L2: Volume 8 Issue 4

Transdisciplinary Approaches to Language Learning and Teaching in Transnational Times: Introduction to the Special Issue

The initial ideas for this special issue transpired from an invited symposium panel, “Interdisciplinary Approaches for Language Teaching and Learning in Contemporary and Transnational Spaces,” that I organized for the 2014 AILA (Association Internationale de la Linguistique Appliquée) World Congress in Brisbane, Australia. With the acceleration of globalization, mobility, technological change, and the continued rise of youth with transnational identities and complex linguistic practices, I was compelled to talk about the need for …

Reconceptualising Learning in Transdisciplinary Languages Education

Understanding and working with the complexity of second language learning and use in an intercultural orientation necessitates a re-examination of the different theories of learning that inform the different schools of second language acquisition (SLA). This re-examination takes place in a context where explicitly conceptualizing the nature of learning in SLA has not been sufficiently foregrounded. It also necessitates understanding how language itself, as the substance or object of learning a second language, is conceptualized. Neither the theorization of learning, nor of language on its own is sufficient to provide an adequate account of second language learning for contemporary times. In particular, this paper argues …

A Transdisciplinary Approach to Examining and Confidence-Boosting the Experiences of Chinese Teachers of Chinese in Finland

With the current rise of China as a political, cultural, and economic superpower, Chinese as a foreign and second language has gained popularity worldwide. Finland is also responding to this global wave, as is reflected by the increasing number of Chinese courses in formal and informal settings in the Nordic country. Yet not all actors involved in the promotion of Chinese seem to experience instruction in the language in the same way. This study investigates how Chinese teachers of the Chinese language, who represent the majority of the ‘workforce’ for instruction in this language in Finland, perceive Chinese language education and their role in it…

Translations and Paradoxes of ‘Western’ Pedagogy: Perspectives of English Language Teachers in a Chinese College

This paper engages the perspectives of teachers working in an English language department of a vocational college in China. It takes a transdisciplinary approach, applying constructs from the fields of comparative education, postcolonial theories in education, and critical applied linguistics to a case study of English language teaching; while the study assumes somewhat one-way flows of ‘best practices’ from ‘West’ to ‘East,’ it maintains a postcolonial skepticism of the East-West binary and of essentialist notions of culture and progressive education. Specifically, it situates the shifting conditions and practices of so-called Western pedagogies in China under heightened transnationalism …

Whose ‘Crisis in Language’? Translating and the Futurity of Foreign Language Learning

This contribution questions to whom and to whose learning experience has the idiom of crisis that so pervades the domain of U.S. foreign language teaching been addressed. The authors report on an advanced foreign language classroom-based study from 2013, in which undergraduate German learners translated a 14-page prose poem about translingual experience—“Das Klangtal” (“The Sound Valley”) by British-Austrian poet and translator Peter Waterhouse (2003). The course—located at a university in the American Southwest—created an opportunity for the students and the instructor to reflect on a constellation of relations—transdisciplinarity, translingualism, and transcontextuality—often perceived under the aegis of a “crisis” of the subject. Through an analysis of the students’ reflections as translators, readers, and languagers, the study considers …

Localizing the Transdisciplinary in Practice: A Teaching Account of a Prototype Undergraduate Seminar on Linguistic Landscape

Building upon paradigms of language and languaging practices as local phenomena (Canagarajah, 2013; Pennycook, 2010, Pietikäinen & Kelly-Holmes, 2013), this paper narrates a teacher’s experience in an undergraduate seminar in applied language studies as an exploration in transdisciplinarity-as-localization. Taught by the author in 2012-2013, the seminar was intended as an introduction to the politics of societal multilingualism as visible in the linguistic landscape of public texts. As such, it relied upon …