Building small-t theories
Just a note to say that next Saturaday I will be delivering a talk at an event organised by a professional association (the Panhellenic Association of State Schools Teachers of English). The overarching theme of the event is “Empowering Language Learning and Teaching”, and I will be talking about how my conceptual framework of ELT in Greece can be used to inform reflection-on-practice.
This talk aims to contribute towards teacher empowerment by putting forward a conceptual framework that facilitates critical reflection. It will be argued that the prevailing model of professional development (applied science) encourages a counter-productive divide between theory and practice, and tends to be insufficiently sensitive to local contextual influences. A bottom-up process of structured reflection about practice (theorising) is suggested as an alternative form of professional development. To provide structure for this reflective process, a conceptual model will be presented, which synthesises traditional, modern and post-modern perspectives on teaching. The process of theorising will be exemplified by reference to typical examples of teachers’ public discourse. Using such discourse as a starting point and the proposed framework as scaffolding, theorising will focus on the content, practices and the aims of language instruction. The presentation will conclude by discussing affordances and limitations of theorising on practice.
The full citation is: Kostoulas, A. (2011). From applying Theory to theorising practice: building small-t theories in Greek TESOL. Talk (to be) delivered at the Panhellenic Association of State Schools Teachers of English (PEKADE) professional development day “Empowering Language Teaching and Learning”. Athens, Greece: October 2011.