Stories of Change and Continuity: Understanding the Development of the Identities of Foreign Language Teachers
In this chapter I will introduce five foreign teachers’ career paths during the nine or ten first years after their graduation. These five are among the 11 teachers whose relationship with their working environment was studied in Chapter 8. After the original data collection, this group of five teachers also agreed to participate in this follow-up study. The focus of this chapter is on describing the dynamics of the participants’ identity development. In this chapter, identity is understood as a tool through which teachers make sense of themselves and other people (MacLure, 1993). This tool is tightly linked with the concept of beliefs; identity is actually a pool of beliefs that define who we are as teachers at the moment. Through a narrative analysis of the participants’ interviews at different stages in their careers, I aim to explore the dynamics of change and continuity in teachers’ identity. Although the first years in the profession and the development of teacher identity have been popular topics of research especially in the educational field, there is a clear need for studies of long-term developments in teacher identity and beliefs. Especially studies on foreign language teachers are rare. In its length this study is unique in the field.
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