This study draws upon Mindful L2 Teacher Education (Johnson & Golombek, 2016) to explore how volunteer community tutors of adult English as a Second Language (ESL) conceptualize and enact their roles as creative teachers. Through three case studies, I explore community language teachers’ pre-understandings, contradictions, and growth points. Findings revealed that tutors felt obligated to use survival ESL and grammar-based frameworks for teaching. Contradictions included their frustration with inconsistent student attendance, their fatigue creating lessons, and their feelings of isolation. Research on teacher education for community volunteers is important so that volunteers feel emotionally and pedagogically supported as they commit to teaching learners who otherwise might not have access to language instruction, including adults with immigrant and refugee backgrounds.
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This paper focuses on critical pedagogy and EFL teacher education and it argues that it would be unrealistic to expect students who have been educated through traditional university curricula (aiming to deliver content through a ‘banking model’) to become critical foreign language teachers and educators. The education of future teachers requires new university curricula which view literacy as a critical social practice and prepare them through transformative pedagogies, encouraging them to examine critically their values and beliefs by developing a reflexive knowledge base, an appreciation for multiple perspectives and a sense of critical consciousness and agency. Based on this premise, the article presents the case of Genres in English, an undergraduate language course at the Department of English Language and Literature of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, aiming to raise students’ critical literacy. Using the tools of Systemic Functional Grammar and drawing on a genre-based approach to writing development, the course initially invites students to take up the role of critical text analysts deconstructing academic and media texts and at a later stage to engage in a popularization of science writing task mediating information from an academic to a media text. Through language tasks which approach genres as historical constructs, students are introduced to the ideological nature of discourses and genres and they explore the conditions of production, distribution and consumption of texts. To evaluate the effectiveness of this approach, the paper presents the findings from a small-scale research conducted with students who have attended the course.
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