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Title:Nest agency in the dissemination of global English
Author(s):Greenfield, Anita K
Director of Research:Bhatt, Rakesh M
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bhatt, Rakesh M
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Kang, Hyun-Sook; Sadler, Randall W; Smalls, Krystal A
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):English language education
Abstract:This dissertation explores issues of agency and identity in globalization through an examination of the role that “native” English speakers (NESTs) play as individual agents in the process of the spread and promotion of the English language. Previous research has examined and critiqued the ideologies that support the spread of English and the agency of those who resist or redefine English. However, the agency and identities of those directly involved in spreading English through English language education have been largely overlooked. To provide insight into the agency in processes of globalization, I study the processes through which English language ideologies are reproduced or redefined by NESTs working in English classrooms in South Korea. Scholarship on NESTs focuses on their efficacy as educators, cultural issues that could cause classroom conflict, or poor NEST retention rate; little scholarship addresses NESTs' role in shaping local and global linguistic markets. However, in South Korea and other countries, almost every child has had a class with a NEST before they enter middle school. These teachers’ positions as authorities, both as teachers and as native speakers, give them the potential to have a strong impact on the ideological face of English in South Korea. As such, a closer examination of NESTs is necessary to further understand the processes through which English is spread at the local level. Using data from ethnographic interviews, focus groups, and classroom recordings, I use discourse analytic methods to examine how NESTs’ agency is discursively exercised: in choices to align/disalign with the different stakeholders in Korean English Education; in NESTs' construction of their identity as NESTs; and in NESTs' construction of the value and character of global English. First, I focus on NESTs’ interaction within the ideological milieu of the classroom. I examine their agency through the processes through which they accept and reject the ideologies promoted by various stakeholders in the Korean education system, such as local school authorities, scholarly authorities in education, and local teaching norms. Second, I examine NESTs’ agency in their construction of group identity and their understandings of the trajectory of English language education in South Korea in relation to these identities. I pay particular attention to the ratification of certain identities as authentic and the devaluation of other identities as inauthentic. I connect this to how they are positioned by different stakeholders in the Korean education system. Finally, I explore NESTs’ agency in the construction of the value and character of global English. I specifically examine the type of English presented, the locale with which English is connected, and the values and morals with which English and English teaching are aligned in the metalinguistic commentary and the classroom practices of these teachers. Through the examination of these issues, this dissertation offers insight into how agency is expressed in the promotion of English as a global language by its “native” speakers in English language classrooms.
Issue Date:2021-04-23
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Anita Greenfield
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17
Date Deposited:2021-05

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