EFL Teachers' Identities and Their Teaching and Assessment Practices in a Public University of a Major City in Colombia

Diana Patricia Pineda Montoya, University of Texas at El Paso


This one-year long ethnographic case study seeks to add to the body of literature on EFL teachers’ identities in Colombia by drawing on ethnographic methods and sociocultural theories to examine the identity construction of four EFL teachers at the university level. Specifically, this study explores how EFL teachers’ identities shaped and were shaped by their teaching and assessment practices. The study was conducted at a public university and involved ethnographic participant-observation with four cátedra teachers (adjunct faculty) situated across five language programs in the Foreign Language Teaching Section (FLTS) of the Department of Languages. The analysis of multiple data sources revealed the role of professional capital (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012) and its three components –human, social, and decisional– in EFL teachers’ identity development and practice. Human capital, which includes knowledge and skills, contributed to teachers’ construction of their identities when their experiences as language learners shaped the ways they taught. Social capital, which includes social relations, shaped teachers’ identities through their participation in communities of practice (Wenger, 1998), as this made a difference in the practices of teachers in comparison to those who worked more in isolation. Decisional capital, identified as teachers’ capacity to reflect on their practices and make judgments, also contributed to teachers’ identity development when they exercised their agency, made decisions based on how the curriculum was structured, and implemented reflective practices. The findings of this study have implications for research and theory because understanding the complexities of teacher identity development can shed light on teacher education and professional development programs. Regarding policy and practice, this study contributed to the construction of local knowledge (Kumaravadivelu, 2003, 2012) that disrupts deficit perspectives of teachers in the country (Usma Wilches, 2015), particularly in EFL contexts.

Subject Area

Foreign language education|Education|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Montoya, Diana Patricia Pineda, "EFL Teachers' Identities and Their Teaching and Assessment Practices in a Public University of a Major City in Colombia" (2018). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10931145.