Academic journal article HOW - A Colombian Journal for Teachers of English

Fostering Skills to Enhance Critical Educators: A Pedagogical Proposal for Pre-Service Teachers/fomentando Habilidades Para Preparar a Educadores Criticos: Una Propuesta Pedagogica Para Profesores En Formacion

Academic journal article HOW - A Colombian Journal for Teachers of English

Fostering Skills to Enhance Critical Educators: A Pedagogical Proposal for Pre-Service Teachers/fomentando Habilidades Para Preparar a Educadores Criticos: Una Propuesta Pedagogica Para Profesores En Formacion

Article excerpt

Introduction

Our intention with this pedagogical proposal is to motivate teacher-educators to utilize movies about education and to enhance reflection on issues such as power relationships, stereotypes, gender, individuality, resistance, etc. As teacher-educators we consider that we need to be proactive while watching a movie and then reactive after watching it.

The importance of this pedagogical proposal for professors in English teaching programs lies in the fact that we need to foster in pre-service English teachers the idea that teaching English is not only related to the structural aspects of the English language, but that it also accounts for the social dimension English language teaching implies.

This pedagogical proposal is also important for our context, the School of Languages at Universidad Pedagogica y Tecnologica de Colombia in Tunja, due to the fact that the pre-service teachers enrolled in this institution will mainly work in public or private schools either in cities or in rural areas. For this reason, pre-service teachers need to understand the social dimension of the context they will face. These pre-service teachers may find a mixture of students in their classrooms coming from different backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, ethnicities and religious beliefs. Discussing educational topics portrayed in movies and readings will help pre-service teachers become acquainted with and reflect upon real challenges that schools face.

Although movies about educational elements tend to stereotype certain behaviors, such as the roles of teachers, students, administrators, and parents, films related to the school environment are not far from the reality of society. These movies are full of samples of what occurs on a daily basis in school settings, and they represent educational culture. Dalton (2004) mentions that popular culture is an important and often overlooked source of social knowledge. That knowledge is created by constructs played out in the mass media. For this reason, we selected an assortment of movies that not only allows the audience to perceive how popular culture inside schools is represented in movie plots, but that these movies also encourage the audience to question the way some issues are dealt with in educational settings.

This pedagogical proposal was based on six different films: The Chorus, Not One Less, School of Rock, Radio, The Principal, and Mr. Holland's Opus. We analyzed these movies through the lenses of critical theory for classroom practice as established by Kanpol (1999).

Firstly, our intention with this article is to present to the reader the theoretical foundations on which we based our pedagogical proposal: pre-service teachers and the role of reflection, critical theory for classroom practice, and the role of films in the EFL classroom to promote reflection. Secondly, we introduce the pedagogical proposal based on films and readings about critical pedagogy. Thirdly, we account for the results of the proposal. Lastly, we include some pedagogical implications and conclusions about the effects of this proposal.

Literature Review

To support this pedagogical proposal three main concepts are considered below: pre-service teachers and the role of reflection, critical theory for classroom practice, and films in the EFL classroom and their role in promoting reflection.

Pre-service Teachers and the Role of Reflection

As educators of future teachers, we decided to bring films about education into the classroom to promote discussions about critical aspects in the field of education. "At their best, video presentations will be intrinsically interesting to language learners. The learner will want to watch, even if comprehension is limited. The material should be motivating; the learner should want to see more, to ask questions, to follow up ideas and suggestions" (Lonergan, 1994, p. 5). As part of watching films about education, we truly believe that discussion has to be generated among the audience in order to clarify doubts and perceive different points of view among the pre-service teachers. …

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