WP103 Critical sociolinguistics and critical pedagogy: Dialogue in a multilingual Hong Kong school

PĂ©rez-Milans & Carlos Soto
2013
Collection: Key words ,

Abstract

In its understanding of social reality as discursively constructed, critique has illuminated how social inequality works at the local level, while also facilitating the development of transformational projects aimed at empowering certain social groups. But although they are both intrinsic to critique, knowledge-building and political activism have often been treated up as separate or even incompatible, particularly in the educational field, where metaphors such as ?window? or ?social laboratory? are often driven by different research agendas, either knowledge-building research or action research. Critical sociolinguistics and critical pedagogy illustrate this tendency to approach the social space of the school from slightly different angles. While the former has devoted its efforts to developing the most suitable theory to explain how social inequality in modern institutions is culturally produced, shaped and naturalized under changing economic conditions, the latter has attended to designing liberating pedagogies which provide people with tools to critically understand and transform wider social structures.
This paper offers an alternative to these trends, building on an ongoing dialogue between the authors that spans different disciplinary traditions (ethnographic sociolinguistics and pedagogy) and institutional identities (university researcher and researched school teacher). Section 2 clarifies the nature of this dialogue and brings in the empirical context, ethnic minority education in Hong Kong. Section 3 tells a story of classroom and Facebook practice from P?rez-Milans? perspective, focusing on the relationship between daily interaction and institutional change. In Section 4, Soto describes his own lived experience of these interactions, and in Section 5, the paper considers the opportunities, tensions and dilemmas derived from a dialogue like this.