English Learners’ Identity Formation as Low and High Investors in their Learning Process

La formación de identidad de estudiantes de inglés como bajos y altos inversores en su proceso de aprendizaje

Keywords: English as a Foreign Language, EFL learners, investment, language learners' identity, power relations (en_US)
Keywords: Estudiantes de inglés, identidad de aprendices de inglés, inversión, relaciones de poder, aprendizaje del inglés como lengua extranjera (es_ES)

Abstract (en_US)

This article reports the fndings of a descriptive case study that analyzed how unfair social relationships established in an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) classroom influenced a group of adolescent English language learners’ academic investment and identity construction at a school in Bogotá, Colombia. Data associated with students’ social behaviors and identities were collected through feld notes, a questionnaire, and an interview. Norton’s theory of identity and investment served as the basis to analyze the data from a social perspective. Three main fndings emerged from the data: First, EFL learners identifed themselves as high investors and low investors in their learning, depending on their own opinions about the usefulness of English in their lives. Second, power relationships based on domination and oppression reduced productive investment in the classroom. Third, some high investors resisted unfair relationships of power by investing through collaborative learning. Consequently, participants created diverse English learners’ identities (dominant, submissive, resistant, and productive), which influenced their academic investment negatively or positively.

Abstract (es_ES)

Este artículo reporta los hallazgos de un estudio de caso descriptivo que analizó cómo las relaciones de poder injustas establecidas en una clase de inglés influyeron en la inversión académica y la construcción de identidad de un grupo de aprendices adolecentes de inglés de un colegio de Bogotá, Colombia. Se recogieron datos asociados al comportamiento social y la identidad de los aprendices por medio de notas de campo, un cuestionario y una entrevista. La teoría de Norton sobre identidad e inversión sirvió como base para analizar los datos desde una perspectiva social. Tres principales hallazgos surgieron de los datos: Primero, los aprendices de inglés se identificaron como altos inversores y bajos inversores en su aprendizaje, dependiendo de sus propias opiniones sobre la utilidad del inglés en sus vidas y de su contexto socioeconómico. Segundo, las relaciones de poder basadas en la dominación y la opresión redujeron la inversión productiva en la clase. Tercero, algunos de los altos inversores resistieron relaciones de poder injustas mediante el aprendizaje colaborativo. Por consiguiente, los aprendices de inglés asumieron diversas identidades (dominantes, sumisas, reactivas y productivas), las cuales influyeron positiva y negativamente en su inversión académica.


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Author Biographies

Maritza Collazos Moná, Colegio Distrital Carlos Albán Olguín
English Department, Colegio Distrital Carlos Albán Olguín, Bogotá, Colombia
Luis Fernando Gómez Rodríguez, Universidad Pedagógica Nacional de Colombia

Modern Language Departement

Associate Professor



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How to Cite
Moná, M. C., & Gómez Rodríguez, L. F. (2019). English Learners’ Identity Formation as Low and High Investors in their Learning Process. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 21(2), 165-178. https://doi.org/10.14483/22487085.13239
Published: 2019-11-07
Research Articles