Critical Perspectives and English as a Foreign Language: Implications for Practice

By Shin-ying Huang.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The field of TESOL took a “critical turn” (Kumaravadivelu, 2006) during the 1990s. However, many have expressed concern that a critical perspective has yet to take form in language classrooms in ESL/EFL settings. This may be because critical perspectives, including critical pedagogy, critical language awareness, and critical literacy, have sometimes been used interchangeably and broadly to depict a critical orientation. This can cause confusion for practitioners in terms of what to draw from each of these theories to support their work in the classroom, and difficulty in choosing a critical approach that best fits their teaching contexts and situations. The purpose of this paper is to explore the distinction between the theories of critical pedagogy, critical language awareness, and critical literacy, and to draw implications for their implementation in EFL classrooms. The paper aims to address the extent to which these critical perspectives could function as a theoretical anchor for the teaching and learning of English in EFL settings. This paper is written from the perspective of an EFL researcher-practitioner; each of the theories was understood through the lens of an EFL teacher seeking a theoretical foundation for everyday work in the classroom. Findings reveal that these theories speak to different aspects of EFL learning, and provide insights for how to more holistically implement a critical approach in the EFL classroom. Potential difficulties and suggestions for implementing the theories in EFL classrooms are also discussed.

Keywords: Critical Pedagogy, Critical Language Awareness, Critical Literacy, English as a Foreign Language

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.248MB).

Prof. Shin-ying Huang

Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages, National Taiwan Normal University, Taipei, Taiwan

Shin-ying Huang is an assistant professor in the Department of Foreign Languages at National Taiwan Normal University in Taiwan. Her research interests include sociology of language and critical perspectives in language and literacy pedagogy, particularly as they pertain to English as a second and foreign language education.

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