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From Method-Based to Post-method pedagogy in TESOL Week 2
It is only by understanding the histories and lived experiences of language learners that language teacher can create conditions that will facilitate social interaction both in the classroom and in the wider community, and help learners claim their right to speak (Norton, 2000, p.142)
Agenda Initial thoughts Student blog responses Group work on articles. Principles of Post-method: Main shifts in language teaching ideologies
Keri Soukup says… Kuma's article mentions the shifts that TESOL theories have undergone in the past few decades. One of the important points he makes is that critical pedagogy theories have been a strong focus which prompts new ways of looking at classroom practices……Exploring the local realities and backgrounds that students implant into their language learning experience can help an English language instructor provide the best methods for the students and enable them to make their vision of their L2 identity clearer.
Katie says… I was also surprised to read, in Kumas article, about what he calls the period of awareness and period of awakening. I think that yes, our present day knowledge of learning and language learning is probably much more devolved than it was years ago but I do have to argue, that to an extent, the language teaching of the past must have worked in some capacity as people did learn! I do understand, however, that could be due to what type of motivation was impelling the learner. For example, survival or pleasure? I have to say, I understand where Kuma is coming from by naming these two time periods but I don’t really know if educators can ever really make it to, let’s say, a total awakeness. I don’t think Kuma implied such an idea in his article but I do think it is important to note that as educators we are always learning and therefore always opening our minds to new ideas such as approaches to TESOL. In a sense, we are stuck in this period of awakening forever.
Dan says… Kumaravadivelu's article sheds more light on the transition (and the need for it) from methods-based to post-methods language teaching. He notes on p. 63 the problems created when CLT approaches were forced on learners in African and Asian countries. The language imperialism we had read about previously is apparent when a South African scholar comments that the, "choice of communicative language teaching as a goal was possibly a sort of naive ethnocentrism prompted by the thought that what is good for Europe or the USA had to be good for KwaZulu."
Raul wonders… I believe evolution on the study of language and theories of learning as well as our inherent human and scientific desire to find generalizable principles have played an important role in the constant uprising of ELT methods. Of course, economic and political agendas have also partaken in this. As of now, as a consequence of the way social sciences have been moving towards the critical side of the pendulum, we are now witnessing how these critical perspectives on language teaching. However, isn’t it possible that radically critical perspectives of the method era as the ones presented in article may lead us into an atomization and relativism of the field where teachers are responsible of figuring out the specific peculiarities of each learning environment? Isn’t this too much of a burden, particularly with the political and economic contexts where teachers have to develop their profession?
Laura wonders… In the past, I have always placed importance on the ability to actually use the language in meaningful, real-life contexts (Communicative Language Teaching). I believed this was the best (and maybe only) way to effectively teach a language. However, as Kumaravadivelu states, "Even teachers who are committed to CLT can fail to create opportunities for genuine interaction in their classroom" (62). He also mentioned the arguments against CLT in many different countries. This got me thinking, challenging myself and my own methodology. Was I really fostering student growth and meaningful production of the language? How could I be sure? Was this the "best" methodology I could be implementing in my classroom? Is there such a thing as the "best" methodology?
Class activity on shifts in TESOL pedagogy Divide up the class into three groups. Each group willdiscuss the shifts below in detail. Write down your the discussion points on your posters. From Communicative Language Teaching to Task-based From Method-based to postmethod pedagogy From Systemic discovery to critical discourse
Problems with CLT Authenticity: Are so-called communicative classrooms really communicative? Acceptability: Is it really a radical break from the traditional language classrooms? Adaptability: Is it sensitive to sociocultural demands of the teaching context? Is it appropriate for ELT in expending or outer circle countries?
Task Based language teaching (TBLT) A menu of options ranging from an explicit focus on form to an exclusive focus on function. Language-centered Learning-centered Learner-centered (Kuma) Problem-solving tasks (Prabhu)
From method based to post-method pedagogy Developing teachers’ sense of plausibility: personal conceptualization of how teachers’ teaching leads to desired learning—Prabhu Exploratory Practice: focus is on local practice (p.68) Postmethod condition: language learning and teaching needs, wants and situations are unpredictable in numerous reasons.
Three operating principles 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. Possibility: seeks to tap the sociopolitical consciousness that students bring with them so that it can also function as a catalyst for identity formation. (p.69)
From systemic discovery to critical discourse Recognizing language as ideology, not just a system. Extending the educational space to the social, cultural and political Linking linguistic text to sociopolitical context
The shift from method based to postmethod We are looking for alternative ways to method rather than an alternative method! En emphasis on local knowledge and local teachers Rejects ready-made package of knowledge but focuses on recreation of personal meaning
We have been awakened to… Necessities of making method-based pedagogies more sensitive to local exigencies The opportunities afforded by postmethod pedagogies by helping teachers develop their own theory of practice The multiplicity of learner identities; The complexity of teacher beliefs; The vitality of macrostructures, social cultural and political, and historical—that shape and reshape the microstructures of our pedagogical enterprise.
Celce-Murcia’s article In your groups draw a visual representation of the concepts of methods, approaches and techniques. Chose one question on page 10 and discuss as a group.
Assignments Blogging– quality is important in your critical responses. Give examples, page numbers. Don’t be afraid of engaging in a deeper level of theoretical discussions. Move beyond “this article is dense vs reader-friendly” statements. Readings Adding ideas, beliefs to our class manifesto. HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!