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Understanding agency and constraints in the conception of creativity in the language classroom

Understanding agency and constraints in the conception of creativity in the language classroom AbstractIn this paper we investigate the ways in which creativity is understood and enacted by language teachers. Although the term ‘creativity’ has gained enormous traction in language pedagogy, and in education more generally, we suggest that the concept remains a floating signifier carrying different personal connotations that are shaped by wider institutional and professional constraints. We report on interview data with practising language teachers who discuss their interpretation of creativity and how it manifests in their classrooms. Our analysis considered how teachers positioned themselves and their students in relation to each other and how the agency of the different actors was shaped by discursive constructions (of creativity) which were, in turn, underpinned by broader socio-historical and disciplinary frames. In particular, we focus on distinctions between creative language and creative language teaching and how these are construed differently across professional contexts. While teachers are keen to adopt creative approaches, findings show that there are significant differences in their interpretations of the concept that point to deeply rooted epistemological dissonances in the perception of language and personhood in the pedagogical encounter. In the final section we develop the implications of these findings for professional cultures and identities, in particular some of the critical but under-explored issues surrounding the idea of creativity in language teaching, including the ever-present ‘teacher-ledness’, the curricularised nature of taught languages and the absence of personal development. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Applied Linguistics Review de Gruyter

Understanding agency and constraints in the conception of creativity in the language classroom

Applied Linguistics Review , Volume 11 (4): 17 – Nov 26, 2020

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
1868-6303
eISSN
1868-6311
DOI
10.1515/applirev-2018-0115
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractIn this paper we investigate the ways in which creativity is understood and enacted by language teachers. Although the term ‘creativity’ has gained enormous traction in language pedagogy, and in education more generally, we suggest that the concept remains a floating signifier carrying different personal connotations that are shaped by wider institutional and professional constraints. We report on interview data with practising language teachers who discuss their interpretation of creativity and how it manifests in their classrooms. Our analysis considered how teachers positioned themselves and their students in relation to each other and how the agency of the different actors was shaped by discursive constructions (of creativity) which were, in turn, underpinned by broader socio-historical and disciplinary frames. In particular, we focus on distinctions between creative language and creative language teaching and how these are construed differently across professional contexts. While teachers are keen to adopt creative approaches, findings show that there are significant differences in their interpretations of the concept that point to deeply rooted epistemological dissonances in the perception of language and personhood in the pedagogical encounter. In the final section we develop the implications of these findings for professional cultures and identities, in particular some of the critical but under-explored issues surrounding the idea of creativity in language teaching, including the ever-present ‘teacher-ledness’, the curricularised nature of taught languages and the absence of personal development.

Journal

Applied Linguistics Reviewde Gruyter

Published: Nov 26, 2020

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