Re-envisioning the roles, tasks, and contributions of language teachers in the multilingual era of language education research and practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


External organisations

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa


This article lays out the proposition that the rapid changes in 21st century society, in which multilingualism is the norm, have presented new challenges, questions, and resources with regards to the roles, tasks, and contributions of language teachers. In line with recent research developments and in keeping with tradition, we believe it helpful to think of language teachers’ broader identity role as that of moral agent. We examine implications that such a re-envisioning has for the knowledge base of language teachers and for the purposes and practices of language teacher education and professional development. Drawing on research in language teacher education, language teacher cognition, second language acquisition, and applied linguistics more broadly, we highlight the need to go beyond traditional notions of teachers’ knowledge of language, language learning, and language learners. We also subject to critical scrutiny the notions of effective pedagogies and reflective practice as the desired outcomes of language teacher preparation and development. Instead, we introduce critical alternatives that offer creative possibilities for educating teachers able and willing to serve student populations with diverse language learning needs across interlinguistic, socio-political, and historical contexts of language teaching


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117–132
JournalThe Modern Language Journal
Issue numberS1
Early online date26 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • language teachers, language teacher education, teacher development, teacher identity, critical pedagogy, advocacy, moral values, moral vision