A critical examination of language ideologies and identities of Cambodian foreign-trained university lecturers of English

Date
2014
Authors
Boun, Sovicheth
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Abstract

The global spread of English has resulted in differing views among scholars who attributed it, on the one hand, to choices made by national actors for political and economic integration and, on the other hand, to linguistic imperialism from first-world English-speaking countries. In Cambodia, despite its momentum, the spread of English and English language teaching (ELT) has not been critically examined. More research is needed that examines the sociological and political aspects of English and ELT in Cambodia. As Pennycook (1994) maintained, the spread of English and ELT is imbued with cultural, economic, political and ideological meanings, irreducible to the examination of its functionalist roles as natural, neutral and beneficial. Drawing on language ideology and community of practice perspectives, this study explores the interrelations among language ideologies, classroom practices and the negotiation of identities. Data collected in the Spring of 2013 in Cambodia include interviews with university lecturers who received their master's degrees in ELT-related fields abroad, classroom observations, social observations, and relevant documents and artifacts. The findings reveal four ideological categories around which the participants expressed a range of ideological views about English and English language teaching: (1) image and status of English; (2) image and status of Khmer; (3) native speakers vs. non-native speakers; and (4) English language teaching. These various ideologies have been attributed to four sociocultural contexts of their experiences which include personal observations/experiences, prior learning/education, teaching experiences, and educational experiences abroad. The findings also indicate how these ideologies contribute to the participants' negotiation of teaching practices and formation of identities. This study adds to the current understanding of the global spread of English, the native speaker ideology, the communicative language teaching, and the transnationalization of TESOL education.

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Keywords
Education, Cambodia, Community of practice, Education abroad, Language ideology, Language teacher identity, TESOL
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Department
Bicultural-Bilingual Studies