Praxial HRD Inquiry and Language Learners’ Transformation

Course Description A scientific and systematic investigation of knowledge concentrating on solving the problems of the organizations and society at large including creating knowledge for the human needs both national and international environments.

This inquiry is specific to language learners in a certain context, and examines their ‘reality’ and their construction of knowledge as it concerns their lifeworld.

Knowledge is constructed  socially (Berger), while learning takes place everyday through culturally created artifacts (Vygotsky), language being the most significant, and within socially designated organizations, institutions and schools.

It follows then that learning depends on language, and language development depends on learning.

The notion that there is Truth or even Absolute Truth is outdated and pits not only individuals from each other, but groups, communities, cultures and societies.  This is not to suggest that Truth is relative, but insignificant. While Truth may be be important reductively, in situated contexts, systematically in a global context, practicality and intersubjectivity  are more crucial. Following our Axial forerunners, Truth or religious truth was a cultural construction, from embodied minds that allowed subgroups to bond, just as language was a bonding agent. But we must be constantly aware that social constructions may be divisive.

Education, as we know it, is a social construct that has seen its time, and is in need of transformation. At the foundation of of language learners’ thoughts is the notion or belief that the institution or the teachers are responsible for language development. Language learning depends on their attending class, where they will learn the second language. This is the fallacy, the great deception, that if you attend class you will learn the target language.

Most would agree that Language Pedagogy through out Thailand has been unsuccessful. While Thailand should be commended for its efforts to follow a communicative approach to language teaching, with fluent English speakers as teachers, the results have been lacking. Such results are due in part to the nature of Language as a cultural tool, and the lack of speaking opportunities for learners.

Language Pedagogy normally considers three types of language teaching:

  1. Language centered: focus on form: Grammatical exercises
  2. Learner centered: focus on cognitive: Individual learner/differences
  3. Learning centered: focus on social: Task based group work

Praxial Language Pedagogy adds the context via the lifeworld and Intersubjectivity. Students can suffer when learning a second language; teachers as well, because a person doesn’t learn a language, develop a language, or acquire a language without transforming.  What transforms? The individual, the group, the organization, and the community. When humans transform, languages emerge. Humans transform when they acquire a language, both native and additional languages, but the notion that such a transformation can be accomplished in a classroom via text books is remote, yet, even in an a post-method era, we rely on methods to complete the transformation.

Perhaps, stakeholders, and teachers especially aren’t sure what such a transformation entails; this then is an Inquiry into Language emergence as it relates to transformation within organizations; inside and outside the classroom. Language development, in the form of transformation, like any transformations are at personal levels which take place after levels of reflection, perhaps even constant reflection, which leads to change. Not everyone can acquire a language, a great deal depends on personality and context. If need is the motivating force, then most likely, anyone can learn a second language, but if need is not the motivating force, then personal effort to find opportunities is the key.

Traditionally, language pedagogy has considered the classroom based on the teacher, the learner and the content, but really there is much more. If we use an HRD approach and organizational development; we consider the organization: economics, psychology and systems. But with emerging HRD, there are more considerations; Pragmatic… philosophy, science, religion. We have been led to believe that scientific inquiry is based on a foundation, which implies a solid ground, which in effect erases any mindful pursuits of knowledge.

Using Praxial HRD to improve second language development at a Thai International College. Praxial Inquiry and Language Development: Moving Beyond the Post-Method Predicament at a Thai International College Using Emerging HRD to Move Beyond the Post-Method Predicament


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