Advanced Language and Literature Pedagogy is the third in a sequence of four courses taken by students who opt for the Curriculum and Pedagogy — Language stream of the MA Education programme. It builds and extends upon ideas introduced in the second semester through the Introduction to Language and Literature Education and the Curriculum and Pedagogy in Language courses. The course will be followed by the Curricular Materials Development course which students will take while in the field.
Teaching language and literature effectively in Indian contexts is complex and challenging due to the diversity and heterogeneity of languages and the social positioning of languages in ways that advantage some and disadvantage many. In the first two courses, students have been exposed to basic sociolinguistic understandings related to the relationships amongst language, culture, power, identity and so on. It is important that students be introduced to a critical pedagogical framework for teaching languages for equity in the sequence of four language courses. While pertinent across the globe, this perspective assumes special significance in richly multilingual Indian contexts, where educators are caught in a set of conceptual and practical dilemmas: how do they introduce “higher power” languages (e.g., regional languages or English) without displacing the child’s own mother tongue(s)? This poses a unique dilemma to educators: to deny children access to powerful languages, is to deny them access to social mobility and much content. At the same time, providing children with uncritical access to powerful languages such as English would reiterate their hegemonic national/global positions and further marginalize other languages and cultures across the country. Walking this tightrope requires a deep understanding of both the consequences of denying/providing access, as well as a
handle on curricular and pedagogical approaches to teaching languages critically and within a multilingual context. Therefore, approximately two-thirds of this course will deal with issues of teaching languages, especially the English language, critically in Indian contexts.
In the last third of the course, another need of Indian language classrooms is taken up for
deeper consideration. Languages are typically taught in Indian classrooms with an absence of emphasis and attention to critical thinking, literature and writing for expression and
communication. While a rationale for using literature in the classroom as well as certain
pedagogical approaches to the teaching of reading and writing have been introduced in the first and second courses of this series, this course builds on and deepens these understandings. Students are engaged immersively in readers’ and writers’ workshops that invite them to both engage with new aspects of teaching literature and writing; as well as to reflect on the pedagogical formats introduced for the teaching of reading and writing in elementary classrooms.
Coherence between the ideas introduced in the course will be built through the pedagogy,
such that the teaching of literature and writing can be meaningfully connected to the critical teaching of languages. It is possible to do this, because these are not disparate ideas in practice: a critical literacy curriculum always includes attention to higher order literary and writing experiences; and it is impossible to immerse children in literature and writing without inviting them to read, write and respond both aesthetically and critically.