The Burden of ‘Nativeness’: Four Plurilingual Student-Teachers’ Stories

María Cioè-Peña, Emilee Moore, Luisa Martín Rojo

Abstract

Oral history interviews conducted with four student-teachers in Bilingual Education or TESOL studies are analyzed. Despite being deconstructed in sociolinguistics and related fields, the ‘native’ and ‘non-native’ dichotomy emerges not only as salient in participants’ self-perceptions of linguistic competence, but also in feelings of unpreparedness for full participation in the teaching profession. Alternative categories are explored, including ‘legitimate’, ‘resourceful’ or ‘bi/plurilingual’ speaker, which may act in juxtaposition to that of ‘native’, or offer emancipatory ways forward. In line with critical pedagogy, for such alternative categories to empower, reimagining how linguistic competence is constructed in the teaching profession - through the appropriation of tools to critically deconstruct ‘nativeness’ – must engage the entire educational community. 

Keywords

Native/non-native, resourceful speakers, bi/plurilingual teachers, critical pedagogy, teacher education

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