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Bridging Contexts, Making connections

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The Future of Foreign Language Educators: Are We on Our Way to Becoming Dodos?

Timothy G. Reagan, Central Connecticut State University


Abstract

Language teachers – whether we call ourselves foreign language educators, second language educators, world language educators, modern or classical language educators, bilingual educators, or teachers of English to speakers of other languages, share a difficult position in the contemporary world. Some of us, of course, are in worse shape than others – the market for TESOL instructors remains strong, as does that for Spanish teachers here in United States, while locally the market for teachers of German and Russian is, to put it mildly, not good. However, we are, in a number of ways, all in this together. I am concerned that language education continues to be marginalized in important ways – marginalized not only by students, but also by parents, colleagues in other disciplines, and policy-makers. I will divide my comments in this presentation into two broad sections: those dealing explicitly with the issues of second language education in the United States (and, to a lesser extent, in other essentially Anglophone countries), and then to the challenges being faced by TESOL educators, especially in non-Anglophone contexts. The underlying argument presented will be that there are very compelling arguments for language study, though not necessarily those which have been historically offered by language educators. The perspective taken will be informed by critical studies in general, and by critical applied linguistics in particular.


Timothy ReaganTimothy G. Reagan
Professor,
School of Education and Professional Studies
Central Connecticut State University

Timothy G. Reagan, Ph.D., is currently Professor of Educational Leadership at Central Connecticut State University. He has also served on the faculty of Gallaudet University, as the Executive Associate Dean of the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, as the Dean of the School of Education at Roger Williams University, and as the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. His research interests are focused primarily on issues of language and culture in education. He has published over 125 articles and book chapters. In addition, he has authored a number of books in the field, including The foreign language educator in society: Toward a critical pedagogy (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, with T. Osborn), Language, education and ideology: Mapping the linguistic landscape of U.S. schools (Praeger), Non-western educational traditions: Indigenous approaches to educational thought and practice (three editions, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates), and Critical questions, critical perspectives: Language and the second language educator (Information Age Publishers).

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