Understanding Language Teacher and Learner Identity During the Pandemic

Conference: The Barcelona Conference on Education (BCE2021)
Title: Understanding Language Teacher and Learner Identity During the Pandemic
Stream: Foreign Languages Education & Applied Linguistics (including ESL/TESL/TEFL)
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Aymen Elsheikh, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Qatar
Omnia Ahmed, Mohammed Al Mana College for Medical Sciences, Saudi Arabia


Identity has emerged as a crucial topic of investigation in both general and language education because the process of (language) learning can be considered as identity development. Similarly, learning to teach, especially a foreign/second language, is a process of identity formation (Britzman, 1991). Given this realization, a plethora of research studies have investigated both language learner and teacher identity (Barkhuizen, 2020; Norton, 1995, 2000, 2013). These studies conclude that we must understand how teachers and learners develop their identity if we are to succeed in language learning and teaching. As identity is greatly influenced by the context in which we teach and learn the language, it is important to shed light on how the context of COVID-19 has impacted how learners and teachers develop their identity. This presentation highlights the multiple changes that took place in the education system in general and language education in particular, such as remote learning and the use of different technological tools, during the pandemic. By synthesizing the extant literature, the presenters will show that COVID-19 affected the learners and teachers in different ways and this led to the development of both positive and negative learning and teaching identities in contexts where there is a big gap between the “haves and have nots”. The presentation concludes with how to research identity issues during the pandemic in addition to drawing pedagogical implications. At the end, the audience will be engaged in asking questions and reflecting on their own identity development as teachers during the pandemic.

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