The Construction of English Learners’ Identity from a Social Perspective and the Effects on their Language Learning Investment

Maritza Collazos Moná, Luis Fernando Gómez Rodríguez


This case study examined how a group of seventh graders constructed their language learners’ identity in an EFL classroom at a public school in Bogotá, Colombia. Data related to students’ behaviors and identity were collected through field notes. Also, students’ opinions about their own social status as language learners were collected through a questionnaire and interviews. Data were analyzed in light of Norton’s theory of identity and investment from a social perspective. Findings indicate that participants were reluctant English learners because of several social factors such as their socioeconomic situation, academic and family demands, and the imposition of power relationships in the classroom. Consequently, participants created strategic, unstable, and contradictory English learners’ identities when facing those social conflicts in the classroom while invested poorly in the learning process.

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