Shifting Identities Through Switching Codes: a Close Look at the Social Languages of Pre-service English Teachers in an Indonesian Context

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With the shift from positivism to an interpretive paradigm for understanding the complexities of teachers’ mental lives and teaching processes (Johnson, 2006), identity development has been viewed as an important component in the process of learning to teach (Alsup, 2006; Britzman, 2003; Clarke, 2008; Danielewicz, 2001; Friesen & Besley, 2013; Izadinia, 2013). According to Britzman (2003), learning to teach is “the process of becoming: a time of formation and transformation, of scrutiny into what one is doing, and who one can become” (p. 31). As Sumara and Luce-Kapler (2001) also put it, “becoming a teacher involves more than transposing teaching skills onto an established personal identity: it means including the identity ‘teacher’ in one’s life” (p. 65). Thus, as a key component of the process of becoming a teacher, teacher identity is considered an integral aspect of teacher learning (Britzman, 2003; Tsui, 2011). Along with this growing interest in the general field of teacher education, teacher identity has also been viewed as an important concept within language teacher education and teacher learning (Barcelos, 2017; Freeman, 2009; Martel & Wang, 2014; Miller, 2009).

This is partly because understanding who language teachers are provides insight into how language teaching is carried out, as Varghese, Morgan, Johnston, and Johnson (2005) explained: “[I]n order to understand language teaching and learning we need to understand teachers; and in order to understand teachers, we need to have a clearer sense of who they are: the professional, cultural, political, and individual identities which they claim or which are assigned to them” (p. 22). Understanding language teachers’ identities is then a crucial part of understanding who these teachers are, what they do, and why. These insights are especially important due to the unique relationship between language teachers and the subject they teach (Nunan, 2017). Nunan (2017) further asserts: Language teachers have a unique relationship to their subject because it is both the medium and the content of instruction. Identifying oneself, or being identified by others, as a less than competent user of the language they are teaching can pose professional challenges that are somewhat different from those faced by, say, a teacher of Mathematics, who is teaching the subject in a language other than her first (pp. 165-166).

Furthermore, with the number of language teachers, especially English language teachers, increasing worldwide as a result of the globalization of English, including in EFL settings, “the issue of language teacher identity is particularly salient for the teacher who is not a native of the second or foreign language being taught” (Nunan, 2017, p. 165). Since most English teachers across the globe are non-native speakers who teach non-native speaking students (Braine, 2010), understanding how prospective English teachers develop their identities through English teacher preparation programs in their own contexts can shed light on the complexities of learning to teach in non-English speaking settings. While some research has been conducted on the identity of preservice English teachers in non-English-speaking countries (e.g., Afrianto, 2015; Atay & Ece, 2009; Clarke, 2008; Dang, 2013; He & Lin, 2013; Kuswandono, 2013; Lim, 2011; Trent, 2010, 2013), little is known about how pre-service teachers in EFL and multilingual settings enact their identities through their language use. The study reported in this paper focuses on the microanalysis of how an EFL pre-service English teacher in a multilingual country, Indonesia enacted his identities through his social language use. The study, therefore, fills the gap and contributes to teacher education in EFL settings. In an attempt to understand how this particular pre-service teacher associates himself as an English teacher, I focus my analysis of his use of social language in his microteaching class.

The main Discourse question for analyzing the recorded data is “How does a pre-service English as foreign language teacher enact his identities in his teaching demonstration?” Following Gee’s (2014b) suggestion about how to do an ideal discourse analysis, I formulated several research questions to help me understand the identity building that the pre-service teacher in the recorded data enacted through the languages he used. The sub-research questions are: 1. How are social languages being used by the pre-service teacher of English as of foreign language? 2. How are situated meanings being used in the pre-service’s teaching demonstration? 3. How are figured worlds being enacted within this context?

Name : Dwi Riyanti

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