Linguistic Discrimination in an English Language Teaching Program: Voices of the Invisible Others


  • Marlon Vanegas Rojas Luis Amigó Catholic University
  • Juan José Fernández Restrepo Luis Amigó Catholic University
  • Yurley Andrea González Zapata Luis Amigó Catholic University
  • Giovany Jaramillo Rodriguez Luis Amigó Catholic University
  • Luis Fernando Muñoz Cardona Luis Amigó Catholic University
  • Cristian Martín Ríos Muñoz Luis Amigó Catholic University



Linguistic academic performance, linguistic discrimination, positionality, socio-affective factors, standard language


This descriptive research provides insight into how linguistic discrimination influences students’ academic performance in the English teaching program at Fundación Universitaria Luis Amigó in Medellin. Five groups were observed on four different occasions to accomplish the purpose of the study. Four professors and twelve students were interviewed to find out what attitudes and beliefs emerged inside the classroom. The analysis of data showed that standard language, native-speaker idealization, pressure from the professor, disesteem of one’s own language-level, and discriminatory attitudes affected students’ performance in aspects such as socio-affective factors, fear of negative evaluation, communication apprehension, devaluation of students’ language variation, academic performance homogenization, mother-tongue restriction, extra visibility of high-proficiency students, discriminatory jokes, linguistic segregation, difficulty in interaction, and self-isolation. This study concluded that academic performance is affected by all types of discriminating attitudes, either in professors or classmates. Discriminatory attitudes trigger responses such as fear, segregation, anxiety, and apprehension, among others, thereby restraining and limiting class participation, quality of interaction, new concept and knowledge appropriation, motivation towards language, and course

= 1186 veces | PDF
= 750 veces| | HTML
= 0 veces|


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Marlon Vanegas Rojas, Luis Amigó Catholic University

M.A in Education, University of Antioquia. Professor and coordinator of the Research Center for Cultural Studies, Luis Amigó Catholic University.

Juan José Fernández Restrepo, Luis Amigó Catholic University

Researcher, Research Center for Cultural Studies. B.A in English, Luis Amigó Catholic University.

Yurley Andrea González Zapata, Luis Amigó Catholic University

Researcher, Research Center for Cultural Studies. B.A in English, Luis Amigó Catholic University.

Giovany Jaramillo Rodriguez, Luis Amigó Catholic University

Researcher, Research Center for Cultural Studies. B.A in English, Luis Amigó Catholic University.

Luis Fernando Muñoz Cardona, Luis Amigó Catholic University

Researcher, Research Center for Cultural Studies. B.A in English, Luis Amigó Catholic University.

Cristian Martín Ríos Muñoz, Luis Amigó Catholic University

Researcher, Research Center for Cultural Studies. B.A in English, Luis Amigó Catholic University.


Adreou, G. & Galantomus, I. (2009). The native speaker ideal in foreign language teaching. Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 6(2), 200-208.

Akar-Vural, R., & Gömleksiz, M. (2010). Us and others: a study on prospective classroom teachers’ discriminatory attitudes. Egitim Arastirmalari- Eurasian Journal of Educational Research, 38, 216-233.

Aravena, M.; Kimelman, E.; Micheli, B.; Torrealba, R. & Zúniga, J. (2006). Investigación Educativa I. University of Arcis, Chile. Retrieved from

Arhar, J., Holly, M. & Kasten, W. (2001). Action Research for Teachers: Travelling the Yellow Brick Road. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Barker, C. (2011). An introduction to cultural studies. In Willis, P. Cultural Studies: Theory and Practice. London: Sage Publications. Retrieved from:

Burns, A. (1999). Collaborative Action Research for English Language Teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Canada’s Ministry of Education (2008). Making Space. Teaching for Diversity and Social Justice throughout the K-12 Curriculum (pp. 1-18). Canada: GT Publishing Services. Columbia University (n.d). Respecting individual difference. [PDF document] Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. New York, NY. Retrieved from

Derwing, T. & Munro, M. (2009). Putting accent in its place: Rethinking obstacles to communication. Lang. Teach., 42(4), 476-490.

Dornyei, Z. (1998). Motivation in second and foreign language learning. Language Teaching, 31, 117- 135. Retrieved from

Du, X., (2009). The affective filter in second language teaching. Asian Social Science, 5(8), 162-165. Retrieved from

Fandino, Y. (2010). Explicit teaching of socio-affective language learning strategies of beginner EFL students. Íkala, Revista de Lenguaje y Cultura. 15(24), 148-151.

Farrel, T. & Martin S. (2009). To teach standard English or world Englishes? A balanced approach to instruction. English Teaching Forum, 2, 2-7. Retrieved from

Francois, Grin. (2005). Linguistic human rights as a source of policy guidelines: A critical assessment. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 9(3), 448-460.

Freeman D. & Freeman Y. (2001). Between Worlds: Access to second language acquisition. Porstmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Gamboa, R. (2011). El papel de la teoría crítica en la investigación educativa y cualitativa. Revista Electrónica Diálogos Educativos, 21. Retrieved from

Gardner, R.C. & Macintyre, P.D. (1993). A student’s contributions to second-language learning: Part II. Affective variables. Language Teaching, 26, 1-11. Retrieved from

Guerrero, C. & Quintero, A. (2009). English as a Neutral Language in the Colombian National Standards: A Constituent of Dominance in English Language Education. Profile, 11(2), 135-150.

Irving, M. & Terry N. P. (2010). Cultural and linguistic diversity: Issues in education. In Colarusso, R. & O’Rourke. Special Education for all teachers (pp.109-132) (5th. ed.). Georgia State University, GA: Kendall Hunt.

Kincheloe, J. & McLaren, P. (2005). Rethinking critical theory and qualitative research. In N. Denzin & Y. Lincoln (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Research (pp. 303-342) (3rd. ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publishing.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2004). Accent without attitude. Multicultural Forum, 15(1), 1-3. Retrieved from:

Leung, C. Harris, R. & Rampton, B. (1997). The idealised native speaker. Reified ethnicities, and classroom realities. TESOL Quarterly, 31(3), 543-560.

Lin, Angel Mei Yin (2008, May-August). “Cambios de paradigma en la ensenanza del inglés como lengua extranjera: el cambio crítico y más allá,” Revista Educación y Pedagogía. Medellín, Universidad de Antioquia, Facultad de Educación, 20(51), 11-23.

Lippi-Green, R. (1994). Accent, standard language ideology, and discrimination pretext in the courts. Language in Society, 23, 163-198.

Lippi-Green, R. (1997). English with an accent: Language, ideology, and discrimination in the United States. New York, NY: Routledge. Retrieved from

McAninch, A. (1999). More or less acceptable case analyses: A pragmatist approach. In R. F. McNergney, E. R. Ducharme, & M. K. Ducharme (Eds.), Educating for Democracy: Case-method Teaching and Learning. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

MacMath, S. (2008). Implementing a democratic pedagogy in the classroom: putting Dewey into practice. Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education, 1, 1-12. Retrieved from

Medgyes, P. (1992). Native or non-native: Who’s worth more? ELT Journal, 46(4), 349. Peacock, M. (1997). The effect of authentic materials on the motivation of EFL learners. English Language Teaching Journal, 51(2), 144-156. Retrieved from

Phillipson, R. (1992). ELT: the native speaker’s burden? ELT Journal, 46(1), 11-19.

Sierra, Z. (2003). Diversidad cultural: desafío a la pedagogía. Desafíos, 9, 38-70.

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. and Phillipson, R. (1994). Linguistic Human Rights: Overcoming Linguistic Discrimination. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. (1988). Multilingualism and the education of minority children (pp. 9-44). In T. Skutnabb-Kangas & J. Cummins (eds.), Minority Education: From Shame to Struggle. Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters.

UNESCO. (1996). Universal Declaration on Human Rights. World Conference on Linguistic Rights. Barcelona, Spain: UNESCO.




How to Cite

Vanegas Rojas, M., Fernández Restrepo, J. J., González Zapata, Y. A., Jaramillo Rodriguez, G., Muñoz Cardona, L. F., & Ríos Muñoz, C. M. (2016). Linguistic Discrimination in an English Language Teaching Program: Voices of the Invisible Others. Íkala, Revista De Lenguaje Y Cultura, 21(2), 133–151.



Empirical Studies