Unpacking future language teachers’ sense of communities from a knowledges otherwise perspective: decolonizing research on language teacher education in Colombia

In initial teacher education, community has been conceptualized around modern concepts such as Target Communities (Higgins, 2012), Imagined Communities (Anderson, 1983), and Communities of Practice (Wenger, 1998; Wenger-Trayner, M. Fenton-O'Creevy, S. Hutchinson, Kubiak and Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Target Communities are understood as mostly cohesive groups of people who speak a (standard) language in relatively homogeneous ways, and whose cultural practices likely differ significantly from those who study the target language of that community. This view of community constructs the English Language Preservice Teachers through the dichotomy of Native Speakers of English (NSEs) vs. Non-Native Speakers of English (NNSEs) (Higgins, 2012). Imagined Communities point out groups of people, not immediately tangible and accessible, with whom we connect through the power of imagination (Norton, 1995). Within this view, the world is a global village where everybody shares an affiliation by speaking English (Phillipson, 1992; Guerrero, 2010). Communities of Practice refer to processes of learning within communities by developing certain competencies. People who seek to affiliate to particular groups usually try to adapt to the community norms (Higgins, 2010). In this sense, the English language preservice teachers would adapt and would seek to be accepted by the target community by adopting the role of apprentice vs. master. The concepts mentioned above appear in the most recent literature in ELT and have been promoted by the Politica de formación y desarrollo profesional de educadores (Teacher education and professional development policy) in Colombia. According to that policy part of the support for beginner teachers is their integration into Communities of Practice that each institution should create (2013). The Ministry of Education in Colombia has also established the methodologies and standards that the ELTEPs should follow through Resolution 18563, September 15, 2017. For this reason, this study sought to achieve four main purposes: 1) to explore the senses of community otherwise of a group of English Language Preservice Teachers (ELPTs); 2) to re-interpret the term community from a perspective otherwise; 3) to characterize the communities the English Language Preservice Teachers belong to and 4) to identify the English Language Preservice Teachers’ identities present within these communities. In the first objective namely, exploring the senses of community otherwise, I introduce a transgression stemming from the Epistemologies of the South. It consists of using the term 'otherwise' as an adjective after the noun community. Therefore, I will use the expressions 'community otherwise' which entails other modes of knowing, sensing, and living within a context of a community (Escobar, 2007; 2018; Mignolo & Walsh, 2018). With the second objective, I seek to re-signify the concept of community beyond the modern view of Target Communities, Imagined Communities and Communities of Practice, characterizing the communities as lived and described by the research collaborators. The main resources to co-construct knowledge were autobiographies and transcripts of the sessions in which the autobiographies were a joint construction between the research collaborators and myself. The research results show that their families, the university, the English Language Teacher Education Program (ELTEP), and the placement school, among others; are part of a constellation of communities of fear. This fear, however, becomes the lever that pushes Mariana, Cristian, Sebastián, and Luna to exercise agency not only in their learning process but also in their decision-making process. The research collaborators experience a series of emotions within these communities that cannot be generalized as each experience is unique and different. The communities can be characterized as kinship, interest/academic driven, and spiritual. The identities present within these communities are identities otherwise and are part of the research collaborators’ daily activities inside and outside the academic context. This study proposes an alternative theoretical framework that includes community as commodity, immunity, and struggle.


Evaluación del Proyecto de Tesis

Sesión de Presentación: 
Lunes, Julio 29, 2019

Evaluación Tesis

Sesión de Presentación: 
Lunes, Mayo 24, 2021
Aprobada con distinción