Transformations in English language teaching: criticality towards praxis

Date

2015-01-05

Authors

Petrov, Peter

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Abstract

Unlike other subjects, English as a foreign language (EFL) doesn't easily lend itself to radical pedagogic re-interpretations because it requires a certain degree of scaffolding, memorization and repetitive exercise. However, the often over-simplified methodological approach to language instruction that purports neutrality must be de-coupled from its colonial origins, still embodied in English as a second language (ESL) classrooms and curricula as they appear in English speaking societies. The distinction between these branches is significant and affects the notion of “criticality”, a notion, I argue, should be interpreted less radically and more pragmatically in the context of language instruction more generally. Speaking from my personal experience as an English language instructor in the non-governmental, non-profit, public and private sectors of the field, in this paper I posit a re-interpretation of the field through critical pedagogy and critical ontology to create a portable framework that decolonizes instructional materials and classroom spaces, while warning against neo-liberal and technologically driven transformations in language instruction. From a critical perspective geared towards pragmatism, the initial matrices of instruction, choice of material, projection of curriculum cycle and evaluation schema rest on the belief that the students themselves have the intelligence and capacity to interpret their socio-linguistic world and choose how to empower themselves through acquiring English fluency

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Keywords

ESL, Language Instruction, Capitalism, De-colonization, Critical Pedagogy, Ontology, Identity, Teaching, Curriculum, EFL

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