Teaching positions : a study of identity in English language teachers in Japanese higher education
In Applied Linguistics and English Language Teaching a growing emphasis on the social aspects of language teaching and learning has shifted research inquiry away from methodology to focus instead on the specific contexts in which these activities take place. Within these contexts, a prominent role is occupied by the teacher. Teacher identity is particularly significant in language teaching, where the teacher's Relationship and attitude to the target language could have important pedagogical implications. Nevertheless theoretical frameworks for understanding teacher identity have all too often been marred by cultural stereotyping or a reluctance to admit that identity matters at all. This thesis proposes a methodology for researching teacher identity which derives from a poststructuralist conceptualisation of identity as a form of 'strategic positioning'. According to this concept, identity is never fixed but people do signal temporary affiliation with particular social categories or groups from which insights can be inferred concerning the social world that they experience and their values and beliefs about that world. An analysis of strategic positioning in the transcripts of long interviews with eight English teachers in Japanese higher education permits a richer understanding of the multiple ways in which identity and practice are intertwined. The findings support a critique of current thinking about professionalism and expertise, and offer an original challenge to a number of critical linguistic arguments associated with English as an International Language such as linguistic imperialism, intercultural spaces and post method pedagogy.