Radical language teaching
Graham Crookes, University of Hawai’i
Over the centuries and across numerous civilizations, language teaching and learning has often had associations with concentrations of power. Structures and systems for the teaching of languages have often worked to distribute resources under conditions of scarcity and to extend the reach of sets of ideas; people have sought to learn languages to gain access to power and to resist oppression, and people have tried to teach languages so as to gain control or extend influence over others. In these guises language teaching is as political as any other domain of education—and possibly more so because of the role of language in the formation of identities and its implication in ideologies. In this chapter I review understandings of language teaching that emphasize this perspective and concern themselves with values opposed to those of a supposed “mainstream”.
The idea of a particular kind of language teaching being associated with values (anti-imperial, anti-feudal, anti-patriarchal, anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-heterosexist, etc), opposed to those promoted by elites as “mainstream” is mainly possible only in association with the rise of language teaching as an identifiable enterprise both within mass education but also somewhat distinct from it (i.e., capable of being carried out in proprietary schools in which no other subject is taught; within independent alternative schools; or within structures of specialized semi-autonomous adult education, such as refugee camps and literacy campaigns). So generally speaking it was not until the latter part of the twentieth century that language teaching was sufficiently self-aware to conceive of itself, as a professional field, as having political agendas; and within them, to conceive of the possibility of some of this work as having a radical orientation.
I will use the word “radical” to gather together various strands of thought, primarily opposed to oppressive forces in societies, which a few language teaching specialists have drawn upon in developing curriculum theory and instructional practice. The most prominent line within this area of our field is associated with the popular term “critical”, but following Gore (1998), and with particular reference to the second most prominent subdomain within the area under consideration here, namely feminist approaches to learning and teaching, the term “radical” allows these two trends to be encompassed under a heading which reflects their association, without privileging any one of them. In addition, since “critical” has often been associated with one prominent political analysis tradition deriving from Marxian ideas, even though there are others that should also be considered, a broader term is obviously helpful. In order to encompass the full range of perspectives deserving treatment here, I begin the body of this chapter by way of some extended historical background pertaining to radical education overall, before narrowing down to language-related aspects of the topic.
2 Historical background to radical education
The French revolution (1789) brought about the first large-scale modern initiatives in state education intended to foster a radical social consciousness, with many of the distinctive characteristics that were to manifest in subsequent radical educational initiatives. As with the Revolution, these initiatives were not long-lasting. During the 19th century, as Europe continued to move through a period of upheaval, forces further to the left than the liberal movement began to gain strength as a growing working class and a rural peasantry were increasingly radicalized. The most prominent international organization with a radical agenda split between followers of Marx and of Bakunin, with regard to the emphasis on control or freedom that was to characterize the subsequent distinction between communists and anarchists. But at this time, these prominent radicals agreed on one thing: an opposition to existing incipient forms of state education. Both early Marxists and libertarian socialists assumed that any existing state would control education to the disadvantage of emancipatory forces. At a time when state education was not yet widespread and all-encompassing, and state bureaucracies not so powerful, calls for independent radical schools were not impractical.
By the middle of the 19th century, some schools, notably in France, made use of or allied themselves with the anti-authoritarian tendencies I have just alluded to, which at this time were going under the heading "libertarian" (even though previously they might have used a term such as "anarchist", associated with the theorist and activist Proudhon). They drew on the concept of "integral education"—education for both mind and body, with a vocational character, and sympathetic to the position of working people. It was intended to be anti-individualist, de-centralized, and cooperative; and involved adult as well as child education. These ideas about the content and structure of schools were taken to Spain by Francisco Ferrer, who was successful in popularizing them during the first decade of the 20th century (Avrich, 1980, p. 26, in Smith, 1983). Ferrer also established an associated international organization, and journals and periodicals spread the ideas. In 1909, Ferrer was tried on false charges by the Spanish authorities for political reasons and executed, which served to spread his ideas further. Ferrer schools were started all over Europe, and in South America, China and Japan. "The most vigorous response of all came from the United States" (Smith, 1983, p. 6). According to Smith, during this period the growth of radical ideas and "syndicalism" (i.e., trade union activity) among teachers in state schools led to "the argument that state schools could be reformed along libertarian lines from within" (p. 13). In theorizing the Modern School, Ferrer (e.g., 1913) pulled together many ideas that were radical at their time but are commonplace nowadays: coeducation, active learning, a scientific approach (inquiry and data analysis) applied throughout the curriculum, the same emphasis on the practical as well as the theoretical, and the use of the actual environment as a learning medium (resource centers, school trips, and the like).
In this line of discussion, Smith (1983) sees a gradual move away from the vocational emphasis of early integral education towards the theoretical development of a general core curriculum that would be consistent with anarchist or libertarian principles. This he finds in the educational writings of Kropotkin (e.g., 1899) and also of Tolstoy (1967) who was actively involved in running an experimental school for several years. These two authors emphasized intrinsic motivation, and positive conditions in schools leading naturally to learning, without much needed in the way of direct instruction or external (punishment or reward) motivation. These positive conditions related to (a) the "love, support and emotional encouragement" of students, and (b) freedom—an absence of coercion, an "approach to the freer conditions in which cultural learning took place" and a redefinition of the teacher-student relationship to one more egalitarian, in light of that concern with freedom (Smith, 1983, p. 72). Particularly important for language teaching specialists, theorists in this line, whether of the 19th century or the 20th (e.g., Neill, 1960; Holt, 1976) recognize a natural inclination on the part of children (at least) to learn, believe that that students can "naturally" organize their learning experiences, and will indeed learn in a somewhat unconscious and natural way if placed in the right educational environment. For example, Goodman (in Lister, 1974) was one of a number of such theorists to hold up L1 acquisition as characteristic of the kind of natural learning that he and other radical educators in this line wanted to see generalized to all kinds of learning. Holt in particular looked to the "natural" characteristics of child development, and to children's natural and persistent behavior to explore and thereby learn the world around them (including the language around them) as a basic model for the kind of learning they wanted to see in schools.
The emphasis on egalitarian and supportive relations between teacher and student, on a group orientation, and on non-directive pedagogical techniques were certainly radical when they first manifested themselves in free schools and the Modern School movement of the late 19th century. But with the considerable social changes that took place during the 20th century and accelerated during the 1960s, by 1976 Holt was able to find what he regarded as an excellent example of a pedagogy that respected the natural processes of learning (exemplified in L1 acquisition) in some state elementary schools (he refers to those of Denmark). Smith's further theorizing of this places the emphasis on shifting the function of teaching from direct instruction to the provision of feedback. Using the terms of psycholinguist Goodman (1967; later incorporated into such developments as the Whole Language Approach) he notes that for the teacher, "the problem is how to fit in with the psycholinguistic guessing game" involved in learning to read. "Teaching functions take the character of feedback… designed to help a learner improve on an already existing performance. The learner makes his move first and only then can the teacher offer advice….The teacher should not talk too much, and must respond to the developmental needs of the learner" (ibid., p. 84). Learner initiative and choice are to be emphasized, as means of developing and nurturing the free will that is crucial for individual freedom.
I have mentioned the divergence between the two early traditions of radicalism. The concepts of sociopolitical critique and anti-authoritarianism were unified for one part of the old left (anarchism) but not for the other (communism). Considering the latter during the historical period just reviewed, studies of education in the Soviet Union comment that despite early attempts in the 1920s which reformed education in progressive and Montessori-like directions (along with the abolition of uniforms, examinations, grades, etc), subsequently under Stalinist influence and with the desire to build a strong state through state education, political critique ceased to manifest interest in freedom at the classroom level or within the organization of schools.
The existence of authoritarian state socialism ensured that even outside of communist countries, the availability of Marxian lines of sociopolitical critique was much greater than of those inspired by Proudhon or Bakunin; and relatedly, they manifested a greater degree of academic development. So despite the non-existence of radical education in communist countries, educational philosophy of the 20th century that drew on alternative social theories, and on critiques of existing political systems, tended to draw on developments of Marxian theories (to which I now turn).
3 Developments under the heading “critical”
Contrary to the expectations of Marxist-inspired actors and analysts, elements of socialist forms of political organization flickered in and out of existence but were not long-lasting, and by the middle of the 20th century, theorists who continued to develop this theoretical position revised pre-existing Marxian social theory in a variety of directions. Among these, a prominent group of alternative social theorists adopted the label "critical theory". Influenced by them and by progressive and radical educational practices available by mid-century, a theory and practice of curriculum and instruction intended to be in accord with radical efforts for social change was developed, in Brazil in the 1960s, by Paulo Freire—"critical pedagogy". For some specialists (e.g., Shotton, 1992; Smith, 1983; Spring, 1975, 1994) this, in its opposition to oppression of all kinds, was sufficiently akin to the libertarian traditions mentioned earlier as to be discussed alongside them. It is this educational tradition that has become most popular among language teaching specialists drawing on radical social philosophy. It is not surprising that it has had considerable influence within language teaching, because unlike other non-mainstream educational traditions, it begins with and is directly concerned with language, specifically literacy; not only that, but it takes culture as its central focus; and it was initially located outside the main state sector in an area hospitable to alternatives—adult education.
Low literacy rates and poverty have tended to go hand in hand, and throughout the latter half of the 20th century, many agencies in poorer countries have worked within adult education systems to try to foster greater literacy. In understanding the development of the critical pedagogy movement, the early pedagogy of adult literacy is an intriguing precursor. In South America, after World War Two, the Catholic Church became radicalized, and began to more strongly articulate the critique of material society that is implicit in some Christian teachings (liberation theology). Various strands of influence, including both Christian and socialist, were taken up and developed in literacy education and practice by Freire. In Brazil, citizens had to pass a literacy test in order to have a vote; typically the poor were thus disenfranchised, so literacy education became an important means of fostering peaceful social and political change there. Unfortunately, as some say, if voting led to radical social change it would be made illegal, and so it more or less proved in this case. Following a right-wing coup, Freire was first imprisoned and then exiled. As a result, circulating in the English-speaking world from the late 1960s on (to an extent that they did not, at first, in Brazilian Portuguese or Spanish-using areas), Freire's ideas entered foreign language education and ESL education from the mid 1970s on. Taylor (1993, pp. 73-74) provides the following comments concerning some of Freire's sources:
The genius of Freire was to bring together a range of pedagogies and learning/teaching techniques to create a method of teaching which is now known throughout the world as the 'Método Paulo Freire', a method which is both a process of literacy acquisition and a process of conscientization. It is based on the simple but fundamental technique of problematizing or 'problem posing', and is therefore the antithesis of Banking Education which seeks solutions or gives answers. It consists of daring to interrogate what is given, bringing into question known structures, and examining conventional or taken-for-granted 'explanations' of reality. It discovers and then reacts to possibility of 'contradiction', identifying ways in which things can be said, done, or exist differently.
In Education: The Practice of Freedom, [1967/1974] Freire explains the details of his method which has changed very little over the years. It is a three-stage investigation, which poses three fundamentally different questions. First, there is a NAMING stage where one asks the question: what is the problem, what is the questions under discussion? Second, there is a REFLECTION stage: why is this the case? How do we explain this situation? Finally, there is the ACTION stage: what can be done to change this situation? What options do we have?
"It is a permanent, critical approach to reality in order to discover it and discover the myths that deceive us and help us to maintain the oppressive, dehumanizing structures. It leaves nobody inactive. It implies that people take the role of agents, makers and remakers of the world." (Freire, 1971, p. 24)
The three-stage structure of the method, however, was not Freire's creation. It parallels a process popular in the 1960s within the Basic Ecclesiastic Communities (Comunidades Eclesiales de Base: CEB) in Brazil. As the basis of the social education programme, especially in the literacy campaign broadcast nationwide by the Church's Basic Education Movement (MEB), they used a method known widely as See-Judge-Act: what is the case, why is it so, and what can be done about it?
4 Critical pedagogy in second and foreign language areas
Although Freire complained about formulations (and critiques) of his ideas that implied some fixed "Freire Method", an initial understanding of what his ideas imply for practice can clearly be obtained from a sketch of the typical procedures he instituted in literacy classes. For him, it was very important that the curriculum begin with the concerns and issues of the students. For beginning literacy, the core words should relate to the issues of the students' life and the things in their life that were problematic, which they might be able to change and improve through the tool of literacy and the changed consciousness that would come from that. When literacy courses were delivered within the students' home communities, the instructional team spent time living in the community, to develop an ethnographically-grounded basis for the curriculum. A characteristic feature is the use of visual images (pictures or later, photos) of certain aspects of the students' life. But in addition, since one underlying goal of the approach is to foster the freedom of the students, the students themselves play a substantial role in the development of curriculum content and even materials. The pictures, for example, are used as projective devices; through commenting on them and discussing them, students develop or articulate some aspects of the topics or language content they wish to learn, that they wish to be able to command.
One of the first S/FL specialists to research and develop the application of these ideas to FL language teaching was Crawford, in her 1978 dissertation. There she identified 20 key principles, from which I excerpt the following as illustrative:
a) the purpose of education is to develop critical thinking by presenting [students’] situation to them as a problem so that they can perceive, reflect and act on it.
b) the content of curriculum derives from the life situation of the learners as expressed in the themes of their reality
c) the learners produce their own learning materials
d) the task of planning is first to organize generative themes and second to organize subject matter as it relates to those themes
e) the teacher participates as a learner among learners
f) the teacher contributes his/her ideas, experiences, opinions, and perceptions to the dialogical process
g) the teacher’s function is one of posing problems
h) the students possess the right to and power of decision making
At the same time, the first manifestations of this line of curriculum theory began to appear in the ESL literature (Moriarty & Wallerstein (1979, 1980; Wallerstein, 1983a,b,c).
Since these early beginnings, the literature of critical pedagogy in our field has gone on to develop two main strands, which parallel developments in mainstream critical pedagogy. There are the more abstract sociopolitical critiques: in the mainstream area, of Giroux (e.g., 1983) and McLaren (e.g., 1994)—in language teaching, in for example the work of Pennycook (e.g., 2001). And then there are more practical discussions of classrooms, instructional practices and materials. In mainstream critical pedagogy these descend fairly directly from Freire's own work and also of his sometime co-author Shor (e.g., Shor & Freire, 1987; Shor, 1992). In language teaching this sort of discussion and accounts of practice are most obviously prominent in the work of Auerbach, Benesch (e.g., 1996), and Morgan (e.g., 1998). And as Freire was from the third world and advised anticolonial governments in Africa, it is noteworthy that critical S/FL pedagogy has its own anti- or postcolonial wing (e.g.,, Canagarajah, 2002).
5 Feminist pedagogy and language teaching
Feminism, as a movement for radical social change, is based on "the central premise” (Lather, 1987/1994, p. 242) “that gender is a basic organizing principle of all known societies and that, along with race, class, and the sheer specificity of historical circumstance, it profoundly shapes/mediates the concrete conditions of our lives". It includes the position that most cultures in history, including to a substantial extent present western culture, are or have been patriarchal, in the sense of the word that concerns “a society or culture in which men tend to be in positions of authority and cultural values and norms are seen as favouring men” (Oxford English Dictionary).
In the 1960s, feminism developed a “second wave” (the first having been active particularly from the late 1800s on and having obtained suffrage through direct action and a range of engagement with organized institutional political structures). Second wave feminism made substantial use of “consciouness-raising groups”, themselves presumably taking off from the encounter group movement (based in humanist psychology and existential philosophy); these small groups were places for women to review their thinking and develop a revised self-concept as well as, often, a program of action. They were in a sense educational; they were certainly sites for self-education. This experience seems to have come into contact with the critical pedagogy tradition, and led to a development of a feminist pedagogy which drew from Freirean ideas while fairly quickly presenting a substantial critique of them (as patriarchal, notably through their failure to recognize gender as a site of oppression).
Within this overall framework, curriculum occupies (as ever) a central place. Noted feminist scholar Tetrault (2004; see also Maher & Tetrault, 2001) identifies four phases of curriculum development that might be passed through on the way to a feminist pedagogy. In the first, male-defined curriculum, it is assumed that male experience is universal. In the second, a “contribution curriculum”, women are token figures, tossed in as indicative of women’s “contribution”. Tetrault’s third variant is the “bifocal” curriculum. This is “open to the possibility of seeing the world through women’s eyes”, but “thinking about women and men is dualistic and dichotomized” (p. 167). Fourth, in “women’s curriculum” it is “women’s activities, not men’s, [that] are the measure of significance.” Within this most recent area of development, a “pluralistic conceptualization of women” is called for... Historians ask how the particulars of race, ethnicity, social class, marital status, and sexual orientation challenge the homogeneity of women’s experiences. Third World feminists critique hegemonic ‘Western’ feminisms and formulate [alternatives]...”. The fifth and final phase is “gender-balanced curriculum”. This is “conscious of the limitations of seeing women in isolation and aware of the relational character of gender”, and in it, the “pluralistic and multifocal conception of women that emerged” in the previous phase “is extended to [all] human beings”. In this sense, it reflects an inclusive feminism (hooks, 1989; cf. Zack, 2005), in which what is good for women is most likely good for men too.
Narrowing now to the realm of ESL, the work of Vandrick (1994, 1998, 2003) is the primary source for S/FL feminist pedagogy. In her 1994 article, she provides a useful summary of ESL feminist pedagogy developments up to that point in time. In Vandrick's view of feminist pedagogy, the classroom ideally functions as a "liberatory environment” (p. 76) in which students also teach, and are subjects not objects, and through which consciousness could be changed. Vandrick follows Shrewsbury (1993) to refer to how students in such classrooms develop "enhanced autonomy but at the same time, mutuality; discovery of own voice… authenticity” (p. 76-77) and also speaks hopefully of establishing "community" in such classrooms. Within such a classroom, leadership would be liberatory, acting on feminist beliefs. The practical implications of this require teachers to (among other things) alter the curriculum and utilize feminist process skills. And though there cannot be one “a specific set of practices” (Vandrick, 1994. p. 84), nevertheless the feminist ESL teacher should have a curriculum that is bias-free, have materials that avoid stereotyping; raise consciousness concerning the gendered nature of English; be aware of gender-related differences in learning styles; give female students equal time and treatment in class; provide help for male students who are incompetent in this domain; explore cultural differences in this area; be a role model; not tolerate sexist behavior among colleagues; “put the feminine at the center of your teaching” and “practice affirmative action in the classroom” (Carson, 1993, p. 36).
Some additional and some missing pieces of radical language teaching
In recent years, some additional areas of development have appeared in radical language teaching. Language teaching and/or applied linguistics has been very slow, compared with the field of education, to consider the implications of race as a form or site of oppression. A recent special issue of the flagship journal TESOL Quarterly was devoted to it (2006), but this is indicative of the previous neglect of the topic. Oppression based on societal insistence on a particular sexual orientation and oppression of those not conforming (heterosexism) has been recognized by radical educational practitioners, has begun to manifest in some theoretical literature (e.g., Pinar, 1998), and has produced a handful of articles in language teaching marked generally by a practical orientation (Nelson, 1999).
Radical language teaching of the Freirean variety was from the beginning associated with languages other than English. Freirean L1 literacy instruction continues to be documented under conditions somewhat similar to those in which it originally emerged (e.g., Gates & Waterman, 2000). The FL field within English-speaking countries has been less active in taking up these ideas despite their early development by Crawford (1978, and her subsequent publications in FL sources: Crawford-Lange, 1981, 1982). Newer proponents (notably Osborn, 2000; Reagan & Osborn, 1998, 2002) have provided useful analyses and advocacy but have few actual instances of radical FL pedagogy to report on. Over the last 10 years, the teaching of Japanese as a foreign language (in the U.S.) has produced some reports and discussion (Kubota, e.g., 1996; Siegel & Okamoto, 2003) containing advice, critique, and occasional accounts of actual short pedagogical initiatives (e.g., Ohara, Saft & Crookes, 2001).
Along with other non-mainstream approaches that favor an activity-based curriculum and an active role for the student, radical pedagogies have been seen by some as culturally inappropriate for use in some areas. While this position is based on a fallacious generalization of the characteristics of "small cultures" (Holliday, 1994, 1999), or temporary historical-cultural conditions (Shin & Crookes, 2005a), to countries or cultures as a whole (cf. Kubota, 1999), it is true that there are few reports of radical language pedagogy outside of nominally-liberal, pluralistic societies. However, a handful of small-scale trials have been reported (e.g., Shin & Crookes, 2005b) which (not surprisingly) concern the teaching of English—however in EFL, rather than ESL contexts.
Distinctiveness of radical language teaching?
Radical approaches in language teaching are clearly different to other language teaching approaches at some level, since they hold a particular perspective on society; espouse and advocate particular values and conceptions of society and of the individual; and above all have an activist perspective—that is, set themselves against the status quo and assume that students have a degree of agency in and on society which it is the role of curriculum and pedagogical practice to reflect and support. Are they distinctive in other ways?
Gore (1998) pulls together both critical and feminist mainstream education discussions to suggest that it is unlikely, given the basic constraints of classrooms and of formal education as a set of social practices within modernity, that entirely new ways of teaching could actually be developed. It is more likely, she contends, that teachers with radical perspectives draw selectively from mainly pre-existing pedagogical options, and implement them naturally with a heightened attention to the morality of their teaching practices and their congruence with their activist educational aims.
Critical and feminist pedagogy clearly were and are in line with broadly progressive understandings of educational practice. It is not surprising to find that critical language classrooms tend to have features that we would recognize as typical of many “communicative” language classrooms, since there is a shared progressive inheritance (Lin & Luk, 2002). A great deal can be encompassed under the heading “communicative”, of course. Adult ESL classes with a critical orientation, as described by Auerbach and colleagues, are distinctly oriented to the real-world tasks that their students need to engage in (not necessarily deriving merely from their employment, of course, as opposed to their lives). At the same time they may give extended and systematic attention to the forms of language, to an extent well beyond a “strong” communicative orientation (and similarly beyond the position of many emphasizing focus on form within a task-based perspective). This follows from a strong interest in learner input into, even determination of, not only content to be learned but also ways of learning it. At the same time, a central area of similarity between this line and both older communicative and more recent task-based lines is the great importance placed on deriving the content to be taught from, as far as possible, identifiable needs of the students, and with a definite orientation to the kind of things they will need to do with the target language, in their life in the real world. Whereas, however, communicative approaches were initially conceptualized with basically a middle-class, potentially internationally mobile individual in mind (in the thrust of the work of the Council of Europe, for example), the critical tradition begins with a conception of the typical student as possibly poor or working class, perhaps needing a second or foreign language capacity because they are refugees, forced by circumstances to relocate; and probably faced with difficult living circumstances in which survival English is the first step to an English capacity that can actually improve their circumstances. It (optimistically) hopes for an activist orientation in its students. In practice, I think the visitor to one of the rare classrooms with an explicitly radical orientation would find quite a bit of overlap between that and many other language classrooms, although phrases on the board are more likely to be those of protest or resistance, rather than polite requests to book a room in a hotel or a vacation on the French Riviera.
I do not think there is anything completely different in classroom practices, curriculum, or learning theory that sets off radical language teaching absolutely from other parts of language teaching; it is in the values of the curriculum, the philosophy of the teachers and students, and the long-term aims of programs of this kind which are different. Some language teaching specialists who are interested in this topic wonder whether its practices can be justified, given the apparent lack of attention, indeed lack of concern, with an underlying theory of language learning. Perhaps the beliefs about language learning of radical language teachers are as diverse as those of other groups of language teachers and the worry is one mainly confined to specialists. In any case, radical language teachers have far more important things to worry about! Just getting any program that even covertly espouses any of the main values of a radical position up and running is extremely difficult. To clearly advocate a radical position eliminates many funding sources ahead of time, and courts being closed down by the authorities subsequently. Educational initiatives of this kind tend to have a short life and find it difficult to self-finance, except under exceptional circumstances. To the extent that this is true, even straightforward descriptions of practice are likely to be few; instead the interested and inquiring reader is faced with many largely data-free theoretical expositions that keep a few dissident academics in work (and maintain their grip on a handful of tenured positions); these are intended to encourage the troops but may frustrate those seeking formal program evaluation reports let alone a learning theory basis for radical language teaching. There are many broader accounts of radical educational practice, particularly case studies, but they typically relate to schools as a whole, not language teaching programs. What we really need are manuals of advice and practice concerning fundraising, organization, administration, public relations, and community support, if radical language teaching is to survive and prosper (see Crookes & Talmy, 2004). In particular, more published textbooks (along the lines of Auerbach & Wallerstein, 1987) would be extremely helpful to teachers wishing to develop themselves in this area, and to teacher educators searching for examples to show of radical language teaching practices. The potential for growth in this domain of language teaching is considerable; more to the point, the work will always be needed, so long as language is a tool of oppression, a site of struggle, and weapon for social improvement and change.
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 The term is fairly widely, and loosely used in education. See journals such as Radical Pedagogy (http://radicalpedagogy.icaap.org/) and Radical Teacher (http://www.radicalteacher.org), or cf. Buckingham (1998).
 Danish schools continued to provide a home for non-coercive pedagogy: see Dam, 1995.
 This tradition, then, was active in a number of geographical areas, both inside and outside the state system. It even penetrated, for example, the U.S. state education system in the late 1960s, with a small number of state schools finding conditions allowing them to adopt more radical practices (Miller, 2002; Neumann, 2003). Although greatly diminished in number, a handful have persisted (e.g., Basile, 2004) and this work has probably fed into the uptake of the U.S. “charter school” concept by those seeking radical school alternatives that can benefit from state support (Rofes & Stulberg, 2005). Whether such a strategy is still feasible in the era of No Child Left Unharmed is obviously a matter of debate, in which proponents of the two lines mentioned here are respectively optimistic and pessimistic concerning the outcomes for radical educators who engage with the state system.
 “Educational liberalism had some effect on Soviet education in the period immediately following the 1917 revolution. Since the Stalin era, however, most educational decrees have advanced the cause of educational conservatism.” (Dupuis, 1966, p. 203; see also Huxley, 1946). “Some Soviet educators advocated a revolutionary reassessment of schooling itself, [e.g.,] Shulgin, director of the... Institute of Pedagogy in Moscow from 1922 onward. In many ways, Shulgin’s ideas on education resembled those of the progressive movement... At the end of the 1920s, the climate of education began to change... Soviet education returned to a traditional model, with the reassertion of teacher authority, a traditional curriculum and an elimination of democratic organization” (Small, 2005, p. 160-1).
 The connection between Freire’s earliest work and critical theory is less clear than the names might suggest, according to Taylor (1993). Smith (1983) comments, "Freire does not follow Marx in important respects… [but] Freire cannot be said in any general sense to be an anarchist. Nevertheless, when we look at his educational position we shall find that it bears a distinct resemblance…" (pp. 107-8).
 Cf. Fernandes (1985); see Mayo (2004) for a well-informed appraisal of Taylor’s analysis.
 Of course, to refer to a singular identity (gay, black, woman) is not particularly up-to-date. We are well-advised to be wary of essentialism (although most of the older radical traditions I have been discussing have no hesitation about it; indeed, have no idea that there is an alternative). More recent theoretical discussions of radical language teaching are quite familiar with post-structuralist views on learning (and identity); space does not permit discussion of whether these have distinctive practical manifestations in radical language teaching.
 However, there is very little evidence of what is admittedly very much a minority view within other domains of FL instruction, or appearing in the literatures of language teaching outside the U.S. Searches (in LLBA) coupling critical or radical pedagogy with languages taught (excluding English) produce only Japanese-oriented references emanating from U.S. based scholars; one finds little suggestion that teachers of e.g., Arabic, Chinese, etc., in the U.S. have published in this domain. EFL specialists are the primary consumers of this discourse among language teachers outside the U.S., as a handful of publications referencing Taiwan and Korea indicate.
 But it deserves attention from specialists, though space does not permit a discussion of the topic here.
 Comparable with the advice available concerning the broader area of “democratic” education gathered by AERO (Alternative Education Resource Organization) (www.educationrevolution.org).