Cornell University Language Resource Center Logo

We have all heard about revolutions in language teaching – big leaps in thinking that offer insights and new methods for the classroom (e.g., The Direct Method, ALM, Communicative Language Teaching). Yet, such revolutions wither quickly and never really take root. It seems that innovation in language teaching is difficult if not impossible. Why is this? In this talk, I will first differentiate between what I call “real innovation” and “pseudo-innovation,” suggesting that the vast majority of what people call innovation in language teaching is actually pseudo-innovation. I will then outline five interrelated barriers to real innovation: knowledge, personnel, institutionalized education, power, and time. Each barrier suggests radical reformation of how we view the profession, perhaps explaining why real innovation is so difficult. I will conclude with a discussion of what I call “incremental innovation,” focusing on whether such a thing is possible in lieu of real innovation.


Barriers to Innovation in Language Teaching

Bill VanPatten (Award-winning international scholar and teacher in the field of second language research),


3:30 pm ET 4:30 pm ET
Open to all language educators
Applicable Language
All Languages
Access URL
Access Instructions
Zoom link posted on website
Extra Materials
Cornell University Language Resource Center
Related Topics

Published December 8, 2020 by Angelika Kraemer • Updated December 8, 2020