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Academic Paper

Title: Research in foreign language education in Portugal (2006–2011): Its transformative potential
Author: Flávia Vieira
Institution: University of Minho
Author: Maria Alfredo Moreira
Institution: University of Minho
Author: Helena Peralta
Institution: Universidade de Lisboa
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Sociolinguistics; Text/Corpus Linguistics
Subject Language: Portuguese
Abstract: This article reviews a selective corpus of empirical and theoretical texts on foreign language pedagogy and teacher education, produced in Portugal between 2006 and 2011. A descriptive and interpretative approach is adopted to inquire into the transformative potential of research, with a focus on its scope, purposes, conceptual and methodological frameworks, outcomes and implications. Four major themes were identified, primarily related to current language policies and theoretical developments in language didactics: intercomprehension and plurilingualism, teacher and learner autonomy, Portuguese as a non-native language, and technology-based learning and teaching. The transformative potential of the studies reviewed is enhanced by their intention to question and reshape dominant practices on the basis of democratic values; an empowering view of language, pedagogy and teacher education; a close relation between pedagogy and teacher education; participatory research methodologies; and the identification of constraints on, and conditions for, change. However, there is a need for strategies that remain somewhat marginal but may enhance that potential: expanding university–school partnerships, professional learning communities and school-based inquiry; strengthening the political dimension of research outcomes; finding strategies to counteract limitations on the scope and impact of naturalistic inquiry; and fostering scholarship in teacher education.


This article appears IN Language Teaching Vol. 47, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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