Introduction: Apprehending Identity, Experience, and (In)equity Through and Beyond Binaries

Chapter
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 35)

Abstract

The negotiation of privilege and marginalization in the field of English language teaching (ELT), traces back to the field’s sociohistorical construction in and through the British and American colonial agenda of linguistic, cultural, economic, political, religious, educational and ethnic imperialism (Pennycook A The myth of English as an international language. In: Makoni S, Pennycook A (ed) Disinventing and reconstituting languages. Multilingual Matters, Clevedon, pp 90–115 (2007)). ELT was a vehicle by which to privilege British and American colonizers, and create colonial subjects modeled after their own image (Kumaravadivelu 2003; Pennycook 2010). Thus, ELT was predicated upon fluidly intertwined binaries of being, including colonizer/colonized, and Native Speaker (NS)/Non-Native Speaker (NNS). These categories were value-laden, affording linguistic, cultural and academic authority and “superiority” to individuals associated with the category of “NS,” while Othering the identities of individuals grappling with the epistemic and actualized violence of colonialism (NNSs) (see Kumaravadivelu 2016). As “local” teachers began to enter the classroom, an additional binary emerged -Native English Speaker Teacher (NEST)/Non-Native English Speaker Teacher (NNEST)- privileging “NESTs” over “NNESTs,” as teachers were collectively responsible for targeting an “idealized nativeness” conflated with the identity of an idealized colonizer. “NNESTs’” use of “local” language in the classroom to facilitate learning, was countered by the discourses of the monolingual principle (Howatt 1984), or notion that learning, and learning through, “English,” exclusively, was ideal for maximizing student growth (Hall and Cook 2012). The worldview underpinning this principle marginalized the identities of all individuals whose negotiation of being and becoming did not correspond with that of the idealized “superior.”

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum and InstructionThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA
  2. 2.Department of EnglishMukogawa Women’s UniversityNishinomiya-shiJapan

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