Critical Awareness in a Materials Analysis and Development Course

2019-02-15
Recognizing the political nature of teaching English, critical applied linguists have called for including issues of inequality, injustice, social stratification, gender, poverty, exploitation or environmental destruction in language education (Doğançay-Aktuna, 2006; Grabe, Stoller & Tardy, 2001; Gray, 2013; Pennycook, 1994, 2000; Vergera, 2014). This paper tells the story of an attempt to address issues of inequality and injustice through a critical materials analysis and development course in a pre-service foreign language teacher education program in Turkey. In addition to introducing the basics of foreign language teaching materials evaluation, development and adaptation, this course aimed to raise critical consciousness in teacher candidates about the social-political issues and directed attention to the sanitization of mainstream English language teaching materials (McGrath, 2013). Student-teachers registered in the course first read and discussed research articles analyzing language teaching materials from a critical perspective and they conducted mini-scale critical materials evaluation studies themselves. Thereafter, they worked in groups to develop their own critical language teaching materials, which intended both to teach English in a meaningful, communicative manner and to raise critical awareness. Offered in two consecutive years, this critical materials analysis and development course yielded creative and innovative sample teaching units by senior teacher candidates, titles of which included: Book of the Oppressed (2017), Old & Gold (2017), Save the Planet (2017), Gender Inequality (2017), Human Rights (2017), Stop the Violence (2018), Culture: Explore the World (2018), Free (2018), Awareness (2018), Embrace Diversity (2018), We are Here to be Together (2018). Reporting enrolled student-teachers’ perceptions about the process of analyzing and developing materials collected via online open-ended written questionnaires, this paper argues that critical materials analysis and development courses could show student-teachers their own creative potential as researchers and materials writers and their teacher roles as transformative intellectuals.

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Citation Formats
S. Y. Tezgiden Cakcak, “Critical Awareness in a Materials Analysis and Development Course,” presented at the AAAL 2019 Conference (9 - 12 Mart 2019), Atlanta, GA, USA, 2019, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/78227.