Social class identities and discourses in the efl classroom

Since the onset of poststructuralist and sociocultural approaches to the applied linguistics area of second language acquisition and learning (SLA/L) and the advent of identity research in foreign language (FL) teaching and learning, different dimensions such as gender, race, sexuality, and ethnicity have been greatly explored. Nonetheless, an identity inscription which has been under examined in the abovementioned fields is that of social class. Scholarship on identity and FL educational research has not yet fully examined the hidden class-based power dynamics and the struggles for symbolic capital that students and educators experience and exercise in the EFL classroom that lead to construction and negotiation of class identities through discursive acts. Examining social class identities and discourses in FL practices such as literacy practices, interculturally development, project work, and linguistic practices becomes paramount given several factors around the world such as the current neoliberal forces and the effects o globalization on second and foreign language teaching and learning, the implications of associating English with notions of global citizenship, the nuance of social class backgrounds Colombian EFL classrooms are comprised of, and the social stratification inequalities we experience in today’s world. Results can have implications for EFL teachers, intercultural facilitators, school supervisors and administrators, curriculum developers, textbook designers, and FL policymakers. Such findings will surely contribute to know how social class is reproduced in the EFL classroom and understand the hidden class-based power dynamics to gain symbolic capital converging in the classroom through discourse, as well as how to make decisions about such phenomena. This understanding can in turn shed light on how students negotiate, resist, and (re) construct their social class identities and how the affordances and constraints of such class positioning affect students’ foreign language learning experiences; informing thus EFL teachers’ FL literacy, ICC development endeavors, project work, and linguistic practices. With such knowledge in mind, instructors and teacher educators are expected to afford their students and teachers not only more equitable access to quality learning and teaching, but also powerful class positioning from which to engage in interaction and FL practices, while acknowledging the power relations embedded in such affordances.