College Papers

It is essential to perceive language teachers’ beliefs and identities in 3 concentric circles proposed by Kachru

It is essential to perceive language teachers’ beliefs and identities in 3 concentric circles proposed by Kachru (1985) because we will understand the norms using in those circle countries and could implement perspectives on these issues to construct beneficial identities for EFL university teachers as well as to enhance language learning environment in Thai context. Therefore, I am going to conduct the research proposal on implementing EFL university teachers’ beliefs and identities in the inner and outer circles into those in the expanding circle for Advanced Directed Studies course. This paper of literature review will be a part of the proposal. The purposes of the study are as follows: 1) to investigate EFL university teachers’ beliefs and identities in the inner and outer circles and 2) to examine EFL university teachers’ beliefs and identities in the expanding circle. In addition, the following research questions are 1) what are EFL university teachers’ beliefs and identities in the inner and outer circles?, 2) what are EFL university teachers’ beliefs and identities in the expanding circle? and 3) how could those perspectives on these issues be implemented in Thai context? There are 3 primary issues discussed, including the Circles model of World Englishes, beliefs and identities, and implication.
World Englishes were separated into 3 concentric circles, including the inner, outer circle, and expanding circles (Kachru, 1985). There were 3 main intentions to propose this model as a representative of 1) the types of a spread of English worldwide, 2) the patterns of acquisition, and 3) the functional domains in which English is used internationally (Bolton, 2008; Jenkins, 2015). The inner circle refers to countries where English is used as the first language such as The USA, The UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The outer circle is considered as postcolonial Anglophonic countries with a large and diverse speech community such as Bangladesh, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka and so on. In the outer circle countries, English is not the first language used in the diverse communities, so it is considered as second, official, or educational language. The expanding circle consists of those countries where English is used as an international language or English as Foreign Language (EFL). However, Kachru (1985) suggested that ‘the Outer Circle and the Expanding Circle cannot be viewed as clearly demarcated from each other; they have several shared characteristics, and the status of English in the language policies of such countries changes from time to time. What is an ESL region at one time may become an EFL region at another time or vice versa’.
To explore deeper and comprehend better about beliefs and identities of EFL university teachers who are in the inner and outer circle, a number of articles related to those issues will be studied. Chan (2017) examined the attitudes of different groups of major stakeholders – teachers, professionals, and students – in Hong Kong English varieties and language learning based on their experience of English use and their beliefs and knowledge of English as an international language. The research instruments used to collect the data was a bilingual questionnaire written in both English and Chinese which concentrated on three themes of questions: factual questions – personal information, behavioral questions – use of English in daily life, and attitudinal questions – attitudes towards accents. The participants of the study, selected with purposive sampling method, were 1, 893 participants which consisted of four main groups as follows: 1) secondary students, 2) teachers, 3) full-time university students, and 4) professionals. The findings revealed that there were three out of ten factors with the highest mean scores, including Hong Kong identity, the legitimacy of ‘standard’ English varieties, and Exposure to L1 English accents in multimedia in order.
To discuss Hong Kong identity which was the highest factor affecting on the language variation and language use, the finding showed that the most of participants identified themselves as ‘Hongkongers’ rather than Chinese. That is, the Hong Kong identity might be defined in terms of Hong Kong’s differentiation from mainland China rather than the West during the colonial era (Brewer, 1999). Moreover, the findings exposed that the participants wanted to keep their local accents when talking local speakers in English; on the other hand, they wanted to pronounce native-like accents when talking with native speakers. According to these findings, both Cantonese and English are distinct markers of Hong Kong identity. These issues are relating the concept of language variation in term of phonological variety. There are a number of accents used in the world and they contain their own identity which could show that where people with the accents live and who they are. To consider the limitation of the study, it would be better whether qualitative methods were used to gather the data because this qualitative data would make us perceive the deeper insights on the issues.
The study relating to identity was conducted by Choi (2015) to investigate native language maintenance and ethnic identity of three different generations Korean – Americans in the United States. There were two research instruments used to gather the data, including questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The questions in the questionnaires focused on the personal background, language proficiency, use and choice, as well as identity and importance of maintaining their heritage language and identity. Besides, the interviews provided the participants to express their insights and opinions about themes of language and identity. The participants of the study were 181 first – generation Koreans, 1.5 – generation Koreans, and second – generation descendant who lived in Texas, the United States. The findings exposed that the heritage language proficiency – speaking, reading and writing – tended to decrease gradually among the different generations: on the other hand, English language proficiency of these generations went up, especially in the second generation. According to the language use in the family domain, the findings revealed that parents in all generations still used Korean language to communicate with their children. In contrast, the children in the first and second generations spoke to their parents with mother tongue language but the children in the third one used more English than Korean.
In addition, the findings showed about the correlation between identity and language that Korean language proficiency of the participants who identified themselves as Koreans was higher than the proficiency of those considered as Korean – Americans and Americans. The English proficiency of participants identified as Koreans – Americans or Americans were significantly higher than the proficiency of those who considered themselves as Koreans. According to this result, we might conclude that the correlation between identity and language was positive. That is, identity affects how well the participants’ language proficiency is. Moreover, the interview data revealed that even though the participants had high English proficiency, they were considered as an outsider. According to the findings of the study, we have to accept what we are and retain it as the varieties in the world’s communities as well as encourage our identity to develop our language proficiency. This study is relatively beneficial because it collected both quantitative and qualitative data to make intensely understand the relations between identity and language. However, it should be conducted in the longer period in order to perceive deeper insights on other sociocultural factors.
Third, Gao, Jia, and Zhou (2015) investigated the EFL learning and self-identity development based on psychological and social perspectives which consisted of 7 identity categories of identity change: positive self – confidence, negative self – confidence, subtractive, additive, productive, split, and zero. Mixed methods were used to collect the data in the 4-year longitudinal study, including a self – designed questionnaire, student journals in English, interviews, and class observations. There were two sections – identity development and EFL learning motivation – in the questionnaire and seventeen topics for student journals such as English learning, life experiences, attitudes, and so on. Besides, certain participants were interviewed with the following themes, including EFL learning experiences, feelings about the English learning process, attitudes towards English and English learning, and so forth. The participants of the study were approximately 1,000 undergraduate students from five universities in Beijing, China.
The findings revealed that the most prominent identity change was positive self – confidence. However, it was not surprising that one’s self – confidence is influenced by perceived competence in English under a social condition and L2 learner identity will effect on further learning motivation. Another interesting category of identity change was subtractive. Even though the subtractive change was slow at the beginning, it increased gradually and steadily along the 4-year study. The major factors of this phenomenon might be the shifts in language use, values, behavior, lifestyle, and attitudes of the participants, especially when they were in the junior and senior years. According to these findings, the identity changes associated with EFL learning. These findings of the study are beneficial for English teachers and educators to broaden their insights on the association of identity change and EFL learning. Therefore, they could make use of this insight to create identity-based language activities and practices to foster learners’ language proficiency development. However, there are certain weaknesses of the study. For instance, the study was conducted in the universities located in the same city, so this might not allow the researchers perceive the entire insights into this issue. Another weakness of this study is that the researchers should code transcribes of the participants and summarize them into the themes, since this way will help the readers to comprehend the data easier.
Trent (2014) aimed to examine the implementation of innovations in English language education by three teachers in Hong Kong. The methods used to collect the data were qualitative multiple case study and interviews to gain perceptions of implementations in language teaching and learning. The primary participants were three full-time English language teachers who initiated their career and taught in different schools. There were 4 semi-structureed interviews to collect the participants’ background biographical information, their beliefs about language teaching and learning, and how they planned to introduce innovative teaching and learning activities with their schools. Moreover, there was another group of participants who were three heads of English departments in each of the schools in which the first primary group of participants was teaching.
The findings showed that the participants named their identity positions as an innovative teacher. It referred to different terms which depended on the teachers’ beliefs such as the teacher’s willingness to attempt to do new things, new ways of teaching, and being teacher. For instance, Daniel was interested in using drama-based English language learning strategy while Claire encouraged her students to learn English language outside the classroom. For Andrew, the crucial methods of teaching and learning English was communicative ones, including task-based learning. In addition, the findings of positioning by the others, who were the heads of English department, revealed that identity construction through different language teaching and learning initiatives was relevant a positive evaluation. According to the findings, providing new language teaching and learning activities and practices allows the teachers to be innovative or up-to-date teachers and this way is considered as constructing identity. I think that this finding is relatively useful to English language teachers to be foster ongoing development by implementing this concept of innovation and identity. Moreover, this way will allow the teacher to understand the interplay between their identity and language teaching and learning.
Yeo, Marlina, and Jacobs (2017) studied ‘Challenging Existing Perspectives of “Ideal” characteristics of Teachers of English’. The purposes of the study were to offer a fairly new perspective from the unique experience of three established language teachers and to raise awareness about the need to accept greater diversity among language teaching professionals. A narrative inquiry method was used to collect the data from 3 participants who were language teachers from both the inner, outer and expanding circles. The characteristics of the ‘Ideal’ teachers of English to Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) were compounded of 1) citizenship of an Inner Circle country or, at least, having lived a significant part of one’s life in an Inner Circle county, 2) Caucasian race, 3) middle- and upper-class socioeconomic status and 4) university education. The researchers stated that these factors seemed to associate with the image of the ideal ESOL teachers and also might affect job prospects, salary, and reaction by students and colleagues.
The findings revealed that the first participant from the inner circle was aware relatively early in his occupation of the discrimination that existed in ESOL teachers who lacked some ideal characteristics. He tried to help the colleagues in order to raise their status as ESOL teachers and some advocacy for the paradigm of English as an International Language. The findings of the second teacher who was from the outer circle showed that the perceptions of the ideal ESOL teacher had a significant impact on her personal and professional life. That is, the English teachers from Outer Circle countries who may not fit the image of the ideal language teacher could have an impact on the professional identity and career development, particularly those working in Inner Circle countries. In addition, the last participant who was the English teacher from the Expanding Circle exposed a major part of his struggle to be a legitimate ESOL teacher and also his narrative indicated that the acquisition of the language of power and attainment of various authorized licenses to teach that language of power are not sufficient in order for someone to complete the journey of becoming an English teacher.
Conceptualization of English teachers’ professional identity and comprehension of its dynamics was examined by Han (2017). The purposes of the study were to conceptualize English teachers’ professional identity based on an understanding of identity in a sociopsychological framework and to reveal the attributes and dynamics of professional identity by investigating Korean English teachers’ cognitive, emotional and behavioral responses to their national English curriculum and related policies. The study followed the qualitative research framework with a narrative approach to conduct the research and also the research instruments, including in-depth interviews, and descriptive questionnaires were used to gather the data. The participants of the study were five Korean English teachers working in different state academic high schools.
The findings showed that there were seven identities related to the professional identities, including 1) national identity – Even though the participants led students’ English language learning, they had negative views regarding the national reinforcement and social atmosphere of facilitating English language learning, 2) English teacher identity – it related to all the teacher-participants’ favoring of CLT as a method of education, 3) teacher identity – When talking about their teaching practices for KSAT preparation, the teacher-participants revealed their position as service providers facing consumers, 4) learner identity – When the teachers were sensitive to and active in learning new teaching methods or pedagogies from their surroundings or other colleagues, their identity as learners was clearly revealed, 5) public servant identity – All their positions were subjugated within the top-down managerial system under the control of the state and local education office, 6) gender identity – it seemed to be problems for married women who were socially expected to carry out the roles and responsibilities of their families, and 7) person identity – it related to the levels of dominance, energy and tension when the teachers valued their personal and individual growth through the PD programs. Moreover, the finding suggested that consideration of the teachers’ professional identity and its meaning systems is essential in curriculum design as well as implementation processes for the development of a comprehensive and feasible curriculum.
According to the above studies’ findings, we could broaden our perspectives emerged from EFL university teachers’ beliefs and identities in contexts of the Concentric Circle model. First, identity seems to be a significant factor which impacts on English language learning, a language communication, and language variation. For instance, Hong Kong people spoke with a local English accent to their local people while they communicated with a native-like accent to the foreigners. Or American-Korean people who live in the USA and have a quite high proficiency in English but a low proficiency in Korean are impacted by identity change. These phenomena show that identity is one of the factors which significantly impacts on the language learners’ English competence. Second, the language learners’ self-confidence considered as identity might be related to L2 learning proficiency and their self-confidence could affect learning motivation. That is, the language learners will be more self-confident when their English proficiency is relatively good. Similarly, the language learners will more motivate and participate in English language learning activities when they relatively master in using English. Third, English teachers who are from the Inner, Outer, or even Expanding Circle countries still needs more acceptance from the stakeholders such as students, colleagues, or parents as a qualified English teachers even though they are not fit the mentioned ideal characteristics of English teachers and also allow them to integrate teaching methods they master to promote and develop their students’ English competence better.
To promote English language teaching and World Englishes, we could implement the following practices in the language classroom: 1) constructing identity through a group discussion activity – a teacher and language learners could discuss various topics based on language usages in different countries around the world. This way will make the learners gain the insights of similarities and differences of language usages, drive them to practice their speaking skills as well as construct their positive identity through social activities; 2) integrating identity into teaching techniques and methods – a teacher might integrate what teaching methods he/ she masters and attempts to address the topics related to World Englishes. For instance, the teacher might bring the language learners to a diverse community in order to broaden their perspectives on people who carry out different issues such as language variation in term of morphology, phonology, or syntax and accept those differences; 3) being tolerance for diverse English teachers – English teachers who stay in the Outer, Expanding circle countries or even some of those who are from the Inner ones still need to be more acceptable from their students, peers and so on as English teachers like the native English teachers. I think that this matter will affect those teachers’ positive identity and this identity will significantly foster their effective teaching and learning in the classroom.