Novice Teachers' Discursive Construction of Their Identity: Insights from Foreign Language Classrooms

Document Type : Original Article


Graduate School of Education University of Exeter



 Language teacher identity has received considerable attention in the past decade for its crucial roles in improving effective pedagogy and enhancing teacher learning. While a large number of studies have been conducted to investigate the multidimensional nature and complexities of in-service teacher identity, there is still insufficient knowledge regarding novice teachers who stayed in the profession for less than three years. In particular, although much research has argued the significant relationship between discourse and identity, few studies have investigated teacher identity through the lens of classroom discourse. This article addresses these gaps by drawing on applied conversation analysis to investigate the identity construction of seven teachers in the context of Chinese secondary English classes. Classroom recordings were made for detailed moment-by-moment analysis to explore the complexity of being a novice teacher in classroom practice. Findings revealed that identity construction - manifested through interactive work with students – is by and large about developing personal practical knowledge and engaging in language-related practices. The article discusses the implications of researching teacher identity for effective pedagogy and teacher education.