Welcome to POSTMODERN TEFL!
Have a chair! Tea? Milk? Sugar?
“So – OK. What the blazes is Postmodern TEFL? I don’t remember this from my CELTA. Is it something to do with teaching English with weird art?”
“Err – No! Not quite.”
“Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m not a man of wealth or fame but I have been around for quite a long time as a business English teacher. I’m actually an anthropologist by learning. Not that I ever worked in anthropology. I kind of got side-tracked into English teaching and here I’ve stayed. So now it’s time to put everything together. Well, we should do, shouldn’t we? I mean – tie everything up together, make connections, and see what we come out with. In my case, this means ‘Postmodern TEFL’.
No, this isn’t a nonsensical twaddle. I’m actually quite serious. So too is the subject of Postmodern TEFL. In fact, many EFL teachers and writers are increasingly talking about Postmodern TEFL. Consequently, the subject is being approached from different angles. In addition, its importance both as a pedagogical issue and as an institutional issue is more and more being recognized. As a result, the world of TEFL is being challenged. I’ll name drop later – but believe me the big names are in on this. My role on this blog is to highlight these challenges and outline the underlying theories surrounding Postmodern TEFL.
I’ll say in advance that these blog postings are brief and simplistic. In fact, they’re often like back cover blurbs. The reason for this is that I’m just outlining here some basic issues surrounding Postmodern TEFL. To many TEFL bloggers and teachers, this will be too simplistic. But there are many more teachers in the profession who don’t follow developments through ‘continued professional development’ (CPD); who don’t read up on research, who don’t attend conferences, and have no idea what postmodern TEFL is. This blog is for them. I would hope, however, that those more experienced TEFL teachers may also be given some new perspectives to chew on.
The subject of postmodernism has been around for a long time. Such more experienced teachers may feel that the concept has been knocked around enough in the world of TEFL, milked of any value, and spat out. However, I don’t believe that. Like many of the topics within pedagogical EL books, only the surface level has been skimmed. Furthermore, ELT research that cites previously published works refers largely to previously published ELT research (just consult any research article). This inward-looking circularity restrains the development of ideas. And so it has been with the subject of postmodern TEFL. Time to think outside the box.
As I said, I’m an anthropologist by training. Anthropologists are trained to holistically reflect on the whole and the minutiae, the inside and the out. I do my best. I try. On the subject of TEFL I’d like to share these meditations with you. TEFL is undergoing change as a result of the democratization of the internet and globalization. I may hit deep waters as well as paddle in the shallows, but if you fancy a swim – let’s go. Writing this blog is a learning process/long swim for me too.”
More detailed Reading: