Accounting for Difference and Diversity
in Language Teaching and Learning in Colombia

Consideraciones en torno a la diferencia
y la diversidad en la enseñanza y el aprendizaje
de lenguas en Colombia

Considerações sobre a diferença e a diversidade
no ensino e aprendizagem de línguas na Colômbia

Recepción: 26 de julio de 2012
Aceptación: 15 de febrero de 2013

Fernay Cruz-Arcilaa

a Universidad de La Salle Colombia fercruz@unisalle.edu.co


Para citar este artículo / To reference this article / Para citar este artigo

Cruz Arcila, F. (2013). Accounting for Difference and Diversity in Language Teaching and Learning in Colombia. Educ. Educ. Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 80-92.



Abstract

This article calls for locally grounded approaches to the teaching of foreign languages in Colombia, in an attempt to recognize difference, diversity and heterogeneity. To that end, I first present a critical review of how traditional language teaching methods fail to offer a comprehensive accountability for the sort of multifarious cultural, ethnic, economic, and ideological factors that influence language learning and teaching. The review also considers the current historical moment in Colombia in which a nation-wide linguistic policy is being implemented. Second, there is a clear reference to the Post method Pedagogy in which principles such as particularity, practicality and possibility offer an alternative view to the language teaching enterprise. Third, I highlight the value of having glocal educational perspectives for foreign language teaching (FLT) in the context of post method pedagogies. Finally, this reflection underlines the importance of research in general and action research in particular, to propose locally sensitive teaching actions as discussed throughout the paper.

Keywords:

Language instruction, culture, education, research. (Source: Unesco Thesaurus).

Resumen

Este artículo hace un llamado a la creación de enfoques de enseñanza de lenguas extranjeras que estando basados en características locales reconozcan y valoren la diferencia, la diversidad y la heterogeneidad. Para esto, primero describo críticamente como los métodos tradicionales de enseñanza de lenguas no alcanzan a dar cuenta de los factores complejos de índole cultural, étnico, económico e ideológico, que entran en juego en la enseñanza de lenguas extranjeras en Colombia en este momento histórico, en el que se está implementando una política lingüística nacional. En segundo lugar, se hace una referencia directa a la Pedagogía del Pos-método en la cual principios como particularity, practicality y possibility (particularidad, practicalidad y posibilidad) ofrecen una alternativa para la enseñanza de lenguas. Como tercer punto, en el contexto de la pedagogía del pos método, se resalta la importancia de partir de perspectivas educativas glocales para la enseñanza de lenguas extranjeras. Finalmente, la reflexión enfatiza el valor que tiene hacer investigación en general e investigación-acción en particular para proponer acciones de enseñanza que estén fundamentadas en características del contexto local, que es la tesis principal del presente escrito.

Palabras clave

Enseñanza de idiomas, cultura, educación, investigación. (Fuente: Tesauro de la Unesco).

Resumo

O presente artigo faz um chamado para que, em um esforço por reconhecer a diferença, a diversidade e a heterogeneidade, a forma de abordar o ensino de línguas estrangeiras na Colômbia seja sustentada em características locais. Para isso, apresento uma resenha crítica de como os métodos tradicionais de ensino de língua não oferecem uma proposta compreensiva para enfrentar os múltiplos fatores culturais, étnicos e econômicos que influenciam o ensino e a aprendizagem de um idioma. A resenha também traz em consideração o momento histórico em que a Colômbia vive a respeito do tema, no qual se começa a implementar uma política linguística no âmbito nacional. Em segundo lugar, refiro-me à pedagogia pós-método, na qual princípios como particularidade, praticalidade e possibilidade oferecem uma ótica alterna à docência. Em terceiro lugar, ressalto a importância de ter perspectivas educativas locais para o ensino de língua com relação aos postulados da pedagogia pós-método. Por último, esta reflexão destaca a importância da pesquisa em geral e da pesquisa-ação em particular, para assim propor estratégias pedagógicas que respondam às necessidades locais.

Palavras-chave

Ensino de idiomas, cultura, educação,pesquisa. (Fonte: Tesauro da Unesco).



Introduction

In the past few decades, mainly due to the economic expansion and strengthening of certain countries, an increasing interest has emerged in the way the languages spoken in those countries can be taught and learned (Graddol, 2006). This interest derived from several methodological and theoretical perspectives aimed at accounting for "better" ways of dealing with second and foreign language teaching and learning. As a result, a number of different approaches and methods have developed which consider different views such as habit formation, innate capabilities, cognitive processes as well as contextual and situational factors, among others. However, it is still uncertain how effective these methods have been so far, how different or similar they are, whether teachers actually follow a so-called method, and whether following them is important or not. These questions are addressed throughout this paper in an effort to set the stage for an educational outlook on language learning based on theoretical principles such as particularity, practicality and possibility as described by Kumaravadivelu (1994; 2003; 2006a). The paper starts by evaluating FLT methods from a critical perspective. Then, I describe some elements that are necessary to depict local educational views on language learning and teaching based on what Colombia's reality is today. Finally, I highlight the importance of researching to complement locally grounded educational actions for language teaching.


Methods... Methods

If we were to try to accurately describe the number of different approaches, methods and/or techniques that have emerged in the language teaching tradition, we would be involved in quite a tough endeavor. Some of the factors that make this task so highly complex include the large number of methods and the fact that, on many occasions, they are the modifications, complement or opposition to others. Furthermore, only some of these methods are widely considered and described; the most popular include: the grammar translation method, the direct method, the audio-lingual method, the silent way, suggestopedia, community language learning, total physical response, communicative language teaching, and task-based language teaching, to name but a few (see: Larsen-Freeman,2000; Rodgers & Richards, 2001).

The proliferation of these methods might make one think that they provide different alternatives to teaching and learning a language, but a critical analysis concludes that what they really do is offer a superficial view of the same phenomenon from pretty similar fundamentals (Brown, 2002; Kumaravadivelu, 2006). They vary mainly in the teachers' and learners' roles, materials used, whether the focus is on form or on meaning, the role of the Li, the language skills to be developed and so forth. In Brown's (2002) view, methods are "a handful of prepackaged elixirs [that fill up] a small shelf of options" (p. 17). In other words, despite their variety, none of them go beyond linguistic or functional postulates since the scope of those methods is limited to the development of linguistic skills or to the use of the language in specific situations; they do not surpass this limit and do not consider, for example, intercultural communication, students' identities or social change.

In an attempt to evaluate foreign language teaching and learning methodologies, Rodgers (1990) developed a model to describe and analyze teaching methods called Design, Approach and Procedure (DAP). By using this model, language-teaching methods were analyzed, summarized and critiqued. Rodgers found drawbacks. His objections include acknowledging that when referring to teaching methods, we are favoring top-down perspectives of language learning in the sense that the teaching and learning have to match or accommodate a specific prescriptive methodology already pre-established.

Another objection defended by Rodgers is that it has been observed that often the methods are found to be distinct only on paper or "a matter of opinion rather than of fact... the very word of method means so little and so much" (Makey, 1965 as cited by Kumaravadivelu, 2006). In other words, a method is a very ambiguous notion. When a teacher is asked about his methodology, he might not really show attachment to a specific method and, consequently, may adjust his teaching to elements of different methodologies. One could conclude that teachers do not actually limit themselves to what methods propose (Kumaravadivelu, 2006b). As a result, what would be the purpose of describing a method? Precisely based on this inquiry we, as Rodgers did, might question the importance of having a so-called method of instruction for language teaching.

In the same line of thought, Kumaravadivelu (2006a) describes a series of myths surrounding the concept of method. Among them, and for the sake of this paper, I want to draw attention to four. The first one refers to the fact that there is no such a thing as a perfect or single method (Graddol, 2006). On the contrary, the local, contextual nature of language teaching should result in structuring a method that takes into consideration several aspects, such as language policy and planning, learning needs, wants and situations, teachers' profiles, and so on. These facts clearly show the reasons why there cannot be one perfect method. In Colombia, for example, referring to foreign language teaching as we did some years ago is not enough because the national linguistic policy mandates language teachers' practices to be mediated by the fostering of English-Spanish bilingualism. In this sense, Garcia (2006) explains the difference existing between bilingual education and second language programs. The former has to do with a more integral and ecological perspective of bilingualism (Reyes, 2009), which relies on the use of two languages to "educate generally, meaningfully, equitably and for tolerance and appreciation of diversity" (Garcia, 2006: 20). On the other hand, the latter deals with a more traditional view of language teaching through explicit instruction focused mainly on learning the linguistic code. Consequently, adopting language-teaching methods seems to be insufficient when trying to promote tolerance, equity, and recognition, as well as respect for others, by means of language teaching framed by a bilingual policy

A second myth is that a method entails the organizing principle of all language teaching, so materials, curriculum design, syllabus, instructional strategies and testing techniques should be based on that "chosen method." However, as Kumaravadivelu (2006a) explains, this perspective is too narrow and limited, overlooking other crucial factors that play important roles in language teaching practices, such as learners' perceptions, cultural contexts, societal needs, political demands, economic imperatives and institutional policies, among others. Thus, when methods and top-down models are seen as organizing principles, we tend to disregard the local daily context in which they take place (Gonzalez, 2009), which in turn overlooks contextual oppressing needs and priorities of the population (Usma, 2009).

A third myth deals with the conception of method as having a universal and historical value. Coming up with an effective method to be used everywhere at any point in time is unrealistic. This perspective would just favor top-down dynamics and would not account for local individual situations, mobility, change, wants and interests. Brown (2002) explains that methods cannot be based on static principles; on the contrary, these principles should be dynamic and subject to change as we research and learn more about the phenomenon. Similarly, Dornyei (2009) questions the establishment of uniform trends, approaches and methods for language teaching since "[it] is a massive worldwide enterprise with a great deal of diversity. Countries, regions, school types, and target languages display immense variation in the actual process of what goes on in the language classroom" (p.72). In short, there is a high level of heterogeneity that can hardly be accounted for by any imposed model or method.

This myth can be closely related to standardization of language teaching. In Colombia, policy makers hold the misleading belief that, by creating standards for language teaching (only English) based on imported models, proposing the same goals to be attained for all citizens, and following equally foreign methodological prescriptions, Colombians are given clear instructions in terms of what they have to do and achieve in language learning, regardless of the dissimilar conditions and opportunities (see: Cely, 2007: MEN, 2005). Conversely, the establishment of those imposed regulations leads to exclusion and inequity (Gonzalez, 2009), grounded in utopian intentions (Sánchez & Obando, 2008), which can likely be possible only in urban middle class private schools (Ordonez, 2004 as cited by Gonzalez, 2009).

A fourth myth deals with the idea that teachers just apply theory created by theorists and that this fact is a constant state of affairs between theory and practice. In this regard, and based on prior research, Kumaravadivelu (2006a) concludes that teachers do not necessarily stick to a method or methods; what they generally do is base their practice on experience of what works best and the intuition of what can be applied in the classroom. In other words, they do not base their professional action on theory, but instead they seem to rely more on the empirical knowledge they have gained through experience. Besides, local researchers and educators in Colombia have stopped being intellectually dependant on dominant ideologies (Clavijo, 2009, cited by González, 2010). One positive effect of being involved in the linguistic particularities of a country like Colombia is that it has resulted in research and academic discussion around issues that often challenge or divert from foreign ideologies. Quintero, (2007) explains that currently in Colombia, language teachers and teacher-educators undertake research considering social and cultural issues in educational settings. This has been evidenced by the creation of well-known research groups, whose reflections and contributions to local knowledge are disseminated mainly in qualified local magazines. As a result, this idea that language teachers should follow certain methods does not apply to our Colombian reality (Gonzalez, 2009).

Brown (2002), Allwright, (1991) and Kumaravadivelu (1994, 2003, 2006a) use this description and refutation of misleading ideas to explain from their perspective the reasons why methods have died. They also describe the reasons why teachers tend to disregard methods by creating their own "eclectic methodology", which for a long time, has appeared to be the most common trend in our field. "Dead methods" is understood as the rejection of adopting a single method as the leading principle of language teaching and learning in general. This old-fashioned view of FLT methods has already completed a cy cle, and what teachers and students nowadays call for, is a more widespread use of local-grounded approaches of language learning and teaching. An example of this is the Context Approach proposed by Bax (2003), a scholar concerned with subjecting the method being followed to the context where language teaching takes place; based on this, he suggests developing teaching procedures grounded on particular contexts, awarding a secondary role to methodological procedures.

From a different perspective, Larsen-Freeman (2000) argues that methods should not be seen as prescriptions or impositions on teachers. According to her, methods should be seen as help for professional growth in terms of expanding the teachers' repertoire and of providing teachers with different options to choose and decide what to do in the classroom. Although true, Larsen-Freeman's position and arguments do not account for what happens outside the classroom. A teacher might very well know what to do inside a classroom, but the students might not find any connection to their lives outside its walls. However, Bell (2003) agrees with Larsen-Freeman on seeing the post method pedagogy as another method. In response to this critique, Kumaravadivelu (2006b) remarks that post method pedagogy "offers an alternative to method rather than an alternative method (...) and a better match between the means and the ends [of language teaching]" (p. 73). It is important to clarify that the post method pedagogy does not disregard the history of language teaching and learning, but instead offers a more comprehensive, pluralistic and locally constructed view of language education bound to socioeconomic, cultural and ideological dimensions.

It is thus possible to conclude that adopting teaching methods is ineffective for two main reasons. First, methods by nature do not respond to the particularities of every context; second, methods do not present options for inclusion and support for people who have diverse needs and realities. Nevertheless, from a more positive perspective, methods might present other research challenges in language teaching in terms of describing their impact or effectiveness and gathering factual information to include modifications, change or adaptations. To understand this better, the discussion now turns to a description of some principles for language teaching that Kumaravadivelu presents as general guidelines for language teaching actions in dissimilar contexts.


Particularity, Practicality and Possibility

Considering the shortcomings of traditional language teaching methods, Kumaravadivelu (1994; 2003; 2006a; 2006b) calls for a redefined post-method pedagogy in which new, more suitable perspectives of language teaching and teacher education are considered. According to him, a series of parameters such as: particularity, practicality and possibility should be considered in this new pedagogy. The first highlights the need to base a novel pedagogy on a particular teacher working with a particular group of students who want to achieve a particular set of objectives in a particular context and who are immersed in a particular socio-cultural environment. In other words, this element of particularity favors local, specific needs that are not intended to be widely generalized and are created in a bottom-up dynamic.

The second principle, practicality, has to do with the need for research. There is no better way to make informed decisions in the educational field than through research. In this regard, action-research appears to be an appropriate type of research that suits the specificity and particularities of every teaching context and situation through permanent and systematic actions of reflection, observation, planning, action and evaluation (Johnson & Christensen 2004; McNiff, 2002: Burns, 2003; Kemmis & Mctaggard, 1988). Together with the principle of practicality, this results in a call for theorizing what is being done as well as putting into practice what has been theorized - all mediated by research. The last section of this paper thus deals with the role that action-research may play in this matter.

Mainly influenced by the work of Paulo Freire, the element of possibility is highly involved in the fundamentals of critical pedagogy. Teachers are required to be aware of the students' socio-cultural conditions as well as of their linguistic needs, so as to offer the possibility to integrate these conditions in their classrooms in a way that is balanced for all. Kumaravadivelu explains how, very often, those socio-cultural needs are opposed to the individuals' linguistic needs, yet he also argues that an appropriate way to join them is by achieving "a deepening awareness both of their social reality that shapes their lives and of their capacity to transform that reality" (Val Manen, 1977 as cited by Kumaravadivelu, 2006: 175)

So far in this paper, I have critically described the role of methods and approaches in the FLT tradition, which in a way, has led us to our current situation in the field - with some undeniable benefits but also with some other limitations- requiring us, as language teacher-researchers, to move forward. I have also brought up the elements of particularity, practically and possibility from Kumaravadivelu's theory in order to call for other locally sensitive educational perspectives of language learning and teaching in our country, echoing the voices of some local scholars who have already discussed this issue (see: Gonzalez, 2007). Next, and considering the Colombian context more directly I shed more light on the discussion by commenting on the tensions between global and local perspectives of language education.


Locally Global

There is a current worldwide tendency towards globalization, yet there is another equally important trend that coexists, diverges and/or is in conflict with the latter; this refers to the search of group and individual identity in a struggle to preserve and maintain cultural differences and particularities (Sabariego, 2002). Acknowledging and accepting the other is paramount to living in a globalized world. At the same time, this demands ongoing inter-cultural dialogue and respect, as well as getting to know and recognizing oneself and including the idea of being part of a "human adventure" as part of self-identity, (Maalouf, 1999 as cited by Sabariego, 2002). In this sense, the educational system constitutes the main source of this negotiation as the means through which we can take actions to meet contextual needs. In other words, we cannot overlook what is local when pursuing globalization. On the contrary, we should start to know ourselves better by understanding others. Thus, education in general and language education in particular should play an important role in this endeavor.

Unfortunately, globalization is causing the world to denigrate local knowledge at the global level, a mirror of modernism in which values such as universality, standardization and being systematic were prized above variability, contingency, diversity and difference (Canagarajah, 2005). This phenomenon has been clearly evidenced in Colombia with a national policy of bilingualism intended to foster citizens' competitiveness, to expand to other markets and increase educational opportunities (Cely, 2007); in other words, the National Program of Bilingualism-NPB has been started as a strategy to respond to globalization. However, one can lately observe how the NPB has evidenced some serious weaknesses in what Canagarajah would call a denigration of local knowledge, shedding light on the failure to consider local individual characteristics. Guerrero (2010) highlights this fact by describing how the negative linguistic and cultural implications for Colombian diversity resulting from the current national policy of bilingualism compare to those taking place during the colonization period. The author explains that decisions concerning the recognition of bilingualism only in Spanish and English alone, mirror the experience of colonization when Spanish Colonizers imposed Spanish as the official language and rejected indigenous languages to facilitate the recognition of their ideologies among the locals. In addition, Gonzalez (2010) critiques that, although Colombia currently has 68 indigenous languages and two Creole languages, it is considered a monolingual country that only recognizes and values Spanish-English Bilingualism.

Similarly, Guerrero (2008), Cárdenas (2006), Sánchez & Obando (2008), Usma (2009) have undertaken studies in which they evaluate the pertinence and appropriateness of the PNB, together with the creation of standards to teach English as the only chosen language to promote bilingualism in the country. These authors explain that the NPB implies and underlines a disregard for the existence of other multiple indigenous languages, as well as the disparity which exists between individuals, communities, opportunities and institutions going against the most valuable view of bilingualism (see: Garcia, 2007). Additionally, these researchers have pointed out the adoption of foreign models, such as the Common European Framework-CEF, as inappropriate. Regarding this issue, Canagarajah (1999) also says that:

For those local teachers who follow pedagogical practices imported from the West or center in a relatively unquestioning manner, lessons may be of limited use to their students, who are asked to conform to procedures and practices toward which neither they nor their teachers feel any sense of ownership. By contrast, where teachers appropriate and reconfigure imported pedagogical practices, combining the global with the local, the results are far more optimal (as cited by Block, 2010:292).

Thus, the underlining idea behind this description of the tension between the local and the global is neither to let the global overshadow the local, nor to ignore the global; instead, it is a matter of considering local characteristics and shortcomings to work on them, in an attempt to respond to globalization demands too. In De Mejia's (2006) words, language teaching actions and policies need to be rooted not only on exolingual interests, but also on endolingual concerns. Colombia has manifest differences in socio-economic, cultural and ethnic characteristics, which should be part of a local perspective of dealing with language teaching and learning. It is well known that Colombian regions differ a great deal from one another. There are linguistic, economic and cultural differences that play a paramount role in the context in which there is the intention to implement English or another foreign language. Zambrano (2006) describes how there has been legal recognition of ethnic and cultural diversity in our country since the passing of the new Colombian Constitution in 1991, This means that Colombia is a multicultural country, which accounts for the range of cultural, ethnic, regional and urban expressions, among others (see also: DANE 2007).

Language teachers are also called to mediate between local and foreign socio-cultural perspectives, in order to promote intercultural communication and awareness (Kramsch, 1998). This mediation highlights the need to form "intercultural speakers"1 (Roberts et al, 2001; Kramsch, 2002; Byram, Nichols, & Stevens, 2001: Byram 1998) who are not only conscious of their own cultural background, but who are also able to globally project by accepting with and interacting in dissimilar cultural frameworks (Cortazzi & Jin 1990; Cruz, 2007).

In terms of language teaching in our country, the initial ideas shared in this article are enhanced, particularly those concerning the reasons why adopting given ELT methods appear to mismatch our Colombian reality. Instead, the suggestion of working from glocal perspectives that rapport with sensitivity toward contextual particularities - as pointed out by Kumaravadivelu and Canagarajahtakes validity. In the end, this proposal represents challenges for language teachers who are called to work out their own plans of professional action rooted in locally suitable practices, which are also pertinent for globalization demands. For example, Gonzalez (2010) states that because Colombia has its own variety of spoken English, mainly in San Andres, it has been recognized as an important cultural element. However, this also implies that the particularities of the context in San Andres demand the creation of pedagogical procedures that go beyond the language teaching methodologies that are insufficient to comply with the socio-cultural and ethnic demands of a trilingual context. Fortunately, teachers count on professional alternatives to respond to these challenges, such as doing research. The systematic study of educational phenomena is seen as one important alternative to make informed decisions about language teaching that consider local characteristics. I want to specially refer to the use of action-research as a type of research that embeds permanent action, observation, reflection and evaluation through which language teachers can truly build context-bound pedagogies enhanced by the post method proposal.


Action Research

Given the premise that the postulates underpinning the different language teaching methods have not proved to be locally-grounded, language teachers are faced with teaching practices that are based on a particular population's needs and wants. In this regard, action research might have a direct impact on what language educators can do to offer opportunities to progress and transform realities. Observation, reflection, action and evaluation should now be at the core of our professional action. Teachers are currently expected not only to teach a language, but also to innovate and look for new alternatives to improve their practices by proposing solutions to problems, implementing them, reflecting on their impact, adapting their action and being in constant search of improvement.

Action research is highlighted here since it is appropriate for locally acting on an issue of interest, a problem or an attempt to change. Action research can be undertaken in almost every work setting, by an individual or a group of teachers, intra-mural or involving other participants such as advisors, sponsors, university departments, etc. (Holly & Whitehead 1986 as cited by Cohen & Manion, 2000). Moreover, it can be used in a variety of areas, such as teaching methods, learning strategies, evaluative procedures, attitudes and values, continuing professional development of teachers, management and control, and administration, without intending to simplify its complex and multifaceted nature (Cohen & Manion, 2000).

By researching, teachers will also be working for their own professional development as producers, not only consumers, of theory. As such, teachers' permanent struggle to advance and improve their professional action will no longer be intuitive and will start being more systematic and influential. Likewise, teachers will be able to make more informed decisions that will be reflected in their everyday practices.

The idea of doing research is also related to the aforementioned principle of possibility. One could state that by doing research, students and teachers would develop more critical perspectives that could have a social impact. For example, in Colombia it is very likely that a teacher will be faced with a range of culturally, socially and economically diverse populations with different possibilities access education, technology, books, and sometimes even food. In this case, it will be a challenge for teachers to make a difference and to try to contribute as much as they can to offer equality in their communities and, thus, empower those underprivileged individuals to be socially included and to intervene actively in their realities (Freire, 1985).


Implications and Conclusions

Traditional teaching methods appear to be insufficient to account for the multifarious and diverse phenomena involved when teaching and learning a language. Language teaching methods are prescriptive in nature and require teachers to accommodate their contextual realities to them (Rogers, 1990). The impact of language teaching methods on the field has been quite important. However, issues like disparity in social, economic, political, cultural and linguistic conditions, hinder the existence of a unique approach to language teaching and learning. (Dornyei, 2010). This paper has described the reasons why, rather than adjusting a reality to a method or an approach, language educators should base their professional practice on the diverse situational features of the setting, community and policies of the teaching and learning environment they are a part of. Thus, teachers' actions should be focused on accounting for difference and diversity in L2 education from a bottom-up perspective.

This reflection has argued that, in order to teach or learn a language, it is necessary to base our actions on principles such as particularity, practicality and possibility; this is particularly true in Colombia. These principles set the ground for building new educational perspectives rooted in local sensitivity, research in general, action research in particular and the teachers' action as agents of change and sources of social equality, inclusion and participation.

For this change to take place, actions need to be taken at the different language teacher education programs around the country. In addition to strengthening their linguistic and communicative competence and their pedagogical skills, pre-service teachers should realize the importance of their future professional action and the huge impact it might have. Our future teachers should be systematically guided towards strengthening their abilities as researchers and generators of innovation and change. The current education system not only requires good teachers who teach, but teachers who propose. This aspect is directly connected to the previous points made in this discussion in the sense that, in order to address language teaching methodology through a bottom-up dynamic, research is required for several reasons: to implement systematic innovation, to reach a better understanding of workplace realities (strengths, limitations, needs, wants, etc), to face teaching challenges, and to qualify the teaching-learning process, among others. At the same time, merely conducting a systematic study of the aforementioned aspects provides the teacher-researchers with tools to make more informed decisions in their professional practices. In this regard, the endeavor consists, above all, of making teachers aware of the importance of doing research and breaking the traditional view of considering teaching activities as only limited to teaching.

In a nutshell, this reflection is a concrete invitation resulting to react critically towards the use of traditional language teaching methods and overarching globalization tendencies, which overlook local contextual particularities. Instead, the suggestion is to mediate teaching practices through a post method pedagogy in which language teaching is seen as context-bound. Ultimately, there is a call for an enlightening work on research to complement language teaching.


1 The concept of Intercultural speaker is used to refer to a person who has the ability to interact with others and to accept other perspectives and perceptions of the world and to develop positive attitudes toward a dissimilar vision of the world.



References

Allwright (1991) The Death of the Method. Allwright, R. L. (1991). (working paper 10). Lancaster England. The University of Lancaster, The Exploratory Practice Centre.

Bax, S. (2003). The End of CLT: A Context Approach to Language Teaching. ELT Journal 57, 3.

Bell, D. (2003). Method and Postmethod :Are They Really So Incompatible? TESOL QUARTERLY Vol. 37, No. 2, 325-337.

Burns, A. (2003). Collaborative Action Research for English Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambrigde University Press.

Brown, H. D. (2002). English Language Teaching in the "Post-Method" Era: Towards Better Diagnosis, Treatment, and Assessment. In J. C. Richards & W. A. Renandya (Eds.), Methodology in language teaching (9-18). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Block, D. (2010) Globalization and Language Teaching. In: Coupland, N. The Habdbook of Language and Globalization. U.K. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Byram, M. (1998) Cultural Studies in Foreign Language Education. Clevedon: Multicultural Matters.

Byram, M., Nichols, A., & Stevens, D. (2001). Developing Intercultural Competence in Practice. UK. Multilingual Matters.

Canagarajah. S. (2005), Reclaiming the Local in Language Policy and Practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Cardenas, M. (2006). Bilingual Colombia: Are We Ready for it? What is Needed? 19th Annual EA Education Conference.

Cely, R. (2007). Programa Nacional de Bilingüismo: En búsqueda de la calidad en educación. In: Revista Internacional Magisterio: Educación y pedagogia. N. 25. Pag. 20-23.

Cohen, L & Manion, L. (2000) Research Methods in Education. 5th Edition. London: Routledge Falmer.

Cruz, F. (2007). Broadening Minds: Exploring Intercultural Undesrtanding in Adult(?) EFL Learners. In Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal. N. 9. Pag. 144- 173.

DANE, (2007). Colombia: Una Nación multicultural. Colombia, DANE.

Dornyei, Z. (2009). The Psychology of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

De Mejia, A.M. (2006). Bilingual Education in Colombia: Towards a Recognition of Languages, Cultures and Identities. Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J.

Freire, P. (1985). The politics of Education: Culture, Power and Liberation .USA. Bergin & Garvey Publishers, Inc.

Garcia, O. (2009) Bilingual Education in the 21st Century:A Global Perspective. UK. Blackwell Publishing.

Gonzalez, A. (2007). Professional Development of EFL Teachers in Colombia: Between Colonioal Discourses and Local Practices. Ikala, Revista de Lenguaje y Cultura 12, (18), 309-332.

Gonzalez, A. (2009). On Alternative and Additional Certifications in English Language Teaching: The Case of Colombian EFL Teachers' Professional Development. Ikala, Revista de Lenguaje y Cultura 12, (22), 183-209.

Gonzalez, A. (2010). English and English teaching in Colombia: Tensions and possibilities in the expanding circle" The Routlegde Handbook Of World Englishes:Great Britain. Routledge.

Guerrero, C (2010). Language Policies in Colombia: The nherited Disdain for our Native Langages. How Journal; 16, 11-24.

Guerrero, C (2008) Bilingual Colombia: What does it mean to Be Bilingual within the Framework of the National Plan of Bilingualism. In PROFILE 9, Bogotá, Colombia. Pages 27-45.

Graddol, D. (2006). English Next. UK. The English Company Ltda.

Johnson, B. & Christensen, L. (2004). Educational research: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches. USA: Pearson Education Inc.

Kemmis, S., & McTaggart, R. (1988). The Action Research Planner. Melbourne: Deakin University

Kramsch, C (2002). The Priviledge of the Intercultural Speaker. In: Byram; M. & Fleming, M. Language learning in intercultural perspective. United Kingdom. Cambridge University Press.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (1994). The postmethod condition: (E)merging strategies for second/foreign language teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 28, 177-180.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2003). Beyond Methods: Macrostrategies For Language Teaching. London. Yale University Press.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006a) Understanding Language Teaching: From Method to post-Method. New Jersey Lawrence Earlbaun Associates Inc.

Kumaravadivelu (2006b). TESOL Methods: Changing Tracks,Challenging Trends. TEASOL Quaterly, 40,59-81.

Lasern-Freeman, D. (2000). Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching. 2nd Edition. Oxford. Oxford University Press.

McNiff, J. (2002). Action research for professional development. Concise advice for new action researchers. Retrieved March 10, 2012 from: http://www.jeanmcniff.com.

MEN (2005). Bases para una Nación Bilingüe y Competitiva. Retrieved March 11, 2012 from: http://www.mineducacion.gov.co/1621/article-97498.html

Quintero, A. (2007). The place of Language Teachers' Decision making in the Hierarchy of Planning Functions in the Language-Teaching Operation. AsOCOPI Newsletter, March, 2007, 8-9. Retrieved March 8, 2012 from: http://www.asocopi.org/files/newsletter_march_2007.pdf.

Reyes, L. (2009). An Ecological Perspective on Minority and Majority Language and Literacy Communities in the Americas. Colombian Applied Linguistics journal 11; 106-114.

Richards, J. & Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.

Roberts, C. et al. (2001) Language Learners as Ethnographers. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Rodgers, T. (1990). After Methods What?. In Anivan, S. Language Teaching Methodology for the Nineties. USA. Sameo Regional Language Centre.

Sabariego, M. (2002). La educación Intercultural: Ante los Retos del Siglo XXI. España. Editorial Desclee De Brouwer, S.A.

Saengboon, S. (2010). Post-Method Pedagogy and Thai EFL Teachers: Opportunities and Challenges. Retrirved 7 March from: http://www.lscac.msu.ac.th/book/167.pdf

Sanchez, A. & Obando, G. (2008), Is Colombia ready for bilingualism? In PROFILE 9, 181-195.

Usma, J. Globalization and Language and Education Reform in Colombia. Ikala, Revista de Lenguaje y Cultura 14, (22), 19-42.

Zambrano, V. (2006) Ejes Políticos de la Diversidad Cultural. Bogotá. Siglo del hombre Editores. Universidad Nacional de Colombia.






Indexada en: ISI - SciELO Citation Index, SciELORedalycHINARIPublindex (B), EBSCO-Fuente Académica, Ulrich's, Google AcadémicoDialnetCLASELatindexBiblioteca Digital OEIProQuest - Education Journals, ISI Web of Science

Correo electrónico: educacion.educadores@unisabana.edu.co
Canje: canje.biblioteca@unisabana.edu.co