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The Political Dimensions of Language Teaching and the Partic

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Ashley Nelson

on 21 November 2013

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Transcript of The Political Dimensions of Language Teaching and the Partic

The Political Dimensions of Language Teaching and the Participatory Approach

Politics of Language
Learning a language is a political act.
Those who know a language are empowered
English is an international language, it is a helpful tool
English might cause the loss of the ability to speak another language
Identity as an English speaker might cause another identity to fade or die
Loss of Endangered languages as a result of English teaching
The Participatory Approach: One Response to the Politics of Language Teaching
Developed in the late 1950s by Paulo Freire, but became widely discussed in the 1980s
Based on the growing awareness of the role of education
Goal of the Participatory Approach: to help students to understand the social, historical, or cultural forces that shaped a particular context, and then help empower students to take action and make decisions in order to gain control over their lives in that context
Problem solving is a core practice
Principles of the Participatory Method
Student-Teacher interaction:
Supportive of their students
Helps them advocate for themselves/solve problems while teaching them the necessary language to understand, discuss, and address these problems
Student-Student interaction:
Students are supportive of one another
Dealing with Student Feelings:
Students learn their feelings are important and they are encouraged to express their feelings
Critical Discourse
Texts are not ideally neutral
Example: Jubilant Blacks Clashed with Police
VS.
Police Clashed with Jubilant Blacks
Ashley Nelson
ENG 497

Whose English should be Taught?
World "Englishes"- different varieties of English, each spoken in a Country that was a former British Colony
Is one form of English better than another?
Canadian English vs. Australian English?
Englishes from the Inner Circle:
USA, UK, Australia

English as a Lingua Franca
The language used by millions of non-native English speakers, primarily for use in multilingual language contact situations
Used in the "Expanding Circle"
Not a homogenous language
The study of how identity and power relations are constructed in language
Critical pedagogy- an approach to teaching that aims to create a more egalitarian society by raising awareness of social injustice as a necessary part of the curriculum
It is important for teachers to develop an awareness of political issues around the use of language
Literacy in the unique forms, vocabulary, and norms of different discourses, e.g. those of politics
Critical Approaches to Pedagogy
Students are not just learning to read, they are learning very specific English language norms, grammar, and vocab to use on their own and become empowered
Teachers can foster positive attitudes towards all languages
The language being studied should not replace any other language, but should rather enrich the learners' language capacity
Multicompetence - being able to use more than one language in a way that one's needs are met without necessarily imitating monolingual native speaker use
Non-native Speakers as Teachers
Many programs prefer native speakers because of their language intuition about what is correct
BUT
non-native speakers have great benefits such as:
Being role models of successful learning
If they speak the language of their students, they understand obstacles to acquisition
Literacies
Plurilingualism and Multicompetence
Do you see English as something helpful in allowing people from around the world to communicate with each other or as something that is potentially a problem- the problem of English taking over the world? (Page 170)
Goals of the teachers:
Teach meaningful language
Raise the political consciousness of the students
Empower the students to solve political issues in their lives
Role of the Teacher:
To prompt and then identify the problems students are having in or outside of the classroom
This then becomes the content of the next lesson
Role of the Student:
Share daily concerns with the class and teacher
Principles of the Participatory Method
Characteristics of the teaching/learning process:
Teacher leads a discussion about the lives of the students
Identifies problems that the class can work on as a whole
Poses the problems to the students, asks questions
Students respond and use language in real-world situations in order to address their problems
Students are encouraged to evaluate their own learning
Principles of the Participatory Method
How language viewed:
Language is necessary for equal and active participation in society
How culture is viewed:
Culture relates to students daily experiences
Areas and skills of language that are emphasized:
Language has meaning
Literacy is very important, although no skill is neglected
Principles of the Participatory Method
What is the role of the native language:
Very valued, it should not be lost
Evaluation:
Students are constanly encouraged to evaluate their own learning
Teacher's Response to Errors:
Students are encouraged to self correct
Teacher will point out errors and inform how to fix them
Advantages?
Disadvantages?
Principles of the Participatory Approach
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