Conflict, militarization, and their after-effects: Key challenges for TESOL

Publication Type:
Journal Article
TESOL Quarterly, 2015, 49 (2), pp. 309 - 332
Issue Date:
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© 2014 TESOL International Association. Skyrocketing military spending, ongoing military conflicts, and human displacement worldwide have significant consequences for the teaching and learning of English. TESOL increasingly requires a robust research base that can provide informed, critical guidance in preparing English language teachers for work in and near conflict zones, for teaching refugees and asylum seekers, and, more broadly, for teaching English in highly militarized times. This investigation, which takes the form of a transdisciplinary, translocal literature review, consolidates and extends TESOL's peace-conflict studies through a close examination of two areas that are connected but rarely considered in tandem: TESOL's multiple involvements and entanglements in armed and militarized conflicts and their aftermath, and the challenges of teaching English in a conflict zone or for students who have escaped or been exiled from one. Implications for pedagogy and further research are suggested. The argument is, in short, that the dialectical relationship between TESOL and conflict is in urgent need of collegial scrutiny, that teachers need to be equipped to facilitate critical and creative engagement with English not apart from broader sociopolitical realities but in relation to these, and that the implications of conflict for language learning are relevant across the wider TESOL community, given world developments.
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