Saturday, June 23, 2012

A couple online resources for critically minded educators

i just wanted to post a few open access journals that i happened upon today:
Critical Education
Critical and Reflective Practice in Education
Critical Literacy
Journal of Classroom Research in Literacy

Both of these have free peer reviewed research that addresses 'critical' issues in education.
You can also have a look at the Directory of Open Access Journals, which is basically a search engine for all the open access journals on the net, or this list of open access journals in education.  There should be enough reading material there to satisfy even the geekiest among us.

Friday, June 8, 2012

If it's about racism, then let's make it about racism

I've been hesitant to share my thoughts on the recent MBC video on the “shocking reality” of relationships with foreigners because so many people have offered thoughtful commentary on this issue, and because I haven't felt that I have anything specific to offer in terms of effective action. But after a couple weeks of following the response, I can't shake the feeling that we are missing something important, and I think it's worth a few minutes to try and work out (if only for myself) what's bugging me.
One of my main sources of information on this has been the Facebook page “action against MBC”, so I'll limit my thoughts to what I have read there.  To some extent, this site has come to represent “the foreign response” to the MBC piece.  I feel somewhat of a connection to this group because many of the family photos that have been posted look a bit like my family. I'm a White guy married to a Korean woman, and we just had our first child earlier this year. I'm still not fluent in Korean, but I'm working at it and I'd like to think I'm getting a little better. In short, I'm in a pretty similar situation to many of the people who are speaking out.

So, what exactly are we saying? 
The main message seems to be that news stories like the MBC piece promote the misinformed view that Korea is a racially and culturally homogenous nation. This results in the positioning of non-Korean residents as outsiders and leads to further discrimination against these individuals and their families. I can say from experience that this kind of discrimination is frustrating and painful. So it's easy to understand why group members have chosen to make racism the centerpiece of their call to action. This seems right. Racism is one of the biggest social issues that we face in an increasingly multicultural world. I should add that I feel quite lucky that my perspective and my experiences are so well represented in the website. Unfortunately, I worry that there a lot of different perspectives and a lot of different stories that are missing.

In this light, it seems important to remember that an overwhelming majority of mixed-race marriages here are between working class Korean men and women from a variety of Southeast Asian countries.  These individuals and families no doubt have stories of discrimination to share which are very different from those we hear in the “action against MBC” group. Yet they have not been mentioned because we are not making explicit connections between the discrimination and racism that they might experience and the messages conveyed in the MBC piece.  

Let me try to explain why I believe this is important....
In a more recent story, a producer at MBC stated, “I don’t understand why foreigners get angry about the issue while they are living with their spouses and having no problem. Foreigner-Korean women couples are living happily, but why are they angry over an issue that has nothing to do with them?” Obviously this has everything to do with such couples. It promotes misinformation and public paranoia and potentially incites further discrimination towards anyone who resembles the people in the video. The producer was either unwilling or unable to make the connection between the specific people represented in the piece and the consequences for a much larger community. It is my hope that our community doesn't fall into the same trap.  To avoid this, we would do well to understand that combating racism in Korea (if this is really our goal) means that we are taking up a struggle that involves people who do not look like the photos on our website, and it means that a responsible and effective response to racism must involve much more than combating discrimination against those who look like us.

It is hard to imagine that we are prepared to construct a genuine and effective movement against racism in Korea because we remain steeped in the concerns, experiences, and perspectives of a small and relatively privileged demographic, and we are failing to make connections to a wider range of events.  To make my point, two months ago, Mrs. Jasmine Lee became the first naturalized Korean citizen elected to the national assembly. Both during and after her election she became the target of nationalist,xenophobic, and even racist attacks. As Mrs. Lee has made a career of supporting multicultural families (focusing primarily on spouses of Korean husbands), this seems to be an issue that is relevant to the anti-racism message in the “action against MBC” group. Yet I have to wonder: where was our outrage while Mrs. Lee experienced repeated attacks?  Why have her experiences and the experiences of thousands of those 'other' multicultural families not been addressed in our group? Why have we not reached out to them?

Please understand that I am in no way trying to suggest that the “action against MBC” community does not have a legitimate concern. Racism is painful to anyone victimized by it. But if we are serious about confronting racism in Korea, then it is not just about 'us'. We have a responsibility to reflect the reality of multicultural Korea. Of course, coming up with practical ways of doing this might be tricky, though contacting representative Jasmine Lee might be a start. In any case, it seems important that we practice the diversity that we purport to embrace. Until that happens, I fear that this will remain a fringe issue attributed to one small and somewhat privileged demographic in Korea.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Questions on Control Societies

First, I want to thank everyone for a nice discussion last Saturday.  Maybe it was the small number of students, maybe it was because we were seated close together, maybe it was because the assigned readings were really short, but I felt like we were able to have a genuine discussion on the potentials and the problems presented by Wendell Berry and Gilles Deleuze.
One class participant wrote me this week and asked how the two pieces we discussed related to one another.  I don't have an easy answer for this, but I have pasted my response below, in case anyone else was wondering the same thing:

Part of the reason I selected those two readings was because of their sharp contrast.  Though I will say that I believe that both writers could be described as being very critical of modernism.  This was the link that I wanted to express in class.  Specifically, I wanted to show two very different ways of critiquing modern progress and two very different visions of how we might confront the problems created by modernity.  Berry, I believe, is much more direct and much more clear in his attack.  He is questioning the very notion of progress, and our common assumption that small economic units (such as the small farm) are obselete.  In our widespread acceptance of globalization and global economies, Berry would like us to think about what we are losing.  For him, the key is local knowledge that can only be developed in local communities.  Our standardized education and our large scale institutional goals means a loss of human values that can only be developed through personal responsibility in a local community.  He believes we are losing our sense of responsibility to others and to the earth, because we no longer need each other in the same way that members of small communities need one another.  I don't think he's being cynical.  He's certainly critical of modernism, industrialization, and globalization, but he's also cautiously hopeful about preserving the unique attributes and values of local communities. 

Deleuze is also very critical of simplistic notions of progress.  He would see globalization not as a mark of economic and social progress but instead as changing strategy for exercising power.  The control society, for Deleuze, is not "good" or "bad".  He is not for it or against it (in this way he is very different from Berry, who clearly opposes the large scale economic and social changes we are undergoing).  Deleuze is simply trying to reveal new mechanisms of power so that those who wish to resist power may do so more effectively.  In a disciplinary society, power works through the creation of confined spaces (institutions).  In a control society, power works through the spread and manipulation of information in open spaces (such as the internet, virtual reality, and so on).  Therefore, those wishing to resist power can no longer use the strategies created in disciplinary societies (such as unions).  One must find new ways to confront power based on a deeper understanding of how power works in our new society (the open corporate model rather than the closed factory model).  He's trying to describe that power.  Again... it isn't "good" or "bad".  Just a change- with new dangers and new possibilities.  Remember, "there is no reason to hope or to fear- only to look for new weapons." 
That's my basic interpretation.  You can agree or disagree, of course :)

Unfortunately, Deleuze's essay is very short, very speculative, and requires a good deal of knowledge about both Deleuze's earlier work and the work of Michel Foucault.  Deleuze only gives us a very brief summary of his concept.  This concept might be put to use in our teaching (as David suggested in class), it might help us to gain new insights about our own practices, the ways we exercise power and the ways power is exercised on us, and it may offer a new strategy for thinking about our students' choices in the social and economic worlds they are facing.  But as the discussion/debate that Hui ran and I had in class might suggest, this doesn't translate directly into teaching methods or even classroom strategies.  As usual, that work is up to you.  This is just a tool for thinking about those things in new ways.  

I found a pdf of a book that really expands the ideas in Deleuze's essay.  It's called Liquid Modernity by Zygmunt Bauman.  Not an easy read, but a fascinating study for those who really want to know more about the processes Deleuze was describing.  
As always, I want to thank everyone for sticking with these readings all semester.  Some of them were quite complex.  Some of them didn't have any explicit connection to language teaching, but I feel we were able to work our way through (or at least "in") these ideas because of your willingness to question the foundations of our knowledge.  I believe that's the first step to developing critical practices.  

Some other links that might be of interest:  
Ecological Literacy by David Orr describes the contrast between deconstructive postmodernism and constructive postmodernism.  Grassroots Postmodernism by Esteva and Prakash makes a similar distinction between academic postmodernism and grassroots postmodernism.  

Anyway, I always enjoy comments and questions- especially those that make me stop and question what I'm doing.  Good luck with your discourse analysis assignments and lesson reflections....  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

One more little reading

Hello all....  In case anyone missed it, I'd like you to read the short chapter by Wendell Berry called "A Remarkable Man".  In hopes of provoking a deeper discussion, I'd like you to have a look at another short reading called "Control Societies" by Gilles Deleuze.  Put simply, these two essays show two very different perspectives on postmodern/antimodern thought.  Neither, of course, gives us any real answers, but they might be able to help us think a little more deeply about possible ways forward. 

Also, I'll need at least a handful of people (6 or 7) to volunteer to talk about their lesson plans the following week (June 2).  I want to give more people an opportunity to speak their mind and to share their experiences trying to accomplish critical goals in their classrooms. 

Have a great week and see you on Saturday. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

For May 19th

I'm not sure if I mentioned next week's reading during class last week or not.  Just in case, I'd like you to have a look at the short chapter by Fairclough called "Discourse and Power".  This lesson will be related to your discourse analysis assignment due at the end of the semester. 
Also, listed below are the discussion questions I gave you on the Ngugi chapter.  On your blogs, please share one idea that came from your group discussions and comment on at least two other student blogs: 

What connections can you see between Ngugi’s experiences and those of Korea’s past? 

What connections can you see between Ngugi’s ideas and the present situation in Korea?

What problems does Ngugi see in Kachru’s approach to the worldwide spread of English?

What is the place of a perspective such as Ngugi’s in current discussions about the spread of English?  In what ways is this reading relevant to our work as educators? 

Do you feel that it is an English teacher’s responsibility to be aware of the historical circumstances by which English has become a ‘global’ language?  Why or why not? 

As English teachers, is there any way that we can practically address Ngugi’s concerns?  How?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Questions for April 14 and Links

First of all, the main webpage for The Critical Thinking Consortium has some resources that might be of help to you.  You can find various lesson plan ideas and a few handouts and worksheets (though many of them are geared toward Canadian students, so you may have to adapt them if you wish to use them in your own teaching settings).  The summaries of critical challenges can be found here.  Just look to the left side of the webpage to find links to various grades.

Finally...  Gee....

There is a lot of info in his chapter, and I don't expect you to master everything he's said.  Below you can find a short list of questions that I'm hoping will guide our discussion on Saturday.  In some cases the answer is explicitly stated in the reading, in other cases, you'll have to do a little creative thinking / contextualizing.  There is no need to answer all these in writing this week, but I would like you to be ready to discuss them in class.

- The traditional definition of literacy is "the ability to read and (sometimes) write."  This locates literacy within individual cognition.  Gee is explicitly trying to lay down the framework for a social and discursive definition of literacy.  How would you define this 'new' conception of literacy?  (pp. 39-41 should help)

- According to Gee, what effects does formal schooling seem to have on the social organization of society?  What is the significance of Gee's belief that 'literacy' is a social issue rather than an individual / cognitive issue, and how does it explain the social functioning of formal schooling?  (pp. 23-25)

- What is "the literacy myth"?
[*How might the literacy myth be understood in relation to English education in Korea?]

- What is "Plato's dilemma"?  What practical implications does Plato's dilemma have for teachers interested in developing a Freirian pedagogy?

- What does the Scribner and Cole research imply about the effects of literacy? (pp. 33-35)

- What does Gee mean when he states, rather boldly, that the choice in any literacy program will always be 'to what sort of social group do I intend to apprentice the learner?' (p. 44)

That's it for now.  I may amend these or shorten them over the week, but this should be enough to get you started.  Happy reading and have fun with the lesson plans....  

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lesson Plans

Just a reminder.... your lesson plans are due next week (April 14).  There is no specific format that you need to follow, but please be sure to include the following information. 

Description of the students and the class:  English proficiency / Age / Interests / Class time / etc

Description of your goals:  What do you hope students learn or do in your lesson? 

Linguistic objectives:  Please list any linguistic objectives or target structures that you wish to include(this is not a mandatory part of the assignment, but you may include explicit language objectives if you wish to do so)

Step by step description of the lesson:  Please expain each activity in enough detail so that another teacher could follow your plan easily. 

Include any materials you will use (photocopies / weblinks / etc). 

Good luck and happy brainstorming!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Difficulties Engaging in Critical Dialog

The following eight posts are comprised of quotes from students in our Critical Pedagogies course this semester.  Each post expresses a concern or a problem with implementing a "critical" approach to English language teaching in a specific context.  We spent class this week discussing these "limit-situations" and trying to create "limit-acts" to confront these barriers.  In the comment section of each post you can read student responses to these problems.  They may not solve all our diffiulties but I think they can offer some great food for thought.

Relationships and Interests in the Classroom

what if the students had nothing to talk about the topic even in their native language.

"What do you think?" sounds like easy question but it's not to the person who may be given that question. It's still one of the uneasy questions to me. 


Cultures of Learning

My students haven't had experience giving presentations in front of other students.  Therefore, I have to explain them how to prepare their presentation, each student’s role, and how to present in class.

They don't even know how to find information they should bring to class.  So I have to show how they can search in English using English searching engines, newspapers or magazine. Second, even though they bring a lot of ideas, they have difficulties to express their ideas in English. Therefore, I have to correct them every time they make a mistake and I have to give correct words or expressions in my speaking class.


Students need 'the Basics'

I think teaching in elementary school is designed to give students the 'basics' through drills and useful expressions.  

The purpose of many English classes is to help students enter college. 


Scripted Curriculum

I'm supposed to follow the textbook and trying not to miss anything in the textbook. When I miss some in the textbook, I feel sorry for the student and failing responsibility. It is not the class designed  by my will but accepted through the rule which the publisher think the best. It doesn't include my students' own concept.

Our text book had sixteen chapters for me to teach in a year. That means I had to finish teaching two chapters in a month since our national curriculum required us to do it.


Busy with Duties Outside of Class

Sometimes I had a hard time caused by far too many miscellaneous affairs than concentrate on preparing for classes.


Personal apprehension in Changing Teaching Practices

I guess, if I am being honest with myself, the biggest barrier is my own apprehension.  There is a lot of unfamiliar work involved in changing the way a class operates, how participants interact with each other, the individual expectations for the class, and using critical discussion to develop language abilities.  If I attempt this, what should I expect as a result?


"Low Level" Students

It doesn't seem that Shin & Crookes approach would be possible for low level students who need the basics before they can speak critically and dialogically.  It seems that they excluded low level students.  
Having critical dialogue with the students who can't answer right away to "How's it going?" is too much for them.


Mixed Level Classes

Most of my classes are of mixed English proficiency, and there is a large discrepancy in focus and ability which means I can spend a lot of time assisting lower level students who may otherwise get distracted.
I'm co-teaching with a native English speaking teacher. We're teaching students in Grade 5, and 6 mainly focusing on listening, and speaking skills. We have about 30 students of varying proficiency in English in one class.
The questions then becomes, who will you concentrate on, the higher level students, then the middle and lower level starts to feel English is too hard or impossible. Focus on the middle level, then the higher levels are bored, and lower level distracts the class, or the lower level, then the whole class sleeps.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Some Blogs I've Happened Upon Recently

Along with some of the blogs I've mentioned in the past (Esl etc /  Do Nothing Teaching / Throwing Back Tokens / Turkish EFL), I've come across a few in recent days that might be of interest.

ELT Rants, Reviews, and Reflections - An educator and teacher trainer based in Korea
The Other Things Matter - A Reflective Language Teacher Based in Japan

These offer a lot of reflections on ELT happenings and plenty of ideas for things we might cook up in the classroom.  Have a look and enjoy.

Freire's "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" is banned in Arizona

Yet another questionable move made in Arizona.  The classic education text "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" was banned by the Tucson School District.  According to an article at Daily Censored:

School authorities confiscated the books during class—boxed them up and hauled them off. As one student said, “We were in shock … It was very heartbreaking to see that happening in the middle of class.”

A fantastic blog called Musings on the Spacial Turn (in education) has some links that address this in more detail here so I don't see any need to go into a rant.  But the reasons expressed for banning this book were as follows:
“They should not teach the kids that they’re oppressed as America is a land of opportunity and we should not teach the kids that America is a downer and that they are oppressed..."

Here are a few ideas in this banned book:

Dialogic education seeks out "the humanization of all people... no longer oppressor and oppressed, but human in the process of achieving freedom."  

"Dialogue cannot exist in the absence of a profound love for the world and for people....  If I do not love the world - if I do not love life - if I do not love people - I cannot enter into dialogue."  

"The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach.  They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow."  

"Any situation in which some individuals prevent others from engaging in the process of inquiry is one of violence.  The means used are not important; to alienate human beings from their own decision-making is to change them into objects."  

Those who would consider these dangerous ideas are the one's we should be truly concerned about.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Linguistic Landscapes

Check out this blog
It might be a nice little reading to reflect on when thinking about the editorial I handed out in class. "Linguistic Landscapes" offer a slightly different way to think about the public use of language.  In fact, I think it's worth mentioning that the link shows the beginnings of a nice little lesson plan.  The writer suggests having students take pictures of public displays of written language and other symbols, then bringing these pictures into class to look at as a group.  I think there are a lot of things a teacher could do with this kind of assignment.  Obviously correcting grammar would be one fairly shallow task.  Another could entail rewriting messages that would be intended for different audiences.  Still another could involve a brief analysis of different messages and short discussions related to the four "critical" questions that we discussed in class last week. 
Just a refresher: 
1)  Who is speaking? 
2)  For whom is the message intended?  How do you know?
3)  Who is being spoken about
4)  What is the basis of this person's knowledge?  Based on what authority is this speaker's voice 'powerful'?  What words, symbols, etc suggest that this message or this speaker are valuable? 

It may take a little work on the part of the teacher to adapt these questions for advertising, graffiti, political slogans, and other artifacts in the Linguistic Landscape.  It would also take a little work adapting this to various students, at different ages, and levels of English proficiency.  But I think there are some really creative activities that could come out of this.  I'm going to try it with university students this week and see what comes of it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A nice little article to compliment our editorial

This is a nice little article that might add something to our discussion over the "Korea's Proofreading Woes" editorial. Have a look if you're interested.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Local English Teaching Magazine Falls into its own "Practical" Trap

The newest issue of "The English Connection" (TEC magazine) included a short editorial that I have some serious issues with. I sent my response to the editor, but unsurprisingly he has shown no interest in publishing it. This wasn't really my goal in writing it. If it was I would have waited until I was a little less emotional about this. But I think TEC magazine, in all of its virtues as a practitioner-oriented publication, overstepped its self imposed limitations and as a result has embarrassed itself and its readers. Anyway, you can read my full response below. I know I'm leaving myself open here, as this is quite an emotional response, but hey, what good is intellectual debate without a little fire?

Response to Elliot Patton's “Korea's Proofreading Woes”
by Curtis Porter

I would like to offer my humble response to the editorial by Elliot Patton in the Spring 2012 edition of The English Connection. In this short piece, the writer shares a story about a coffee shop he visited with his young son. He describes his feelings about a grammatical irregularity in the graphics painted on a second story wall, and he uses this as a springboard into an indictment of the use of Konglish in public spaces in Korea. The writer seems appalled by the inability of Koreans to use English in ways he deems satisfactory. After expressing how embarrassed Korean people should feel for such uses of English, he concludes with an open ended question about how teachers might best approach the “cleaning up of Konglish.” His goal seems to have been little more than to offer a crude reminder that we need to work harder to eradicate what he feels to be a contaminated variety of English. Mr. Patton gives the reader a straight-forward and practical question. Unfortunately he assumes that the problems that underlie his question are equally straight-forward. They are not.
Mr. Patton's unexamined convictions read like a caricature of viewpoints that were contested long ago in more intellectually rigorous media. He does little more than perpetuate half-dead myths that the larger field of English education has been slowly overcoming for many years. It has been over a decade since Vivian Cook (1999) systematically dismantled common-sense notions of native speakers and native Englishes. In the same year, Canagarajah (1999) provided a frame for ways international English teachers might develop a politically salient approach to their work. It has been almost thirty years since Kachru (1985) incited a larger debate in the rapidly growing field of World Englishes. Mr. Patton offers us nothing new or interesting in regard to these spheres of academic thought. He willingly admits that “many factors can potentially be blamed for this [persistence of Konglish]...” but finally concedes that “it is not my place to delve into speculation.” In other words, he wishes to gloss over the why in pursuit of the how.
More interesting than Mr. Patton's beliefs is the question of what they are doing in a professional publication. What value did the editors of TEC see in his work and what did they wish to accomplish by publishing it? Given the editors' call for responses, one might guess they were trying to provoke discussion on a potentially contentious topic. Yet the reader is given no hint as to what the topic of discussion is meant to be. Is this a linguistic issue? A social or cultural issue? An educational issue? As any teacher will agree, an important key to facilitating a productive debate is to introduce relevant parameters. This can be done by giving example arguments, presenting opposing perspectives, posing pointed questions, and so on. Yet given the lack of any direction on how to engage with these ideas, the reader is left to assume the editors are presenting this as the intellectual position of the magazine (which, in the rather arrogant words of the writer, involves a “policing of incorrect English”). If this is not the case, then the only other reasonable conclusion seems to be that they have published these ideas in order to invoke issues that they are not prepared or willing to deal with in an adequately intellectual manner. This brings the larger mission of TEC into question.
If Mr. Patton is correct in suggesting that TEC writers would do well to overlook the messier and more complex why questions in the pursuit of more concrete and efficient how questions, then the publication of his work speaks to a much larger danger in the professional model that the editors of TEC have adopted. The magazine is obviously written by and for practitioners and thus places great value on practical and experiential knowledge. There are obvious advantages to this approach. It is ideal if one wishes to swap teaching tips and personal experiences. Developing a space for teachers to share ideas without relying on highbrow academic conventions is both exciting and promising, and there are numerous high-quality practitioner oriented journals that have taken this approach. Yet if TEC seeks to build a practical and collaborative knowledge base in Korean ELT, it is important to recognize the limitations of doing so.
Put simply, there are finer points to teaching that cannot be adequately explored in 500 to 1000 word mini-essays. This is not a problem as long as you leave complex topics like those invoked in Mr. Patton's editorial to more progressive and academic minded publications. The decision to publish his piece in this setting, however, requires more creative and responsible editorial work. If you wish to begin touching on sociolinguistic and cultural aspects of English education in Korea in a less than intellectually rigorous format, then you must do so in ways that creatively and thoughtfully implement various perspectives, and you must do so in ways that encourage substantive debate. The short exchange between Deubelbeiss and Griffin later in this same issue is a fabulous example of how you might achieve such a goal.
As published, Mr. Patton's antiquated beliefs on important sociolinguistic and cultural issues seem to have no intellectual merit, and even the practical worth of his editorial is questionable. TEC's failure to responsibly engage with the issues between the lines of his piece exposes a danger of giving credibility to an opinion that is blatantly out of date and uninformed. It also begs an important question: upon what authority should this 'practical' approach to ELT knowledge be built? Creating a platform for the voices of teachers in the trenches is a noble goal, but must it mean that we are subject to the rants of every ex-backpacker who has managed to break into the business of ELT publishing?
I am in no way suggesting that the views expressed in the editorial should be censored or overlooked. Even ideas as short-sighted as Mr. Patton's prove useful from time to time. I simply take issue with the careless way his unexamined beliefs were promoted by your magazine. Clearly, it is not necessary to publish long winded academic articles in order to address contentious issues in Korean English education. But your decision to offer such an abbreviated treatment of them means that you have a responsibility to include a variety of intellectual perspectives (you might approach an informed Korean educator or a qualified professional in the fields of linguistics, sociolinguistics, or cultural studies). The editorial staff blatantly dropped the ball on this one. The decision to publish Mr. Patton's piece, at best, reveals consequences of taking an overtly anti-academic approach to English language education, and at worst, suggests the potential of TEC to do for education what Lonely Planet has done for cross-cultural understanding.

Canagarajah, A.S. (1999). Resisting Linguistic Imperialism in English Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cook, V. (1999). Going beyond the native speaker in language teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 33(2). pp. 185 – 209.

Kachru, B.B. (1985). Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: The English language in the outer circle. In R. Quirk and H. Widdowson (Eds.), English in the world: Teaching and learning the language and literatures (pp. 11-36). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Welcome to Spring 2012 Critical Pedagogies

This blog will be my running record of our Critical Pedagogies class this semester. I will be posting materials, reflections, potential lesson plan ideas, links, video clips, and/or whatever else seems relevant or partially relevant. My hope is that this course takes all of us in new directions as teachers- myself included. This blog will be a partial record of what I learn and think about this semester as an instructor and hopefully it will serve as a resource and a reflective tool for all class participants.
Please feel free to comment on any of my posts, past or present. There are many posts from last year's class that contain links to helpful websites, resources, and various articles that might be interest in this course and in your own teaching practices.
I'm looking forward to working with you all.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

A SoundCloud Experiment

So SoundCloud is a well known music sharing site that lets users upload or record their own 'sounds', convert them to visual formats, and gives listeners the opportunity to comment on specific parts of the file. I'm thinking that this could work well with a conversation class that I have to teach in the Spring semester. Students will have a chance to record short speeches on a topic of interest and get specific feedback on particular areas of the speech that work or don't work. It's going to take some planning and plenty of patience with the technology, but I'm going to give this one a shot in the liquid textbook unit that I'm putting together.

A Classic Classroom Experiment

This is an incredibly thought provoking experiment done many years ago in Iowa. I think the most fascinating part of watching this now is thinking about if and how this would be different in our day and age. What experiences do students have to draw on that would allow us to take this further? What problems arise? In what ways does this possibly oversimplify or reduce the experience of discrimination in our time and in their? How could a 21st century language teacher possibly take this lesson further? What new lessons can our students teach us?