Constructing the self: EFL teacher narratives

Pinto, Maria Angeli (2019) Constructing the self: EFL teacher narratives. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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Abstract

The study provides a holistic snapshot of the personal and professional lives of long-term native English-speaking (NES) English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) teachers. I interviewed eight NES EFL teachers, four working in South Korea, and four in Japan. The teachers had taught EFL for at least ten years and had taught English in two or more countries. The teachers talked about their backgrounds, their attitudes to language learning and the languages they had learnt, about teaching and the workplaces and countries they had worked in. They discussed the most challenging aspects of living and working in other countries, and how their experiences in other countries had changed them. My stories of how my life impacted on the design of the study, and how conducting the study changed my life appear as reflections between the chapters.

Narrative inquiry, which foregrounds the voices and viewpoints of research participants (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000), was used to analyse and report on the teachers’ stories. Narratives were analysed both holistically and categorically (Josselson, 2011). In the holistic analysis, what the teachers said was analysed as part of their whole narrative. In the categorical analysis, similar themes that emerged in the teacher’s stories were compared and the findings of these discussed. To perform the categorical analysis, the teachers’ stories were coded using grounded theory principles outlined by Charmaz (2006).

The teachers’ stories add to the growing body of literature on NES EFL teachers. The study confirmed and added detail to what has been known about NES EFL teachers: that personal reasons power teachers’ decisions to stay in EFL. Long term NES EFL teachers used sideways moves, into teaching different levels, teaching at different workplaces, and teaching in different countries, and set their own professional development goals, to maintain their motivation. The study found that the country itself made a difference to the degree to which the teacher chose to assimilate into the local culture, and that teachers’ attitudes to learning the local language were a good predictor of their investment in staying in the country. The teachers in Japan were more focused on learning Japanese and meeting local norms than the teachers in South Korea, even when the teachers in South Korea expressed positive feelings towards the country. It is hypothesized that the differences might have been because of age differences, differences in the amount of time spent in the country, or because of relationship status differences between the teachers in South Korea and the teachers in Japan. Seven of the eight teachers agreed that living in other countries had changed them dramatically, comparing who they are now to an imagined baseline self that they would have been had they stayed home, to talk about their personal growth.


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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Education thesis.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Supervisors: Dashwood, Ann; Son, Jeong-Bae
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2020 04:48
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2021 02:08
Uncontrolled Keywords: NES EFL teachers, South Korea, Japan, native English speaker teachers (NEST)
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
Identification Number or DOI: doi:10.26192/733j-v075
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/39490

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