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Journal Review VI
Discourse Analysis and Language Pedagogy: A Review
This study was written by Alireza Bonyadi from Islamic Azad University, Urmia, Iran. This journal was published by Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability.
Based on the premise that education for sustainable development (ESD) in language pedagogy cannot be realized fully unless language teachers are equipped with theoretical issues in discourse analysis, the purpose of this paper is to review the current research on discourse analysis and language teaching. The focus on the intersection of discourse analysis and language education indicates that three approaches, namely Critical discourse analysis, Descriptive discourse analysis, and Pedagogical discourse analysis have been taken by practitioners in educational context. As for directions of future research on discourse analysis and language teaching, it was postulated that the prospective researchers in the field are expected to focus on operationalizing the discourse concepts at the methodological level. This would be possible if EFL/ESL teachers themselves truly get educated in a discourse-based program in teacher education centers.
Since ìinternational awareness about sustainability was first introduced at the United Nations UNESCO-UNEP International Educational Programî (Iliko, OÔehnoviËa, Ostrovska, Akmene, & SalÓte, 2017, p. 103), language practitioners have tried to incorporate concepts and ideas proposed by different approaches of discourse analysts into their practical language classrooms trying to get closer to education for sustainable development in language pedagogy. The present review paper indicated that among different discourse approaches, Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), Descriptive Discourse Analysis (DDA), and Pedagogical Discourse Analysis (PDA) were the approaches taken by some practitioners in educational context. Helping students become critical thinkers besides mastering the basic linguistic structures of the target language was the aim pursued by critical discourse analysis in educational context. Through Descriptive Discourse Analysis, practitioners aimed at describing language above the sentence taking into consideration respective educational context. Pedagogical Discourse Analysis examined the effect of different discourse variables on teaching language skills. The two initial approaches namely CDA and DDA are of importance in language education in that they acquaint the learners with the natural language use in authentic environments assisting them to deepen their appreciation of the discourse patterns associated with a certain genre that is not possible otherwise (Demo, 2011). In other words, the approaches provide the ìstudents with the language resources and skills which will help them gain access to academic discourse communitiesî (Paltridge, 2018, p. 2). The third approach, PDA, aimed at making use of the findings put forward by CDA and DDA in educational contexts which in fact opens a new dimension in language teaching practice. However, the review indicated that the approach has focused more on reading and writing skills than speaking and listening. Acknowledging the importance of speaking and listening skills in developing communicative competence of the students, scholars who are taking PDA approach should shift their attention to these skills as well. The other issue the researcher in this field, PDA, are expected to do is exploring the practical ways for incorporating further concepts of discourse analysis in EFL classrooms.
In conclusion, finally, even if we do manage in transition from approach level to methodology level, there would be no guarantee, however, for taking a full-fledged pedagogical discourse approach unless our EFL/ESL teachers themselves truly get educated in a discoursebased program. Through teacher training centers ìteacher candidates reach a synthesis about what to become and what not to become when they graduate and become an inservice teacherî (Atmaca, 2017, p. 79). Thus, language teacher training centers are expected to take required measured in this regard tuning themselves with the recent approaches in EFL/ESL instruction. In fact, it would be both unethical and illogical to expect teachers to teach in a certain way for which they have not well prepared.