Critical Research in English Language Teaching

  • Christian W. ChunEmail author
  • Brian Morgan
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


Over the past 30 years, the critical “turn” in ELT has had notable accomplishments with much work yet to be done. The ambition has been to disrupt conventional practices and habits of thought, utilizing this newfound perspective for its transformative potential both within and beyond the classroom. In this spirit, the authors intend to engage readers through a chapter structured in the form of extended dialogues with the additional aim of prompting further discussions on critical research and practices in ELT. This chapter addresses the research conducted from a variety of critical perspectives in ELT and its impacts on actual classroom practices. The authors first explore what it means to be “critical” for current times marked by growing economic disparities, environmental degradation, and hyper nationalism and its concomitant hostilities towards racial, ethnic, and religious others. They then situate criticality in the field of ELT with a review of previous research done on language, identity, discourse, and power; they then discuss the emergence of new areas of research, in particular, neoliberal capitalism. The final section concludes by exploring teaching challenges in seeking new critical pedagogies and twenty-first century literacies needed for both teachers and English language learners facing uncertain times in a post-democratic age.


Critical pedagogy Identity Discourse Power Neoliberalism Language learning 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied LinguisticsCollege of Liberal Arts, University of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of English StudiesGlendon College, York UniversityTorontoCanada

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