A critical review on nonnative English teacher identity research: From 2008 to 2017

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This paper reviews existing studies (n = 22) on nonnative English teacher identity in L2 school contexts from 2008 to 2017. Through a systematic and rigorous process of paper selection and analysis, three major themes were identified, i.e. (1) identity development through social engagement; (2) identity conflicts and struggle at intrapersonal, interpersonal, and contextual levels; and (3) identity crisis with teacher attrition. The paper also offers a critical review on the research methodologies adopted in current nonnative teacher identity research and points out directions for future research. Based on the findings, the paper proposes a tentative framework on NNESTs' identity trajectory and calls for a transformative and action-oriented approach that can explore effective ways to promote identity development for NNESTs and teachers of different linguistic, subject and sociocultural backgrounds. Copyright © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-537
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number6
Early online dateOct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019



Yuan, R. (2019). A critical review on nonnative English teacher identity research: From 2008 to 2017. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 40(6), 518-537. doi: 10.1080/01434632.2018.1533018


  • Language teacher identity
  • Nonnative English teachers
  • L2 contexts