Conceptualizing our roles and acts as TESOL professionals
Understanding Post-method pedagogy
WEEK 3 Post-method
Agenda Your voices on Chapter 1 and 3 Discussion of teacher roles: Teachers as passive technicians, teachers as reflective practitioners and teachers as transformative intellectuals. Post-method methodology
Laura says… I believe a teacher's philosophy should constantly be challenged by those within the profession but also, and perhaps more importantly, by those outside of the traditional educational system. What do community activists, parents, international scholars, and marginalized individuals of society have to say about how or what students should be taught? Gathering these different opinions will drastically change the way a teacher functions within his or her classroom.
Laura continues… The more we study the accepted methods in TESOL, the clearer it becomes that "[m]ethods are based on idealized concepts geared toward idealized contexts" (28). Like Kumaravadivelu, I see postmethods as more of a framework as opposed to methods, which attempt to act as a rigid template for learning and instruction. The postmethod theory gives the teacher much more flexibility--by providing guiding principles or developmental objectives of learners that may be fulfilled according to the classroom environment, subject material, resources available, and teacher personality (39).
Raul says… As much as I am in favor of critical perspective in language teaching (and in pretty much everything in life), it seems to me that the dismissal of methods is rather an ‘expert’ concern than a teacher’s one. It looks like it is theorists who placed more faith on methods than anyone else and therefore were clearly the ones more disappointed by their repetitive failures. Teachers seem to be much more at ease with the fact that no method works for all types of students and have learned to deal with that. In their everyday classrooms teachers draw techniques and strategies from different methods and their creativity and expertise. Apparently, what theorists have been discussing on the inefficiency of methods for the past 15 years, teachers have known long ago.
Kelsey says… While I do not entirely understand what the postmethod condition actually is and what its implications are, I have to say that he poses a good argument. I feel like for too long, there have not been enough studies that include teacher-made practices. We talked in class about the inequalities between the female teachers and male theorists in the education world, and it still rings true. To get a real and honest perspective on education, why not ask the teachers themselves? Seems rather intuitive from my end. Teachers are the link between theory and practice. Why not include them in the research?
Katie says… The three roles that were described in the chapter, I think, were really spot on. As I read them, I tried to consider which type of teacher I most relate to at this point in my pre service career. After reading through them, I felt I most identified with teachers as transformative individuals but found that certain aspects of the other two roles also pertained to me. I think I most identify with this because I believe that personal transformation is extremely important for teachers, especially those of diverse learners.
Keri says…. By using three parameters (particularity, practicality, and possibility), which are characteristically blurred, they look at methods three-dimensionally, can facilitate the advancement of context-sensitive pedagogy, enable and encourage teachers to theorize from their practice and practice what they theorize, and use it as a quest for identity formation and social transformation.
Teachers as passive technicians Primary goals: Advantages and disadvantages: A technique that represent this role:
Teachers as reflective practitioners Primary goals: Advantages and disadvantages: A technique that represent this role:
Teachers as transformative intellectuals Primary goals: Advantages and disadvantages: A technique that represent this role:
TRANSFORMATIVE INTELLECTUALS This idea is derived mainly from the works of critical pedagogists and through the philosophy of the Brazilian thinker Paulo Freire schools and colleges are not simply instructional sites; they are, in fact, “cultural arenas where heterogeneous ideological, discursive, and social forms collide in an unremitting struggle for dominance” DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are the implications of becoming a transformative intellectual? For what reasons would you support or oppose the extended role that teachers as transformative intellectuals are expected to play?
Bridging theory and practice Theory in TESOL/Applied linguistics can be defined as a set of insights, frameworks and concepts derived from disciplines such as education, second language acquisition, anthropology, cognitive psychology and linguistics. Practice in TESOL/Applied Linguistics The relationship between theorists and practitioners is NOT like the producer and the consumer.
What are the differences between professional theory and personal theory? Professional Theory: perpetuated within the professional culture. theories that are transmitted via professional training in colleges Personal Theory: individual theory unique to each person which is developed by putting professional theories into practice
UNDERSTANDING POSTMETHOD PEDAGOGY What is post-method pedagogy? --a model in teacher education that promotes context-sensitive education based on a true understanding of local linguistic, social and cultural peculiarities. --raises teachers sociopolitical awareness and enables teachers to construct their own theory of practice --a model that treats learners as co-explorers. Mainstream understanding of “method”—does not refer to what teachers actually do in the classroom, but established methods conceptualized by experts sometimes based on research conducted in controlled enviroenments.
Language Centered Methods “Language learning is intentional rather than incidental.”(Kuma, p.25) Theory of Language: structural linguists view language as a system consisting of several hierarchically linked building blocks: morphemes, phonemes, phrases, clauses and sentences. Each block/structure can be analyzed, described and systematized and graded. Theory of Language learning: derived from behaviorism (50s and 60s)
Language centered methods cont. Theory of Language learning: Behaviorist scientists analyzed human behavior and observed that behaviors can be reduced to a series of stimuli that trigger a series of corresponding responses. Learning: stimulus—response—reinforcement: Learning to speak a language is similar to learning how to ride a bike Learning is mechanical habit formation according to this view.
Learner-Centered Methods Concerned with learner needs. Aim at making the learners grammatically correct and communicatively fluent. Language is a system of expressing meaning The central purpose of language is communication. Basic units of language are not merely grammatical and structural, but also notional and functional.
Learning-centered methods Concerned with the learning process. Provides opportunities to create meaningful learning opportunities. Pre-occupation with meaning-making will lead to grammatical and communicative mastery of the language.
Why dissatisfaction with the concept of method? Certain techniques were considered as the right way to teach; at other, they were frowned upon. Pedagogical limitations of method: Methods go through an endless cycle of life, death and rebirth. Even the experts don’t know how many language teaching methods are developed. What appears to be radically a different method appears to be a variant of an existing method. Each method specifies a set of theories and classroom procedures. They overlap! they may overlook the funds of knowledge students bring to class or the tacit knowledge of the local teachers about the lives of their students. Methods should be informed by the understanding of the sociocultural context.
The myths of methods There is a best method out there ready and waiting to be discovered—the implementation of any method should take into account language policies, teacher profiles and learning needs and variations. Methods constitutes the organizing principle for language teaching—method is too inadequate to explain the complex process of language learning and teaching. The uncritical acceptance of method has mislead to believe us that method has the capacity to cater all learners. Method has a universal and ahistorical value—learners across the world learn languages for the various reasons and follow different paths. Theorists conceive knowledge and practitioners consume knowledge—Teachers do not simply follow the principles. Teachers develop and follow context specific sequence of activities. Canagarajah (1999) called for a pedagogy in which members of the periphery communities will have the agency to think critically and work out ideological alternatives that favor their own environments
Three parameters of postmethod pedagogy Particularity: context-sensitive and location-specific pedagogy based on a true understanding of local, social, cultural, and political particularities. Practicality: rupture the reified role relationship between theorizers and practitioners by enabling them and encouraging them, to theorize form their practice—teacher generated theory of practice. Possibility: seeks to tap the sociopolitical consciousness that students bring with them so that it can also function as a catalyst for identity formation.
Pair work How do you think these parameters can guide your everyday teaching? Go over the list of macrostrategies . Which ones are you already familiar with? Can you add to this list?
Pennycook, A. Critical approaches to tesol
WHERE TO START?
Tom says… The article brings up a lot about social domains or areas of interest in critically approaching TESOL (i.e. sexuality, ethnicity, and representations of otherness). From a standpoint of culture, especially here in the United States, this is a big issue that can come up in any of our classrooms. However, certain cultural backgrounds of some students may not feel as comfortable about the subject or be against it. Therefore, how do we approach bringing up a subject like homosexuality? Or racism? I feel the best way is to teach tolerance through culture, finding ways on inter-connecting different groups of people. That is the foundation of what the U.S. is all about.
Alyssa As Pennycock stated, most of the ESL textbooks that we use today are filled with the wholesome white families that look like they should be on the back of a Kellogg's Cornflakes box. Seeing this all the time and never discussing differences would make me feel inferior as well. I thought the pedagogy of engagement approach is a smart way to bring this topic up with the students. I loved the fact that rather than just discussing issues of gender, race, class, and sexuality, it helps the students to see the background and history of it. It recognizes how people have come to be who they are.
Ryan says… Pennycook makes reference to race with Ibrahim, centered around African students entering the USA and becoming "black" as seen in American society. This got me thinking. These African students from African countries do not see themselves as "black" as Americans do. They see themselves as equals. But yet, while they enter a country such as the USA, having a different skin color or skin tone suggests a person that is outside of "White" values and standards. Thus, Africans coming into the USA would be exposed to the white perception of blackness and would perhaps fall in the web of being discriminated and brought into the world of using skin color as a stereotype. Perhaps this sort of thing leads to racial differences especially among language and inequality.
Hannah says… Pennycook himself writes, "[critical pedagogy in some countries] has become little more than an academic discourse disconnected from everyday teaching practice". He argues for the "pedagogy of engagement" which uses the aspects mentioned above as the basis of curricular organization and pedagogy, rather than something that is adjusted for. He asks us if we are trying to a) give marginalized students access or b) transform the mainstream to be more inclusive. This definitely gave me something to think about. Amidst all of these complicated issues, how will they manifest themselves in my classroom? So many theories are swirling around in my head about "inclusion of power, inequality, discrimination, resistance, and struggle" in Pennycook's words. What do those things look like in the classroom?
Kiersten says… We see, everyday, in the media and on the streets the outcome of hatred towards 'otherness' and how it affects the world but, as a future teacher, I had yet to consider how such factors, how such violence and struggle in the world, may change the way a classroom environment is created and used. Students may find themselves uncomfortable or afraid to speak out due to outside sources of what they see and hear everyday which changes the way they learn in the class, if they are able to learn at all.
How to be Critically Conscious? According to Ira Shor (1992) a student can be critically conscious by: Thinking, reading, writing, and speaking while going beneath the surface meaning A student must go beyond: Myths, clichés, received wisdom, and mere opinions Amazon, 2008
What does it mean to be critical? What’s critical theory, really? Taking social inequality and social transformation as center to one’s work How aspects of popular culture are related to the forms of political control and how particular forms of rationalism have come to dominate other possible ways of thinking. Always turning a skeptical eye towards assumptions, ideas that have become “nauturalized.”- Problemitizing the given Awareness of the limits of knowing. Being self reflexive. E.G. Brian Morgan (1997,1998) gives an example of his own classroom to illustrate how critical practice in ESL can emerge from community concerns. He writes “ a community-based, critical ESL pedagogy doesn’t mean neglecting language. It means organizing language around expeiences that are immediate to students.”
Critical theory on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFOhVdQt27c http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fh4IMdQ2SQM&feature=related http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFWjnkFypFA&feature=related
CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF TESOL QUARTERLY SPECIAL ISSUE ON CRITICAL PEDAGOGY IN ELT Get into groups of 4-5. Pick one article that presents critical ways to ELT. Discuss the article based on your undestanding of Pennycook’s Transformative Pedagogies: Critical Literacy article Critical Pedagogy in Brazil Community based approach to Critical pedagogy Becoming Black Participatory education for immigrant women How do these studies explain transformative pedagogy? Do you see signs of pedagogy of engagement/problemitizing practice/notion of learner autonomy in this study? What are the research questions? What are the data collection methods? What are the findings? Any remaining questions?
CREATE YOUR GROUP’S VISUAL VISUAL ART ON LANGUAGE EDUCATION:In groups of three, Draw a metaphor for your definition of teacher and classroom from a post-method pedagogy perspective What is your definition of a language teacher? How do you define classrooms and classroom interaction?