TOWARDS A CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF HETERONORMAL DISCOURSES IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHER TRAINING
University of Granada (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:With this work we aim at pursuing the following objectives: 1) To foster existential competence as the general framework underpinning FL teacher training practices; and, 2) to fight sexuality-related-phobia in the EFL curriculum in the Spanish Educational System. The introduction of queer (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered) issues into the EFL classroom fall into three general competences as described previously by the Council of Europe (2001): Declarative knowledge, skills and abilities, and existential competence (Savoir-être). Taking into account these facts, when a student learns a foreign language, he or she is not only learning an isolated system of linguistic symbols, but a cultural system which leads people to a metaphorical multicultural sphere. Subsequently, learners will develop a series of existential competences which will allow them to open to new “cultures”. Among all the possible issues which can be discussed in class, sexuality is definitely the most avoided, and talking about lesbians and gays is still a taboo. Teaching books do not explicitly show or include minority sexual identities, and everything related to people is strictly heterosexual. This work is trying to show how heteronormativity is controlling schools, teaching materials, teachers and students. Almost all the people discussed and shown in teaching textbooks are heterosexual; they speak and behave as most people expect them to do. They follow a fixed norm, which is rather difficult to break in order to let other identities free, in this case, queer identities. We believe that this perspective may contribute to the better understanding of the complex roles that teachers need to create and perform when facing the challenges posed by multicultural societies. This understanding can help us to ameliorate the practices in the EFL classroom and to provide teachers with the necessary tools to address otherness issues in order to be existentially competent.
Keywords: EFL teacher training, gender discourses.