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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 6 - Relating Self and Other 115


Chapter 6 Relating Self and Other 6.1 Comparing and contrasting self and other It was suggested earlier that once students have ref lected upon and described their own values, they should go on to explore (i.e., inquire into) the values of another person by temporarily suspending judgment as they gather information. In other words, they should attempt to empa- thise intellectually with that person. Insofar as this process was related to knowledge-development about self and other through Byram’s (1997) concept of savoir, or knowledge, we can say that it involves the develop- ment of factual knowledge. However, we also saw many examples of conceptual mismatches not only between the Japanese and English languages but also between indi- vidual speakers. In this sense, we can say that the knowledge-development process also entails the development of conceptual knowledge, a concept that can be related back to Byram’s (1997) concept of savoir comprendre, or the skills of interpreting and relating. Insofar as knowledge-develop- ment also entails the deployment of specific kinds of communication skills designed to gather information about another person, we can also say that the knowledge-development process also involves the development of procedural knowledge, a concept that can be related back to Byram’s (1997) concept of savoir apprendre/faire, or the skills of discovery and interaction. Factual, conceptual and procedural knowledge are three of four dif ferent kinds of knowledge distinguished in Anderson and Krathwohl’s (2001) taxonomy of learning objectives, which was based upon those of Bloom et al (1956). However, a...

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