Reading With My Eyes Open: Embracing the critical and the personal in language pedagogy
Gerdi Quist, University College London
Pub Date: 2013
ISBN 13: 978-1-9091882-1-1
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The text provides a comprehensive view of two theoretical approaches (traditional, instrumental vs. liberal humanist) to language teaching in a UK read more
The text provides a comprehensive view of two theoretical approaches (traditional, instrumental vs. liberal humanist) to language teaching in a UK university and discusses how their underlying theoretical assumptions ground language teaching paradigms. These concepts are then connected to the traditional separation of the culture and language, decreasing the potential for language learners to communicate intercutlurally. The second half of the book focuses specifically on the author's research on these topics in the classroom as learners interact with written texts.
The theory content is accurate, and the research content appears to the same. The author has a clear goal of exploring and interpreting the data from a particular theoretical perspective.
The content of the book is relevant to today's discussions of language and culture, particularly in light of the globalization that increase every day with the ability to communicate with individuals all over the world at a moment's notice. For traditionally-oriented language teachers, the text provides a contrasting view of how language teaching in this developing environment can be interpreted and implemented.
The prose is clear and accessible to individuals with some background in learning and language learning approaches.
The text is consistent and clear in the way it explains ideas and the path on which the author takes the reader. The organization of the book is logical.
The chapters in the first half of the book are easily divisible into smaller reading sections and clearly laid out in a logical way to assist instructors in identifying when to utilize which sections. The second half of the book is referential and would need to be read in order.
The topics are presented in a logical order and follow the traditional dissertation pattern, making it easily accessible to those in academia.
There are no interface issues noted.
No grammar errors were noted, but readers should be aware of the fact that the author is writing from the UK. Readers from other English-speaking locations may find some word and phrase choices to be distracting.
The text is culturally relevant, particularly in light of the intercultural communication topics addressed in the book.
This text is appropriate for graduate-level courses in language acquisition and/or culturally responsive pedagogy courses.
The author is clear that this textbook is "based on a classroom study exploring a particular intercultural approach to language teaching", she does a read more
The author is clear that this textbook is "based on a classroom study exploring a particular intercultural approach to language teaching", she does a commendable job situating her cultuurtekst approach to language teaching in historical context. The first two chapters also do a decent job of presenting the theoretical framework in which the study is situated. It is not, however, a thorough overview of language teaching approaches (e.g., grammar-translation, audiolingual, task-based).
There are some minor type-editing issues (e.g., the following sentence fragment on page 1: Secondly, that attempting to develop students’ critical awareness and language competence would need an even clearer conceptualisation coupled with a more considered pedagogical approach.). However, there are no glaring misrepresentations of competing theoretical perspectives or empirical research.
The text presents a close examination of a new/emergent language teaching approach, grounded in empirical data drawn from the author's own teaching experience at a "traditional university" in Britain. AS such, it is much like a published study, or dissertation. It promises to inform ongoing scholarship, especially as publishable manuscripts make their way into the academic mainstream. This text also stands out in the OER world as a rare example of a textbook focused on innovative approaches to language teaching.
The author writes in an incredibly approachable style, even when delving deeply into critical theoretical approaches in Chapters 2-3. There is certainly a fair amount of jargon, as the author coins new terms and employs relatively-new theoretical constructs. however, they are explained with the patience and clarity of a classroom teacher, and students/teachers/researchers alike will find it easy to read and useful.
The author carefully lays out the theoretical perspectives used throughout the book. Terminology is consistent throughout.
I imagine that the clear organization of material would make the book highly appropriate for remixing/reusing the material. The potential for modularity is considerable, though honestly, I would worry that much would be lost in the process. This is a dissertation-style, expansive report on a single study. The theoretical/historical sections are probably fine to excerpt, but I wonder if the data and implication sections would stand well on their own.
As demonstrated clearly in the Table of Contents, and in the use of Headers and Subheaders throughout, the book is very well organized.
the text is free of interface issues, as it loads neatly in .pdf format.
See my note in the "Clarity" section. There are some typographical issues here and there throughout the text. It might benefit from a professional type-editing pass.
This text is culturally relevant, but perhaps not in the way this question is intended. I imagine the question to be asking about cultural relevance or responsiveness as discussed in Geneva Gay, Gloria Ladson-Billings, and Samy Alim and Django Paris. Rather than drawing on culturally-specific knowledge about students and their communities to transform classroom pedagogy, this book does a nice job of centering the cultural aspects of language learning. In fact, this is the focus of Chapters 2-3.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Tensions Between the Old and the New: The Influenceof Educational Ideologies on Language Teaching
Chapter 2 Culture Pedagogy: Some Theoretical Considerations
- Teaching Culture
- Language in Relation to Culture
- Social and Cultural Views of Language
Chapter 3 Being Intercultural Through Texts: The Student as Text Ethnographer
- Intercultural Communication in Language Teaching
Chapter 4 Context of Teaching and Research
Chapter 5 Tensions in the Classroom
- Lesson 1: Text as ‘Text’
- Lesson 2: Cultuurtekst
Chapter 6 Conclusion: Embracing Tensions
- The Research Findings
About the Book
Untangling the various approaches to language teaching and their history, Gerdi Quist maps recent thinking in language studies at university. Using an interdisciplinary theoretical framework, drawn from educational philosophy, cultural studies, intercultural studies and language pedagogy, the author discusses the many tensions and currents in contemporary language teaching. The author puts forward an alternative pedagogy, that of a cultuurtekst-perspective, which engages learners at complex linguistic and cultural levels. In discussing the case study in which this approach is tested, the author develops her argument for embracing various critical perspectives through the personal engagement of students. From the start the author acknowledges her own engaged position as a language teacher in a liberal humanistic educational environment. She adopts a self-critical perspective through which her engagement with adverse student reaction leads to deepening insights both for the author and her students as part of the non-linear process of learning. Gerdi Quist teaches Dutch language and lectures on multiculturalism and intercultural communication. Recent publications included a book chapter and journal articles on language pedagogy and intercultural communication.
About the Contributors
Dr. Gerdi Quist. Lecturer in Dutch. Currently researches language-and-culture teaching and the development of language learning materials from a social semiotic perspective. As well as publishing theoretical articles on the issue, she has also produced self-study materials for Dutch as a Foreign Language.