Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Problem Posing Approach in Foreign Language Learning: From Words to Collaborative Dialogue

Cecilia Silva.

The aim of this article is to propose an approach to critical literacy starting from generative words towards the construction of dialogue within the field of foreign language teaching and learning.
61 Japanese university students of Spanish as a Foreign Language participated in a classroom activity wherein Paulo Freire’s (1973) problem-posing approach was used. The design of the classes focused on two interrelated goals: (1) to create a rich learning environment wherein students could communally explore issues related to personal, social and institutional spheres and express their ideas in the target language and (2) to create opportunities for students to experience authentic issues by making students responsible for contents: from a word, topic or initial text they derived the whole content of the classes.
The theoretical framework combines two perspectives. James Gee (1997, 2000) throughout his points about Discourse and the meaning of literacy, affirmed that critical literacy is a social and cultural construction and that its functions are never neutral or innocent, and also states that Discourse refers to social practices which amount to “ways of being in the world”: being a student, being a son or daughter, being a citizen of a rich country, and also “ways of being together in the world”: ways of thinking and feeling. Paulo Freire (1973:81) stated passionately that language learning should be relevant to the social context of the learners’ lives and that literacy makes sense when people, whatever their position may be, reflect about their position in the world, their relation with the world, and their power to transform the world.
An analysis of the accomplished activity suggests that (1) collaborative dialogue is due to leave space for learners’ voices and mute the voice of the instructor, (2) problem posing approach is a powerful mechanism for students to explore themes related to personal, social, and institutional spheres and at the same time, investigate new words, elaborate sentences and construct dialogue in the target language.


Cecilia Silva  (Japan)
Research Centre for Higher Education
Tohoku University

Cecilia Silva is a Teacher of Language, Department of Educational System Technology, School of Graduates, Faculty of Human Sciences, Osaka University, Japan.

  • Problem-posing approach
  • Generative words
  • Code
  • Collaborative dialogue

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)