EFL Learner's Self-concept: Repercussions of Native Speakerism

Christian Fallas Escobar

Resumen/Abstract

In Costa Rican universities, English as a foreign language (EFL) programs are often filled with practices and discourses that idealize native speakers of English and construct them as the models to follow. In these programs, instructors’ overreliance on native speaker proficiency models create unrealistic standards that can misinform EFL learners’ views of their proficiency as English speakers. As these students ‘fail’ to align their present L2 proficiency to the ideal praised in the classroom, they develop negative self-concepts, which lead them to characterize their proficiency as deficient and incomplete. In this paper, I examine tacitly validated practices and circulating narratives in two academic EFL programs in a public Costa Rican university regarding learners’ expected EFL proficiency and problematize the repercussions these unspoken expectations may have for these students’ overall self-concept as L2 speakers. In light of the results that I discuss herein, I advocate for the abandonment of the native speakerism trend that still prevails in the EFL programs in question and for the construction of EFL teaching practices that provide EFL learners with the validation they deserve for their expanding linguistic repertoire. 

En las universidades costarricenses, los programas de inglés como lengua extranjera están plagados de prácticas y discursos que idealizan al nativo hablante del inglés y lo posicionan como elmodelo a seguir. En estos programas, el uso constante y exclusivo de modelos nativo hablantes por parte de los profesores crean estándares poco reales que pueden distorsionar la percepción que los estudiantes tienen sobre sus capacidades en el idioma inglés. Esto debido a que cuando los estudiantes no logran alinear sus destrezas en la segunda lengua a la proficiencia que implícitamente se idealiza en la clase, estos desarrollan un auto-concepto negativo que los lleva a describir sus propias destrezas lingüísticas como deficientes e incompletas. Es por eso que en este estudio, me doy a la tarea de analizar narrativas circulantes en dos programas académicos de inglés como lengua extrajera de una universidad pública en Costa Rica, en cuanto al nivel de competencia en inglés que los estudiantes perciben se espera de ellos al terminar el programa, y problematizo las repercusiones que estas expectativas implícitas tienen en el auto-concepto de los discentes. A la luz de los resultados que aquí presento, abogo por la erradicación de la tendencia de idealizar al nativo hablante del idioma inglés que aún prevalece in los programas en cuestión y por la construcción de prácticas pedagógicas que validen las destrezas que los estudiantes desarrollan en programas de inglés como lengua extranjera. 


Palabras clave/Keywords


Native speakerism; EFL learners’ self concept; self-theory; EFL proficiency.

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Referencias


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21071/ij21ce.v5i1.5796

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