GUEST MICHAEL (UNIVERSITY OF MIYAZAKI)

A NON-IDEOLOGICAL APPROACH TO INTRODUCING DIVERSITY AND CRITICAL THINKING INTO THE EFL CLASSROOM : ELT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Terms such as diversity, inclusivity, and equity have become buzzwords in the world of ELT in recent years but their classroom manifestations and impact are often left unexamined, the underlying assumption being that these qualities are inherently virtuous in the language teaching profession. These terms are often tied to notions of critical thinking and the accompanying belief that a heightened awareness of these qualities will lead to an improvement in 'critical thinking' skills. In this presentation, the speaker takes issue with the ideological connotations often attached to these terms and offers instead a wider-reaching, more inclusive, notion of the value of diversity and its manifestations in critical thinking. Using the presenter's own classroom examples and experience, the argument presented will be that establishing cognitive diversity is more beneficial than diversity of race/culture/gender, and that critical thinking skills in English are best developed through a non-ideological process of problem solving.

Michael (Mike) Guest is Associate Professor of English in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Miyazaki, Japan. Guest is a 30-year veteran of EFL teaching with several books, numerous research papers, newspaper articles, invited blog posts, and hundreds of worldwide presentations and workshops under his belt.