The formation of English teacher identities: A cross-cultural investigation

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Drawing on insights from Communities of Practice and critical discourse theory, this study investigates how teacher identities are discursively constructed in course of teacher education and under the influence of social structure. The participants were seven Hong Kong and nine mainland Chinese pre-service teachers. Two focus group interviews and in-depth individual interviews with each of the participants were employed. The study revealed that the identity formation of these participants is enacted individually, mediated by the immediate contextual factors, shaped by their socio-economic backgrounds and constructed with reference to social discourses on teachers and teaching profession. This article discusses the sociocultural factors behind the differences and generates implications for present teacher education practice and future research. Copyright © 2014 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-206
JournalLanguage Teaching Research
Issue number2
Early online date06 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Gu, M. M., & Benson, P. (2015). The formation of English teacher identities: A cross-cultural investigation. Language Teaching Research, 19(2), 187-206. doi: 10.1177/1362168814541725


  • Comparative study
  • Hong Kong
  • Mainland China
  • Pre-service English language teachers
  • Teacher identity


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