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Lin-2013-Towards_Paradigmatic_Change_in_TESOL_Met.pdf

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Towards Paradigmatic Change in TESOL Methodologies: Building Plurilingual Pedagogies from the Ground Up Angel Lin Associate Professor University of Hong Kong Email: angellin@hku.hk To Cite: Lin, A. M. Y. (2013). Towards paradigmatic change in TESOL methodologies: Building plurilingual pedagogies from the ground up. TESOL Quarterly, 47, 3: 521-545. ABSTRACT Contemporary TESOL methodologies have been characterized by compartmentalization of languages in the classroom. However, recent year
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  󰀱 Towards Paradigmatic Change in TESOL Methodologies: Building Plurilingual Pedagogies from the Ground Up Angel Lin Associate Professor University of Hong Kong Email: angellin@hku.hk To Cite: Lin, A. M. Y. (2013). Towards paradigmatic change in TESOL methodologies: Building plurilingual pedagogies from the ground up.  TESOL Quarterly,  47, 3: 521-545. ABSTRACT Contemporary TESOL methodologies have been characterized by compartmentalization of languages in the classroom. However, recent years have seen the beginning signs of paradigmatic change in TESOL methodologies that indicate a move towards plurilingualism. In this paper, I shall draw on the case of Hong Kong to illustrate how in the past four decades, deep-rooted ideologies of linguistic purism combined with dominant TESOL knowledge claims have made it difficult to develop locally appropriate methodologies. Despite these difficulties, the innovative work of some teachers in building up plurilingual pedagogies in content classrooms will be outlined and suggestions for future work proposed. INTRODUCTION Contemporary TESOL methodologies have been characterized by the compartmentalization of languages in the classroom. As a pedagogical reaction to the grammar-translation method, TESOL methodologies in the past four decades have successively upheld classroom monolingualism, or “bilingualism through parallel monolingualisms”; e.g., the Direct Method, Audio-lingualism, the Natural Approach, the Communicative Language Teaching Approach (CLT) (see review by Mahboob, 2012). Recent years have, however, seen the beginning signs of paradigmatic shift in TESOL methodologies, indicating a move towards valuing more flexibility regarding classroom language practices. Researchers are beginning to differentiate between the grammar-translation method and the strategic, principled use of local resources to scaffold learning in both language and content classrooms (Cenoz, 2009; Cook, 1995, 2001; Cummins, 2007; Turnbull & Dailey-O’Cain, 2009). A central force  󰀲 contributing to this change is the increasing affirmation of the notion of plurilingualism and the critique of linguistic purism (e.g., Canagarajah, 2011; Creese and Blackledge, 2010; Cummins, 2007; Levine, 2011; Lin, 2006; Pennycook, 2010; Swain, Kirpatrick and Cummins, 2011). However, this paradigmatic change has been slow to arrive in many Asian postcolonial contexts such as Hong Kong, where official education policy discourses have steadfastly upheld monolingual classroom methodologies. Situated at this critical moment of competing knowledge claims, this paper seeks to contribute to paradigmatic change in TESOL methodologies by proposing to build legitimate plurilingual pedagogies from the ground up in various local contexts. In the next section, the notion of plurilingualism will be discussed in the context of related concepts to illustrate key aspects of a new understanding of the nature of language in society and how language competences are developed. The case of Hong Kong will then be drawn upon to illustrate how in the past four decades, deeply-rooted ideologies of linguistic purism combined with dominant TESOL knowledge claims have made it difficult to develop locally appropriate methodologies. Despite these difficulties, however, the innovative work of some content teachers in developing bilingual/plurilingual pedagogies is outlined and suggestions for future work proposed. PLURILINGUALISM AND RELATED CONCEPTS Code-mixing/code-switching in the second language (L2) classroom has been an important topic in sociolinguistic research for the past three decades (e.g., Canagarajah, 1995; Heller & Martin-Jones, 2001; Lin, 1990, 1996, 1999, 2008, 2013). Recent research has further introduced the perspectives of translanguaging (Creese & Blackledge, 2010; García, 2009), codemeshing (Canagarajah, 2011), and heteroglossia (Bailey, 20012; Creese and Blacklege, forthcoming; García, 2009). Central to these developments is the recognition of the plurilingual nature of classroom interactions and communicative repertoires of both learners and teachers in multilingual settings, and the affirmation of plurilingualism as a potential resource rather than necessarily a barrier to language and content learning. Plurilinguals may not possess a full mastery of a language, but still view it as an enriching component of their overall linguistic repertoire (Council of Europe, 2001). Underlying the notion of plurilingualism and a whole array of different but related notions like metrolingualism, flexible bilingualism, translanguaging, and hybrid language practice (see review by Lewis, Jones and Baker, 2012) is the rising recognition that language cannot be conceptualized (and thereby taught and learned) as a static, monolithic entitiy with  󰀳 solid boundaries (Pennycook, 2010). Canagarajah (2007), by way of a discussion of hybrid language practices and communities in pre-colonial and pre-modern societies, stresses the importance of this view of language, “Once we acknowledge that languages are inherently hybrid, grammars are emergent and communication is fluid, we are left with the problem of redefining some of the most basic constructs that have dominated the field of linguistics” (p. 233). The basic constructs that have dominated the field of linguistics and TESOL methodologies include native-speakerism (see critiques by Holliday, 2006; Luk and Lin, 2006; Phillipson, 1992) and centralizing, standard language ideologies that underlie much of modern language policy and planning (LPP) discourses (Tollefson, 1991, 2002; Wiley & Lukes, 1996). The postcolonial state, in its attempt following independence to secure national unity and loyalty among different ethnic factions, often resorts to the modern nation building ideologies and discourses of its former colonial masters. Like plurilingualism, the notions of translanguaging and heteroglossia focus on breaking away from the ideology of discrete, unitary languages and cutting through the pedagogical structure imposed by the monolingualism and linguistic purism that are dominant in the literature of language education and government language education policies (Lin, 1996, 2006). As pointed out by Lemke (2002): It is not at all obvious that if they were not politically prevented from doing so, “languages” would not mix and dissolve into one another, but we understand almost nothing of such processes. . . . Could it be that all our current pedagogical methods in fact make multilingual development more difficult than it need be, simply because we bow to dominant political and ideological pressures to keep “languages” pure and separate? (p. 85) Thus, for example, in Singapore, after four decades of linguistic engineering by the state, the once fluid, hybrid, dynamic plurilingual landscape has changed into one of standardized and compartmentalized “multilingualisms.” Any local languages (e.g., Hokkien, Hakka, and the often stigmatized local varieties of “Singlish”) other than the four officially recognized and standardized languages of English, Mandarin Chinese, Tamil, and Malay have been formally driven out of all public spheres and educational institutions (Rubdy, 2005). School teaching is often done by immersion in “Standard English,” and use of local language varieties (e.g., local varieties of “Singlish”) to scaffold students’ learning in the content classroom is often frowned upon if not officially sanctioned. The knowledge production regimes (Foucault, 1980) in the institutions of  󰀴 second/foreign language teaching and TESOL have further legitimized as received knowledge certain ideological claims about language, language use, and language learning and teaching. This knowledge base embodies a cluster of mutually reinforcing ideologies, which will be critically examined in the next section. Hegemonic Ideologies about Language, Language Use, and Language Learning and Teaching Phillipson (1992) points out five central fallacies in English language teaching: monolingualism, native-speakerism, the maximum exposure theory, the early-start hypothesis, and the subtractive principle. He connects these fallacies to capitalistic, imperialist, and colonialist forces and interests, and analyzes the srcins of these myths. Much TESOL expertise that derives from the UK and USA and has become dominant in many Asian societies has been propounded by scholars who themselves are monolingual, as are teaching materials and principles derived from these paradigms and which, therefore, underplay the potential value of contrastive analysis and comparative metalinguistic knowledge as a learning resource. All of these paradigms form part of the normative knowledge base in the field of second and foreign language education, which can be said to have srcinated from paradigms shaped by a combination of monoglossia, purism, and recently also global capitalism and commodificationism. Building on the literature on this topic, I shall summarize below three major strands of these ideologies. (1) Languages as stable, standardized, monolithic, discrete entities rather than as  fluid resources for situated social practice The literature (Canagarajah, 2007; Hornberger, 2003; Pennycook 2010) has critiqued essentialist views of languages as discrete systems that are pervasive in the language policy and TESOL methodology discourses. The LPP discourses of policy makers both project and assert the view of languages as stable, monolithic, reified entities with clear-cut boundaries. The job of the language planner is seen in terms of the prescription and standardization of linguistic systems, culminating in the production and dissemination of authoritative dictionaries, grammars, and teaching manuals of the national and official languages. These standard languages are put forward as educational targets, and the state’s acquisition planning that is aimed at designing the most effective approaches for achieving these targets usually results in the recommendation of monolingual immersion approaches. In short, total use of the target language is presented as the best way to achieve target language proficiency.
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