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Developing Criticality in Practice Through Foreign Language Education


Stephanie Houghton and Etsuko Yamada

Many universities have adopted criticality as a general aim of higher education, in order to meet the demands of an increasingly globalised world. But what is criticality, and how does it develop in practice? This book explores the concept in detail and considers how it can be systematically developed in practical ways through foreign language education.
Taking a practice-first rather than a theory-first approach, the book presents two case studies based on action research in order to investigate criticality development through foreign language education. One study was conducted in beginner level Japanese language classes at a British university by a Japanese teacher-researcher, and the other was conducted in upper-intermediate English language classes at a Japanese university by a British teacher-researcher. The two studies illuminate the complex experiences of students and teachers as criticality starts to develop in both planned and unplanned ways, from beginner-level to more advanced levels of foreign language learning. The authors also suggest a range of practical teaching approaches which can be used to develop criticality through targeted instruction.


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Chapter 5 - Critical Analysis of Identities 101


Chapter 5 Critical Analysis of Identities 5.1 Analytically describing one’s own values Whereas the first stage of Yamada’s empirical study explored the natu- ral development of criticality without teacher-researcher intervention, the second stage explored its intensification through targeted instruction through carefully designed teaching activities revolving around the three dimensions of language awareness, cultural awareness and learning process. Yamada pointed out that an other-self dynamic came naturally into play as self-ref lection was triggered through surprise at others, but as we shall see, it is suggested in Houghton’s ID Model that teachers do the opposite (i.e., move from self to other), triggering and structuring students’ self-ref lec- tion upon their own identities by asking them to analytically describe their own values before going on to explore those of others. Such a proposal assumes an underlying view of what identity is, so what is being assumed? The initial view of identity taken in syllabus design in Houghton’s study was that socialisation leads to the development of self-concept. This refers to the information a person stores in schemata in memory about their own attributes, which often unconsciously form the knowledge-base for social interaction. With this in mind, the teacher structured student consciousness-raising by drawing upon her own identity at the materials design stage, but a more emergent, interactional view of identity needs to be taken in class as we shall see. Having distinguished values from beliefs and norms in week 1, the con- cept of ‘values’ was then sub-categorised using a set of...

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