The NEST-NNEST divide and teacher identity construction in Hong Kong schools

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Despite widespread acknowledgement of the contribution of nonnative English-speaking teachers (NNESTs) to teaching English as an international language, the privileging of native English-speaking teachers (NESTs) and native-speaker competency, and concomitant marginalization of NNESTs, continues in many countries. To investigate and problematize the role the NEST-NNEST dichotomy plays in teachers’ professional identity construction, this article explores the ways in which multiple discourses interact to enable and constrain opportunities for such construction through in-depth interviews with teachers in Hong Kong. It raises questions about the failure of previous investigations to adequately problematize discourses that establish and support divisions between Hong Kong teachers and also questions the assumption that such divisions are necessarily associated with perceptions of marginalization among those positioned as NNESTs. This article presents suggestions for contesting discourses that establish and support hierarchical relations between teachers and discusses the implications for future research. Copyright © 2016 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-320
JournalJournal of Language, Identity and Education
Issue number5
Early online dateSept 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


Trent, J. (2016). The NEST-NNEST divide and teacher identity construction in Hong Kong schools. Journal of Language, Identity and Education, 15(5), 306-320.


  • Discourse analysis
  • Native English-speaking teachers
  • Nonnative English-speaking teachers
  • Teacher education
  • Teacher identity


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