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Repositioning Language Education Theory

  • Achilleas KostoulasEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)

Abstract

This chapter proposes an interdisciplinary, transformation-oriented perspective of theory for language education. This perspective departs from traditional definitions of theory as a corpus of technical knowledge about teaching and learning; rather, language education theory is conceptualized as a heuristic process of meaning-making, and as the emergent understandings of teachers’ professional existence that result from it. Explicitly articulating such understandings is necessary for professional growth, and for challenging invisible processes that sustain structural inequalities in language education. The first part of the chapter describes a conceptual framework for scaffolding language education theory by relating it to the informing disciplines of applied linguistics, language education psychology, and pedagogy. The understandings that emerge from this synthesis are defined as being conservatively- or transformationally-oriented, and the argument is advanced that atomistic perspectives tend to be conservative in outlook. In the second part of the chapter, this argument is extended by suggesting that the emergent understandings are dynamic, and they may be “nudged” towards conservative or transformational directions by new input from the informing disciplines. This is exemplified with reference to examples from linguistics, psychology, and pedagogy. The chapter concludes by problematizing the implications of this perspective for language education.

Keywords

Language education Applied linguistics Language education psychology Education theory 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Manchester Institute of Education, The University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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