I am an internationalising teacher: A Chinese English teacher’s experiences of becoming an international teacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This paper was written in response to the tendency for the international education literature to position the international teacher in essentialist and western-centric terms. The international school landscape has changed significantly in the last 20 years, leading to the rise of type C non-traditional international schools, which requires a reconceptualisation of the international teacher. The purpose of this paper is to explore how a Chinese English teacher (Daisy) in an internationalised school in Shanghai constructed her identity as an international teacher. 

Design/methodology/approach: This paper drew upon concepts from the teacher identity literature in order to construct a comparative conceptual framework comprised of personal, professional and cross-cultural domains of experience. Commensurate with this framework, in-depth phenomenological interviewing and member-checking were utilised in order to gain access to the participant’s lived experiences. Member-checking and data analysis became a dialogic and recursive process in which rapport was continually maintained and strengthened through the sharing of raw and analysed data, with additional comments and suggestions being fed back into an emerging interpretation in order to generate more data and enhance validity. 

Findings: The findings highlighted how Daisy was active in not only constructing her identity as an international educator but also mobilising this identity to challenge the western-centric nature of international education. The findings also revealed moments of discursive dissonance. Daisy simultaneously constructed an identity as an “internationalising” teacher, but was also constructed as an international teacher through a discourse that presented international education as constructivist, and therefore western-centric, in nature. Implications and recommendations are made for practice and research based on these findings. 

Originality/value: This paper offers an alternative perspective on the international teacher experience, which continues to be western-centric in focus, by exploring the development of an international teacher identity from a Chinese perspective. Copyright © 2019 Emerald Publishing Limited.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-45
JournalInternational Journal of Comparative Education and Development
Issue number1
Early online dateJan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


Poole, A. (2019). I am an internationalising teacher: A Chinese English teacher’s experiences of becoming an international teacher. International Journal of Comparative Education and Development, 21(1), 31-45. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCED-08-2018-0026


  • Chinese teachers
  • International education
  • Teacher identity
  • International teachers


Dive into the research topics of 'I am an internationalising teacher: A Chinese English teacher’s experiences of becoming an international teacher'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.