This book offers a new perspective on language teaching by placing moral issues--that is, questions of values--at the core of what it is to be a teacher. The teacher-student relation is central to this view, rather than the concept of language teaching as merely a technical matter of managing students' acquisition of language. The message is that all language teaching involves an interplay of deeply held values, but in each teaching situation these values are played out in different ways. Johnston does not tell readers what to think, but only suggests what to think about.
Values in English Language Teaching explores the complex and often contradictory moral landscape of the language classroom, gradually revealing how teaching is not a matter of clear-cut choices but of wrestling with dilemmas and making difficult decisions in situations often riven with conflict. It examines the underlying values that teachers hold as individuals and as members of their profession, and demonstrates how those values are played out in the real world of language classrooms. Matters addressed include connections between the moral and political dimensions in English language teaching, and between values and religious beliefs; relationship(s) between teacher identity and values; the meaning of professionalism and how it is associated with morality and values; the ways in which teacher development is a moral issue; and the marginality of English language teaching.
All the examples are taken from real-life teaching situations--the complexity and messiness of these situations is always acknowledged, including both individual influences and broader social, cultural, and political forces at play in English language classrooms. By using actual situations as the starting point for analysis, Johnston offers a philosophy based in practice, and recognizes the primacy of lived experience as a basis for moral analysis. Examples come from teaching contexts around the world, including Brazil, Thailand, Poland, Japan, Central African Republic, Turkey, and Taiwan, as well as various settings in the United States.
This book will change the way teachers see language classrooms--their own or those of others. It is a valuable resource for teachers of ESL and EFL and all those who work with them, especially teacher educators, researchers, and administrators.
"Johnston focuses on central questions of morality/values, then clarifies and exemplifies them through authentic narratives with which a broad range of TESOL professionals will be able to identify…. In terms of the maturation of TESOL as a discipline and profession, I regard this as being at least as significant as the ‘critical approach’ movement…. As an awareness-raiser, and as a link to broader issues, the book will work very well among teacher groups, in courses, and in the profession at large."
Julian Edge, Aston University
"This book makes a great contribution to the field of ELT…. The author is convincing in his argument that moral values are an extremely important part of teaching even when we are not necessarily aware that we are acting on them. The subject is one that is rarely discussed in our field, and thus this thoughtful discussion is very welcome…. There were many points where my reaction was "Yes, of course, we in our profession DEFINITELY need to be talking about THAT issue!’"
Stephanie Vandrick, University of San Francisco
"Bill Johnston is right when he says this book addresses core teaching issues that have been taken for granted for too long…. Any teacher could profit from an examination of Johnston’s considerations and his approach to moral thinking in the classroom…. It will be prove especially valuable for teachers who work with students whose backgrounds are very different from their own."
Pia Moriarty, New Song Literacy
Contents: Preface. The Teacher as Moral Agent. Morality in Classroom Interaction. Values and the Politics of English Language Teaching. The Morality of Testing and Assessment. Three Facets of Language Teacher Identity. Values in Teacher Development. Dilemmas and Foundations in English Language Teaching.