ESL Teacher’s Professional Identity in English Language Teaching

  •  Irfana Hafeez    


The current paper is a small-scale study on the core elements of professional identity (PI) issues among English as a second language (ESL) teachers. The study highlights the significance of professional identity, and the compromise and transformation ESL teachers undergo during their careers. Qualitative exploratory research methodology is applied in the investigation involving five ESL teachers. Semi-structured face-to-face interviews were conducted to explore the potential factors that have impacted English teachers’ professional identity. The study revealed the impact of top-down policy implementation, the significance of professionalism, unstructured overseas educational setup, and workplace challenges on the professional identity of English teachers. The findings of the study highlighted several key areas that had a positive as well as a negative impact on the PI of ESL teachers. ESL teachers’ adherence to their individuality and teaching philosophy in spite of facing different challenges, time and teaching experience of ESL teachers, culturally diverse working environment, and teachers’ evaluation system emerged as positive factors in PI development. However, the study also drew special attention to ESL teachers’ PI primarily getting affected by the imposition of a central policy system on ESL teachers, ignoring ESL teachers’ voices without taking their feedback into consideration, lack of awareness to foster positive professional relationships among peers and working in the overseas broken educational system. The study concluded that ESL teachers need their independent professional space to utilize their teaching capabilities and share their experiences to have an influential professional identity. However, due to the small number of participants a larger study would be better in unfolding in detail the causes behind the professional identity crises of ESL teachers.

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