Edited by Richard Smith and Tim Giesler
[AILA Applied Linguistics Series 20] 2023
► pp. 2–22
As an emerging interdisciplinary, plurilingual and intercultural field (McLelland & Smith, 2018), the History of Language Learning and Teaching – and associated considerations of Applied Linguistic Historiography (Smith, 2016) – can be expected to provide useful perspectives on innovation: how, when and why to attempt it and how to sustain it, but also, from a relatively philosophical perspective, how to define and assess it. Innovation, after all, is an activity, or a construct, which is inextricably bound up with views of the past, whether imagined or well-researched – a past seen to be in need of replacement or at least reconstruction. Researching the past can, indeed, give rise to considerations of whether – and, if so, why and how – innovation occurs, or is seen to be required at all. In this introduction to a book devoted to historical perspectives on innovation, we consider three specific ways in which Applied Linguistic Historiography can contribute to a revised understanding of innovation in language teaching and we identify ways in which the chapters in the book shed new light on its nature, causes, effects and rationale.