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What is language pedagogy for?

Authors
Publisher
Cengage Learning
Publication Date
Keywords
  • Lb2300 Higher Education
  • P Philology. Linguistics
Disciplines
  • Education

Abstract

In this chapter the authors take a critical look at two main issues, the relationship of theory to language pedagogy, and the place of language pedagogy relative to “the state of the world.” This examination is used to set the tone and introduce the chapters of this volume, showing how language pedagogy, far from being “atheoretical” is in fact deeply infused with theory; it is always theory-driven practice. The contributions of the volume bring the paradigms of language teaching and learning, and the paradigm shifts that have been underway for some time, into focus, linking them concretely with pedagogical practice. It argues that “theory” is not a reified object but embodied in our teaching and learning practices, often in ways that are unassumed and even unrecognized. A step back to think and reflect on our practice and to consider patterns which are emergent in language pedagogy gives us an exciting glimpse of change and new directions, of new embodiments of thinking about teaching in practice. The authors suggest that language pedagogy needs emergent and critical conceptual tools to move beyond a heavily skills-based approach and take an active part in addressing the dire needs of a changed world, a globalized community in which conflicts are or should be worked out by people at every level of society. Deep knowledge of languages—or translingual and transcultural competence as formulated by the 2007 MLA Ad Hoc Committee Report (MLA, 2007)—is a crucial component of this change. To this end, picking up where the ACTFL Standards (2006) left off, the authors frame the contributions to the volume in terms of five “new C’s”: Context, Complexity, Creativity, Compassion, and Conflict. We can never be ‘after theory’ in the sense that there can be no reflective life without it. We can simply run out of particular styles of thinking as our situation changes. (Eagleton, 2003, p. 221)

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