May 2: Dissertation Defense – Jayson E. Parba


PhD in Second Language Studies Dissertation Defense

Jayson E. Parba

Empowering the Filipino Language Classroom:
Towards Critical Pedagogy and Curriculum

Chair: Graham Crookes

Wednesday, May 2, 2:00–4:00 p.m.
Moore Hall, Room 155A



This dissertation research is situated in critical applied linguistics, critical language pedagogy, and heritage and second language (L2) education, within which Filipino language teaching in the U.S. context has remained almost invisible. Drawing on the work of Freire and other critical pedagogues and critical applied linguists, this dissertation examines power negotiation in two Filipino language upper intermediate courses at a University in Hawaiʻi to analyze how critical language pedagogy (CLP) looks in practice. Most of the existing literature of CLP reports ESL and EFL settings and examines specific aspects of critical language teaching such as dialogue and incorporating critical topics in the curriculum. The field of heritage language (HL) education, however, has drawn on CLP only recently and work of this kind in the HL literature mostly comes from the Spanish language education context only. My dissertation work, therefore, addresses this gap in the literature and directly responds to appeals for tangible guidance and concrete examples coming from teachers of languages other than English (LOTEs) who are interested to adopt a critically-oriented teaching praxis but do not know how and where to start.

Using Teacher Research (TR), I analyze the process of curriculum negotiation in my two Filipino language classes where students took an active role in generating critical themes, making assessment more democratic, and using thematic codes that are drawn from their immediate experiences, identities, and language resources. I also examine the Freirean notion of dialogue as a framework to foster critical consciousness which allows students to identify, challenge, and reframe status quo discourses and ideologies. Moreover, drawing on the notion of translanguaging both as pedagogy and theory of language, I analyze how a classroom language policy, which is anchored on the heteroglossic view of languages and the dynamic language practices of multilinguals, can make language learning more meaningful, empowering, and participatory.

The findings reveal that creating spaces for curriculum negotiation and critical dialogue provides students with opportunities to transform status quo discourses of schooling and education. It also allows for new ways of seeing and understanding oppressive ideologies and practices (e.g., racist stereotypes and discrimination) to emerge in order to resist social inequalities and to promote social justice. The findings further show that curriculum negotiation in Filipino language classrooms where students have very diverse linguistic starting points is possible through adopting critical perspectives of education, multilingualism, language teaching, and teaching philosophy. This study illustrates that politicizing one’s teaching praxis through critical pedagogy in HL and L2 classrooms necessitates a rethinking of language, HL education, teacher and students’ roles, and classroom language policy.