This paper considers the influence of historical events on language teacher professional development in Brazil based on the concept of postmemory, a term coined by Marianne Hirsch. The author uses the concept in the context of the Holocaust, but other traumatic events around the world may also be examined through such lenses: the two World Wars, the Chornobyl nuclear accident in Ukraine, the experiences of indigenous peoples in the Residential Schools in Canada, the Atomic Bombs in Japan, and many other examples. In Brazil, the Military Coup of 1964, which set off more than 20 years of military dictatorship, still impacts all areas of our daily life, including education and language teaching. Decolonial thinking and positioning may also help intervene in teacher education in Brazil, from a critical literacies perspective, providing space for teachers to view themselves as more empowered and less subaltern to Center epistemologies. We believe that resorting to memory and postcolonial perspectives to help confront and problematize our historical events may create space for a type of education that tries to avoid the errors of the past and aims at constructing better social futures.
Associate Professor, Applied Linguistics, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Teacher Education, Postmemory, Critical Literacies