The time has come for me to lay this topic aside. After writing a book, plus forty three articles on the subject (most purposefully kept short), I have come to an end. There is little more to say. Other projects and interests now take my time. Besides, some would say that ‘Postmodernism’ is now ‘passé’ and we’re now in the era of ‘Post-postmodernism’! But to understand this, you first need to understand what postmodernism is about. Hence, my blog.
The main themes through this Postmodern TEFL blog have been to situate TEFL within a multi-disciplinary, pluralist world in which voices question established, modernist precepts. My studies in anthropology lead me to that particular slant – the wish to question what’s really going on under the surface.
Postmodernism welcomes a multitude of perspectives – and for me, the more challenging the perspective the better. Although not ‘postmodernists’ as such, I go out by mentioning Christopher Hitchens (who called postmodernism ‘mumbo-jumbo’) and Naomi Klein: Both dig deep and shake roots. If we share Naomi Klein’s optimistic viewpoints that a) neoliberalism and ‘disaster capitalism’ are in decline as groups rise to challenge corporatism (‘No Logo’ & ‘The Shock Doctrine’), and b) that a global environmental spirit is pressurizing the climate change deniers to back out of environmentally destructive projects and save the planet (‘This Changes Everything’), we are already part of a postmodern world view. Hitchens, or ‘Hitch’, simply challenged any established view, though extremely well-informed, erudite, hard-hitting, acerbic (‘The Hitch slap’) debate The world needs polemical voices to counter-balance and contradict established viewpoints as we search for our own perceptions of truth.
Challenge to the world of TEFL has grown since (perhaps before) starting this blog and book. I doff my cap to those individuals and groups involved. They are mentioned several times within my blog articles. I had hoped to discover such challenge within TEFL Facebook groups. But there, such discussions are marginal and teaching practice remains the core focus of interest. Yes, pedagogical challenge is very much alive and a postmodern teaching eclecticism is thriving. But institutional challenge is less alive, or is even a dirty word. That’s my personal perception. For whilst a greater interest in global issues is being shown, discussions on ELT corporate social responsibility and the ‘raison d’être’ of ELT remains peripheral. Professor David Graddol’s and Professor John Grey’s raising issues of the links between TEFL and world hegemonic capitalism, I’ve occasionally cited. However, important as these issues are to any reflexive teacher in the profession, they are little discussed. Researchers’ and practising teachers’ eyes are turned elsewhere – prioritizing classroom activity.
To avoid sounding too negative, and in recognition of those small, but growing, groups that have arisen over the last few years to raise such issues – again I say ‘good for them’. I support them in spirit and reference them frequently in these blogs.
So – should anyone wish to quickly access my articles, here are the links. Some are short, some are long; Some are clear, some (I’m told) verge on incomprehensible being couched in semi-arcane language (really?). Anyway, pick-and-choose as you like:
The book: Postmodern TEFL – (unpublished – sitting on my hard drive)
My latest lesson materials upload, applying the theory to practice:
I wish you all well,