Hugues Santa Cruz, Esther, and Nolvia Ana Cortez Román (Universidad de Sonora)

[flyzoo-embed-chatroom id=’5bc4c2c34fb4d5210c82b3f4′ width=’auto’ height=’640px’]
In past years, educational policies in Mexico have made both English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and Information Technology (IT) training compulsory at the basic education level, despite the social inequities in both its quality and access. Despite these inequities, young adults in urban settings arrive to the higher education level with higher exposure and knowledge of both English and IT than previous generations, creating a new scenario in which Mexican youth engage in computer mediated communication (CMC) through social networking sites (SNS) using both EFL and their mother tongue. Engaging in new forms of CMC due to their participation in and access to EFL forges new language identities (Norton, 2008; Norton & Toohey, 2011; Block, 2013) as Mexican youth English-Spanish bilingual participants in digital culture.

This research proposal seeks to find answers to the following research questions:

How do Mexican university youth construct their identities when participating in SNS through interactions in EFL?
What forms of interaction do these students use in SNS?
How do these students use EFL in their interactions in SNS?
What meanings do these students give to EFL in SNS interactions?

The proposed conceptual framework includes Activity Theory to analyze participation through different forms of interaction in CMC. Within this approach, participants’ identity will be analyzed and conceived as fluid and constructed in linguistic and social interaction-namely EFL use in SNS, viewed as a sociocultural practice (Norton and McKinney, 2011; Lantolf, 2011; Norton, 2013; Lantolf, Thorne & Poehner, 2015).

The proposed research design has two stages: a) Survey to describe the use of SNS through interactions in EFL with the purpose of finding participants for the case study; b) In-depth case study (Stake, 1998; Denzin y Lincoln, 2005) to explore Mexican youth’s identity construction in SNS participation using EFL in their interactions. Online observations and interviews will be carried out.

Preliminary findings point to Mexican youth perceiving SNS as spaces to develop different language competences; and using EFL in different SNS to communicate with other English users around the world.

Key words: Mexican higher education students/ SNS/ English as a foreign language/ identity/ activity theory


Block, D. (2014). Second language identities. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Lantolf, J. P., Thorne, S. L., & Poehner, M. E. (2015). Sociocultural theory and second language development. In VanPatten, B., & Williams, J. (Eds.). Theories in second language acquisition: An introduction, 207-226.