DECOLONISING LANGUAGE TEACHING: RESOURCES
Decolonising is such a loaded word, but according to Angela Saini, the author of Superior, The Return of Race Science, "it essentially means that we understand knowledge not just in a one-dimensional way".
Saini is one of the experts in the Future Learn course Decolonising Education: From Theory to Practice. This course is one of the ways that educators can get started in the journey of learning about the decolonising lens and reflect on their teaching practice with that knowledge and perspective in mind. This is the link to the blog of that course, in case you cannot take the whole course at this stage. You will find an interesting video on Decolonising the ‘Modern’ in ‘Modern Languages’ there.
The Future Learn course is not alone in presenting opportunities for acquiring the necessary theoretical background in which to inscribe changes in our teaching practices.
In March 2020 Decolonising Modern Languages: A Symposium for Sharing Practices and Ideas had to be postponed due to the pandemic. However, you can access now the preview and all the sessions that eventually were rescheduled for September.
In addition to the above, do not miss the the chance of listening to Alison Phipps in her memorable Ted Talk at the University of Glasgow, Learning to live in Multilingual Worlds. She speaks about 'languaging' and highlights the shortcomings of English as a global language through her own story of welcoming asylum refugees into her family home, among many other aspects of her encounter with 'the other'.
A good complement to Alison's talk is her personal Manifesto for Decolonising Multilingualism, which is taken from her book of that title. This is again rooted in her reflections on her own experience as a person confronting a colonial past. It is a very good and inspiring model for our own processes of integrating experience, knowledge, reflection and action in relation to decolonisation.
One more suggestion to the list of items that will contribute to our decolonising activity and in the spirit of promoting open enquiry and constructive and diverse discussions, is presented by Heterodox Academy in conversation with John McWhorter. This American scholar alerts us of the risk of falling into virtue-signalling practices and of the danger of becoming part of a third-wave of antiracism, inadvertently.
In terms of recent books on the intersection of language teaching and colonisation, Donaldo Macedo does a brilliant job in his Decolonizing Foreign Language Education. He interrogates current foreign language and second language education approaches that prioritize white, western thought and asserts the need for a critical approach to applied linguistics.
If you have materials that you would recommend to further the knowledge-base of a mounting interest in looking critically at our teaching practices, through the lens of decolonisation, please share in the comments.
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