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Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal

Print version ISSN 0123-4641

Colomb. Appl. Linguist. J. vol.19 no.1 Bogotá Jan./June 2017

http://dx.doi.org/10.14483/calj.v19n1.11600 

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14483/calj.v19n1.11600

 

Editorial

Teachers' identities under the magnifying glass in the EFL field: Crossing intellectual borders

As a coeditor of CALJ, I would like to draw your attention to the rising importance of identity studies in the EFL setting and their contribution to the field. The Socratic imperative "know thyself" has inspired teacher researchers around the world (Benwell & Stokoe, 2006; Cheung, 2015; Johnson & Golombek, 2016; Norton, 2013) to raise awareness towards knowledgepower relations affecting our own constitution as subjects (Foucault, 1980). From a poststructuralist view, the comprehension of identity as something not given but constituted has illuminated a type of research more interested in revealing how interior and exterior forces—in Deleuze's (1993) words—influence our constitution as subjects of a practice. In the field of EFL, research examining identity contributes to the understanding of who English teachers and learners are and how these identities are related to the teaching and learning process.

When looking specifically at local studies, one has the sensation that a double effect has resulted from the use of identity as a category of analysis. On the one hand, its use has empowered the critical positions of researchers regarding sociocultural aspects that define and shape English teaching (Bonilla & Cruz, 2014), English teachers' roles in relation to policies and English teachers' identities (Gonzalez, 2010; Mendez, 2016; Quintero & Guerrero, 2013), English teachers' practices of interaction (Fajardo, 2013), and English teachers' selfperception of their non-nativeness (Viáfara, 2016). On the other hand, it has increased the interest of English teachers in their students' identities not only to understand aspects affecting the learning of the target language, but also to understand how aspects of identity such as gender, age, culture, and interest might interfere with the teacher and the language per se (Castañeda-Peña, 2009).

The knowledge emerging from these revisions is relevant to informing different layers of analysis (professional, personal, academic) that mainly contribute to stand for a self- directed existence to make better decisions and to be aware of events, experiences, and practices that affect and are affected by them. I would like to remark on two important aspects: First, the regaining of status of foreign languages pedagogies in the EFL classroom. Due to reflective practices, promoted by identity research procedures, English teachers' pedagogical knowledges—obscured by dominant discourses that reify methods or approaches and give a subaltern position to pedagogy—are being valued and validated to design curricula, syllabi, and courses within a complex understanding of what is involved in teaching English as a foreign language in the expanding circle. Second, the new trends in English teacher preparation programs in which the preoccupation with education to face inequality, social justice, discrimination, and segregation has claimed teachers' who see themselves as agents of change, promoting teaching practices that contribute to solve these problems (Cochran- Smith, 2004; Sharkey, Clavijo Olarte, & Ramirez, 2016). From a sociocultural perspective in this reasoning, being part of an institution shapes how teachers enact their teaching and develop activities appropriated for their own purposes and understanding of the context of use, its norms, values, and opportunities for growth and development (Johnson & Golombek, 2011, 2016).

Teachers' pedagogical knowledge and, most importantly, teachers' knowledge of their sociocultural context are paramount to teaching English with political stances towards dominant discourses that determine what and how to teach as well as assuming the debate surrounding bilingual education. This means the adoption of a critical position that problematizes how "the must-be discourses" can be resisted, adapted, or re-elaborated to devise local relevant pedagogies and revealing how our identity is constituted in relations to students, knowledge, institutions, and practices. As a way to exemplify, studies examining students' identities in the EFL field have helped teachers to make informed decisions and understand very important practices as the role of students' interaction into the classroom in located teaching setting (Benavides, this volume; Sharkey, Clavijo-Olarte, & Ramirez 2016). Here, the magnifying glass focuses on students' language used as a means to negotiate (affirm, modify, approve, or disapprove of) meaning and self-knowledge that might unveil how relations of power affect learners.

From my own work as teacher-researcher on the teacher-subject constitution complexity, being seduced—epistemologically speaking—by philosophical and decolonial dissertations within an interdisciplinary framework has been an open invitation to value local practices, teachers and students' voices, and to understand the complex process of becoming who we are by means of reflecting upon how we struggle to be the teachers we are. I would like to extend this invitation to all teacher-researchers to get in singularities, forms of mutual understanding.

References

Benavides, C. (2017). EFL students' social identities construction through gender-based short stories. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 19(1), (11-21)

Benwell, B., & Stokoe, E. (2006). Discourse and identity. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press

Bonilla, S. X., & Cruz, F. (2014). Critical socio-cultural elements of the intercultural endeavour of English teaching in Colombian rural areas. PROFILE Journal, 16(2), 117-133.

Castañeda-Peña, H. (2009). Masculinities and femininities go to preschool: Gender positioning in discourse. Bogotá, Colombia: Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.

Cochran-Smith, M (2004). Walking the road: Race, diversity, and social justice in teacher education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Cheung, Y. (2015). Teacher identity in EFL/TESOL: A research review. In Y. Ling, S. Ben, & P. Kwanghyun (Eds.). Advances and current trends in language teacher identity research (pp. 175-185). London: Routledge.

Deleuze, G. (1993). The fold: Leibniz and the Baroque (Tom Conley, Trans.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Fajardo Castañeda, J. A. (2013). "What Makes a Teacher": Identity and classroom talk. Cuadernos de Lingüística Hispánica, 1(22), 127-146. Retrieved from: http://www.redalyc. org/articulo.oa?id=322229879009

Foucault, M. (1980). Power-knowledge. Brighton: Harvester.

González, A. (2010). English and English teaching in Colombia: Tensions and possibilities in the expanding circle. In A. Kirkpatrick (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of world Englishes (pp. 332-351). London: Routledge.

Johnson, K. E., & Golombek, P. (2011). Research on second language teacher education: A sociocultural perspective on professional development. New York, NY: Routledge.

Johnson, K, & Golombek, P. (2016). Mindful L2 teacher education: A sociocultural perspective on cultivating teachers' professional development. New York, NY: Routledge.

Méndez, P. (2016). Voces de los profesores de inglés sobre Bogotá bilingüe. Ponencia Congreso USTA. Bogotá. Disponible en: http://soda.ustadistancia.edu.co/enlinea/congreso/ congresoedu/3%20Politicas%20educativas%20y%20derechos%20humanos/3%20 21%20VOCES%20DE%20LOS%20PROFESORES%20DE%20INGLES%20SOBRE%20 BOGOTA%20BILINGUE.pdf

Norton, B. (2013). Identity and language learning: Extending the conversation. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

Quintero, Á. H., & Guerrero, C. H. (2013). Of being and not being: Colombian public elementary school teachers' oscillating identities. HOW: A Colombian Journal for Teachers of English, 20(1), 190-205.

Sharkey, J., Clavijo, A., & Ramírez, M. (2016) Developing a deeper understanding of communitybased pedagogies with teachers: Learning with and from teachers in Colombia. Journal of Teacher Education 67(3), 1-14.

Viáfara, J. J. (2016). "I'm Missing Something": (Non) nativeness in prospective teachers as Spanish and English speakers. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 18(2), 11-24.

Pilar Méndez PhD
Amparo Clavijo PhD
Editoras

Benavides, C. (2017). EFL students' social identities construction through gender-based short stories. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 19(1), (11-21)        [ Links ]

Benwell, B., & Stokoe, E. (2006). Discourse and identity. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press        [ Links ]

Bonilla, S. X., & Cruz, F. (2014). Critical socio-cultural elements of the intercultural endeavour of English teaching in Colombian rural areas. PROFILE Journal, 16(2), 117-133.         [ Links ]

Castañeda-Peña, H. (2009). Masculinities and femininities go to preschool: Gender positioning in discourse. Bogotá, Colombia: Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.         [ Links ]

Cochran-Smith, M (2004). Walking the road: Race, diversity, and social justice in teacher education. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.         [ Links ]

Cheung, Y. (2015). Teacher identity in EFL/TESOL: A research review. In Y. Ling, S. Ben, & P. Kwanghyun (Eds.). Advances and current trends in language teacher identity research (pp. 175-185). London: Routledge.         [ Links ]

Deleuze, G. (1993). The fold: Leibniz and the Baroque (Tom Conley, Trans.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.         [ Links ]

Fajardo Castañeda, J. A. (2013). "What Makes a Teacher": Identity and classroom talk. Cuadernos de Lingüística Hispánica, 1(22), 127-146. Retrieved from: http://www.redalyc. org/articulo.oa?id=322229879009        [ Links ]

Foucault, M. (1980). Power-knowledge. Brighton: Harvester.         [ Links ]

González, A. (2010). English and English teaching in Colombia: Tensions and possibilities in the expanding circle. In A. Kirkpatrick (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of world Englishes (pp. 332-351). London: Routledge.         [ Links ]

Johnson, K. E., & Golombek, P. (2011). Research on second language teacher education: A sociocultural perspective on professional development. New York, NY: Routledge.         [ Links ]

Johnson, K, & Golombek, P. (2016). Mindful L2 teacher education: A sociocultural perspective on cultivating teachers' professional development. New York, NY: Routledge.         [ Links ]

Méndez, P. (2016). Voces de los profesores de inglés sobre Bogotá bilingüe. Ponencia Congreso USTA. Bogotá. Disponible en: http://soda.ustadistancia.edu.co/enlinea/congreso/ congresoedu/3%20Politicas%20educativas%20y%20derechos%20humanos/3%20 21%20VOCES%20DE%20LOS%20PROFESORES%20DE%20INGLES%20SOBRE%20 BOGOTA%20BILINGUE.pdf        [ Links ]

Norton, B. (2013). Identity and language learning: Extending the conversation. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.         [ Links ]

Quintero, Á. H., & Guerrero, C. H. (2013). Of being and not being: Colombian public elementary school teachers' oscillating identities. HOW: A Colombian Journal for Teachers of English, 20(1), 190-205.         [ Links ]

Sharkey, J., Clavijo, A., & Ramírez, M. (2016) Developing a deeper understanding of communitybased pedagogies with teachers: Learning with and from teachers in Colombia. Journal of Teacher Education 67(3), 1-14.         [ Links ]

Viáfara, J. J. (2016). "I'm Missing Something": (Non) nativeness in prospective teachers as Spanish and English speakers. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 18(2), 11-24.         [ Links ]

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