You are here

Navigating through Challenges: Multilingual Preservice Language Teachers’ Identity (Re)construction

Wang, Yan. Navigating through Challenges: Multilingual Preservice Language Teachers’ Identity (Re)construction. 2021. University of Washington, PhD dissertation.

This dissertation explores the ways in which four multilingual preservice language teachers in a MATESOL program in the U.S. (re)constructed and (re)negotiated their professional identities as they proceeded through the process of learning to teach. Although language teacher identity (LTI) has increasingly been researched in the past decades (e.g., Varghese et al., 2005; Morgan, 2004; Cheung et al, 2014; Barkhuizen, 2016; etc.), there is insufficient research on the discursive and interactive aspects of identity (re)construction and (re)negotiation of language teachers with multilingual and multicultural backgrounds, who are most often conceptualized rather problematically as nonnative English speaker teachers (NNESTs). Criticizing this perpetual learner framing of NNESTs, this study examines the collection of influences and effects from various factors and discusses their interwoven roles in these multilingual preservice teachers’ identity (re)construction. Using the framework of narrative positioning (Bamberg, 1997; Davies & Harré, 1990), it examines the preservice teachers’ language lives prior to the MATESOL program as well as during their current coursework and teaching practicum, with the aim to better understand how these preservice teachers negotiated the ascribed (non)native speaker subjectivities and reconstructed their professional identities through the lenses of their past experiences and their ongoing teacher education. The pedagogical implications of developing identity-oriented language teacher education (LTE) are also discussed, including adopting program-wide utilization of critical autobiographic narratives as an integral part of the curricula and maximizing the potential of practicum teaching to bridge the gap between TESOL theory and practice.