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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 8 - Creative Criticality or Critical Creativity? 141


Chapter 8 Creative Criticality or Critical Creativity? 8.1 Intercultural mediation It was noted above that critical evaluation, which involves making judg- ments based upon clearly stated criteria, is located in the evaluation stage of Anderson and Krathwohl’s (2001) taxonomy of learning objectives, which precedes creation. At this stage, discrete elements, having been analysed and evaluated, are reorganised into a new pattern or structure forming a new coherent or functional whole. The title of this chapter, ‘Creative criticality or critical creativity?’, was carefully worded to highlight and emphasise the fact that regard- less of whether criticality or creativity is prioritised as a process, the two are integrally connected with each carrying the potential to char- acterise the other. This is not always recognised, however, as one is often selected to the total exclusion of the other. In his description of the L2 motivational self system, for example, Dörnyei emphasises the role of creativity tracing this back to the ancient Greeks, especially to Aristotle, yet his discussion lacks the critical elements that tend to be traced back to Socrates that have come to characterise discussions about critical cultural awareness (Byram 1997) and intercultural citizenship (Byram 2008; Guilherme 2002). This chapter will attempt to show how criticality can be creative, and vice-versa, by showcasing some of the ways in which intercultural media- tion can f low on creatively from critical analysis and evaluation. Ways will be considered in which intercultural mediation skills may be fostered by asking learners to mediate conf...

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