Neoliberal common sense and short-term study abroad: A critical qualitative inquiry into prospective English language teachers’ discourses and experiences

Çiftçi, Emrullah Yasin
In line with neoliberal discourses, most higher education students tend to participate in short-term study abroad (STSA) programs to enrich their CVs, acquire marketable skills, and have fun. On the other hand, STSA programs, such as Erasmus+, can also provide higher education students with novel challenges, triggering them to reflect on issues of power and inequalities. Therefore, these programs can be a valuable experiential and transformative opportunity to prepare prospective English language teachers (PELTs) for a socially just language education. However, STSA programs may not always guarantee transformative outcomes. Considering the scarcity of research in this respect, in this qualitative inquiry, I explored how a cohort of PELTs constructed their Erasmus experiences retrospectively. I also investigated how they framed their imagined futures and interpreted major global challenges. Having analyzed a qualitative data set through a thematic analysis process, I drew four conclusions. First, the participants constructed their STSA experiences primarily based on the neoliberal conceptions of STSA. Second, they framed their imagined futures largely through neoliberal discourses. Third, they addressed major global challenges with strong critiques. Fourth, they demonstrated some examples of critical thinking and actions in their STSA constructions and imagined futures. That is, despite the prevalence of neoliberal elements in their constructions and framings, they were not entirely passive servants of the neoliberal common sense. Therefore, I suggested that PELTs could be receptive to exploiting transformative opportunities in STSA programs. To stimulate further research and practice in that regard, I offered an intervention framework and several attendant recommendations.


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Citation Formats
E. Y. Çiftçi, “Neoliberal common sense and short-term study abroad: A critical qualitative inquiry into prospective English language teachers’ discourses and experiences,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2022.