Postmethod Pedagogy | TESL Issues

Postmethod Pedagogy

Postmethod pedagogy allows us to go beyond and overcome the limitations of method-based pedagogy. Within such a broad-based definition, Kumaravadivelu (2003) visualizes postmethod pedagogy as a 3-dimentional system consisting of pedagogic parameters of:

  • Particularity: The parameter of particularity requires that any language pedagogy must be sensitive to a particular group of teachers teaching a particular group of learners pursuing a particular set of goals within a particular institutional context embedded in a particular sociocultural milieu. It is a progressive advancement of means and ends. It is the ability to be sensitive to the local, educational, institutional and social contexts in which L2 learning and teaching take place. It starts with practicing teachers, observing their teaching acts, evaluating their outcomes, identifying problems, finding solutions and trying them out to see what works and what doesn’t. Such a continual cycle of observation, reflection and action is a prerequisite for the development of context-sensitive pedagogic theory and practice.
  • Practicality: The parameter of practicality relates to a much larger issue that directly impacts on the practice of classroom teaching, namely the relationship between theory and practice. That is, it entails a teacher-generated theory of practice. It recognizes that no theory of practice can be fully useful unless it is generated through practice. The intellectual expertise of attempting to derive a theory of practice enables teachers to understand and identify problems, analyze and assess information, consider and evaluate alternatives, and then choose the best alternative available that is then subjective to further appraisal. In this sense, a theory of practice involves continual reflection and action.
  • Possibility: The parameter of possibility is derived mainly from the works of ‘critical pedagogists’ of Freirean persuasion. Critical pedagogists take the position that any pedagogy is implicated in relations of power and dominance, and is implemented to create and sustain social inequalities. They call for recognition of learners’ and teachers’ subject-positions, that is, their class, race, gender and ethnicity, and for sensitivity towards their impact on education. The parameter of possibility is also concerned with individual identity. Language education provides its participants with challenges and opportunities for a continual quest for subjectivity and self-identity. Weeden (1987) believes that language is the place where actual and possible forms of social organizations and their likely social and political consequences are defined and contested. It is also the place where our sense of ourselves, our subjectivity, is constructed.

The plans for postmethod pedagogy are all based on a different way of looking at the problems and prospects of language teaching in the postmethod era. Postmethod pedagogy involves not merely changing attitudes and beliefs, but also creating and maintaining favorable conditions for change (Kumaravadivelu, 2006). It also involves exploring the conditions that have created the need for change, and, if they are found plausible, then, trying to make a sincere attempt to create the conditions necessary to effect desired change.


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