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By Paula Kalaja, Ana Maria F. Barcelos, Mari Aro, Maria Ruohotie-Lyhty

This booklet explores the phenomena of believing (or giving own meanings), performing, and opting for (or identification construction), and the interconnectedness of those phenomena within the studying and educating of English and different overseas languages.

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By Paula Kalaja, Ana Maria F. Barcelos, Mari Aro, Maria Ruohotie-Lyhty

This booklet explores the phenomena of believing (or giving own meanings), performing, and opting for (or identification construction), and the interconnectedness of those phenomena within the studying and educating of English and different overseas languages.

Show description

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Additional resources for Beliefs, Agency and Identity in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching

Sample text

Chapters 3 and 4 (of Part I) focus on young learners of English (growing into young adults) and the development of their beliefs about learning the language, and agency in a series of interviews carried out over 14 years and subjected to content analysis of one type. Chapters 5, 6 and 7 (of Part II) are about university students of English and other foreign languages (progressing from first-year university students into university graduates, being, for the most part, student teachers), and the development of their beliefs about learning and teaching foreign languages, and motivation and identities – with greater variation in methods of data collection and analysis.

In other words, classroom practice shapes the identities of teachers, but their identities also shape their practices. Different methods of data collection and analysis have been used in research on L2 teacher identities, such as narrative inquiry, which focuses on teachers’ personal experiences and lives, discourse analysis (Clarke, 2008), story-telling (Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2013) and metaphor analysis (Thomas & Beauchamp, 2011), the first of these being the most common one. The themes addressed in research on L2 teacher identities, as with L2 learner identities, also include issues of how race, gender, and social status relate to L2 teacher identity.

While they believed that one could now learn English by just going and using it in interaction (and that this was, indeed, the best way to learn), they also indicated that there should first be something there to put to use – such as vocabulary items and grammar rules. This implies that the participants’ beliefs about how English is learnt were also level dependent: in order to get started, the good old, authoritative, school-like instruction might still be the best bet. It was, after all, the way they had learnt.

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