A1 Journal article (refereed)
A lesson in teaching English while White (2020)

Ennser‐Kananen, Johanna (2020). A lesson in teaching English while White. TESOL Journal, Early View. DOI: 10.1002/tesj.558

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Ennser‐Kananen, Johanna

Journal or series: TESOL Journal

ISSN: 1056-7941

eISSN: 1949-3533

Publication year: 2020

Volume: Early View

Publisher: Wiley

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: http://doi.org/10.1002/tesj.558

Open Access: Publication channel is not openly available


This article offers a close analysis of a 90‐minute teaching sequence in an English as a foreign language classroom of an adult basic education program for refugee‐background learners in a Finnish community college. The White European‐heritage teacher, the author of the article, researcher on‐site, and substitute teacher at that point, taught a lesson with a focus on ownership of English to a group of about 15 adult learners of color from mostly Middle Eastern and African backgrounds. She used peer‐supported discourse analysis of the lesson transcript to better understand the processes of Whiteness that interfered with students’ learning and engagement during the lesson. This revealed that the researcher‐teacher’s discourses and practices erased racial differences between her and the learners, perpetuated Eurocentric ideologies of argumentation, and positioned her as “white listening subject” (Flores & Rosa, 2015a) vis‐à‐vis the students. A theoretical lens of critical Whiteness pedagogy (e.g., Matias & Mackey, 2016) helps understand these findings within larger racist and Eurocentric structures of educational systems and socialization. Each finding feeds into recommendations for teachers and teacher educators, particularly those who received their education in predominantly White institutions but work in racially and culturally diverse contexts.

Keywords: teaching and instruction; language teaching; English language; adult education teaching; guidance for immigrants; power structures; racialisation; white people

Free keywords: teaching; English

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: No, publication in press

Last updated on 2020-11-11 at 14:20