Empowering Non-licensed-in-English Language Teachers to Construct Professional Knowledge in Their Actual and Imagined Communities of Practice

Edgar Augusto Aguirre-Garzon, Harold Andres Castaneda-Pena


Research has accumulated important knowledge over recent decades on how licensed language teachers develop and learn from cognitive and socio-cultural stances. Yet, relatively little evidence exists on how non-licensed-in-English language teachers (NLELTs) grow professionally in their communities. Similarly, few studies have yet investigated the concept of “imagined communities” in the language teaching field with these particular types of population. This study attempts to fill this gap by exploring the possible forms of professional knowledge that NLELTs build through participation in the activities of a learning community. Four non-licensed language teachers participated in a nine-month collaborative-reflective process focused on language teaching practices, in a public school in Bogotá (Colombia). In analyzing their interactions and consequent products, we discuss three dimensions of knowledge construction propelled by the individual visions they brought into the community. Furthermore, we analyze how learning in that present community granted the teachers access to envisioned practices in imagined communities for a desirable future. Based on the findings we argue that success or failure in participation in present, real communities determines imagined affiliation to future communities, their practices and even the NLELTs’ preferred future positionings as professionals.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v10n8p78

Copyright (c) 2017 Edgar Augusto Aguirre-Garzon, Harold Andres Castaneda-Pena

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

English Language Teaching       ISSN 1916-4742 (Print)   ISSN  1916-4750 (Online)

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