These personal essays by first and second language researchers and practitioners reflect on issues, events, and people in their lives that helped them carve out their career paths or clarify an important dimension of their missions as educators. Their narratives depict the ways in which professionals from diverse backgrounds and work settings have grappled with issues in language education that concern all of us: the sources and development of beliefs about language and education, the constructing of a professional identity in the face of ethical and ideological dilemmas, and the constraints and inspirations of teaching and learning environments. They have come together as a collective to engage in a courageous new form of academic discourse, one with the potential to change the field. Many of the authors write their stories of having begun their work with voices positioned at the margins. Now, as established professionals, they feel strong enough collectively to risk the telling and, through their telling, to encourage other voices.
This volume is intended to provide graduate students, teachers, and researchers in language education with insights into the struggles that characterize the professional development of language educators. Both readers and contributors should use the stories to view their own professional lives from fresh perspectives -- and be inspired to reflect in new ways on the ideological, ethical, and philosophical underpinnings of their professional personae.
"...rich in practical suggestions highly useful for both experts and beginners."
—College Composition and Communication
"...each author presents a richly detailed, unique story of his or her life and professional development, complete with life's twists and turns within and outside the academy. The book concludes with pithy 'biostatements' and photos of the contributors that extend the personal essays even further by revealing insights into the character of each individual and adding to the harmony of this collection."
—Reading Research Quarterly
"Whether as a thought-provoking addition to a personal library on professionalism or a riveting and effective graduate school course book, this collection is an original, much-needed investigation of identity and power in language education, an invaluable contribution to critical pedagogy."
—TESOL Quarterly (Winter, 1998)
"On Becoming a Language Educator may well be the most valuable book you read this year; it will certainly be one of the most enjoyable volumes in your library of professional development -- one you will be sorry to have overlooked. So don't."
—JALT Journal (V20#2,1998)
"On Becoming a Language Educator,...is a valuable collection of personal reflections of determined and prolific researchers, who recount their own professional development on the way to becoming language educators. The process of professional development can be a struggle. When listening to distinguished scholars, we focus our attention on what they are saying at the moment instead of thinking about the life-long process that they have gone through on the way to telling us about their ideas and insights. This book is therefore a unique opportunity for those who would like to see and witness this process first-hand....On Becoming a Language Educator is an engaging book of personal essays from distinguished scholars....To anybody who would like to spend a few hours with well-known scholars doing something other than talking about the "big" matters in language education, I highly recommend this book to get a grasp of the process of becoming a language educator."