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What is language pedagogy for?

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Title:What is language pedagogy for?
Authors:Phipps, Alison
Levine, Glenn S.
Date Issued:01 Jan 2010
Publisher:Heinle Cengage Learning
Citation:Phipps, A., Levine, G.S. (2010). What is language pedagogy for? The American Association of University Supervisors, Coordinators and Directors of Foreign Languages Programs (AAUSC), 1-14.
Abstract:In this chapter, the authors take a critical look at two main issues: the relationship of theory to language pedagogy and the place of language pedagogy relative to “the state of the
world.” This examination is used to set the tone and introduce the chapters of this volume, showing how language pedagogy, far from being “atheoretical,” is in fact deeply infused with theory; it is always theory-driven practice. The contributions of the volume bring the
paradigms of language teaching and learning—and the paradigm shifts that have been under way for some time—into focus, linking them concretely with pedagogical practice. It argues that “theory” is not a reified object but rather is embodied in our teaching and
learning practices, often in ways that are unassumed and even unrecognized. A step back
to think and reflect on our practice and to consider patterns that are emergent in language pedagogy gives us an exciting glimpse of change and new directions, of new embodiments
of thinking about teaching in practice. The authors suggest that language pedagogy needs emergent and critical conceptual tools to move beyond a heavily skills-based approach and
take an active part in addressing the dire needs of a changed world, a globalized community in which conflicts are or should be worked out by people at every level of society. Deep
knowledge of languages—or translingual and transcultural competence as formulated by
the Modern Language Association (MLA) Ad Hoc Committee Report (MLA, 2007)—is a crucial component of this change. To this end, picking up where the ACTFL Standards (National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, 2006) left off, the authors frame the contributions to the volume in terms of five “new Cs”: context, complexity, capacity,
compassion, and conflict:
We can never be “after theory” in the sense that there can be no reflective life without it. We can simply run out of particular styles of thinking as our situation changes. (Eagleton, 2003, p. 221)

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