"Doing funny" and performing masculinity: An immigrant adolescent boy's identity negotiation and language learning in one us ESL classroom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Immigrant adolescent male students and their identity negotiation remain under-examined in the field of language and literacy education research. This paper reports on a classroom discourse study examining the relationship between masculinity performances and language learning of one immigrant boy, Tiger, in one ESL classroom. Using discourse analysis of classroom interactions, field notes, and documents, I illustrate that Tiger stylized his L2 speech and appropriated the classroom language practice to perform a funny and "laddish" masculinity. I theorize his L2 stylization as "doing funny," a discursive practice of performing a dominant form of masculinity to gain hegemonic power and an act of subverting the routinized and nonengaging language instruction for identity performance. His masculinity performances, deeply intertwined with the interactional process of teaching and learning of language, conflicted with the instructional goals set by the teacher, ultimately leading to him being identified as a "problem" student. This study underscores the need for teachers to be cognizant of the complexity in multilingual young men's masculinity negotiation, to recognize the interdependence of identity performances and language learning, to disrupt boys' internalized notions of masculinity, and to decenter the power and control between the student, the teacher, and the school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-454
Number of pages28
JournalResearch in the Teaching of English
Volume52
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2018

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masculinity
immigrant
adolescent
classroom
language
learning
performance
teacher
process of teaching
language instruction
student
interdependence
discourse analysis
Masculinity
Boys
Language Acquisition
Immigrants
literacy
discourse
interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

Cite this

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abstract = "Immigrant adolescent male students and their identity negotiation remain under-examined in the field of language and literacy education research. This paper reports on a classroom discourse study examining the relationship between masculinity performances and language learning of one immigrant boy, Tiger, in one ESL classroom. Using discourse analysis of classroom interactions, field notes, and documents, I illustrate that Tiger stylized his L2 speech and appropriated the classroom language practice to perform a funny and {"}laddish{"} masculinity. I theorize his L2 stylization as {"}doing funny,{"} a discursive practice of performing a dominant form of masculinity to gain hegemonic power and an act of subverting the routinized and nonengaging language instruction for identity performance. His masculinity performances, deeply intertwined with the interactional process of teaching and learning of language, conflicted with the instructional goals set by the teacher, ultimately leading to him being identified as a {"}problem{"} student. This study underscores the need for teachers to be cognizant of the complexity in multilingual young men's masculinity negotiation, to recognize the interdependence of identity performances and language learning, to disrupt boys' internalized notions of masculinity, and to decenter the power and control between the student, the teacher, and the school.",
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