Tensions, contradictions, and hybridization of peripheral teacher identities in a transnational nexus

This proposal focuses on the identity reconstruction of transnational language teachers using a qualitative narrative inquiry as the research methodology. It begins by identifying the identity issues encountered by the transnational participants in a new foreign teaching context. And it aims to explore how socio-cultural complexities, interaction and negotiation with local educational traditions, beliefs and practices have prompted the reconstruction, transformation, or hybridization of transnational teacher identities. 

The literature review section of this proposal provides an overview on the development of LTI research approaches evolving from essentialism, structuralism, post-structuralism to discourse analysis as a field for finding identities in recent decades. Theoretical concepts such as Said’s (1993) intellectual exile and Wenger’s (1998) “Peripheral” trajectories were introduced to explain the transnational teacher identity status.  It also includes a summary of tendencies and commonalities of recent studies on current trends of Non -Native Speaking Teacher (NNESTs) professional identities and pre-service /novice teacher identity development as well as probable future trends for teacher identity research in connection with mobility. neoliberalism and transnationalism. Within the field of TESOL, language teacher identity (LTI) has been the focus of myriad of studies in recent two decades. However, transitional language teachers’ identity has never been part of it until fairly recently when transnationalism is regarded as a social field under the impulse of neoliberal forces and shaped by the process of globalization (Soong, 2018).

Since this research proposal aims to show how individual identities are negotiated, projected, claimed, or resisted through social interaction. The research design of this current study attempts to break away from the canonical framework of the big story narrative tradition in TESOL and employs a narrative analytic (small story) perspective (Barkhuizen, 2010; Vasquez, 2011; Watson, 2007), which focuses on joint storytelling and adopts the researcher’s and the participants’ personal experience as data for parallel exploration (Ellis and Bochner, 2000, Maso, 2001) to describe, analyze and craft rich understandings of identity conflicts, negotiation and reconstruction of transnational language teachers. The data co-construction instruments will be implemented in less formal circumstances such as teachers’ casual chats during work breaks, small talks in teachers’ lounge, phone conversations and text messages, with which sensitive issues and realities can be discussed in a natural manner with more ease and less pressure as opposed to formal data collection methods. 

The expected research will offer nuanced perspectives to the fluid nature of identity under the influence of global socialization and provide important insight into how these transnational teachers redefine and /or hybridize their teacher identity in the process of adapting to an unfamiliar new teaching setting in a foreign context, where their current emerging reality interplays and contradicts with their past ideology, values and beliefs towards education.