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Becoming and being a critical English language teacher: A mixed-methods study of critical consciousness

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Title:Becoming and being a critical English language teacher: A mixed-methods study of critical consciousness
Authors:Leal, Priscila
Contributors:Crookes, Graham V. (advisor)
Second Language Studies (department)
Keywords:Teacher education
English as a second language
critical applied linguistics
critical consciousness
show 4 morecritical language pedagogy
language teaching
social justice
teacher development
show less
Date Issued:Dec 2018
Publisher:University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Abstract:This mixed methods study investigates the development of critical consciousness of in-service, critical language teachers, or language teachers who teach for social justice. Although the area of critical language pedagogy has certainly developed since Pennycook’s (1990, 2001) call for a critical applied linguistics, the associated area of language teacher education for critical pedagogy has not. In critical pedagogy, a key construct as conceptualized by Freire is that of critical consciousness, which is the ability to “perceive social, political, and economic contradictions” and take action “against the oppressive elements of reality” (Freire, 1970/2014, p. 35). For English language teachers to support their students in developing critical consciousness, they, too, must have developed it. However, little is known about how English language teachers develop critical consciousness and how it affects their personal and professional beliefs and classroom practices (Crookes, 2015). In addition, in the literature of critical consciousness, the majority of studies have focused on the development of critical consciousness of marginalized youth rather than adults. The present study addresses this gap in the literature.
Using a mixed research design, this study used quantitative and qualitative methods of data generation and analysis to address the following research questions: (a)How do critical language teachers, or language teachers who teach for social justice, experience developing critical consciousness? (b) Under what circumstances and to what extent, and caused by what factors and experiences do critical English language teachers come to understand their potential to foster social justice (i.e., develop critical consciousness) in the classroom? (c) What principles and teaching strategies do they draw on consistent with fostering social justice in the classroom? Quantitative methods included the development of a new critical consciousness scale for use with the language teacher population (N = 76) and exploratory factor analysis (EFA). Qualitative methods included the use of active interviews with 29 in-service English language teachers and narrative analysis, namely Bamberg's (1997) positioning analysis.
In the EFA, four factors were extracted: (a) teacher beliefs about schooling and emotions towards inequality, (b) teachers as activists, (c) awareness of local educational context, and (d) content and strategies in the classroom. Narrative data support the four-factor structure as they relate to topics that emerged in the interviews. In addition, narratives of experiences such as being aware of contradictions, conflicting emotions (e.g., discomfort), and the effects thereof (e.g., reflection) were found to be consistent across narratives of becoming a critical English language teacher. Narratives of being a critical English language teacher were characterized by narratives of success and narratives of dissonance. The former related to the possibility of integrating the teacher’s personal values (principles) and teaching strategies (practices), whereas the latter were characterized by the impossibility of integrating the two.
Lastly, the teachers in this study expressed the need for appropriate training and support in teaching for social justice. These findings have implications for critical language pedagogy and language teacher education with a critical pedagogy perspective. They suggest teaching strategies that can be transmitted in teacher development programs, courses that can engage pre-service teachers in identifying their personal values, and services that can support them in their development of critical consciousness.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2018.
Pages/Duration:345 pages
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Second Language Studies

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