Decolonizing Primary English Language Teaching

Author: Mario E. López-Gopar

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This book tells the story of a project in Mexico which aimed to decolonize primary English teaching by building on research that suggests Indigenous students are struggling in educational systems and are discriminated against by the mainstream. Led by their instructor, a group of student teachers aspired to challenge the apparent world phenomenon that associates English with “progress” and make English work in favor of Indigenous and othered children’s ways of being. The book uses stories as well as multimodality in the form of photos and videos to demonstrate how the English language can be used to open a dialogue with children about language ideologies. The approach helps to support minoritized and Indigenous languages and the development of respect for linguistic human rights worldwide.

This is a remarkable book. In a precise, theoretically well-documented, yet engaging narrative, the reader is situated within contexts where the voices of the participants (trainee teachers, young students and researchers) provide fascinating insights into how they experienced being confronted with a critical vision of English and their own languages from the perspective of colonial difference.

Anne-Marie de Mejía, Universidad de los Andes, Colombia

This book represents an important addition to critical views of English language teaching. It is truly innovative, not only in its theoretical stance and in the research project which is at its heart, but also in the original way it is narrated. López-Gopar gives both a voice and a face to those who are usually silenced in ELT, making this book a highly engaging and thought-provoking must-read for all those involved in the field of English language teaching.

Sue Garton, Aston University, UK

This book is a thrilling departure from mainstream academia in three ways: teaching English to underprivileged indigenous children in Mexico is a provocation for the status quo; teaching the Empire's language without reproducing its dominant values is close to blasphemy in the trade; and letting those children create their voice through empowerment in English stops just short of a pedagogical revolution. This action research boldly integrates Latin American theory on pedagogy and colonialism with Western critical thought.

Rainer Enrique Hamel, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Mexico

Mario E. López-Gopar is Professor at the Faculty of Languages of the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca, Mexico. His main research interest is the intercultural and multilingual education of Indigenous peoples in Mexico.


List of Tables

List of Figures


Chapter One:  Decolonizing Primary English Language Teaching (PELT)

Chapter Two:  Indigenous Peoples and English in Mexico             

Chapter Three:  Los de la Banda (The Gang Members)   

Chapter Four:  The Children       

Chapter Five:  Language Practices and Ideologies

Chapter Six: Praxicum and Change

Chapter Seven: Student Teachers and Children as Authors and Language Subjects

Chapter Eight: Decolonizing PELT: Grounded Principles


Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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