The spread of English as an international lingua franca (Seidlhofer 2002) has implications for teacher education in that it challenges both the purposes for which learners are studying the language and the uses to which they put their developing language proficiency. Traditionally communicative language teaching has been designed to help learners to interact with native speakers and so has focused on the linguistic and sociocultural knowledge needed for such interactions. Increasingly, however, the majority of learners use their English with other speakers for whom it is a second language rather than with native speakers. This paper looks at the implications for teachers and teacher educators of the changing status of English and the need to deal with the potential change from a norm-bound approach to one that, almost of necessity, focuses on mutual comprehensibility and cultural identity (Sifakis 2004). Such a change has implications for the strategies we encourage learners to develop, the materials we use and the outcomes we seek to achieve.