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Identity, language learning, and social change

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Erica Sapp

on 9 May 2015

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Transcript of Identity, language learning, and social change

Identity, language learning, and social change
Central Arguments
Contemporary theories see individual in larger social world
Diverse positions for social participation
Power affects learner's access to target language
Learning not entirely determined by structural and social conditions
Investment compliments Motivation
Imagined communitties and imagined identities

Theoretical frameworks
Identity and SLA
Identities are fluid, context-dependent, and context-producing
Identity categories and language learning
Race
Gender
Sexual orientation
Bonny Norton: University of British Columbia, Canada
Kelleen Toohey: Simon Fraser University, Canada

Poststructuralist theories for language
Bakhtip: Not a set form
situated utterances in a struggle to make meaning
language has no purpose ouside of social use
Hall, Cheng, Carlson: learning through engagement with others
individuals differ in access to participation
Bourdie:utterances value linked to the value of the person
Poststructuralist theoies of subjectivity
Subjectivity
Individual: diverse, contradictory, dynamic, changing
Teachers must offer powerful positions to students
Poststructuralist theories of positioning
"people do being a person"
many factors can shift identity at any time
socially given vs individually struggled for position
customary classroom activities constrain students
Sociocultural theories of language learning
Vygotsky
learning is a social process
an individual & a member of a group
mixing "newcomers" and "oldtimers"
Investment, motivation, and SLA
motivation is not a fixed characteristic
Investment changes based on identity
motivation is not complex enough
learners investment and goals of program
Imagined communities and imagined identities
everybody has an imagined community
focus on learner's future
teachers must be aware of these imagined futures
multimedia to show imagined community
Methods of studying identity and SLA
Very complex because variables are ever-changing

Three understandings
no research is objective or unbiased
researcher's lense
structure and agency
political and economic issues interact with language learning
Still very difficult
process over time
difficulty presenting all data
which data are more important?
cannot make naturally ocurring speech
Identity and language teaching
"Identities...are unfinished and in process"
International pedagogical perspetives
some pedagogical practices limit students' imagination of identities
grammar and translation
narrow views of literacy
teachers with same cultural backgrounds become safe havens
drawing, photos, drama
Digital technology, identity, and language learning
Meanings are communicated many different ways
IM promotes literacy and identity exploration

Identity and resistance
resistance of unfavorable identites
certain dialects
South African literature regarding racist past
standards that are too high
Critiques of the field
Not all of identity is a choice
self-censorship
"class" has not been studied
Future directions
language learning is complex and dynamic
learners live in globalized worlds
provide wider range of identities for ELLs
identities are always multiple and in process
learners have different investments
Full transcript