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LLED 572. Identity, language learning, and social change

Joint presentation. Ashley Walker, Songhee Choi, Natalia Balyasnikova.

Natalia Balyasnikova

on 5 November 2013

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Transcript of LLED 572. Identity, language learning, and social change

Identity, language learning, and social change
B. Norton, K. Toohey

Sections 1, 2, 3
Sections 4, 5, 6
Sections 7, 8, 9
1. Constructed in inequitable social contexts, but are multiple and changing depending on conditions;
2. May either limit opportunities or offer enhanced sets of possibilities;
3. Depend on power dynamics in the social world;
4. Linked to available resources and practices.

Theoretical frameworks
The authors
Bonny Norton and Kelleen Toohey
4. Identity and SLA
Language Learning Research

Motivation vs. Investment
Investment (Norton, 1997) :
“the socially and historically constructed relationship of learners to the target language and their sometimes ambivalent desire to learn and practice it… An investment in the target language is also an investment in a learner’s own social identity, which changes across time and space” (p. 411)

Imagined communities & Imagined identities
Identity and Language Learning

- International pedagogical perspectives
- Digital technology, identity, and language learning
- Identity and resistance
8. Critiques of the field

- “Some identifications so strongly determine social relations that resistance is difficult.” p.435 (gender, sexuality, language and accent)
- Issue of ethics, values, and truth.
- Limitations of autobiographies- what is untold- our self-censorship
- Research on ‘Class’ or privilege (unlike gender, ethnicity, and race) is under researched.
9. Future Directions
Identity (Norton, 1997):
“how people understand
their relationship to the world,
how that relationship is constructed
across time and space, and how
people understand their
possibilities for the future”
(p. 410)

“… a focus on the future when learners imagine
who they might be, and who their communities
might be, when they learn a language”
(Norton, 2011, p. 422)

Therefore, language learners invest in their
language class if they see it as a door to enter
their imagined community.

Investment, imagined communities, and imagined identities: hopes for a change and a better future

- How has your investment/imagined community/ identity changed throughout the semester?
- How did participation in this community affect your identities?
- How could you apply the notions of investment/imagined community/identity to your own classroom?
5. Identity categories and language learning
Sexual orientation
socially and historically
constructed processes within
particular relations of power

6. Methods of studying
identity and SLA
Qualitative research designs + critical research
critical ethnography, feminist poststructuralist theory, sociolinguistics, and linguistic anthropology
Methodological understandings

1) conclusions- ‘situated’ and partial
2) the ‘structure’ and ‘agency’ issue
3) political and economic issues

Methodological focus
learner and teacher narratives, collected either through fieldwork or from autobiographical and biographical accounts
Researchers of identity and language education should be comfortable researching anthropology, sociology, post-colonial and cultural studies as well.
Learners live in globalized sociocultural worlds. Global social structures shape the identity of language learners and their learning. Researchers will need a sophisticated understanding of difference and of cosmopolitan identities.
Research in language learning should take place in postcolonial and indigenous sites, instead of in the West, to help decolonize English language teaching.
Teaching should be directed toward social and educational change.
Think of the ways you can use multimodal tools to help students to explore their identities.

“Imagined identities and imagined communities of learners are central in the struggle
for legitimacy.” p.437
Additional resources
Norton Peirce, B. (1995). Social identity, investment, and language learning. TESOL Quarterly, 29(10), 9-31.
Norton, B. (1997). Language, identity, and the ownership of English. TESOL Quarterly, 31(3), 409-429.
Norton, B. (2000). Identity and language learning: Gender, ethnicity and educational change. London: Longman/Pearson Education.
Norton, B. (2001). Non-participation, imagined communities, and the language classroom. In M. Breen (Ed.), Learner contributions to language learning: New directions in research (pp. 159-171). London: Pearson Education Limited.




Postructuralist theory of language
Language is not an 'idealized' pure structure, that is independent from speakers, but is set of utterances in which speakers create meanings.
Learning a language is a joint engagement with others in activities, using cultural tools *Hall, Cheng &Carlsom
Using a language is a social and political practice that depends on power dynamics in the group. These dynamics assign value and meaning to the utterances.

Poststructuralist theories of subjectivity
An individual (subject) is a "diverse, contradictory, dynamic and changing over historical time and social space."

Subjectivity is socially constructed and historically embedded. It is constantly in flux, adaptable, and is mutually constructive with language.
Education can lead to individual and social change , and language learning can either limit or offer learners tools for empowerment by giving them access to powerful social networks.
Poststructuralist theories of positioning
Identity is a 'positioning' of an individual in a certain context.
Positioning is both socially-given and individually-struggled for
Sociocultural theories of language learning
Learning is a socially and historically situated process that consists of culturally-valued activities.
Learners should have access to cultural resources and be able to change them over time.
Learners have different positions in social and historical collectives, therefore they use language as a dynamic tool.
Different people employ different positions in different contexts
Full transcript