“What Should I Call Myself? Does It Matter?” Questioning the “Labeling” Practice in ELT Profession

  • Christine Manara
Part of the Educational Linguistics book series (EDUL, volume 35)


This autoethnographic writing explores the changing phases of the author’s (re)construction of selves within the English Language Teaching (ELT) profession and industry (along with its labeling games). The paper discusses phases of identity (re)construction in relation to the labeling practice in ELT industry, particularly the “native” and “non-native” labels, and how the author was engaged in dialogue, and struggled in the process of (re)learning her professional realities and identities. In this paper, she presents several reflective accounts of interacting with and responding to labels that she came across, and/or were attached to her, in her teaching work and life in three different contexts (Indonesia, Australia, and Thailand). The accounts discuss her ways of coping and living with competing TESOL pedagogies, ideologies and realities. This process of (re)learning her professional realities, brought her to new understanding and the re-inventing of her professional self, as she struggles to move beyond the confinement of labels in the ELT industry.


  1. Alsagoff, L. (2012). Identity and the EIL learner. In L. Alsagoff, S. L. McKay, G. Hu, & W. A. Renandya (Eds.), Principles and practices for teaching English as an international language (pp. 104–122). New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Bakhtin, M. (1981). The dialogical imagination (M. Holquist, Ed., C. Emerson, & M. Holquist, Trans.). Austin: University of Texas Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bell, A. (2007). Style in dialogue: Bakhtin and sociolinguistic theory. In R. Bayley & C. Lucas (Eds.), Sociolinguistic variation: Theories, methods, and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Britzman, D. B. (2003). Practice makes practice: A critical study of learning to teach. (Revised ed.). New York/Albany: State University of New York.Google Scholar
  5. Cook, V. (2001). Second language learning and language teaching. London: Arnold.Google Scholar
  6. Derwing, T. M., & Munro, M. J. (2009). Putting accent in its place: Rethinking obstacles to communication. Language Teaching, 42(4), 476–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ellis, C. (2004). The ethnographic I: A methodological novel about autoethnography. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  8. Ellis, C. E., & Adams, T. E. (2014). The purposes, practices, and principles of autoethnographic research. In P. Leavy (Ed.), The Oxford handbook of qualitative research (pp. 254–276). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the oppressed (New revised 20th-Anniversary edition). New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  10. Holliday, A. (2005). The struggle to teach English as an international language. Oxford: Oxford University.Google Scholar
  11. Holliday, A. (2015). Native-speakerism: Taking the concept forward and achieving cultural belief. In A. Swan, P. Aboshiha, & A. Holliday (Eds.), (En)countering native-speakerism: Global perspectives (pp. 11–23). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  12. Jenkins, J. (2000). The phonology of English as an international language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Kubota, R. (2012). The politics of EIL: Toward border-crossing communication in and beyond English. In A. Matsuda (Ed.), Principles and practices of teaching English as an international language (pp. 55–69). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  14. Levis, J. M. (2005). Changing contexts and shifting paradigms in pronunciation teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 39(3), 369–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Manara, C. (2014a). Intercultural dialogue in English language teaching: Multilingual teacher educator’s narrative of professional learning. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.Google Scholar
  16. Manara, C. (2014b). “So what do you want us to do?”: A critical reflection of teaching English as an international language in an Australian context. In R. Marlina & R. Giri (Eds.), The pedagogy of English as an international language: Perspectives from scholars, teachers, and students (pp. 189–202). Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  17. Norton, B. (2010). Language and identity. In N. H. Hornberger & S. L. McKay (Eds.), Sociolinguistics and language education (pp. 370–397). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
  18. Oral, Y. (2015). The challenge of native-speakerism in ELT: Labeling and categorizing. In A. Swan, P. Aboshiha, & A. Holliday (Eds.), (En)countering native-speakerism: Global perspectives (pp. 93–108). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  19. Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University PressGoogle Scholar
  20. Reis, D. S. (2009). NEST-NNEST collaboration: Does it reinforce a misleading dichotomy?, TESOL NNEST Newsletter, 11(11). Retrieved from: http://tinyurl.comnnest11
  21. Rudolph, N. (2012). Borderlands and border crossing: Japanese professors of English and the negotiation of translinguistic and transcultural identity. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Maryland, College Park.Google Scholar
  22. Rudolph, N., Selvi, A., & Yazan, B. (2015). Conceptualizing and confronting inequity: Approaches within and new directions for the “NNEST movement”. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies, 12(1), 27–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Wall, S. (2008). Easier said than done: Writing an autoethnography. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 7(1), 38–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine Manara
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied English Linguistics Postgraduate Program, Faculty of Language and EducationAtma Jaya Catholic University IndonesiaJakartaIndonesia

Personalised recommendations