In this article, David Hayes explores the language learning and teaching experiences of a teacher of English in Sri Lanka. He shows how the acquisition of English enabled the teacher to access the social capital available to speakers of English, which holds a divisive place in postcolonial Sri Lankan society. In his reflections on his career, this teacher grants primary importance to the opportunities offered by education in general, not the benefits of acquiring English. This complements his commitment to improving the life chances of children from less advantaged groups in Sri Lanka. Hayes contends that the richness of the teacher's portrayal of his career, and the meanings of English and education for him, offers an opportunity to understand the place of English within a particular sociocultural context.

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