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Title: Recognising invisibility : the positioning of rural English language teachers in the Colombian context
Author: Cruz Arcila, Ferney
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 1321
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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This research focuses on exploring the current state of affairs of the teaching of English in Colombian rural areas. Despite the fact that policies for English Language Teaching (ELT) have been playing a prominent role in the educational landscape of the country for over a decade now, there is still little awareness, in public and academic discourses, about the complexities of the rural ELT classroom. In fact, an important premise underpinning this study is that rural teachers of English and their struggle to both deal with national educational demands and sort out the social issues of rural contexts (e.g. poverty, underequipped schools, few opportunities to access higher education) have remained rather ‘invisible’. On the basis of this situation, this research aims to tackle this invisibility by investigating the connections between language policy and practice with matters of social justice and inequality in the specific case of rural education. The study is particularly concerned with examining the ways in which meanings teachers have constructed about their practice and about their image as professionals may have been influenced by both policy and the rural sociocultural landscape. The study follows a combination of narrative and ethnographic approaches. Teachers’ written and oral accounts of their experiences as well as in-site observations have contributed to a comprehensive description of their understandings, feelings, aspirations, undertakings, and decisions which are important to recognise the place of these teachers in the national ELT landscape. Data analysis mainly draws on principles of critical pedagogy, theories of social justice, policy enactment theory as a well as on a sociocultural view of teacher identity. Findings show that issues such as economic marginalisation, deprivation and a lower appreciation of rurality in general have played an important role in the ways teachers have constructed and shaped both their practices and identities. These factors, for instance, have led teachers to reinterpret policy goals in more socially sensitive terms, ignore curricular guidelines and, in turn, develop teaching practices in such a way that they make the most of their expertise, their cultural values and the resources at their disposal. However, the study also shows that there are other external pressures such as national tests teachers cannot ignore and, thus, also come to affect directly their practices and their sense of who they are as professionals. At the same time, the study indicates that although teachers may appear unsuccessful in the terms set out by policy makers, they have developed an alternative narrative of what success may mean. Interestingly, this study further suggests that religion can be a very important factor in both teachers’ sense of who they are and what they should do.
Supervisor: Andon, Nicholas John ; Dewey, Martin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available