Learner identity in EFL: An analysis of digital texts of identity in higher education
Keywords:EFL learning and teaching, digital communication, identity, learner identity
This study explores learner identity (LI) in digital texts of identity (DTI) produced by college learners in English as a foreign language (EFL). In so doing, it aims to shed light on learners’ connections of their learning experiences across time and settings, and their impact on the various learner identities that form their LI. It also intends to elucidate how learners construct powerful learner identities in and through their digital discourses. To this end, 51 DTI were collected and scrutinized, following studies on LI, critical and poststructuralist discourse analysis, and “thematic” and “dialogic/performative” analysis within narrative research. Learners established connections between their family and daily life spaces, school, and the foreign language community that account for, and shape their construction of their identities as learners in general, and language learners in particular. Students also empowered themselves by identifying with an intercultural speaker, using authority claims, and, in general, enhancing their authoritativeness in and through their texts. These findings underscore the potential of DTI to reinforce learners’ identities, and create more equitable learning spaces.
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