Revisiting the Colonial in the Postcolonial: Critical Praxis for Nonnative-English-Speaking Teachers in a TESOL Program



    Visiting Assistant Professor
    1. University of Cincinnati
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    • Janina Brutt-Griffler is a visiting assistant professor in the Graduate Literacy/TESL Program in the College of Education at the University of Cincinnati. She is the author of The Development of English as an International Language: Historical, Sociocultural, and Linguistic Dimensions (Multilingual Matters, in press) and The Decolonization of English (Multilingual Matters, in press).


    Associate Professor
    1. The Ohio State University
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  • Keiko K. Samimy is an associate professor in foreign and second language education at the Ohio State University. Her research interests include world Englishes, issues related to nonnative English-teaching professionals, and affective variables in second language acquisition. She has published in Modern Language Journal, Language Learning, Foreign Language Annals, and TESOL Quarterly.


Although historically much teaching of English has been done by nonnative-English-speaking teachers (NNESTs), research on their concerns as English educators has been neglected. This article takes as its central focus the narrative of NNESTs in the context of critical praxis. It discusses a graduate seminar offered for perhaps the first time in a TESOL program for NNESTs. The article presents the process of interrogating the nativeness paradigm among NNESTs themselves via their own experiences and self-representation. It discusses the validity of conceptual tools designed to overcome disempowering discourses that may exist in TESOL programs and centers on the construction of identity among NNESTs that neither prescribes a limited role for them in the profession nor specifies definite boundaries to their capacities therein. The study suggests that the process of empowerment of NNESTs is neither linear nor simple but can nevertheless be generated within and by teachers engaged in critical praxis. It also demonstrates that many of the participants found a new relationship with their contexts, analyzed the causes of their powerlessness, and generated a new sense of agency as teachers and scholars in the field.