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ERIC Number: EJ1129192
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0005-3503
Powerful Pedagogies in Languages Education
Orton, Jane
Babel, v50 n2-3 p6-13 2015
In recent debates about curriculum, Young (2008, p. 101) has proposed school learning must involve initiation into the "powerful knowledge" of the disciplines that underpin subject domains, thereby "giving students the tools to think the unthinkable". Opponents query whether such knowledge is available in subjects such as modern languages, or propose that accessing powerful knowledge is only a potential of subjects, and that its realisation rests on the use of powerful pedagogies (Roberts, 2010; White, 2013). At the espoused level, the powerful concepts to be met in language learning are clearly recognised in the curricula of English speaking countries; yet in practice, modern languages education in these countries is a failing enterprise, empowering few to approach the hitherto unthinkable. A key factor in this is the impoverished preparation of language teachers in short, generic programs. The lack of thorough professional education precludes teacher candidates developing the ability to teach powerfully, the product as Schoenfeld (2014, p.405) puts it, of a deep understanding of their specific language and culture and skilled use of personal and material resources so as "to create procedures, concepts and contexts in the classroom that reflect that understanding, engage students in the issues, and lead them beyond their current experience"; and in doing this, "to create and maintain an environment of productive intellectual challenge that is conducive to the linguistic development of all the students in the room." If it is not to see its aspirational hopes wither, the field of modern languages education needs to unite in modelling in its own practices and the commercial resources it accepts to employ, the powerful pedagogies it espouses in its school curricula, and to fight for the conditions in which realising them would be possible.
Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations. Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Tel: +61-29351-2022; e-mail:; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A