The 'God' of women: The voice of the divine, motherhood, and Philippine ELT

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This article is an exploration of the lines that connect values education and spiritual beliefs with English language teaching (ELT) practices in the Philippines through the Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) framework of knowledge about language (KAL) (Rose and Martin, 2012). It argues that through KAL, teachers can lead classroom work to the reading and critiquing of the regulative meanings that students receive through the texts that they grapple with. That pedagogical contexts serve socially regulative functions has been researched for many years. Christie (1997) has argued that schools respond to 'the need to produce morally responsible subjects' (p. 134). In the Philippines, religion plays an important role in the regulative ordering of society. Catholicism, in particular, finds its way in many contexts. The ELT classroom is no exception as language pedagogy can be a vehicle for carrying faith and/or values related regulative meanings. However, it is observable that whatever forces come into play in the regulative functions of schooling are not necessarily unbiased but perform interested roles that support the socio-political and economic relations of an 'unequal society' (Apple, 2004: Loc. 592). The challenge that faces teachers now is how to balance teaching the needed skills while at the same time, appreciating and/or critiquing the regulative messages that texts project in the classroom. This balance is the concern of this paper. As a study of ELT practices in a Catholic context, it argues for the strong need to build knowledge about language in order for both students and teachers to examine, problematize, and critique the meanings that they receive.