The 'native speaker' spin: the construction of the English teacher at a language department at a university in central Mexico

PhD Thesis


Mora Pablo, I. 2011. The 'native speaker' spin: the construction of the English teacher at a language department at a university in central Mexico. PhD Thesis University of Kent
AuthorsMora Pablo, I.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD
Abstract

This is a study of how teachers, students and administrators in a particular university's language department in Guanajuato, Mexico, construct the English teachers' professional image. The experiences of ten teachers, fourteen students, and two administrators at the Language Department of the University of Guanajuato in Mexico are explored through data obtained from conversations, narratives, critical incidents, e-mail correspondence and field-notes.

This thesis began as an investigation of the construction of the 'native/non-native' debate. However, it arrived at a final point which is concerned about the ways in which individual perceptions are constructed and affected through historical or social pressures. From the data collected key areas emerged, such as: identity, labelling and the socio-political relationship between Mexico and the United States and its consequences. The data shows the polarization that exists between 'native speakers' and 'non-native speakers' themselves concerning aspects such as birthplace, ethnicity and nationality. In order to make sense of this data, I decided to employ the concept of spin to explain how images of the English teacher and speaker are constructed and maintained (or rejected) by participants. This is used as a lens to understand the evolution of the creation of the 'native speaker' image and labels. This helps understand how the 'native speaker' image came to play such a critical —and sometimes apparently harmful— role in the construction of the Other and the Self. Specifically, the 'native speaker' spin was not a point of investigation, but emerged as a significant tool for the discussion of the data as the analysis progressed.

Overall this study seems to set a precedent that there is no clear-cut division between 'native' and 'non-native speakers'. Rising awareness of how complex labels operate through discourses, institutions and hiring policies may help to bring about more recognition of commonalities of English teachers as professionals.

Year2011
File
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Aug 2013
Completed2011
Output statusUnpublished
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https://repository.canterbury.ac.uk/item/86z6y/the-native-speaker-spin-the-construction-of-the-english-teacher-at-a-language-department-at-a-university-in-central-mexico

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