Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

Learning to Teach a Foreign Language: Identity Negotiation and Conceptualizations of Pedagogical Progress

Academic journal article Foreign Language Annals

Learning to Teach a Foreign Language: Identity Negotiation and Conceptualizations of Pedagogical Progress

Article excerpt

Introduction

In line with Freeman's (2009) widening gyre (i.e., expanding scope) characterization of second language teacher education, as well as social conceptualizations of learning (e.g., Johnson, 2009), a growing number of scholars are taking interest in language teacher identity construction. Several literature reviews have recently been published on the topic in general teacher education (e.g., Beauchamp & Thomas, 2009; Beijaard, Meijer, & Verloop, 2004; Izadinia, 2012) and in language teacher education (e.g., Martel & Wang, 2015; Miller, 2009; Morgan & Clarke, 2011), outlining major themes across studies. Martel and Wang (2015), e.g., highlighted the role of biographies, contexts, practice, native speaker status, and culture in the shaping of language teachers' identities. They also noted a dearth of research on teachers' identity in foreign language, immersion, and bilingual education contexts, as opposed to English as a second language (ESL) or English as a foreign language contexts. Given substantial differences in the nature of the working conditions that exist across contexts, this gap is significant. Differences in national context (e.g., teaching French in the United States vs. teaching French in Australia) should also be taken into consideration.

To date, a handful of studies have focused on foreign language teachers' identities in the United States, shedding light on participants' cultural identities, perceptions of their native speaker status, and general learning throughout their preparation programs (Antonek, McCormick, & Donato, 1997; Fichtner & Chapman, 2011; Luebbers, 2010; V^elez-Rend^on, 2010). In response to calls for the use of varied theoretical frameworks in investigating language teacher development (Tedick & Wesely, 2015) and identity construction (Varghese, Morgan, Johnston, & Johnson, 2005), the present study was designed to build upon these studies by exploring a Spanish student teacher's identity development, specifically her pedagogical identity, during her yearlong preparation program. According to Alexander (2008), pedagogy is "the act of teaching with its attendant discourse. It is what one needs to know, and the skills one needs to command, in order to make and justify the many different kinds of decisions of which teaching is constituted" (p. 11). For the purposes of this study, learning about pedagogy was conceptualized as the internalization of identity positions that are associated with commonly emphasized constructs in foreign language methods courses and in frequently used pedagogical manuals (e.g., Shrum & Glisan, 2010), such as corrective feedback or the balance of target and other languages in the classroom. For example, a student teacher might demonstrate learning about the latter in identity terms by saying, "It's important to me to useSpanish90%ofthetimeinmy classroom." Conversely, a statement such as "I'm comfortable using Spanish 40% of the time with my students" may indicate a lack of responsiveness to a preparation program's message about target language use.

Employing identity in the study of pedagogical learning is noteworthy because identity, more so than other constructs, such as actions, has the potential to speak to the longevity (i.e., the future trajectory) of learning (Freeman, 2013). In other words, understanding the extent to which language teacher preparation programs' curricular objectives are internalized into teachers' self-concepts rather than simply analyzing what they do in the classroom may provide more significant and accurate information about the long(er)-term success-that is, the durability-of the educational innovations represented by these objectives. This information is of special interest to teacher educators, who are not only naturally invested in facilitating the implementation of the research-based, field-advancing innovations, but also actively involved in the design of teacher preparation programs. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.