Identity, Literacy, and English-Language Teaching

  • Bonny Norton


In the field of English-language teaching, there has been increasing interest in how literacy development is influenced by institutional and community practice and how power is implicated in language-learners’ engagement with text. In this article, I trace the trajectory of my research on identity, literacy, and English-language teaching informed by theories of investment and imagined communities. Data from English-language classrooms in Canada, Pakistan, and Uganda suggest that if learners have a sense of ownership over meaning-making, they will have enhanced identities as learners and participate more actively in literacy practices. The research challenges English teachers to consider which pedagogical practices are both appropriate and desirable in the teaching of literacy and which will help students develop the capacity for imagining a wider range of identities across time and space. Such practices, the research suggests, will necessitate changes in both teachers’ and students’ identity.
How to Cite
Norton, B. (2010). Identity, Literacy, and English-Language Teaching. TESL Canada Journal, 28(1), 1.