Identity and dilemma:the ‘native speaker’ English language teacher in a globalising world

PhD Thesis

Aboshiha, P. 2007. Identity and dilemma:the ‘native speaker’ English language teacher in a globalising world. PhD Thesis University of Kent Faculty of Arts and Humanities
AuthorsAboshiha, P.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD

Globalisation (increasing international flows of finance, culture, technological know-how, information, people etc.) has created pressure for a lingua franca. It is widely accepted that English now fulfils this role, with some academics in English language teaching suggesting that the language is no longer owned by ‘native speakers’ and requesting a re-evaluation of the ‘native speaker’ English language teacher in terms of his/her traditional importance in the field. These academics have queried, for example, the continued relevance of ‘native speaker’ pronunciation, methodology and the professional status of the ‘native speaker’ teacher compared with the ‘non-native speaker’ English language teacher.

In this study the professional identities of a small group of ‘native speaker’ teachers are explored through data obtained from interviews, field-notes, critical incidents in the researcher-as-teacher’s professional life and by e-mail correspondence. From the collected data it appears that these ‘native speaker’ English language teachers retain a view of themselves as having a superior professional identity, based on their pronunciation, classroom practices, ethnicity, British educational backgrounds and their relational stance to ‘non-native speaker’ teachers. On the other hand, the teachers’ ambivalent relationship with both the new academic understandings of English language teaching and their own professional development appear to contribute to a dilemma in their superior identity constructs. Only one teacher in the group manages to engage with the new understandings and is thus able to conceptualise a professional identity as an English language teacher which seems more in tune with the new global role of English.

Overall, in fact, this study reveals a considerable discrepancy between the lived reality of the ‘native speaker’ teachers’ professional lives and the new understandings of academics about English language teaching in a globalising world. The study also highlights a concerning gap between the teachers’ current self-constructs and the implications for the development of practice of new academic theory.

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Publication process dates
Deposited12 Dec 2017
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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