TESOL Guide for Critical Praxis in Teaching, Inquiry, and Advocacy
By Jennifer Crawford & Robert A. Filback, Editors
By Erin Kourelis & Kara Mac Donald
The book responds to the highly diverse population served by ELT and the TESOL field’s need to examine its rooting in the hegemony of the English language, the perpetuation of practices that favor some learner populations and disadvantage others, and the inherent bias in many instructional practices and curriculum content. The chapters are many and address a broad range of topics that will permit teachers to better support the diverse learners in ELT classrooms by discussing research and literature surrounding instruction, equality and social justice matched with example practical pieces for application in the classroom as a guide for readers. The book review is quite lengthy, as the edited volume is both fat (i.e. thick and dense) and phat (i.e. excellent), and to do the content justice, each of the twenty-five chapters need more than a few sentences to reflect the value presented in each of them.
Integrating Language Skills, Practices, and Content in Equitable TESOL Lesson Planning,
Esther S. Gross & Jennifer Crawford
In order to address the need for a thorough understanding and critical approach for fostering learners’ English proficiency and social, cultural, and political aptitude and engagement, Chapter 1 begins by examining three approaches to teaching (i.e. traditional, progressive and critical) with respect to language instruction. This section gives a sort of historical development from the teacher-centered instruction to the student-centered instruction and to the recent power and society-centered instruction. This last one, surrounding critical pedagogy, is not simply informed by political and social justice theories but aims to assist learners in negotiating their learning and experiences in the context in which they live and leveraging the social and cultural capital they possess. The authors argue that instructional and curriculum goals needed to be balanced, while integrating all three instructional approaches to provide equitable language instruction, with a synergy of language instruction and relevant content material that meaningfully engages learners in higher-order thinking. Teachers that effectively combine all three approaches (i.e. balanced, integrated, and equitable) provide an environment where learners co-create critical understanding and co-develop equity focused tangible outcomes to tasks and projects. The chapter closes with a lesson template and a practical example of equitable instruction is incorporated modeling balanced and integrated approaches to language instruction.
Creating Brave Spaces: Social Justice and Social Emotional Learning in Language Learner Classrooms,
Nancy Kwang Johnson & L. Erika Saito
Chapter 2 begins with the call to consider the landscape of the TESOL field, where students are often from former colony countries, speak multiple languages, migrated to L1 English speaking countries and are building their life in a country of asylum, and strive to attain near-native proficiency as the symbolic and linguistic capital is powerful. Within this landscape the authors draw on many who have called for teachers to consider the impact that these factors have on learners and the necessity for classrooms to be inclusive, where students can be themselves and feel safe in doing so (i.e. brave spaces). For teachers to effectively create such an environment, they first need to reflect on the power they possess regarding their racial, colonial, linguistic and social class identities. This as a first step is essential as these identities impact their instructional practices and consequently, learners’ educational experience and their academic and personal development. Next the chapter has two goals. The first is to guide readers on how to utilize social justice and social emotional learning to foster brave spaces, and the second is to examine the interplay between the issues of race, language, nation-state and homeland in fostering brave spaces through learning activities, and snippets of practice based on their academic training and personal experiences as multilingual and biracial educators. Before presenting these sample lessons and practices, the authors share theory that informs their development. First examined is the social justice standard, followed by ethnic identity and generational status frameworks. Next, the framework of language, ethnicity and national identity is explored, followed by that of ethnicity as a marker, the self-identification versus the state-identification framework. They assert that having an understanding of the work that surrounds creating brave spaces and the models offered are necessary as the field of TESOL has perpetuated an L1 English speaking hegemony and there is a need for change.
Creating an Inclusive Classroom Culture: A Language Socialization Approach,
Ekaterina Moore & Kimberly Ferrario,
Language learning is not only about acquisition of the linguistic forms, language learned also needs to be used in socially, culturally, and contextually suitable ways. Chapter 3 addresses how teachers can develop learners’ full range of proficiency that encompasses all forms of appropriate use through the creation of an inclusive classroom culture. In doing so, learners also acquire a critical awareness of culture’s role, a critical awareness of language use and issues of power connected to it. With explicit language socialization teachers and students become active agents in making the classroom a more equitable place. As an inclusive classroom rests on language socialization, the authors describe the different language socialization processes, from primary (i.e. in the home) to secondary (i.e. in the community, outside the home) and second language socialization (i.e. not one’s L1, an additional language). For the latter, they raise the distinction between implicit and explicit language socialization in the classroom. For inclusiveness in the classroom, teachers and leadership need to examine established practices related to classroom instruction, from policy to interpersonal relations to curriculum and instruction to eliminate factors that impede the cultivation of belonging and social justice. Sample activities provided show l how to foster an inclusive classroom culture addressing three domains: affective, individual and interpersonal. Guidance for teachers on how to introduce and model norms for learners are also offered, as well as a sample observation form that can be used for teachers to learn through observing other teachers using inclusive classroom practices.
Equitable Assessment Practices,
Emmy J. Min
Chapter 4 engages readers in reflection on the role of assessment in teaching and learning with the goal of introducing the equity-minded assessment model which consists of a set of principles to guide efficient and successful assessment. The chapter first outlines the impact of traditional assessment, which is uniform and hegemonic towards a particular variety of English, and therefore, marginalizes many from different ethnic, social, class and economic backgrounds. In contrast, a critical approach to language assessment accounts for differences and involves the learner in not only the learning process, but also the assessment process. By bringing issues to the classroom connected to learners and in their communities, learners are able to better negotiate the power dynamic and assists them in seeing the role of different stakeholders. The author states that those in favor of a critical approach to assessment often fully disregard the traditional approach to assessment. However, the author explicitly shares that she presents a model that is based on the traditional assessment approach and uses it to build off of to offer a critical praxis for assessment that is more equitable for learners, as it combines traditional, progressive and critical approaches. The next section of the chapter presents six criteria for assessing the effectiveness of an assessment for equitability. All but one stem from the traditional and progressive approaches of assessment (i.e. validity, reliability, authenticity, practicality and washback) with a twist of critical and equity-based characteristics. The last one is equity itself, which addresses making its presence more visible and meaningful. There is a caveat that it may be difficult to have all six characteristics present in all assessments, but the model guides teachers towards creating and identifying more equitable assessment. The final section, as with other chapters, provides an example of a teacher and the assessment activities used, viewed through the six characteristic criteria model.
Teachers as Agents of Change: Unpacking EFL Lessons Through an Anti-Bias Lens,
Laura Loder Buechel
Chapter 5 begins by discussing a coursebook activity that has prejudice, bias and/or stereotypes embedded in it, and describes an instance where a student expressed he/she was offended, yet the teacher discredited his/her feelings as it was an officially approved educational textbook for use in the school. This account is used to state that if we are going to bring change for more equitable classrooms, we as teachers need to reflect on our own biases and critically assess curriculum material for such bias. In order to do so, pre-service teacher training courses need to expose and instruct new teachers on how to do this so they can foster such awareness among their students. They advocate for using rubrics such as the Dispositions for Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Scale (DCRPS) and the Learning for Justice’s Social Justice (SJS) Standards for analyzing lessons and curriculum content. Then, the focus moved to examining a definition of anti-bias instruction as one that actively resists prejudice and stereotypes present in the curriculum and within teachers themselves and is based on work relating to learner identity, cognitive development and emotional health. A focal point is an examination of the DCRPS and Learning for Justice Social Justice Standards as tools for fostering anti-bias instruction. The chapter closes with examining a pre-service teacher training program where the DCPRS is used for students to develop anti-bias lessons. Suggestions for using the DCPRS to develop anti-bias teaching tasks for teachers-in-training and instructional practice are provided. Next examples of developing social justice activities for pre-service teachers are also offered with sample worksheets. Lastly, the chapter presents sample outcomes from a lesson based on DCRPS and SJS on the topic of Black Lives Matter, as a sample of student work and how these frameworks permit current issues to be addressed in the ELT classroom, which may not yet be present in coursebooks.
Towards Racially-Just Multilingual Classroom Pedagogy: Transforming Learning Centers for the K-5 Classroom
, Alexa Yunes-Koch, Kara Mitchell Viesca & Claudia Yunes
The topic of K-5 learning centers is the focus of Chapter 6 and how strategies can make these centers more equitable for students in multicultural classrooms. To begin the chapter examines the positive impact of Standards for Effective Pedagogy, which is built out of sociocultural pedagogy, in multicultural learning contexts. From this set of standards, another one was added, Critical Stance which addresses dismantling inequities, forming critical sociocultural pedagogy that is connected to research to assess its value for multilingual learners. As the area of study and practice has evolved, the term standards and the title have been replaced with Enduring Principles of Learning, as it better reflects what they are, and each principle is then described. The principles consist of: Joint Productive Activity (JPA), Language and Literacy Development (LLD), Contextualization (CTX), Challenging Activities (CA), Instructional Conversation (IC), Critical Stance (CS). This is followed by common types of stances in education compared to their counterpart when an anti-racist stance is adopted, making learning more inclusive for multilingual learners. The next section provides strategies for teachers to develop learning centers that develop community first and provide students a voice. There are recommendations for providing students leadership roles, community-based agreements, and suggestions for revisiting those, as well as operational procedures for running a learning center. The final discussion describes how each of the Enduring Principles of Learning can be operationalized in learning centers, serving as Transforming Learning Centers for K-5 multicultural classrooms.
Multilingual Writing Support: Fostering Critical Consciousness Through One-to-One Writing Conferencing,
The chapter opens with the dilemma faced by academic writing centers and tutors working in them, which struggle between encouraging students to have voice and confront inequities through writing and abiding by formal academic norms of writing. Within this space, the author in Chapter 7 focuses on how writing centers can play a critical role for English learners and highlights the specific value of writing centers as a non-ELT context that offers unique insight for critical analysis of teaching practice and support for multilingual learners. A look back at the development of English language writing instruction is offered, consisting of the following stages: traditional, cognitivist, expressivist, and social constructivist. The approaches, which are each explained in turn, to writing instruction are significant as they stage how educators limit or open access to academic literacy for multilingual writers. With the reader situated in an understanding of writing practices, the author returns to the dilemma of opposing roles that writing centers and its tutors face and draws on well-known work that would seem to suggest an approach to remedy it. However, writing centers and tutors still face the struggle of balancing opposing objectives when working with learners, and shares Janke’s struggle to overcome this dilemma in her work. She, however, did identify and create a writing center training course for pre- and in-service tutors for the university context, which asks participants to reflect on beliefs about writing, foster their critical awareness of what is inclusive and effective writing, among other relevant topics. A description of the course is provided, which addresses both theoretical and practical learning activities, fostering a metalinguistic awareness and critical consciousness. As in each chapter, practical examples of practice are shared and here readers are introduced to snippets of course participants’ responses to reading articles, reflection as writing tutors, and their own writing instruction beliefs on approaches. These provide the reader with the awareness that the tutors benefited from the course and are enabled to better balance the opposing objectives they have as writing tutors to promote multilingual writers’ academic literacy and personal expression.
Praxis and Teacher Language Awareness: What Should Teachers Know About Students' L1?,
Chapter 8 shifts the focus to the role of students’ L1, which in many cases may not be considered much based on the learning context, the status of the language, and other factors. However, the author argues that by leveraging awareness of students’ L1 among learners in the class places students in the role of language informers, a form of educator, expands the English language learning experience to one that is shared at some level among learners. The chapter explores Teacher Language Awareness (TLA) to understand how instructional practice can be enhanced through use of classmates’ L1 summaries for those teaching primarily in secondary school contexts. The discussion begins with the ease of doing this in classrooms where the teacher of the L2 (i.e. English) has students that all share the same L1, as the teacher may be more familiar with how the L1 influences students’ L2 learning. However, in cases where students’ L1s are diverse (i.e. ESL context), such as in multilingual classrooms, the teacher rarely has adequate knowledge of all students’ L1, if any at all. So, he considers how this gap can be met and suggests the idea of TLA to increase teachers’ and students’ awareness of how learners’ different language differ or not, and how they may influence the English learning process through use of L1 summaries that encompass anything relevant to the learners’ L1 linguistic features, sociocultural factors, and personal experiences. The author then describes the TLA model and how it has been expanded and its value in the classroom, as well as the competencies it aims to produce: metalinguistic awareness, L2 understanding, sensitivity to the difficulty of the L2, experience with the L2, and understanding of one’s L1. The next section offers two questionnaires teachers may use in their classrooms to have learners develop L1 summaries. Lastly, three sample learning activities, followed by images of classroom-based practices are offered.
Flipping the Script on the Language Teacher/Researcher: Language Learning as a Vital Tool to Decolonize Our Practice,
Chapter 9 suggests that ELT instructors’ foreign/additional language learners can serve as a basis for examination of practice to alter established conventional biased instructional norms. The chapter then moves to investigating how English as a lingua franca, and more so if instructors are monolingual, imposes more than an imperial linguistic stance, and also extends the discussion to realms of standards for cultural, popular, emotional, academic, economic and defensive norms that should be adopted. Critical engagement with English as a lingua franca model across all domains is needed, and so the field needs a critical ELT that aims to explore the dynamic and intricate established structures that constitute the reproduction of language-culture forces. It should draw on the prior work of researchers arguing for an emic and etic view of the issue to promote understanding, and subsequently, provides an examination of emic and etic frameworks and related perspectives. To supplement this, evidence practice is discussed, followed by tangible examples of activities used in the classroom. The objective of the chapter is to highlight how non-L1 English practice by learners in the classroom space informs learning and how translanguaging and translingualism can create spaces to identify and offer more equitable places of learning. To offer a practical instructional example, the Portraits of Practice section describes how evidence-based practices were implemented in a particular language classroom.
The Critical Language Reflection Tool: Promoting Critical Reflection and Critical Consciousness in TESOL Educators,
Jennifer Miyake-Trapp, & Kevin M. Wong
As another means to address inequalities in the field of ELT/TESOL, Chapter 10’s authors present the Critical Language Reflection Tool (CLRT), which is based on transformative learning principles and best practices from TESOL Inc. The tool assists teachers to go beyond conventional reflection and reflective practice to critically assess themselves and their practices. This critical inquiry is argued as necessary as the field possesses a diverse multicultural student and teacher population existing within a hegemonic social and political educational context. Reflective practice alone is not sufficient to deconstruct the various forces and frameworks in operation. However, this critical inquiry is not a one-time event and needs to be maintained to break down inequities in multilingual classrooms. With the need established, the authors move to outlining the literature and work that the CLRT is built on, the transformative learning framework and the Standards for Initial TESOL Pre-K-12 Teacher Preparation Programs. For the first, we consider content for reflection and the related processes, and final goals as the components that guide teachers through stages/lend us understanding that consists of three principal stages that permit ultimate action and change. For the second, a summary of the five TESOL standards is provided, which offers pre-K-12 teachers of English in multilingual classrooms a metric for understanding the diverse content, pedagogy and skills needed for this specific teaching context. With an understanding of the need for and the work on which the CLRT is built, the authors present the tool for critical language reflection. Each stage of the critical reflection framework (i.e. Assumption Analysis, Contextual Awareness, Reflection-based Action) is presented aside the TESOL standard, with questions for teachers’ critical reflection. The authors then share ways in which this tool and critical reflection opportunities can be used and incorporated in teachers’ practice, from pre-service and in-service training courses, to action research, critical incident analysis, reflective or narrative writing, and field-work opportunities. The final section offers insight into practice shared in two vignettes of teacher critical reflection in action.
Critical Ethnography in a Language Classroom: Learning to Become an Equitable Practitioner,
Camillia A. Trombino & Ekaterina Moore
Since teachers so frequently conduct research informally and formally in their classrooms in various ways, Chapter 11 suggests how mini-ethnographic case studies can serve as a form of advocacy in a critically oriented manner and are suitable for teachers at all stages of their careers. First a summary of the value of ethnography’s role in the classroom is presented. Insight into live choices and practices made by students, teachers and other stakeholders offer a lens into the dynamic and interconnected factors that influence individuals’ choices, language use and more. In doing so, this lens serves as a productive way to understand one’s own world and that of others’ (i.e. culture, beliefs, practices), which enhances intercultural competencies. This in turn fosters more culturally responsive instruction. Multilingual classrooms bring with them a diverse set of expected classroom norms, linguistics practices, and so on. Therefore, critically oriented mini-ethnographic studies are invaluable in understanding students and their learning, while incorporating critical reflective and transformative practices into one’s own regular practice. Examples of such practices are provided for two contexts, in-service teachers, and pre-service teachers. Finally, the section offers views on practice and shares an experience of one of the authors and the type of insight the mini-ethnographic study offered for her instructional practice.
Using Autoethnography to Engage in Critical Inquiry in TESOL: A Tool for Teacher Learning and Reflection,
In-depth self-reflection in a TESOL context within one’s environment is reviewed in Chapter 12 through autoethnographic means. The author defines autoethnography as using self-narrative means to understand the deep underpinnings of one’s environment, which includes positionality, intersectionality, and reflexivity. Each of these is defined, then the author’s own autoethnographic study and reflective journal entries are shared, to help explain through example. The reader is encouraged to record field notes in a reflective journal on events soon after they take place. In these notes, several aspects and points of view should be considered. Consider positionality, which is the viewpoint as an insider versus as an outsider in the context of the specific event. This viewpoint encompasses the different cultures, social statuses, social identities, and standpoints of the learners, educators, and researchers involved in the event. Positionality reveals the relationship between self and others in the situation. Another consideration is intersectionality. When recording the event, various aspects need to be considered which may impact understanding of systemic inequalities, such as race, gender, and socioeconomic status of the English language learners, the teacher, and the researcher. Also, the researcher recording their own reflexivity will help aid in understanding “thei”r own perspective. The researchers reflecting on the field notes within the context of their own background can help to pinpoint their own perspectives on learning, teaching, and the relationship between the two. The author gives her own examples of a study in autoethnography through her personal notes and journey reflecting on her identity and position as a Chinese-American raising her son and reviewing her son’s English education and general learning in the US as they relate to culture, positioning, intersectionality, and reflexivity.
Achieving Praxis for TESOL Educators: A Reflective Self-Checklist to Support Culturally Sustaining Practices,
Samantha Jungheim & Jacqueline Vega Lopez
The authors in Chapter 13 present a useful self-checklist which they developed, called the TESOL educator reflective self-checklist (TERS). Using research from the literature, criteria for this checklist helps all TESOL educators to reflect on their teaching, identify obstacles to successful outcomes, and determine achievable actions to resolve the potential stumbling blocks in the way of student learner successes. The first step is responding to “yes” / “no” statements, second is identifying obstacles shown by any statements selected as “no,” third is determining possible actions to resolve the obstacles, 4th is implementing the action, and fifth is evaluating the effectiveness of the actions taken. The goal of this critical praxis continuum is self-reflection on an instructor’s TESOL practices and actionable items for promoting culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP), emboldening linguistic, socioeconomic, political, and other factors for all students within the context of her/his educational context. The authors provide the useful TERS checklist and they provide individual cases where the TERS was used, showing how each of three instructors implemented the TERS, their diverse teaching situations, and how the TERS was a positive addition to their self-reflection and growth as instructors. In some situations some preferred actions could not be taken due to the nature of the institution where they worked. However the TERS did help them generate ideas on how they could work with others to try and make other changes to make their lessons more equitable and inclusive. There is also potential to use the TERS on a larger scale across departments, districts, or with instructors teaching other subjects. The TERS can also be a beginner support for pre-service instructors who are interested in more self-reflection when making the transition to in-service teaching.
Critical Consciousness Checklist,
Shane Donovan Liliedahl
In Chapter 14, a 12-question pre-lesson checklist and post-lesson reflection prepared by the author are useful for planning, reviewing, and self-reflecting on the criticality of TESOL lessons for English Learners (ELs) to analyze meaning making, funds of knowledge, and positions of power. Positions of power refers to giving students the ability to take on different roles, such as being a community leader or politician in a role-play debate situation. Providing students with funds of knowledge during a lesson positions the lesson in their domain, giving them the option to choose the next lesson topic, for example, or centering discussion on something they can relate to from their own background, such as traditions or festivals from their home country or heritage. Meaning-making includes giving students the option to brainstorm their own ideas, for example, students choosing the topic of the next lesson or creating their own materials for a lesson. The author gives his own example of using the critical consciousness checklist and self-reflection analysis, and he also provides three activities for implementing the checklist and raising critical consciousness of pre-service and in-service teachers and program administrators. One is through the use of video analysis, another is observation by an administrator, and the last is peer-observation of a class.
Promoting Prospective TESOL Educators’ Critical Reflection Through the 4D Framework,
Ni Yin, Xiaodi Sun, & Chuqi Wang
Like the previous chapters, in Chapter 15 the authors present a framework for critical TESOL reflection. The 4D framework presented in this chapter outlines a path to self-reflection through describing, dissecting, doubting, and doing. The first step is describing the situation and context of an English teaching/ learning experience. In the second step, “dissecting” is a subjective in-depth look at the educator’s feelings, thoughts, identities, and beliefs about the situation. In the third step, “doubt” is to doubt, question, and challenge your own teaching practice. Engage with the literature and consider all angles of English teaching for this situation, including moral, political, sociocultural, and emotional influences. In the Do stage, the teacher creates a plan for carrying out the solution to the problem. This 4D framework is in four columns, the first showing the stage, second being the instruction, third are questions used to promote more detailed critical higher-order thought processes, and fourth is a blank box for the teacher’s response. Like the previous chapters, the authors encourage the use of the 4D framework to become habit, starting right from pre-service TESOL teaching settings. The authors gave examples of a pre-service instructor named Amy using the 4D framework worksheet, both of the same instructor at two separate times. The first documented Amy’s thoughts when a student handed in a crumpled paper as his assignment and a teacher accepted this crumpled assignment with a smile. Amy recorded her feelings and thought process, working through her self-identity and cultural upbringing as influential on her emotions. The next was of Amy’s thoughts connected to a student who was misbehaving and Amy seeing a homeroom teacher giving the student positive attention rather than scolding the student and Amy’s confusion and thought process associated with that situation. For both situations, the 4D framework was used to eventually come to researched conclusions.
Designing Text Message Learning to More Equitably Reach Students Wherever They Go: UNICEF SMS Lessons for Venezuelan Migrants/ Refugees,
From Chapter 16, there is a deeper focus on advocacy through use of technology. The compounded difficulties of disrupted learning due to COVID-19 and the continuing political and socio economic crises in Venezuela causing mass emigration to surrounding South American countries has created a situation where the most vulnerable learners (UNICEF’s terminology describing those who do not have the Internet, are indigenous, in a rural or remote area, have special needs, are young females, and/or are migrants/refugees and the intersectionality of these vulnerable populations) who may also require trauma-informed teaching, need a new way to access education. In chapter 16, the author describes TESOL’s Six Principles for Exemplary Teaching of English Learners through the lens of the Venezuelan migrant/refugee humanitarian crisis and the author’s text-message learning campaign she created for UNICEF. In order to create conditions for language learning (TESOL Principle 2) acknowledgement is given that these learners do not have stable access to online materials, a PC, or even the Internet. One common item these learners usually have among all of these is access to a cell phone and SMS text messaging. A 100-message, one-way, two-subject learning campaign based on approved localized curriculum was created for micro-learning opportunities. UNICEF is currently working with country offices to and international text message providers to disseminate these messages to vulnerable populations in countries surrounding Venezuela. In order to design high-quality language lessons (Principle 3), the author recommends considering four items: population, technology access, curriculum, and dissemination of the lessons. The author puts forward 5 global implications which need consideration and advocacy for global vulnerable learners. The solutions presented in this article are not one-size-fits-all for every country and situation; therefore, the author recommends (following TESOL Principle 6, to Engage and Collaborate within a Community of Practice) to consult experts from other sectors and fields of study to determine the current best path for reaching any particular vulnerable population to provide sustainable education.
Critical Praxis Through a Social Media Ecosystem,
Eric Chao Yang
Social media as a tool in the classroom has traditionally only been used for input-oriented language learning. The author in Chapter 17 amends this function to include critical content, inviting students to take a more active role in their education and interact with authentic, meaningful, and diverse live materials and current topics which can promote their own advocacy and understanding of the world around them. This social media ecosystem is accessible by smartphone in many parts of the world. The reader is sent on a tour reviewing the author’s participatory approach and some practical and pedagogical concerns in using social media in the lesson structure. In the author’s classroom, he uses the social media ecosystem in a course on English learning through the news. The author/instructor encourages social change through allowing students to take charge of the discourse and challenge the status quo by using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to partake in creation and consumption, becoming a driving force through their interaction, and connecting to others by use of a profile which the student creates. The social media ecosystem (as contrasted with the definition of this term in the field of marketing) is the use of social media as a filter for creating course content (through use of Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, in this case). His entire process for creating a course using the social media ecosystem is outlined. Some challenges he notes in using social media are the difficulties of some groups having full-access to all social media platforms, while in other countries social media use is restricted, censored, or banned. If both those with and those without free-speech access are in the same class, it creates inequity and more discussion would be needed on how to continue to promote critical praxis in these cases. Also, as the author describes, different social media platforms have their own unique learning challenges, which are solvable but need consideration. There is a full appendix with screenshots displaying how the social media ecosystem can work well as a regular part of the student lesson experience.
Fostering Active Learning via Critical Pedagogies: Applying Reflective Research,
In Chapter 18, the author examines the role of active learning, which encompasses students’ use of higher-ordering thinking, while also arguing for teachers’ reflective practice that engages them in critically assessing their instructional practice and raise critical consciousness. Students’ and teachers’ critical engagement with content and classroom practices is needed for students to freely express themselves in a risk-taking environment, and for teachers to adapt appropriately to offer an equitable learning environment. With the rationale for active learning and critical pedagogy established, the author moves to defining some key terms, such as i) Culturally Relevant Theory, which calls for that recognizes social inequalities and adapts for students to assess existing power structures; ii) Culturally Responsive Teaching, which draws on multicultural learners’ knowledge and experiences to more meaningfully align instruction to learners; iii) Responsive Teaching understands the implications of culture, language, race and ethnicity teaching and students’ learning and adjust to be sensitive to these; iv) Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy, which aims to emphasize diversity and foster the multicultural characteristics of learners as an understanding of and fluency in diversity is essential for building a dynamic whole, opposed segmented communities. The author then moves to examining the application of critical pedagogy in the language classroom, and outlines three main functions. Teachers are, i) familiar with their students’ multi-faceted backgrounds, ii) aware of the gap between the social-cultural and linguistic power structures between the school structure, themselves as teachers, and students, iii) attentive to the need to reduce this gap to provide equity opportunities to learners in multicultural classrooms. As a result, teachers apply critical pedagogies to understand students’ diverse, backgrounds, present content appropriately to critically engage with power inequities and create a safe space for learners’ and their identities to be expressed, resulting in more effective instruction and students’ active engagement in the learning process. To better understand this process, teachers can engage in reflective practice to examine how active learning practices and critical pedagogies influence student learning and experiences, and outlines three steps to conduct student action research as a model for readers. Building on this, the author offers a sample reflective practice study he conducted on active learning, reflective research, and critical pedagogies. He closes with a discussion on how the sample reflective practice study could be adapted for other contexts to provide readers more insight on how to incorporate and study active learning and critical pedagogies in the language classroom.
Incorporating Socially-Relevant Teaching Strategies in the Online TESOL Classroom,
Engaging online learners through socially relevant teaching is a form of culturally sustaining pedagogy (CSP). Online learners should feel valued equally in the classroom, and multilingual and multicultural students should be and feel empowered. The author, here in Chapter 19, discusses some specific strategies to achieve this: 1) regularly incorporating an online community circle before class. This online safe-space before class is not recorded, information shared in the circle is kept confidential within the circle, and this gives students a chance to share thoughts and feelings about the learning environment. Learners should feel free to use their primary or secondary language in the circle. 2) Using dynamic assessment, which involves using various online games, activities, private Zoom chat, or online journals to learn about student concerns, families, social influences, learning styles, and other information that can help the instructor understand what is needed and adjust lesson plans to meet the needs of her/his students. 3) Removing inequitable relationships and managing student emotions is another aspect which the author suggests for using socially relevant teaching. Incorporating learner-centered activities takes power away from the teacher and levels the playing field with learners. Providing support through offering the services of a therapist, psychologist, or other related licensed mental health and wellness counsellor for students to discuss their situations privately would be useful for balancing student emotional difficulties within the pandemic while working online. In addition, the author suggests training of teachers on sociocultural topics and bringing in guest speakers with diverse ethnic backgrounds to promote equity. Several socially relevant online teaching strategies and tools were mentioned and explained, including the use of G-suite (Google applications), email as an educational tool, Zoom, Kahoot, WordWall, Padlet, and Quizlet. In using all of these tools, the author emphasizes that learners need to have explicit directions on how to use these tools through video, classroom instruction, and/or email directions as they should not hinder the learning of students or take away from their effectiveness as learning tools due to inability to use or comprehend them.
Teacher Research as a Form of Critical Praxis: A Path to Professional Development,
Pinar Sali & Ebru A. Damar
In Chapter 20, the authors define critical praxis (CP) as the combination of theory, practice, action, and reflection. CP in education can transform existing conditions and challenge the status quo. Using proper reflective research methods and procedures, teachers can conduct research which could help encourage real emancipatory action. The authors outline teacher research (TR) as an umbrella term covering action research, reflective practice, and exploratory practice. This chapter gives an overview of qualitative and quantitative methods of research and analysis. It shows how choosing a proper research topic and questions; carrying out qualitative, quantitative, or mixed-method research; taking action and reflecting on each step of this process can lead to impactful results and can be a catalyst for change. As part of TR the research context, stakeholders, participants, and instructional procedures need to be thoroughly recorded and explained. When examining the research context, socioeconomic variables, geographical location, and the economic and social status of the teachers at the institution should be included, as well as any other affective variables which may have influence on the results of TR. Results of TR can lead to usable, valid, reliable results which should then be disseminated. Many different dissemination paths can help a teacher’s self-growth and help them to become a professional within a wider community. Through TR, educators may have and create more possibilities for more equitable opportunities to learn and teach, using a critical and reflective approach.
Taking an (Inter)cultural View of Students with Disabilities to Promote Inclusive Practices Within the TESOL Field,
Reviewing the definitions put forward by the United Nations of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the 4th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4), the author in Chapter 21 explains that the UN put forth a mission to ensure equitable and inclusive education as a human right for all. Often, individuals who have a specific learning difficulty (SpLD) have more than one, and a learning difficulty can be compounded by studying a second language. For example, a student with dyslexia may be able to read a language better that has a closer connection between spelling and phonemes than English, which can have a few different pronunciations for one written letter or word. If a student has an SpLD they may have additional difficulty due to uncertainty and self-esteem due to foreign language anxiety (FLA). As it is estimated that there are more than one billion people who experience some form of disability, it is more inclusive to assume there are SpLD learners in all classrooms. In order to prepare trainers, pre-service teachers, and in-service teachers to recognize the need for advocacy and knowledge in this field, the author points to reflective exercises, examining self and students using the models of Deardorff (Process model of intercultural competence, 2006), Oxford (Strategic self-regulation model of language learning, 2017), and MacIntyre (Heuristic model of variables influencing willingness to communicate, 1998). Although this review will not fully prepare instructors to teach students with SpLDs, it will bring empathy and help instructors to consider planning more barrier-free classroom situations. SpLDs should be included in the classroom rather than segregated, and individual learning plans should be considered which work in tandem with the inclusive classroom. In 2013, UNESCO’s number one recommendation for creating inclusive classrooms was for teachers to reflect on their teaching practice. Inclusive teaching practices, creating individual learning plans for SpLDs that do not exclude them from activities, and keeping a positive regard for and awareness of students with disabilities is needed for TESOL to continue moving forward, preserving inclusive education as a human right. It is also important to continue to address inclusion of other marginalized groups within and outside of the classroom, such as those facing racism, neo-colonialism, and native-speakerism, to name a few. There needs to be buy-in from teachers, which can be promoted through courses on SpLDs in MA TESOL and other pre- and in-service training courses to reach a level of empowerment to take on the task of advocating at higher levels for inclusive education.
Making Educator Professional Development More Accessible and Inclusive With Mobile Teacher: A Global Community of Practice Founded in Appreciative Inquiry
, Katherine Guevara
Chapter 22 describes using an app called Mobile Teacher developed by the author, by which educators in the majority world (or developing world) can share teaching tips for effective practice even in remote locations where there is no Internet. This democratizes access to be more representative and providing access to professional development in more localized areas of the globe. Videos of teaching strategies can be shared, and BIPOC educators in the majority world can have a voice and support each other, uploading their own videos for their peers, and testing teaching techniques from each other’s uploaded videos in their localized classrooms. The author explains how Mobile Teacher is grounded in critical language pedagogy, where social justice is reflected in the app’s target educators: supporting historically marginalized BIPOC teachers by giving them a platform for creating context-appropriate materials to use with their students from majority-world countries. Using the Appreciative Inquiry Model, TESOL educators using Mobile Teacher focus on making positive changes to teaching to affect positive changes in learning, with the educators themselves working to co-design and positively inform their future teaching within their community of practice (COP). There are well-intentioned colonialist approaches used by native-English TESOL educators in majority countries who offer professional development which tries to use a top-down fixing approach, claiming that the local non-native English speaker TESOL educators are essentially wrong. Moving to an appreciative approach changes this perspective, giving the many BIPOC and women non-native English speaker TESOL educators a voice, creating an optimistic view of the future to address and share teaching ideas with each other by video in their localized classroom contexts. The author provides a suggested guideline for collaboration to understand effective teaching practice, how to prepare for recording an effective practice, and guidance on how to create and upload an effective practice video to Mobile Teacher.
I Am Woke: Unmasking Race, Gender, and Power From Within a TESOL Affiliate,
Nancy Kwang Johnson
In this powerful final chapter 23, the author takes us on a journey through definitions and established backgrounding research leading up to a Critical Advocacy Framework. This impactful chapter explains how the lynching of George Floyd created an awakening in the author herself reflecting on her roots as a multilingual granddaughter of a sharecropper, showing need and finding ways to implement advocacy within and beyond the classroom for Multilingual Learners (MLs). Scaffolded advocacy, non-transformative, transformative, transitive, strategic, institutional and political advocacy are reviewed for their effectiveness and use. As many MLs fall into the intersectionality of segregation (race, language, and socioeconomic status), the need for a Critical Advocacy Framework exists. The author reflects on her own autoethnographic review, explaining how her political background provided the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) to use the Iron Triangle (reciprocal relation between three stakeholders: governing bureaucracy, legislative body, and interest groups, as one example) as a model for understanding similar relations within a school district, state legislature, or language teacher association (such as TESOL or TESOL affiliates). She guides the reader to consider the Iron Triangle to employ strategy for accomplishing advocacy goals for MLs to gain social justice within and beyond the classroom. In addition, a plan for adding an advocacy concentration track to an MA TESOL program is described, as well as a solid lesson plan using the Critical Advocacy Framework. The author explains her personal success in using her political KSAs to navigate the iron triangle, advocating for and achieving a newly appointed role focusing on DEI within a TESOL affiliate, successfully writing a DEI grant within this affiliate, all within the context of being a stakeholder without voting power combined with her intersectionality of race (Korean and African American with Cherokee ancestry) and gender.
The book is an amazing resource for the scope of topics it addresses and all with the purpose of supporting the diversity of learners in the ELT classroom. It is valuable for both experienced teachers well versed in promoting diversity and equity in the classroom and those that are new to this field in TESOL and/or teaching in diverse classrooms. Each chapter first situates the topic at hand with the field and its literature and then moves to practice examples for classroom application, making the issues and concepts easy for readers to adapt and apply to their instructional practice or research inquiries.