Presentation on theme: "Between commodification and social integration An investigation of central concepts of foreign language education Stephan Breidbach Humboldt-Universität,"— Presentation transcript:
Between commodification and social integration An investigation of central concepts of foreign language education Stephan Breidbach Humboldt-Universität, Berlin, Germany
Introduction Learners voices: some attitudes towards English of German A-level students Communicative competence in the neoliberal context: learner autonomy - task-based language learning Filling the gap: anthropological, cultural, and political dimensions of language awareness Converging discourses in reflexivity: reconstructing language learing and language learners as existing in language
The best reason to learn English is...
What English means to me... English means independence to me. If youre able to speak English you can communicate with people all over the world and you could even live and work in a English-speaking country. I think its also very good for your confidence to know that you can express yourself and that you can conversate with foreign people. … … Another good thing is that you can make friends. Through my exchange I found friends from all over the world, … from Japan, Venezuela, Australia, the US and Saudi-Arabia. I can stay in contact with them and am able to understand them because we both speak English, even though we are from different countries. To me English means a lot and its important for me to know it. Nowadays english is everywhere. … One big hobby of mine is music, specially british rockmusic. So I love to listen to british english. … When Im looking back now, Im a bit mad about myself for being too lazy, to organize an exchange to another country, because I would love to speak this language more fluently. …
Communicative comptence Current understanding as participation in the sense of the learners functional capacity to take part in communicative processes in a foreign language Conceptual gap through pragmatification: loss of socio- cultural and political dimension
Learner autonomy In formal educational contexts, learners are autonomous when they set their own learning agenda and take responsibility for planning, monitoring and evaluating particular learning activities and the learning process overall. The practice of learner autonomy thus depends on, but also develops and expands, the learners capacity for detachment, critical reflection, decision making, and independent action. (Little 1999: 77) Changes designed to give more control to learners are implemented in order to achieve reductions in unit costs and are accompanied by measures that ensure that little real power is actually transferred. (Benson 2001: 19)
Task-based language teaching In task-based language teaching, the task is used as the basic unit of analysis at the levels of goals (syllabus), educational activities (methodology) and assessment. (...) task-based refers to the fact that: the attainment goals of a second language course are, derived from an analysis of why people are learning the second language and what functional things they want/need to use it for (target tasks);... (Van den Branden 2007: 12) Through the process of standard-setting (...) and associated psychometric analyses of item characteristics (...), cut-scores will be determined for each proficiency scale, which distinguish students according to the proficiency levels of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (...) (Rupp/Vock/Harsch/Köller 2008: 44)
Dimensions of language awareness 1. Anthropology: Language awareness as reflecting on the nature of language and its role in human life. 2. Social psychology: Language awareness as reflecting on the human capacity of language and its implications for thinking, learning and social (inter-)action. 3. Political philosophy: Language awareness as reflecting on communicative mechanism(s) for exerting power and control.
Task-based, awareness rising language education Existing in language(s) Enabling learners to reconstruct languages and communication within the context of the individual learners experience
Implications for the reconstruction of language(s) within the context of the learners experiences 1. Conceptual: Critical language awareness as part of a reflexive dimension of communicative competence 2. Curricular: Curriculum and a methodology of teaching for the awareness of the anthropological, socio-cultural, and political aspects of language 3. Institutional: Institutional structure and interactional settings that allow for the identification of topics and tasks the language learners consider relevant in their individual biographic situation 4. Political: Language awareness as resistance to reductionist interpretation of communicative competence Language awareness helping to overcome apparent injustices of the schooling system