Doing critical language pedagogy in neoliberal spaces: A materialist narrative analysis of teaching young learners of English in a Korean hagwon

Date
2017
Authors
West, Gordon Blaine
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Abstract
Critical language pedagogy has been practiced in many contexts, but there have been few reports of critical pedagogy being practiced in neoliberal spaces of private language education. In this paper, I document critical English language teaching initiatives using the specific case of a South Korean English private language school (hagwon) to demonstrate the possibilities of such an approach in a private institution. Using a critical practitioner research perspective (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009), I collected data from my classes at a hagwon over a 15-month period in the form of artifacts (ballots, student surveys, etc.), images, and student writings. I use emplotment (Polkinghorne, 1995) as a means of creating a narrative from non-narrative data and a materialist analysis (Alaimo & Hekman, 2008) to examine the data. Student resistance, negotiating syllabi, and learner-created materials, and critical episodes in three classes, illustrate the possibilities, need for, and limitations of critical pedagogy in neoliberal spaces.
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