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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Practice of Theory in the Language Classroom

  • Author(s): Norton, Bonny
  • et al.

In this article, the author makes the case that poststructuralist theories of language, identity, and investment can be highly relevant for the practical decision-making of language teachers, administrators and policy makers. She draws on her research in the international community to argue that while markers of identity such as accent, race, and gender impact the relationship between teachers and students, what is of far greater importance are the teachers’ pedagogical practices. This research suggests that language teaching is most effective when the teacher recognizes the multiple identities of students, and develops pedagogical practices that enhance students’ investment in the language practices of the classroom. The author concludes that administrators and policy makers need to be supportive of language teachers as they seek to be more effective in linguistically diverse classrooms.

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