14 SES 05 B, Rural Schools as Hubs for the Socio-educational Development of the Community (Part 2)
Symposium continued from 14 SES 04 B, to be continued in 14 SES 06 B
This presentation draws on a larger doctoral research-in-progress aimed at 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 in the last ten years, there is still little awareness, in public and academic discourses, about the complexities of the rural language teaching classroom. Therefore, I argue, 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 (PNUD, 2011)) have remained rather ‘invisible’. On the basis of this situation, the research project 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 professional identity may have been influenced by both policy and the rural sociocultural landscape. In this context, I draw on Nacy Fraser’s (1997) as well as Martha Nussbaum (2011) and Amartya Sen’s (2009) frameworks of social justice to analyse how teachers’ practices and identities may have been shaped by issues of social inequality evident in rural Colombia, which result from an unfair socioeconomic structure, cultural ‘misrecognition’ of rural contexts and lack of opportunities for human development. Particularly in the frame of this special call on rural education, first, I will briefly describe the general concerns and aims of my doctoral research. Then, I will narrow the scope to describing, from the participants’ points of view, what it is like to teach English in Colombian rural contexts. I will present some of my preliminary findings obtained from data gathered in narrative interviews and teaching biographies written by participants in this study. More concretely, I will refer to the challenges and opportunities teachers have to develop their professional practice in light of language policy and the particularities of rural contexts.
- Canagarajah, A. S. (1999). Resisting linguistic imperialism in English teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. - Canagarajah, A. S. (2005). Reclaiming the local in language policy and practice: Routledge - Crookes, G. (2013). Critical ELT in action: Foundations, promises, praxis. New York: Routledge. - Fraser, N. (2009). Scales of justice: Reimagining political space in a globalizing world. New York: Columbia University Press. - Fraser, N. (1997). Justice interruptus: Critical reflections on the "postsocialist" condition. New York: Routledge. - Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing - Nussbaum, M. (2011). Creating Capabilities. USA: Harvard University Press. - PNUD, Programa Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo (2011). Colombia Rural: Razones para una esperanza Informe de Desarrollo Humano, PNUD, Colombia. Retrieved from http://pnudcolombia.org/indh2011/pdf/informe_completo_indh2011pdf - Sen, A. (2009). The idea of justice. London: Allen Lane.
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