Short-term international experience programmes are a common element of English second language (ESL) teacher education in many countries. This study problematizes the belief that such programmes necessarily result in beneficial changes in pre-service teachers thinking about themselves as teachers – their beliefs, habits, and values – by exploring the experiences of eight pre-service ESL teachers from Hong Kong as they undertook a short-term international experience programme in Australia. Drawing on a theory of identity construction, the findings suggest that identity conflicts impacted how the student teachers experienced this programme as they struggled to reconcile past, present, and future trajectories of teacher identity. In particular, the student teachers constructed rigid divisions between different types of teachers and teaching they experienced at home and abroad. These divisions were reflected in antagonistic relations between the types of English language teachers and teaching they aligned their own teaching activities and practices with and the teacher identities that they perceived to be available to them within the Hong Kong education system. Implications for addressing such identity conflicts throughout international experience programmes are considered and implications for future research are discussed. Copyright © 2011 National Institute of Education, Singapore.
CitationTrent, J. (2011). Learning, teaching, and constructing identities: ESL pre-service teacher experiences during a short-term international experience programme. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 31(2), 177-194.
- Teacher identity
- Discourse analysis
- Teacher education