Tuesday, July 23, 2013

An autoethnographic article

I find it interesting that narrative and autoethnographic work seem to be more compatible with teacher training and language learning (from the point of view of the learners) than say second language acquisition and many other sub fields of second language studies. I sometimes entertain the idea narratives as the methodology of the oppressed but are they really so revolutionary, are they really any less dangerous? I sometimes wonder what is lost in translation as the stories of teachers and students get mutated, often by force, into those monstrous meta narratives about zombie concepts, like communicative language teaching. Who asks what those dangerous mutants actually do to people rather than what these objects are, their features, their coherence?  Sometimes I look at some scholarly articles and see, if only momentarily, an image of a tortured creature like that of Victor Frankenstein, not dead but not quite alive either. It's arguable which one of them is more human and which one is more monstrous, the unfortunate creature or Victor, which one is the fallen angel? I sometimes just think the different epistemological and ontological commitments of different fields and communities of practice. Of course acknowledging the differences is not enough, it is important to make the inequality visible and speakable, as Canagarajah does.

Teacher Development in a Global Profession: An Autoethnography 
A. Suresh Canagarajah

In this ethnographic self-reconstruction, the author represents the ways in which he negotiated the differing teaching practices and professional cultures of the periphery and the center in an effort to develop a strategic professional identity. He brings out the importance of using multiple identities critically for voice in the wider professional discourses and practices. As global English acquires local identities, and diverse professional communities develop their own socially situated pedagogical practices, it is becoming important to chart a constructive relationship between these communities in TESOL. Through his journey of professionalization, the author explores the framework of relationships that would enable an effective negotiation of practices and discourses between the different professional communities and facilitate more constructive teacher identities.

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