1st Edition

Christian and Critical English Language Educators in Dialogue
Pedagogical and Ethical Dilemmas

ISBN 9780415504676
Published June 10, 2011 by Routledge
328 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

The legacy of English teaching and Christian missionaries is a flashpoint within the field of English language teaching. This critical examination of the place of Christianity in the field is unique in presenting the voices of TESOL professionals from a wide range of religious and spiritual perspectives. About half identify themselves as "Christian" while the others identify themselves as Buddhist, atheist, spiritualist, and variations of these and other faiths.

What is common for all the authors is their belief that values have an important place in the classroom. What they disagree on is whether and how spiritual values should find expression in learning and teaching. This volume dramatizes how scholars in the profession wrestle with ideological, pedagogical, and spiritual dilemmas as they seek to understand the place of faith in education. To sustain this conversation, the book is structured dialogically.

Each section includes a set of position chapters in which authors explain their views of faith/pedagogy integration, a set of chapters by authors responding to these positions while articulating their own views on the subject, and discussion questions to engage readers in comparing the positions of all the authors, reflecting on their own experiences and values, and advancing the dialogue in fresh and personal directions.

Table of Contents



Contributors’ Spiritual Identification Statements



1 New Possibilities for the Spiritual and the Critical in Pedagogy

Suresh Canagarajah, Pennsylvania State University

Part I. Setting the Tone: Dialogue and Discourse

2 Nonjudgmental Steps on a Road to Understanding

Julian Edge, University of Manchester, UK

3 Is Dialogue Possible? Challenges to Evangelicals and Non-Evangelicals in English Language Teaching

Bill Johnston, Indiana University, US

4 First the Log in Your Own Eye: Missionaries and their Critics

Michael Chamberlain, Azusa Pacific University, US

5 A Preliminary Survey of Christian English Language Teachers in Countries that Restrict Missionary Activity

Karen Asenavage Loptes, University of Pennsylvania, US


6 Is Dialogue Possible? Anti-Intellectualism, Relativism, Politics and Linguistic Ideologies

Alastair Pennycook, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

7 Dialogue and Discourse

Robert Phillipson, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

8 Questioning Religious "Ideals" and Intentionalities: Staving off Religious Arrogance and Bigotry in ELT

Vaidehi Ramanathan, The University of California, Davis, US

9 Can We Talk? Finding a Platform for Dialogue among Values-based Professionals in Post-Positivist Education

Suresh Canagarajah, Pennsylvania State University, US

Discussion Questions

Part II. Ideological and Political Dilemmas

10 Deconstructing/Reconstructing the Missionary English Teacher Identity

Mary Shepard Wong, Azusa Pacific University, US

11 English and Education in Anglophone Africa: Historical and Current Realities

Sinfree Makoni and Busi Makoni, Pennsylvania State University, US

12 Confronting the Empire: Language Teachers as Charitable Guests

Myrrl Byler, Mennonite Partners in China, US

13 Christian English Teacher’s Presence:  Reflecting Constantine or Christ?

James Stabler-Havener, Sichuan Normal University, PR China


14 A Former "Missionary Kid" Responds

Stephanie Vandrick, University of San Francisco, US

15 Caught between Poststructuralist Relativism and Materialism or Liberal and Critical Multiculturalism?

Manka M. Varghese, University of Washington, US

16 The English Language and the Word of God

Zoltán Dörnyei, University of Nottingham, UK

Discussion Questions

Part III. Pedagogical AND PROFESSIONAL Dilemmas

17 The Courage to Teach as a Non-Native teacher: The Confession of a Christian Teacher

John Liang, Biola University, US

18 English Teachers, Language Learning, and the Issue of Power

Don Snow, University of Nanjing, PR China

19 Classroom Guidelines for Teachers with Convictions

Kitty B. Purgason, Biola University, US


20 The Pedagogical Dilemmas of Faith in ELT: A Dialogic Response

Brian Morgan, York University, Canada

21 Power and Change in ELT: Thoughts from a Fellow Traveler

Dana R. Ferris, University of California, Davis, US

22 Reconsidering Roadside Assistance: The Problem with Christian Approaches to Teaching the English Language

Terry A. Osborn, Fordham University, US

Discussion Questions

Part IV. Spiritual AND ETHICAL Dilemmas

23 Spiritual Dimensions in Language Teaching: A Personal Reflection

Ryuko Kubota, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

24 Spiritual Lessons Learned from a Language Teacher

Christopher A. Bradley, Siebold University of Nagaski, Japan

25 The Spiritual Ecology of Second Language Pedagogy

David I. Smith, Calvin College, US

26 Truth in Teaching English

Richard E. Robison, Azusa Pacific Universit, US


27 Imperatives, Dilemmas, and Conundrums in Spiritual Dimensions of ELT

H. Douglas Brown, San Francisco State University, US

28 Additive Perspective on Religion or Growing Hearts with Wisdom

Ahmar Mahboob, University of Sydney, Australia

29 A Question of Priorities

Andy Curtis, Chinese University of Hong Kong, SAR, China

Discussion Questions


30 Christian and Critical Language Educators in Dialogue: Imagining Possibilities

Mary Shepard Wong, Azusa Pacific University, US &

Suresh Canagarajah, Pennsylvania State University, US


The Dilemma

Earl Stevick

with Carolyn Kristjánsson, Trinity Western University, Canada

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Mary Shepard Wong is Associate Professor and Director of the graduate Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL) Field-based Programs at Azusa Pacific University. She is past chair of the Christian Educators in TESOL Caucus (2004-2005).

Suresh Canagarajah is Kirby Professor of Language Learning at Pennsylvania State University. He is the editor of the journal TESOL Quarterly.


"Christian and Critical English Language Educators in Dialogue addresses some of the ethical issues considered by TESOL professionals, especially critics of Christian English teachers who engage in teaching English as a means of gaining entry to countries, where Christian missionaries per se are not welcomed, for the purpose of evangelism....This book is helpful in pointing out the struggles of one group of Christian professionals, as they wrestle with this dilemma and with their critics. It can inform us all." --SIL International

"Christian and Critical English Language Educators in Dialogue is an ambitious and effective book, bringing together well-known figures and some who are newer to the field to address topics about which they are passionate. This is a laudable, major accomplishment."--Christian Scholar's Review

"This book is an excellent resource for theorists and practitioners who wish to develop useful, appropriate ways of bringing mindfulness of religious/spiritual perspectives into an ever more inclusive professional discourse, as well as for those who think the whole thing is a terrible idea. All can benefit."--TESOL Quarterly