Linguistic Citizenship in the EFL Classroom: Granting the Local a Voice Through English

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This article examines the constitutive role of English as a foreign language (EFL) as a cultural discourse of action and empowerment through which teachers in marginalized, specifically conflict-ridden, educational contexts act as agents of social and educational change. Although current approaches to teaching English accentuate its transformative role, EFL pedagogies still often reproduce hegemonic and exclusionary ideologies. Drawing on an ethnographic EFL classroom case study, the author conducts a critical discourse analysis of dialogue journals within the theoretical frameworks of foreign language education, critical pedagogies, and linguistic citizenship. The article examines the dynamics surrounding the way two preservice Palestinian Arab teachers in Israel respond to imposed linguistic and educational subjectivities, and their political agency in contesting unequal EFL policies. Contesting exclusionary ideologies in EFL textbooks, fostering dialogicity in EFL classrooms, and increasing students’ agency and reflexivity in EFL programs could strategically promote the discursive role of English as an instrumental tool for implementing local–global understanding and social justice. English, in this sense, offers an important discursive terrain for teachers and learners to negotiate conflicts and engage in justice-oriented dialogue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-765
Number of pages23
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes


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