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A Conceptual Framework to Understand Language Teacher Identities


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Language teacher identity (LTI) has recently become a prominent theme in the second language teacher education (SLTE) research because teacher identities play a major role in teachers' learning-to-teach processes and instructional practices. Teacher identity refers to teachers' dynamic self-conception and imagination of themselves as teachers, which shifts as they participate in varying communities, interact with other individuals, and position themselves (and are positioned by others) in social contexts. Therefore, it casts an influence upon a wide array of matters, ranging from how language teachers learn to perform their profession, how they practice theory and theorize their practice, how they educate their students, and how they interact and collaborate with their colleagues in their social setting. This paper offers a conceptual framework for LTI that explicates the interrelationships between teacher identity and these core constructs: teacher learning, teacher cognition, teachers' participation in communities of practice, contextual factors, teacher biographies, and teacher emotions.
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Journal of Second Language Teacher Education
Vol. 1, No. 1, 21-48, 2018
Corresponding author: Bedrettin Yazan, Department of Curriculum and
Instruction, College of Education, The University of Alabama, Bibb Graves Hall
223B, USA.
A Conceptual Framework to Understand
Language Teacher Identities
Bedrettin Yazan
The University of Alabama
Language teacher identity (LTI) has recently become a prominent theme in the
second language teacher education (SLTE) research because teacher identities
play a major role in teachers’ learning-to-teach processes and instructional
practices. Teacher identity refers to teachers’ dynamic self-conception and
imagination of themselves as teachers, which shifts as they participate in
varying communities, interact with other individuals, and position themselves
(and are positioned by others) in social contexts. Therefore, it casts an influence
upon a wide array of matters, ranging from how language teachers learn to
perform their profession, how they practice theory and theorize their practice,
how they educate their students, and how they interact and collaborate with their
colleagues in their social setting. This paper offers a conceptual framework for
LTI that explicates the interrelationships between teacher identity and these core
constructs: teacher learning, teacher cognition, teachers’ participation in
communities of practice, contextual factors, teacher biographies, and teacher
Keywords: teacher identity; teacher learning; teacher cognition; emotions;
communities of practice
Language teacher identity (LTI) has recently received a lot of attention
from second language teacher education (SLTE) researchers (De Costa &
Norton, 2017; Kanno & Stuart, 2011; Varghese, Motha, Park, Reeves, &
Trent, 2016). Conceived “as an integral part of teacher learning” (Tsui,
2011, p. 33), teacher identity development has become a major theme of
research in teacher education. LTI is a central part of language teachers’
reiterative (re)construction of knowledge base and competences (Morgan
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& Clarke, 2011). This view is aligned with the novel sociocultural
orientations in the field of SLTE which seeks “to portray teacher
knowledge not as an isolated set of cognitive abilities but as
fundamentally linked to matters such as teacher identity and teacher
development” (Johnston, Pawan, & Mahan-Taylor, 2005, pp. 53-54). From
this orientation, the investigation of teachers’ identity construction can
shine light on the way language teachers develop as professionals while
transitioning from a graduate or undergraduate student self to a teacher
self. As a result of sociocultural perspective permeating in the field of
SLTE (Freeman & Johnson, 1998; Johnson, 2006), second language (L2)
educators are not anymore viewed as operators utilizing the methods
engineered by SLA researchers. Instead, they are seen as individuals
having their beliefs and theories about language teaching and learning
which have been considerably molded through their previous experiences
as learners and as student-teachers (Freeman, 2013). SLTE scholars
started directing their focus more to such questions as “how teachers
come to know what they know, how certain concepts in teachers’
consciousness develop over time, and how their learning processes
transform them and the activities of L2 teaching” (Johnson 2009a, p. 17).
These new directions have engendered an increasing interest in the
theorization and investigation of L2 teacher identity development.
Recent research in the field of teaching English to speakers of other
languages (TESOL) has explored various aspects of teachers negotiation
and development of professional identities in the contexts of L2 teaching
and teacher education. More specifically, scholars investigated LTI with
regards to teachers’ linguistic identities (Aneja, 2016; Huang, 2014;
Rudolph, 2016; Yazan & Rudolph, 2018), race and gender (Kayi-Aydar,
2015a; Park, 2015, 2017; Vitanova, 2016), their negotiation of discourses
in communities of practice (Clarke, 2008; Gu & Benson, 2015; Ilieva,
2010; Trent, 2017), the role of practicum experiences in identity
development (Dang, 2013; Kanno & Stuart, 2011; Martel, 2015; Yazan,
2018), their positioning and agency assertion in teaching contexts
(Barkhuizen, 2016; Haneda & Sherman, 2016; Kayi-Aydar, 2015b;
Trent, 2017; Uzum, 2013), their emotions as part of identity development
(Reis, 2015; Song, 2016; Wolff & De Costa, 2017; Yazan & Peercy,
2016; Yuan & Lee, 2016), and their identity negotiation through teacher
education courses (Peercy, 2012; Yazan, 2017). Those empirical studies
contributed to the understanding of LTI in the burgeoning body of
A Conceptual Framework to Understand Language Teacher Identities
literature and the current paper adds to this literature with a
comprehensive conceptual discussion of LTI focusing on the related
dimensions of being and becoming an L2 teacher.
In the remainder of this paper, I will define teacher identity
depending on the existing conceptualizations in the prior TESOL and
teacher education research. Then, referring to Figure 1 below, I will
describe a conceptual framework by explicating the core constructs that
are centrally related to teacher identity, namely, (a) teacher learning, (b)
teacher cognition, (c) teachers’ participation in communities of practice,
(d) contextual factors, (e) teacher biographies, and (f) teacher emotions.
Discussing the interrelationships between teacher identity and those
constructs, I aim to present a conceptual foundation upon which
researchers can draw when understanding and investigating LTI.
Conceptualizing Identity
Until the social turn in applied linguistic in the 1990s (Block, 2003),
identity was predominantly conceptualized from an essentialist
standpoint (Block, 2007; Norton Peirce, 1995; Ricento, 2005), which
maintained that “the attributes and behavior of socially defined groups
can be determined and explained by reference to cultural and/or
biological characteristics believed to be inherent to the group” (Bucholtz,
2003, p. 400). Therefore, scholars adopting essentialist assumptions
viewed identity as a set of unchangeable characteristics or qualities that
individuals learn or biologically inherit. Those scholars assumed that
groups can be clearly delimited; and that group members are more or less
alike” (Bucholtz, 2003, p. 400). Reviewing the earlier work on identity,
Ricento (2005) also observed that there was little emphasis on the
interaction of an individual’s multiple memberships based on gender,
class, race, linguistic repertoire, or on how these memberships were
understood and played out in different learning contexts (p. 898). He
also added that essentialist conceptualizations of identity were
underpinned by the positivist, structuralist orientations that prevailed in
applied linguistics. The introduction of poststructuralist and critical
conceptual lenses led to the shift towards non-essentialized views of
identity (Ricento, 2005).
This shift began at the outset of the 1990s spearheaded by Norton
Peirce's (1995) groundbreaking work on identity that influenced the
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research on language learning, teaching, and teacher education. It proved
to be a prevalent shift “away from identity in terms of psychological
processes towards contextualized social processes (Miller, 2009, p.
173), which explains the new understanding and its three principal
premises which are all aligned with sociocultural turn in SLTE. First,
“identity is not a fixed, stable, unitary, and internally coherent
phenomenon but is multiple, shifting, and in conflict” (Varghese, Morgan,
Johnston, & Johnson, 2005, p. 22). Second, identity is context-bound,
therefore, it is “crucially related to social, cultural, and political
contexts—interlocutors, institutional settings, and so on” (p. 23). Third,
individuals construct, maintain, and negotiate their identities to a
considerable degree “through language and discourse” (p. 23). Norton
(2010) comments that [e]very time we speak, we are negotiating and
renegotiating our sense of self in relation to the larger social world, and
reorganizing that relationship across time and space” (p. 350).
Miller (2009) observes these three premises cutting across the
existing trends to define identity in SLTE. She comments that identity is
considered “as relational, negotiated, constructed, enacted, transforming,
and transitional (p. 174; emphases original). Additionally, she directs
attention to the primary role of discourse in identity processes and of the
“Other” (whether/how individuals are recognized by surrounding
community members) in negotiation and legitimation of one’s identity
work. Moreover, Tsui’s (2007) comment resonates with the patterns in
these definitions. She maintains that “identity is not just relational (i.e.,
how one talks or thinks about oneself, or how others talk or think about
one), it is also experiential (i.e., it is formed from one’s lived
experience)” (p. 33; emphases original). Thus, individuals have multiple
identities which they continuously negotiate, reconstruct, and enact
through discursive tools as they interact with other individuals in
different contexts.
Defining Teacher Identity
Teacher identity can be viewed as “an organizing element in teachers’
professional lives” (Beauchamp & Thomas, 2009, p.175) and as a
resource that teachers can “use to explain, justify and make sense of
themselves in relation to others, and to the world at large” (MacLure,
1993, p. 311). Exerting indiscernible yet extensive power over their
teaching practices (Rex & Nelson, 2004), teacher identity offers a
A Conceptual Framework to Understand Language Teacher Identities
framework through which teachers can build their own ideas of their
beings, actions and understandings of their teaching practice and their
place in society and a basis for their decisions and meaning making
processes (Bullough, 1997). Teacher identity has connotations for both
current and aspired or imagined self-identifications (Mahmoudi-
Gahrouei, Tavakoli, & Hamman, 2016). That is, it concerns teachers’
responses to the following questions with respect to their teaching self-
images: “Who am I at this moment?” and “Who do I want to become?”,
which highlight the dynamic and ever-changing nature of teacher identity
(Beijaard, Meijer, & Verloop, 2004). Teachers’ identities mold “their
dispositions, where they place their effort, whether and how they seek out
professional development opportunities, and what obligations they see as
intrinsic to their role” (Hammerness, Darling-Hammond, & Bransford,
2005, p. 384). More specifically, the way they view, feel, position, or
identify themselves as teachers in their specific context (Yazan, 2017) is
intricately interwoven with their beliefs, values, conceptions, theories,
and personal practical knowledge (Connelly & Clandinin, 1986, p.
296). Identity determines and is determined by their experiences of
teacher learning and teaching practice. This inevitable and close
interrelationship between teacher identity, teacher-learning, and teaching
practices necessitates the close investigation of identity to yield
implications for practice: “a more complete understanding of identity
generally and teacher identity in particular could enhance the ways in
which teacher education programs are conceived” (Beauchamp &
Thomas, 2009, p. 176).
Lacking a clear definition of teacher identity has proved a dire
challenge for understanding the impact of identity on teacher education
practices (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011; Beauchamp & Thomas, 2009;
Beijaard et al., 2004). There exist only vague conceptualizations of
teacher identity in the literature, which cause “the concept of teacher
identity to be taken for granted” (Bukor, 2011, p. 107). There is a
consensus in the emerging teacher identity literature on the complex and
complicated nature of the concept of identity in general and teacher
identity in particular, which might be the reason why a definition of
teacher identity is not readily reached (Mockler, 2011). The authors who
attempt to offer a comprehensive understanding of teacher identity
mostly present how teacher identity is characterized, what it influences
and is influenced by, and how it is theorized rather than explicitly
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defining teacher identity (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011; Beauchamp &
Thomas, 2009; Beijaard et al., 2004; Mockler, 2011).
During my review of the earlier studies, I found a few researchers
who ventured to define teacher identity, and Table 1 below summarizes
these definitions to present an overview of the conceptualizations of
teacher identity that exist in the current teacher education literature.
Table 1: Definitions of teacher identity
Kelchtermans (1993, p.
“[teachers’] conception about themselves as a teacher and a
system of knowledge and beliefs concerning ‘teaching’ as a
professional activity
Bullough (1997, p. 21)
“what beginning teachers believe about teaching and
learning as self-as-teacher
Lasky (2005, p. 901)
“[T]eacher professional identity is how teachers define
themselves to themselves and to others [and is] a construct
of professional self that evolves over career stages and can
be shaped by school, reform, and political contexts.”
Beijaard et al. (2004, p.
“Teacher identity refers not only to the influence of the
conceptions and expectations of other people, including
broadly accepted images in society about what a teacher
should know and do, but also to what teachers themselves
find important in their professional work and lives based on
both their experiences in practice and their personal
Olsen (2008, p. 139)
“as a label, really, for the collection of influences and
effects from immediate contexts, prior constructs of self,
social positioning, and meaning systems (each itself a fluid
influence and all together an ever-changing construct) that
become intertwined inside the flow of activity as a teacher
simultaneously reacts to and negotiates given contexts and
human relationships at given moments”
Urzúa & Vásquez (2008,
p. 1935)
“how teachers relate to their practice in light of both social
and individual perspectives
Cohen (2010, p. 473)
“how teachers view themselves as professionals in the
context of changing work situations, often driven by
changes in education policy
A Conceptual Framework to Understand Language Teacher Identities
Hsieh (2010, p. 1)
“the beliefs, values, and commitments an individual holds
toward being a teacher (as distinct from another
professional) and being a particular type of teacher (e.g., an
urban teacher, a beginning teacher, a good teacher, an
English teacher, etc.)
Akkerman & Meijer
(2011, p. 135)
“should be defined as an ongoing process of negotiating
and interrelating multiple I-positions in such a way that a
more or less coherent and consistent sense of self is
maintained throughout various participations and self-
investments in one’s (working) life
Mockler (2011, p. 519)
“the way that teachers, both individually and collectively,
view and understand themselves as teachers [and it] is thus
understood to be formed within, but then also out of, the
narratives and stories that form the ‘fabric’ of teachers’
Comparing these definitions coming from various scholars of teacher
education, I identified five main commonalities regarding the
conceptualization of teacher identity: (a) Teacher identity includes
teachers’ conceptions and beliefs about themselves as teachers
(Bullough, 1997; Cohen, 2010; Kelchtermans, 1993; Lasky, 2005;
Mockler, 2011); (b) Teacher identity involves others’ expectations and
social positioning (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011; Beijaard et al., 2004;
Olsen, 2008; Urzúa & Vásquez, 2008); (c) Teacher identity is dynamic
and evolves constantly (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011; Olsen, 2008); (e)
Teacher identity is constructed and reconstructed in social contexts and
interactions (Cohen, 2010; Lasky, 2005; Olsen, 2008); (e) Teacher
identity develops through teachers’ commitment to, participation, and
investment in the profession (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011; Hsieh, 2010).
In conceptualizing LTI, the language teachers speak and teach and
the language learners they serve merit particular attention. First, relying
on critical perspectives to language, Hawkins and Norton (2009) argue
that “language (or discourse) is the tool through which representations
and meanings are constructed and negotiated, and a primary means
through which ideologies are transmitted” (p. 32). Through language,
power relations are produced, maintained, and subverted. Language is not
neutral, neither is the meaning that is made or represented with it.
Whether and how language teachers understand this nature of language is
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integral to their identities as language users and teachers, because this
understanding guides what they see as important in language instruction
and how they facilitate their students’ language development.
Particularly, in language classes, language is not only the subject matter
which students (learn to) use or imagine using to interact with target
language speakers but also the linguistic and cultural medium through
which classroom conversations are constructed.
Second, language teachers’ identity as language users or their
linguistic identities are intertwined with their teacher identities, because
their language competence is conflated with their knowledge of content
or subject matter (Aneja, 2016; Brutt-Griffler & Samimy, 1999; Park,
2012; Reis, 2015; Rudolph, 2016; Selvi, 2018; Yazan & Rudolph, 2018).
How language teachers position themselves and are positioned by others
within the discourses of “nativeness” influences what kind of language
teachers they are or aspire to become. These value-laden discourses
assign certain “strengths” and “weaknesses” to “native” and “non-native”
language teachers, and they are contextually constructed and fluid, as
well as interlaced with the discourses of race, gender, class, religion, and
nationality. Lastly, LTI cannot be completely theorized without
considering its interaction with language learners’ identities (Motha,
2006; Reeves, 2009). LTI is influenced by the ways in which language
teachers position themselves and their students in relation to language,
gender, race, class, religion, and nationality. In other words, teachers’
imaginations of the kinds of language teachers they “are,” “can,” and
“should” be are in interplay with their imaginations of the kinds of
language learners and users their students “are,” “can,” and “should” be
(Rudolph, 2016; Yazan & Rudolph, 2018). For example, if we intend to
research LTI in a context where language teachers serve war-affected
refugee students with different cultural, linguistic, national, and religious
background, we need to take into account students’ identities and how
teachers understand these identities and their connection to students’
language learning and use.
Miles and Huberman (1994) understand that a conceptual framework
“lays out the key factors, constructs, or variables, and presumes
relationships among them” (p. 440). Using this understanding, this
section draws a conceptual framework for LTI by defining and
A Conceptual Framework to Understand Language Teacher Identities
explaining the following relevant factors and constructs (see Figure 1
below): (a) teacher learning, (b) teacher cognition, (c) teachers’
participation in communities of practice, (d) contextual factors, (e)
teacher biographies, and (f) teacher emotions. They are drawn from the
existing empirical and theoretical work in TESOL and teacher education
to construct a conceptual foundation for the conceptualization and
investigation of LTI.
Figure 1: A conceptual framework for language teacher identity
Teacher Learning
The conceptualization of L2 teacher learning has undergone a dramatic
change in the last two decades, thanks to the introduction of sociocultural
understandings of L2 teacher learning, which is part of “a quiet
revolution” (Johnson, 2000, p. 1) that has brought about innovations in
SLTE. Sociocultural work criticized the prevalent assumption that SLTE
programs should present teacher candidates with discrete amounts of
knowledge about language, language learning, and language teaching,
teach them a body of decontextualized teaching practices or
methodologies, and place them in a school where they are expected to
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find opportunities to apply their theoretical knowledge in real teaching
settings. These programs reflect the traditional approach to teacher
learning which sees teacher learning “as a cognitive issue, something the
learner [does] on his or her own” (Burns & Richards, 2009, p. 4) and
construct prospective teachers as blank canvasses to be painted upon with
theoretical and practical knowledge. However, researchers contend that
the conglomeration of teacher candidates (TC) experiences, memories,
values, and beliefs impact the entire process of teacher learning that is
expected to occur throughout preservice teacher education and beyond
(e.g., Freeman & Johnson, 1998; Olsen, 2016).
Recent SLTE research entails reexamining, reconceptualizing, and
redesigning of the ways L2 teachers are educated. This research views
teacher learning as theorizing teaching practices which foregrounds
practitioner knowledge and inquiry, reflection in and on practice, and
critically reviewing, elaborating, and revising personal pedagogical
theories (Burns & Richards, 2009). Therefore, teacher educators in
TESOL have started to understand the learning to teach process “as
socially negotiated and contingent on knowledge of self, students, subject
matter, curricula, and setting” (Johnson, 2009b, p. 20). From this
understanding, TCs become part of a learning community in which they
participate in activities of teacher education and interact with their ELLs,
peers, teacher educators, mentors, and supervisors. Then, the following
elements stand out as vital in teacher learning: the roles TCs and others
take on in the community, the discourses they negotiate, construct, and
navigate, the activities and practices in which they partake, and the tools
and resources they use (Burns & Richards, 2009). This novel view on
how L2 teachers learn to teach can be summarized in Johnson and
Golombek’s (2003) comprehensive definition of teacher learning:
“normative and lifelong, emerging out of and through experiences in
social contexts: as learners in classrooms and schools, as participants in
professional teacher education programs, and later as teachers in the
institutions where teachers work” (p. 729). These discussions about
teacher learning fueled by the sociocultural turn in SLTE have prepared
the scene for the growing research on L2 teacher identity.
Before the sociocultural perspective on teacher learning became
recognized, there was very little focus on teachers themselves as the
primary agents of teaching (Johnson, 2009b). Once teachers were placed
in the center of SLTE research and practices in the sociocultural
understanding of teacher learning, researchers attend to how L2 teachers’
A Conceptual Framework to Understand Language Teacher Identities
self-conceptions and imaginations as teachers influence and are
influenced by their learning to teach. Their identities and learning
constantly interact and shape each other. TCs enter teacher education
with their prior experiences, beliefs, values, aspirations, and imaginations
about teaching, which, as part of their initial teaching identity, constitute
their initial “interpretive frame” (Olsen, 2016, p. 43). Their emerging
identities function as a frame and basis which orient and mold TCs’
understanding and interpretation of their experiences while participating
in the practices of preservice teacher education (Peercy, 2012; Yazan,
Teacher identities play a deciding role in where TCs channel their
efforts and energy (Hammerness et al., 2005) and how they make
decisions about their learning to teach and teaching behaviors and
practices in the classroom. As they further learn to teach by participating
in the discourses and activities of teacher education through courses and
the teaching practica, they continuously negotiate, take on, imagine, and
enact teacher identities in various “ecological spheres” (Singh &
Richards, 2006, p. 170). While engaging in teacher learning and
negotiating meanings by means of teacher education activities, they are
afforded with the opportunity to revise and reconfigure their self-images
as L2 teachers and enact and experiment with their fledgling teacher
identities (Yazan, 2018). In brief, teacher learning and teacher identity
development are two intimately connected contours which are both
driving forces underpinning TCs’ professional growth.
Teacher Cognition
Ever growing since mid-1990s, research on L2 teacher cognition has
tremendously enhanced the field’s understanding of L2 teachers’ work
with a focus on the unobservable mental aspects of teachers’ work to
better understand L2 teaching. Earlier work has examined varying
dimensions of L2 teachers’ knowledge, beliefs, and thoughts, and of the
ways they relate to their teaching practices in the classroom (Borg, 2009).
Teacher cognition refers to teachers’ constellations of “beliefs,
knowledge, theories, attitudes, images, assumptions, metaphors,
conceptions, perspectives about teaching, teachers, learning, students,
subject matter, curricula, materials, instructional activities, self” (Borg,
2003, p. 82). Influenced by “a complex nexus of interacting factors”
(Barnard & Burns, 2012, p. 2) ranging from learning and teaching
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experiences to interactions with students and colleagues, teacher
cognition concerns almost all aspects of teaching and learning practices.
It lies on the premise that teaching is a complex undertaking which is
cognitively oriented and influenced by classroom dynamics, teachers’
goals and decisions, learners’ motivations and responsiveness to the
class, and the way teachers handle critical situations throughout the class
(Burns & Richards, 2009).
When focusing on L2 teachers’ cognition, SLTE researchers are
primarily interested in exploring “unobservable mental dimensions of
teaching and learning to teach” (Borg, 2009, p. 163), that is, how teachers
make instructional decisions, what theories they hold about teaching and
learning, how they conceive their subject matter, and how they problem-
solve and improvise to handle unexpected teaching situations (Burns &
Richards, 2009). Delving into this broad repertoire of issues, teacher
cognition research dives into the depths of the ocean of L2 education to
uncover and shine light upon the unseen part of the iceberg.
This domain of research has proven particularly instrumental to
better explicate the inherent complexities of L2 teachers’ knowledge and
beliefs, processes of learning to teach, and teaching practices in various
settings during their professional preparation and beyond (Johnson,
2009a). As TCs grow as L2 teachers, their cognition provides a basis for
the justification of their teacher behaviors in and out of the classroom and
contributes to their identity development. When he reviews the research
on teacher cognition, Borg (2003) does not explicitly expound upon how
identity can be a key issue in relation to what teachers think, know,
believe, and do in the classroom. However, according to Miller (2009),
teachers’ identity construction is inseparable from their thoughts,
knowledge, beliefs, and activities, that is, they are “part of teachers’
identity work which is continuously performed and transformed through
interaction in classrooms” (p. 175).
When TCs forge and enact their teaching identities, what constitutes
their teacher cognition plays an important role because their beliefs,
knowledge, thoughts, assumptions, and attitudes about all aspects of their
teaching are closely intertwined with their current self-images, self-
conceptions, and future aspirations as L2 teachers. As they engage in
more teaching experience and interact with teacher educators, mentor
teachers, supervisors, and students, what they think, say, and do is
oriented by what they believe, think, and know and all their learning
experiences influence their cognition. Their thinking, speaking, and
A Conceptual Framework to Understand Language Teacher Identities
doing manifest the negotiation and enactment of their emerging identities
and as they develop their identities, the kind of teacher they imagine
being and becoming shapes their instructional beliefs, values, and
priorities. Therefore, characterized as practically-oriented, personalized,
and context-sensitive (Borg, 2009), teacher knowledge and cognition is
inseparable from teacher identity.
Participation in Communities of Practice
From sociocultural perspectives (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Sfard & Prusak,
2005; Wenger, 1998), TCs learn to teach their subject matter and their
cognitions evolve as they actively participate in the practices of teaching
communities and seek membership to these communities. This
perspective locates teacher learning and cognition in their social and
context-embedded interactions and recognizes the situated and the
social nature of learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991). In preservice teacher
education, TCs are “immersed in socially organized and regulated
activit[ies]” which constitute “process[es] through which human
cognition is formed” (Lantolf & Johnson, 2007, p. 878). That is, learning
to teach occurs when TCs construct theoretical and practical knowledge
to guide their L2 teaching through (non)participation in social contexts
and engagement in certain kinds of activities by means of coursework
and the teaching practica (Burns & Richards, 2009; Freeman & Johnson,
1998; Yazan, 2017).
Those researchers who investigate teacher identity in SLTE usually
understand participation in social context(s) in light of Lave and
Wenger’s (1998) notion of “communities of practice” and postulation
that learning is an “evolving form of membership” (Kanno & Stuart,
2011; Singh & Richards, 2006; Ortaçtepe, 2015; Trent, 2017; Tsui,
2007). For instance, Singh and Richards (2006) conceptualize acquiring
membership in a new community of practice and L2 teacher identity
formation as two intricately interwoven processes. They remark that
“becoming a member of a new community of practice is not just about
learning new content but also about acquiring new practices, values, and
ways of thinking which enable particular identities to be realized” (p.
158). Mantero (2004) argues that the contours of L2 teacher identity are
not fixed or preset, but they are shaped by their participation in the
activities of communities of teaching profession. Thus, L2 teachers’
identity negotiation and construction occur when they are active
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participants “in the arenas of the language classroom, the profession, the
curriculum, and the community” (Mantero, 2004, p. 143).
The prevailing contention about teachers’ identity formation in the
SLTE literature is that becoming a teacher means negotiating and
acquiring membership in a community of teaching practice, which can
only happen through their participation in the activities of this
community (Trent, 2017; Tsui, 2007, 2011). Teachers “enact socially
situated identities while engaging in socially situated activity” (Lantolf &
Johnson, 2007, p. 885). That is, their participation shapes their
membership and socially situated identity formation because they
discursively negotiate, frame, experiment, and craft their identities as
they participate in the professional activities and interact with the other
community members. This participation provides TCs with opportunities
to revise and realign their ways of professional reasoning as they utilize
the tools and resources accessible through the community and observe
and partake in the activities. It also reinforces their self-identification
(Wenger, 1998) as emerging L2 teachers who are seeking others’
recognition and endorsement in the community (Miller, 2009).
Additionally, as they craft their identities, TCs calibrate their
participation and channel their energy to what they value and what they
view as important considering the dynamics in the community.
Contextual Factors
Context surrounds and impacts all the phenomena that are intimately
interrelated with TCs’ identity development (Flores & Day, 2006). To
apply to TCs’ experiences, context can be defined as the set of
circumstances and dynamics that shape the setting for L2 teacher learning
and teaching practices both at macro and micro plans. That is, context
refers to not only micro contexts such as a TCs’ teaching practica
schools, classrooms where they experiment with and practice teaching,
and preservice teacher education settings but also broader macro social,
political, cultural, and educational contexts. Thus, contextual factors for
L2 teacher identity formation are those that are borne out of both micro
and macro contexts. However, because micro contexts are shaped by the
dynamics of macro contexts, although they have their own idiosyncratic
subtleties and undercurrents at work, sometimes it might be quite
challenging to determine if a contextual factor is solely germane to the
former or the latter. It could be at the nexus of the two.
A Conceptual Framework to Understand Language Teacher Identities
Researchers have underscored context as a significant element or
variable that factors into L2 TCs’ identity construction. For example,
Morgan (2004) is emphatic that all the spaces in schooling are value-
laden and ideologically loaded rather than being neutral and that “there
are no ways to insulate oneself from the social consequences of one’s
activities” in those spaces (p. 176). Freeman (2002) applies this argument
to teacher education, and in his seminal work, he expounds upon the
impact of context in teacher education articulating that “[i]n teacher
education, everything is context” (p. 11). He observes that in the current
literature, context has come to be regarded as a more complicated notion
than previously, since it is “situated in personal and institutional histories
and seen as interactive (or dialogical) with others students, parents and
community members, and fellow teachers in the settings in which
[these personal and institutional histories] unfolded” (p. 12). That is,
there is a shift from context as a backdrop “like the decor and props in
the staging of a theatre play” (Tudor, 2002, p. 1) to context as an
interlocutor in the definition of the nature of teaching and learning, and in
teachers’ construction and use of their knowledge (Freeman, 2002).
Therefore, it is imperative to critically examine the sociocultural contexts
in which L2 TCs’ learning to teach processes take place if we want to
better document and understand how TCs develop professional
knowledge and grow as teachers.
Researchers in the field of SLTE place emphasis on the crucial role
of contexts in the (re)construction of teacher identities. For instance, Duff
and Uchida (1997) note that teachers’ identities rely to a large degree
upon “the institutional and interpersonal contexts in which individuals
find themselves, the purposes for their being there, and their personal
biographies” (p. 452). In these contexts, depending on the self-image
they frame for themselves, they negotiate what they value in terms of
their teaching and exert their energy into what they see as important. In
addition, while discussing the theorization and conceptualization of
teacher identity in SLTE, Varghese et al. (2005) remark that identity is
bound to “social, cultural, and political context interlocutors,
institutional settings, and so on” (p. 23). Teacher identities are configured
and reconfigured as they utilize the resources and discourses in these
contexts, interact with their colleagues and students, and navigate the
system of activities. More specifically, Singh and Richards (2006)
concentrate on the “course room” (in which teacher education courses
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take place) as an influential context. Underscoring the fact that the
microprocesses of the course room relate “to the larger macro context in
which SLTE is situated,” Singh and Richards (2006) foreground context
as a space in which L2 TCs engage in teacher learning and craft their
teacher identities. They assert that L2 TCs learn to teach as they
appropriate or resist to sets of knowledge and skills offered in the
contexts of teacher education classes “for the purpose of remaking
identity” (p. 153). From this perspective, the value-laden cultural setting
of the SLTE course room receives utmost importance in TCs’ identity
construction processes because L2 TCs forge and enact their identities in
connection with “socially organized and complex ecological spheres of
activity” which are nested in teacher education classrooms (Singh &
Richards, 2006, p. 170).
Context is one of the significant determiners of the entangled
processes of L2 teacher learning and identity formation. It has a shaping
influence on the way L2 TCs negotiate, frame and enact their identities as
they traverse the provisions of preservice teacher education, and
transition from being a student to being a teacher (Flores & Day, 2006).
During the experiences of university-based teacher education courses and
field-based practica, teachers are exposed to certain contextual factors,
(e.g., curriculum, testing, and students’ needs), which play a defining
role, either affording or constraining, in their negotiation, imagination,
and construction of their self-images as teachers. TCs always find
themselves under the influence of context when making interpretations
and decisions about their teaching. Different facets of context lead them
to adjust the framing and enactment of teaching identities they envision
for themselves.
Teacher Biographies
L2 TCs’ personal histories or biographical trajectories have been found to
hold a crucial role in the construction and reconstruction of their
pedagogical knowledge and in their growth as teachers in general
(Freeman, 2002). Knowles (1992) defines biography in teacher education
contexts as “those formative [prior] experiences of preservice and
beginning teachers which have influenced” their conceptions about
teaching and learning and, later, their teaching practice in the classroom
(p. 99). Through their schooling process, that is, approximately 13,000
hours of observations as learners (Lortie, 1975) or 3,060 days of learner
A Conceptual Framework to Understand Language Teacher Identities
experiences (Kennedy, 1990), TCs “play a role of opposite teachers for a
large part of [their] lives” (Britzman, 1986, p. 443) as “apprentices of
observation” (Lortie, 1975, p. 61). As a result, they construct strongly-
held views about teaching and learning before entering the preservice
teacher education. These deeply-entrenched initial views hold “a
persistent influence” upon TCs throughout their participation in the
activities of teacher education and beyond because learning to teach
relies upon “interactions between prior knowledge and new input and
experience” (Borg, 2009, p. 164).
TCs’ identity formation is to a large extent mediated and organized
by their biographical trajectories and “implicit theories” (Peercy, 2012, p.
29). Sugrue (1997) calls preservice teachers’ initial conceptualizations
about teaching “lay theories” which he maintains are crucially important
in the process of teachers’ identity formation. To further explicate, these
lay theories molded by TCs’ “implicit institutional biographies”
according to Britzman (1986), “contribute to well-worn and
commonsensical images of the teacher’s work and serves as the frame of
reference for prospective teachers’ self-images” (p. 443). Sugrue (1997)
finds that TCs’ personalities constitute the starting point for the formation
of their “lay theories” and their teaching identities, yet the following
biographical factors importantly shape those theories and identities: “(a)
immediate family, (b) significant others or extended family, (c)
apprenticeship of observation, (d) atypical teaching episodes, (e) policy
context, teaching traditions, and cultural archetypes, and (f) tacitly
acquired understandings” (p. 222). Scholars assert that formal teacher
education needs to recognize TCs’ powerful and persistent lay theories
and their determining impacts on the way they negotiate, frame, and craft
their teaching identities (Britzman, 1986; Knowles, 1992; Olsen, 2008,
2016; Sugrue, 1997). They constitute “an indispensable dimension of
how [TCs’] teaching identities” are constructed as well as an essential
condition for continual reconfiguration of identities (Sugrue, 1997, p.
223). Thus, TCs’ biographies and their preconceptions shaped by these
biographies stand out as “important constituents of teachers’ professional
identity formation” (Beijaard et al., 2004, p. 109).
The process of teacher identity construction cannot be conceived as a
phenomenon which is temporally detached from teachers’ past
experiences and how they understand, author, and re-author those
experiences, and their future aspirations and how they envision them
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(Barkhuizen, 2016; Ortaçtepe, 2015). Research on the interaction
between teachers’ biographical trajectories and their current self-images
illuminates our understanding of how L2 teachers develop and enact their
identities as they traverse the activities of initial teacher education
(Yazan, 2017). To put it simply, it is imperative to explore the ways in
which TCs’ biographies determine their current beliefs and conceptions
in order to shine much brighter light on teacher identity construction and
reconstruction. This is because these beliefs and conceptions are the basis
of their pedagogical interpretive frame” (Olsen, 2016, p. 43) that orients
their contours of identity formation and professional learning.
Teacher Emotions
Comprehensive exploration of how TCs are developing their identities as
teachers also requires an examination of their emotions and how they
learn to handle them. Lasky (2005) views teachers’ emotions “as a
heightened state of being that changes” as a result of their reflections on
past and future teaching practices and interactions with the dynamics of
their teaching context and with their colleagues, students, and students’
parents (p. 901). TCs experience various emotions of various degrees as
they respond to numerous instructional and non-instructional situations
they encounter and have to manage in their teaching contexts (Benesch,
2012, 2017; Lasky 2005; Yazan & Peercy, 2016). Since teaching is
largely composed of human interaction by nature, teachers’ emotional
states, as the “most dynamic qualities” of teaching (Hargreaves, 1998),
are inevitably at the epicenter of their work (Nias, 1996). Teachers are
emotional, passionate beings who connect with their students and all their
work and their classes with pleasure, creativity, challenge and joy”
(Hargreaves, 1998, p. 835). In the same vein, Nias (1996) draws attention
to the inseparable relationship between feeling and perception, and
affectivity and judgment, and she maintains, “teachers’ emotions are
rooted in cognitions” (p. 294). Therefore, to grasp a better understanding
of the complicated process of how teachers learn and think entails the
exploration of their emotions (Golombek & Doran, 2014).
During the journey of growing as a teacher, emotions emerging out
of TCs’ interaction with their colleagues, students, and students’ parents
orient, inform, and define the development of their teacher identity. TCs
go through and reflect on various emotional states which signal and point
to their instructional values in which they are deeply invested (Zembylas,
A Conceptual Framework to Understand Language Teacher Identities
2005). Thus, they can gain a more enhanced “self-knowledge” (ibid.),
that is, they learn better what saddens, scares, annoys, frustrates, and
stresses as well as what excites, animates, pleases, satisfies, and heartens
them as teachers in their teaching practice. This self-knowledge also
bolsters their capabilities to handle emotion-evoking experiences to have
“appropriate” emotions for particular situations (Benesch, 2012, p. 112)
and keep their individual integrity, commitment to teaching, and
professional practice. TCs need support from their teacher educators,
university supervisor, and mentor teachers to develop this literacy. On the
other hand, their emerging teacher identity influences how they respond
emotionally to varying incidents that they are confronted with as they
journey the activities of initial teacher education. As their identities have
a deciding effect on where they are channeling their efforts and exerting
their energy (Hammerness et al., 2005), they determine to a large degree
the type and intensity of their emotions.
Because emotions give us deeper insights into what matters and
concerns teachers have at stake, the scrutiny of emotions can contribute
to the increased and nuanced understanding of their commitment and
identity as teachers (Yazan & Peercy, 2016). In conceptualizing L2 TCs’
knowledge and cognition, Golombek and Doran (2014) propose the
addition of emotions to Borg’s (2003) definition of teacher cognition
because they conceive cognition, activity, and emotion inseparable, that
is, it should read: what teachers think, know, believe, do, and feel. Then,
as important signals of their beliefs and values undergirding their
identities, L2 teachers’ emotions should be incorporated into any
discussion about their teacher identity construction. Inquiring into the
ways in which TCs are coping with their emotions can afford SLTE
researchers with new dimensions to observe how they negotiate, frame,
and enact their identities in these emotional situations.
As a highly complicated concept in educational research, teacher identity
pertains to many dimensions of teachers’ growth, professional life, and
classroom practices and it is impossible to focus merely on teacher
identity without including into the equation other related dimensions of
being and becoming a teacher. Understanding and investigating teacher
identity in relation to those dimensions entails a multifaceted approach
that comprises the constructs to help capture the complexity of teacher
B. Yazan
identity. This paper is an attempt to present such an approach by
critically synthesizing the existing empirical and theoretical research in
TESOL and teacher education. It is my hope that researchers in TESOL
will benefit from this approach and they make contributions to further
streamline it as they investigate LTI in various contexts with differing
research foci.
I am grateful to the JSLTE editor Dr. Zia Tajeddin and the anonymous
reviewers for their comments and suggestions on the earlier version of this
paper, which significantly contributed to improving its quality. I am also
thankful to my dissertation committee members Drs. Peercy, MacSwan, Martin-
Beltran, Valli, and Silverman for their support and guidance. Lastly, I really
appreciate the generous support for my dissertation research from The
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... Language Teacher Education (Yazan, 2018). Like the concept of identity, teachers' professional identity has been defined in numerous ways. ...
... Like the concept of identity, teachers' professional identity has been defined in numerous ways. Some definitions include (a) a process of interpretation of their own experiences in context (Beijaard et al., 2004), (b) the integration of the personal and professional selves (Beauchamp & Thomas, 2009;Pennington & Richards, 2016;Pillen et al., 2013), (c) meeting the professional requirements of the profession (Alsup, 2006;Caihong, 2011;Chong et al., 2011b), and (d) a multifaceted construct that integrates other concepts (Canrinus et al, 2011;Yazan, 2018;Yuan & Lee, 2015). These definitions varied in their main components; however, all of them agreed on the fact that teachers' professional identity is an ongoing process of interpretation of the selves that takes place within specific contexts and circumstances, and that is affected by a variety of factors. ...
... According to Lamote and Engles (2010), students' biographical backgrounds and stories, teacher role models, and family members, among others, represent some of the most common factors in teachers' professional identity development. In Yazan's (2018) work, a conceptual framework to understand the factors that influence language teacher identity was described. These interrelated factors are teaching and learning, teachers' cognition, teachers' participation in communities of practice, teacher biographies, and teacher emotions. ...
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Identity construction involves a complex process where many factors converge. English as a Foreign Language (EFL) pre-service teacher’s identity is one of those processes in which language, as an object of study, is a tool in the mediation for scaffolding the identity of future language teachers. Identity construction is not an isolated process. Instead, it is the result of a continuous and social process that embraces a variety of factors and the tension of diverse forces. After following a methodological approach based on systematic review of literature, three of the most influential factors are presented and discussed in this paper. The first issue discussed in this paper has to do with the construction of identity as a result of discoursal factors. That is, how identity is forged through the use of discourse and how this in itself is changed and adapted to different interests depending on the side of identity which is to be emphasized. The second topic addressed here is the non-native speaker condition which seems to undoubtedly be another factor or force that strikes future teachers’ identity and the processes involved in its development. The third part of this paper provides a conceptual and literature review focused on the construction of pre-service teachers’ identity through life experiences and during their formal education. Eventually, a general reflection on conceptual and research approaches is presented.
... The selection of a theoretical framework for examining teacher identity depends on several factors, including inherent sociocultural processes, the researchers' beliefs, the complexity of the construct, use of various research methods, and further insights into that particular framework (Ahmad et al., 2019). Some scholars proposed different frameworks for investigating language teacher identity development (Kaplan et al., 2015;Trent, 2016;Yazan, 2018). Trent (2016) maintained a poststructuralist view toward identity-integrated time and space as latent sites of incongruity and conflicts; emphasized the role of discourse to understand an individual's self, identity, and agency. ...
... (3) self-image; and (4) perceived possibilities of practice. Yazan (2018) proposed a multidimensional framework consisting of teacher's learning, cognition, participation in communities of practice, relevant contextual factors, biographies, and emotions. However, teacher identity appears to be demanding to fully represent. ...
... Moreover, identity is multifaceted, plural (Cummins, 2011), and "dynamic rather than stable, a constantly evolving phenomenon" (Beauchamp and Thomas, 2009, p. 177), and it is also bound to multiple internal and external factors (Yazan, 2018;Fairley, 2020). Identity also plays a pivotal role in developing teachers' professional learning (Buchanan, 2015). ...
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Teacher identity has evolved from a core, inner, fixed, linear construct to a dynamic, multifaceted, context-dependent, dialogical, and intrinsically related phenomenon. Since little research has provided an inclusive framework to study teacher identity construction, this article proposes a novel conceptual framework that includes the following components: mirrors of power, discourse, the imagination of reality, investment, emotioncy, and capital. The above core constituents have been discussed thoroughly to trigger significant insights about teacher identity development.
... Language teacher identity can be and has been studied from different approaches: the role of emotions (Kanno & Stuart;2011;Kayi-Aydar, 2019;Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2016a;Song, 2016;Yazan, 2018;Wolff & De Costa, 2017); the influence of the native/non-nativeness dichotomy and linguistic identity (Aneja, 2016;Huang, 2014;Kayi-Aydar, 2019;Nguyen & Dao, 2019;Torres-Rocha, 2015;Wolff & De costa, 2017);Ajayi, 2011;Atai, Babaii, & Gaskaree, 2018;Mora, Trejo, & Roux, 2016;Pérez & Ruiz, 2014;Yazan, 2018); and the importance of the context in which teachers develop (Cabrera, 2015;Liu & Xu, 2011;Kubanyiova & Crookes, 2016;Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2016b;Tsui, 2007;Yazan, 2018). ...
... Language teacher identity can be and has been studied from different approaches: the role of emotions (Kanno & Stuart;2011;Kayi-Aydar, 2019;Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2016a;Song, 2016;Yazan, 2018;Wolff & De Costa, 2017); the influence of the native/non-nativeness dichotomy and linguistic identity (Aneja, 2016;Huang, 2014;Kayi-Aydar, 2019;Nguyen & Dao, 2019;Torres-Rocha, 2015;Wolff & De costa, 2017);Ajayi, 2011;Atai, Babaii, & Gaskaree, 2018;Mora, Trejo, & Roux, 2016;Pérez & Ruiz, 2014;Yazan, 2018); and the importance of the context in which teachers develop (Cabrera, 2015;Liu & Xu, 2011;Kubanyiova & Crookes, 2016;Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2016b;Tsui, 2007;Yazan, 2018). ...
... Language teacher identity can be and has been studied from different approaches: the role of emotions (Kanno & Stuart;2011;Kayi-Aydar, 2019;Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2016a;Song, 2016;Yazan, 2018;Wolff & De Costa, 2017); the influence of the native/non-nativeness dichotomy and linguistic identity (Aneja, 2016;Huang, 2014;Kayi-Aydar, 2019;Nguyen & Dao, 2019;Torres-Rocha, 2015;Wolff & De costa, 2017);Ajayi, 2011;Atai, Babaii, & Gaskaree, 2018;Mora, Trejo, & Roux, 2016;Pérez & Ruiz, 2014;Yazan, 2018); and the importance of the context in which teachers develop (Cabrera, 2015;Liu & Xu, 2011;Kubanyiova & Crookes, 2016;Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2016b;Tsui, 2007;Yazan, 2018). ...
... Language teacher identity can be and has been studied from different approaches: the role of emotions (Kanno & Stuart;2011;Kayi-Aydar, 2019;Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2016a;Song, 2016;Yazan, 2018;Wolff & De Costa, 2017); the influence of the native/non-nativeness dichotomy and linguistic identity (Aneja, 2016;Huang, 2014;Kayi-Aydar, 2019;Nguyen & Dao, 2019;Torres-Rocha, 2015;Wolff & De costa, 2017);Ajayi, 2011;Atai, Babaii, & Gaskaree, 2018;Mora, Trejo, & Roux, 2016;Pérez & Ruiz, 2014;Yazan, 2018); and the importance of the context in which teachers develop (Cabrera, 2015;Liu & Xu, 2011;Kubanyiova & Crookes, 2016;Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2016b;Tsui, 2007;Yazan, 2018). ...
... Language teacher identity can be and has been studied from different approaches: the role of emotions (Kanno & Stuart;2011;Kayi-Aydar, 2019;Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2016a;Song, 2016;Yazan, 2018;Wolff & De Costa, 2017); the influence of the native/non-nativeness dichotomy and linguistic identity (Aneja, 2016;Huang, 2014;Kayi-Aydar, 2019;Nguyen & Dao, 2019;Torres-Rocha, 2015;Wolff & De costa, 2017);Ajayi, 2011;Atai, Babaii, & Gaskaree, 2018;Mora, Trejo, & Roux, 2016;Pérez & Ruiz, 2014;Yazan, 2018); and the importance of the context in which teachers develop (Cabrera, 2015;Liu & Xu, 2011;Kubanyiova & Crookes, 2016;Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2016b;Tsui, 2007;Yazan, 2018). ...
... Language teacher identity can be and has been studied from different approaches: the role of emotions (Kanno & Stuart;2011;Kayi-Aydar, 2019;Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2016a;Song, 2016;Yazan, 2018;Wolff & De Costa, 2017); the influence of the native/non-nativeness dichotomy and linguistic identity (Aneja, 2016;Huang, 2014;Kayi-Aydar, 2019;Nguyen & Dao, 2019;Torres-Rocha, 2015;Wolff & De costa, 2017);Ajayi, 2011;Atai, Babaii, & Gaskaree, 2018;Mora, Trejo, & Roux, 2016;Pérez & Ruiz, 2014;Yazan, 2018); and the importance of the context in which teachers develop (Cabrera, 2015;Liu & Xu, 2011;Kubanyiova & Crookes, 2016;Ruohotie-Lyhty, 2016b;Tsui, 2007;Yazan, 2018). ...
... Teacher identity construction has become a heated topic in teacher education (Yazan 2018) due to its overarching presence across most of the areas of educational functioning (Gee 2000), and comes to (re)shape teachers' sense-making of themselves as professionals (Beauchamp and Thomas 2009). In this vein, recent scholarship has shown that teachers' engagement in AR can influence their identity construction by setting the ground for adopting the dual role of teacher-researcher, which comes to form the dynamic and emergent nature of their developing identities (Burns 2019;Trent 2010), navigating their institutionally-defined identities (Nazari 2021;Goodnough 2010), and agentively taking the initiative to act in accordance with their pre-selected plans (Edwards and Burns 2016). ...
... The teachers' satisfaction and happiness stemmed from their self-efficacy beliefs, which had been engendered due to the students' quality performance, as highlighted by T1' excitement in a journal entry: "When I realised that my students' speaking has been satisfactory, I [smiles] thought that yes I have the ability to do something useful" (T1, Journal entry). Such positive emotional experiences resonate with the teachers' agency (Dikilitaş and Yaylı 2018;Yazan 2018) in actualising their plans, which has come to shape their self-efficacy beliefs in terms of contributing to student learning outcomes (Beauchamp and Thomas 2009). This finding also shows that teachers' adherence and adaptation to their AR plans is a stronger predictor than experience, for sensing positive emotions in AR and generally their identities as teacher-researchers. ...
While research on teacher identities has received a surge of attention in the past decades, there is a need for further exploring how teachers’ professional profiles contributes to their engagement in action research. To this end, the current action research-oriented study explored two novice and two experienced language teachers’ identities across the four main stages of action research, namely Plan, Act, Observe, and Reflect. For this purpose, we collected data via semi-structured interviews, reflective journals, and classroom observations. Data analyses indicated that the teachers’ identity construction was largely featured by similarities than differences, as Plan (similar predicaments, different confidence); Act (struggling differently, exulting similarly); Observe (similar emotions, similar recognition); and Reflect (similar trajectories, different reflectivity). In addition, the study argues that while experience influences teacher-researchers’ initial AR steps, novice and experienced teachers undergo similar trajectories in constructing their identities over the course of implementing their plans.
... Many different aspects of how language teaching takes place in the classroom have an emotional side. Language classrooms are environments where language is not only the content that the students are supposed to achieve to communicate with the speakers of the target language; but also, the channel via which the classroom interaction takes place (Yazan, 2018). It is in the nature of this interactional structure of language learning and teaching process that there is a close relationship between teachers' emotions and their classroom practices, thus students' investment in learning English (Li & Liu, 2021;Richards, 2020). ...
Full-text available
This explanatory sequential mixed methods study investigated beginning and experienced English language instructors’ emotions that they demonstrated, emotional labor strategies they used during interaction with their students, and the effects of years of experience on them during the COVID-19 pandemic were investigated. The setting for the study was English language preparatory schools of state and foundation universities located in Ankara, Turkey. One hundred fifty-six participants took part in the quantitative study and responded to an online questionnaire that addressed instructors’ positive and negative emotions and emotional labor strategies. Follow-up semi-structured interviews were conducted with ten participants. Quantitative findings were given priority in this study. Quantitative data analysis, which included descriptive statistics, paired samples t-test, independent samples t-test, and MANOVA, was performed via IBM SPSS (28) while the qualitative data analysis was conducted manually according to the thematic analysis approach. Findings revealed that the participants demonstrated significantly more frequent positive emotions than negative ones. They also used expressing genuine emotions emotional labor strategy more than surface acting and deep acting. Years of experience had a significant effect on the experience of negative emotions. It also influenced the use of expressing genuine emotions and surface acting strategies. The answers to the research questions were elaborated on via the qualitative findings by extracting eight themes after the verbatim transcriptions of the interviews and the coding processes.
... Relatedly, examining past experiences enriches our understanding of how teacher education may influence identity reconstruction (Buchanan, 2015). Therefore, examining teachers' biographies and past experiences sheds light on the process of teacher identity reconstruction as preconceptions form their sensemaking processes and developing identities (Beijaard et al., 2004;Buchanan, 2015;Yazan, 2018). ...
This study explored the co-constitutive influence of past experiences, present engagement in practice, and future self-images on the identity reconstruction of three novice language teachers. Drawing on practicum journals and narratives over a three-year period, the study explores the process of teacher identity reconstruction from the teacher education programme to the second year of teaching. The findings show how critical studentship experiences guided the teachers’ career identity as prospective teachers and how this identity turned into a site of dissonance between practicum experiences and the identity constructed in practice. In particular, context functioned as a main source of teachers’ resisted identities, emotional conflicts and turnover intentions. Moreover, the findings highlight the significance of creating a nexus between teacher education programmes and actual teaching practices. We provide implications and pedagogical alternatives for establishing such a nexus to facilitate student teachers’ transition to the teaching practice and reduce the associated tensions.
... There is a lot of research advocating Non-Native English-Speaking Teachers' (NNEST) capacity to teach English and be part of the English Language Teaching (ELT) industry (Ma, 2012;Faez, 2018;Yazan, 2018;Alam, 2019;Kasztalska, 2019: Floris & Renandya, 2020Rahman & Yuzar, 2020). One of the arguments made is that the potencies of Native English-Speaking Teachers (NESTs) and NNESTs complement each other and are ideal in the teaching arena (Tosuncuoglu, 2017). ...
Experiment Findings
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The emergence of non-native English-speaking teachers (NNESTs) in the ELT industry has paved the way for many opportunities, as well as issues and challenges that question the NNESTs' capabilities. The objective of this study was to investigate Thai students' perceptions of NNESTs pedagogical and linguistic qualities and how they relate to their learning outcomes using a correlational method to analyze the data from the sample population of 422 grades 4-12 Thai students under Educational Area 1 in Nonthaburi, Thailand. A survey questionnaire was made to mollify the data collection with 10 questions about pedagogical qualities and 10 questions about linguistic qualities. Two open-ended questions were included in the questionnaire to support the responses. Data were then analyzed using Pearson r and ANOVA as the main statistical measurements. The overall grades of the respondents in English were collected together with the survey questionnaire. The study indicates that Thai students have a very high level of perception of their NNESTs' pedagogical and linguistic qualities. However, there is no correlation between students' perception of the NNESTs' pedagogical and linguistic qualities and students' learning outcomes.
Notre travail vise à contribuer à la caractérisation du secteur des langues pour spécialistes d’autres disciplines (LANSAD), en se focalisant sur l’identité professionnelle des enseignants qui y interviennent. Cette identité est conceptualisée comme englobant l’ensemble des représentations des enseignants vis-à-vis de leur travail dans ce contexte spécifique, concernant notamment les pratiques, les rôles et les savoirs à mobiliser. Notre recherche comporte deux volets complémentaires. Le premier, purement qualitatif, se compose d’observations de classe, d’analyses d’interactions, d’entretiens semi-directifs et d’entretiens d’auto-confrontation auprès de trois enseignants du secteur. Il vise à décrire les pratiques observées, ainsi que les motifs, convictions et rapports aux savoirs qui les sous-tendent. Nous nous intéressons à la place des disciplines des étudiants dans les cours observés et aux rôles que les enseignants considèrent comme étant les leurs auprès de ce public en voie de professionnalisation. Le deuxième volet, se basant sur un questionnaire en ligne diffusé au niveau national, cherche à dresser une description du corps enseignant du secteur à partir des données fournies par 269 participants, représentant 74 établissements du supérieur. Nous portons attention aux parcours et aux expériences des enseignants, à leurs représentations des particularités du secteur LANSAD, aux pratiques qu’ils mettent en place, aux rôles qu’ils revendiquent et aux savoirs et compétences qu’ils considèrent nécessaires pour enseigner dans le secteur. Les deux volets nous permettent d’examiner ce que les enseignants perçoivent comme étant les particularités et les enjeux de l’enseignement dans le secteur et de proposer quelques pistes de réflexion pour la formation de ses enseignants.
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This article explores the transformative potential of a teacher’s identity in the context of bilingual and second language education (SLE) programmes. The first section examines several theoretical options by which this potential might be conceptualised. Drawing on post-structural notions of discourse, subjectivity and performativity, the author emphasises the contingent and relational processes through which teachers and students come to understand themselves and negotiate their varying roles in language classrooms. Simon’s (1995) notion of an ‘image-text’ further develops this dynamic, co-constructed understanding and shifts it more specifically towards pedagogical applications: the strategic performance of a teacher’s identity in ways that counteract stereotypes held by a particular group of students. These post-structural ideas on teachers’ identities are then evaluated in reference to the knowledge base of bilingual and SLE. The author then proposes a ‘fieldinternal’ conceptualisation by which such theories might be rooted in the types of practices characteristic of language education programmes. The next section of the article describes the author’s personal efforts to realise these concepts in practice. ‘Gong Li - Brian’s Imaginary Lover’ is a story of how the author’s identity became a classroom resource, a text to be performed in ways that challenged group assumptions around culture, gender, and family roles in a community, adult ESL programme serving mostly Chinese seniors in Toronto. © 2004 Janina Brutt-Griffler, Manka Varghese and the authors of individual chapters.
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Relying on the framework of communities of practice and using qualitative case study methods, this study investigated three ESOL teacher candidates’ identity negotiation as they learned to work with English language learners through coursework and internship experiences in a 13-month MATESOL program. The findings pointed out that the participants negotiated their emerging teacher identities through teacher education courses and internship in three main ways: (a) they negotiated who they aspire to become as an ESOL practitioner as they set and revised their priorities in serving ELLs, (b) they roadtested their imagined identities through guided reflective practices embedded in the teacher education program provisions, and (c) they acquired the professional discourse which helps them make sense of and engage in the practices of the community of ESOL teachers. This study contributes to the growing research on language teacher identity by illuminating the intertwined nature of teacher learning and identity in shaping the contours of teacher identity negotiation. The study implicates that teacher education should incorporate teacher identity as an explicit goal that serves as an interpretive frame for teacher candidates’ ongoing professional learning and growth as practitioners.
This book is a powerful narrative of how six women experienced their lives alongside their desire to overcome the challenging and empowering nature of the English language. The volume shares who they are as transnational and mobile women living in the midst of linguistic privilege and marginalization. It is one outcome of a research project and the lived experiences which surround and influence (and were influenced by) it. The author documents how she and her research partners began studying what had drawn them to US TESOL programs, and how English was and is a symbol of power and privilege, a symbol of educational access and a pursuit of equity, yet, at times, is also a symbol of linguistic marginalization.
Taking a critical approach that considers the role of power and resistance to power in teachers' affective lives, Sarah Benesch examines the relationship between English language teaching and emotions in postsecondary classrooms. The exploration takes into account implicit feeling rules that may drive institutional expectations of teacher performance and affect teachers' responses to and decisions about pedagogical matters. Based on interviews with postsecondary English language teachers, the book analyzes ways in which they negotiate tension - theorized as emotion labor - between feeling rules and teachers' professional training and/or experience in particularly challenging areas of teaching: high-stakes literacy testing; responding to student writing; plagiarism; and attendance. Discussion of this rich interview data offers an expanded and nuanced understanding of English language teaching, one positing teachers' emotion labor as a framework for theorizing emotions critically and as a tool of teacher agency and resistance.
This article aims to broaden the scope of language teacher identity research by investigating the emotional demands on teachers-in-training and nonnative English-speaking teachers (NNESTs) in particular. We examined how our focal NNEST participant, Puja, was confronted with and successfully negotiated numerous emotional challenges in her first year in a U.S. MATESOL program. Furthermore, we investigated the impact emotions had on her overall teacher identity development and how her growth as an educator was evident in her use of strategies. Following past research that viewed teacher emotions through a narrative lens (e.g., Barkhuizen, Benson, & Chik, 2014; De Costa, 2015a), we created Puja's ‘story’ by analyzing data sources that included interviews, teaching observations, journal entries, and stimulated verbal and written reports. Our narrative construction focuses on the reflexive relationship between Puja's emotions and her subsequent identity development. While we acknowledge that emotional tensions are part of teachers’ identity development (and potentially more so for NNESTs), Puja largely navigated emotional challenges in a positive manner. The article concludes with a call for new pedagogical models that help teachers develop their reflexivity and negotiate potential emotion-related challenges they might encounter.