ERG SES C 03, Language and Education
Due to the rules and regulations enabling free movement of people in Europe, many foreign language teachers who are native speakers of the language they teach (native foreign language teachers, NFLTs) find themselves in another pedagogic context in England. Yet, the number of papers studying the integration of NFLTs is very low. Although there is a vast number of studies on the subject of 'native-speakerism' related to English language teaching (see for example Holliday 2006; Houghton and Rivers 2013), there are remarkably few scholars who shift this well-established focus towards NFLTs. Whitehead and Taylor (1999, 2000) report on the induction of native foreign language trainee teachers of French, German, Spanish and Italian to the British classroom while Fichtner and Chapman (2011) research foreign language teachers’ awareness of their cultural identities in the US. Apart from these, there appears to be no other studies that focus on the professional experiences of NFLTs. The study therefore addresses a gap in the literature by aiming to give NFLTs voice to represent their experiences about their native speaker teacher identity, formulated in the English mainstream secondary school setting.
The main research question and the three sub-questions that guide the research are:
What main factors affect NFLTs’ professional experiences in English mainstream secondary schools?
(a) What particular challenges have NFLTs faced during their careers as teachers?
(b) How do they think that their identity as NFLTs has impacted on their teaching and development?
(c) How do teachers think that they are perceived by their students?
The study takes a constructivist/subjectivist ontological worldview and settles for an interpretive epistemological paradigm as the research accepts the existence of multiple realities that are constructed by the participant when asked about her identity and professional experiences in the English educational system.
In the absence of research about NFLTs, the literature review focuses on the experiences of English language teachers when discussing the two key constituents of this paper: native speakerism and identity formation. The study applies Gee’s (2001) four perspectives to view identity to reflect on NFLTs’ professional experiences, which are:
1, Nature identity (N-identity) stems from one’s natural state. It is the pre-determined identity that we were born with and over which we have no control.
2, Institutional identity (I-identity) is derived from a position recognised by authority.
3, Discursive identity (D-identity), results from the discourse of others about oneself as a result of social interaction (in the interpretation of Beauchamp and Thomas 2009).
4, Affinity identity (A-identity) is formed due to being part of certain affinity groups.
The above categories are useful in terms of addressing the complex nature of identity. Based on the proposed research questions the pilot study will report on the background (N-identity) of the participants and how they see themselves in relation to their home and host country (A-identity). Additionally, it will explore NFLTs’ experiences during their professional lives (I –identity), the extent to which their students have been part of the identity formation (D-identity) and how NFLTs’ associate with professional groupings (such as departments, year groups, whole school) in the English secondary schools (A-identity).
Beauchamp, C. and Thomas, L. (2009) Understanding teacher identity: an overview of issues in the literature and implications for teacher education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 39(2), 175-189. Braine, G. (Ed.) (1999). Non-native educators in English language teaching. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum. Chen, C.W. and Cheng, Y. (2010) A case study on foreign English teachers’ challenges in Taiwanese elementary schools. System, 38 (1), 41-49. Falout, J. (2013) Forming Pathways of Belonging: Social Inclusion for Teachers Abroad. In: Houghton, A. and Rivers, J. (Ed.) Native-Speakerism in Japan. Intergroup Dynamics in Foreign Language Education. (p. 105-115) Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. Fichtner, F. and Chapman, K. (2011) The Cultural Identities of Foreign Language Teachers. L2 Journal, 3, 116-140. Gee, J.P. (2001) Identity as an Analytic Lens for Research in Education. Review of Research in Education, 25, 99-125. Holliday, A. (2006) Native-speakerism, ELT Journal, 60(4), 385- 387. Houghton, A. and Rivers, J. (Eds.) (2013) Native-Speakerism in Japan. Intergroup Dynamics in Foreign Language Education. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. Newby, P. (2010) Research Methods for Education. Harlow: Pearson. Reis, S. D. (2010) Non-native English-speaking teachers and professional legitimacy: a sociocultural theoretical perspective on identity realization. Unpublished PHD dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University, USA. Tripp, D. (1994) Teachers’ lives, critical incidents, and professional practice. Qualitative Studies in Education 7(1), 65–76. Verity, D. P. (2000) Side affects: the strategic development of professional satisfaction. In: Lantolf, J.P. (Ed.) Sociocultural theory and second language learning. (p. 179-198) Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press. Whitehead, J. And Taylor, A. (1999) Teachers of modern foreign languages: foreign native speakers on initial teacher training courses in England. University of the West of England, Faculty of Education. Whitehead, J. and Taylor, A. (2000) The Development of Foreign Native Speakers Training To Be Modern Foreign Languages Teachers in England: Are There Wider Lessons for the Profession?. Teacher Development, 4(3), 371-382.
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