between BANA or TESEP (which most newbies) or between public and private sectors (which most newbies understand) help sojourning ELTs find their purpose overseas.  My experience and research findings show that sojourning ELTs learn a lot more about the culture in TESEP settings.  Teachers in BANA settings learn more about professional development according to their school’s methodologies or best practices.  With this naive perspective, it’s easy to jump to conclusions.  And as a researcher, I’m interested in getting to the heart of these perspectives.  Perhaps my naive goal is to help bridge these two sectors.


  • Do the terms BANA & TESEP help you better understand English language teaching contexts?
  • What are some other implications that this duality brings up?
  • Are there better ways to categorize contexts in which sojourning ELTs find themselves?

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