To What Extent Might Identity Theories Help Understand the Learning Process of EFL Learners

  • Susiati Susiati Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta
  • Avelia Yonanda Exaputri Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta
Keywords: Identity Theories, Debating Activities, Cultural Backgrounds of EFL Learners, Javanese Culture, Islamic Teachings in EFL


This study investigates how identity theories help understand the
learning process of EFL learners of Department of English
Education, Faculty of Teacher Training and Education, Universitas
Muhammadiyah Surakarta. Adopting three different views on
identity: psychological, social and negotiated views, this study
explored the learners‘ identity based on two backgrounds: Islam and
Javanese ethnic in English debating activities in a speaking class.
Other than the learners’ unwillingness to communicate, the results
show there is a similar view of learners from Islamic and Javanese
backgrounds that feminism issues are sensitive case to be debated in
the activities. The gap lies on their personal view that from the
perspective of Islam, it is seen as a ‘sinful’ motion. Whereas, from
that of Javanese ethnic, feminism issues are seen taboo regarding the
Javanese value about women as konco wingking (domestic workers).
This leads the lecturers to reconsider the motions to be launched in
the debating activities to build a conducive class.


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