Deficits, Elitism, Fears (DEF) and the Eastern Caribbean English Language Teacher

Stacy L. Denny


This is a qualitative research study underpinned by a constructivist philosophy. In this study I collect data by means of questionnaires and interviews primarily. The questionnaire responses however serve as additional voices to the interviews rather than as statistical information. The sample is purposive, comprising 14 questionnaire respondents and 4 interviewees, with whom I sought to explore the challenges they encountered as they taught Anglophone Caribbean students standard English (SE). I also attempted to understand the reasons for these challenges, as well as try to establish, from these teachers, the appropriate strategies for addressing these issues. I discovered that the teachers primarily blame students for the challenges they face professionally; yet irreconcilably, they advocate addressing these challenges by implementing strategies aimed at improving the teacher and teaching. I therefore concluded that between the premises and conclusions teachers make about language learning and teaching lay many contradictions, contradictions which I term DEF, an acronym for issues relating to deficits/diversity, elitism and fear, as well as a pun on the word ‘deaf’- the inability or unwillingness to hear what contradicts their beliefs about language learning and teaching for fear of processing what the reality might mean.

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Copyright (c) 2015 Stacy L. Denny

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Journal of Education and Training      ISSN 2330-9709

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