The struggle for pedagogical recognition in higher education: Short stories of tension and triumph in the professional identity construction of an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) practitioner in Hong Kong

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Abstract

A considerable body of work now exists on the role that identity plays in understanding teachers and teaching. Developing and sustaining teacher identities in higher education can, however, be challenging given the subordinate positioning of teaching in some educational contexts. Despite the growth of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programmes in many parts of the world, recent research suggests that EAP practitioners are especially vulnerable to being assigned marginalized identities within the academy. Therefore, this paper reports the results of a study which used a short story approach to investigate the tensions and triumphs one EAP practitioner in Hong Kong experienced in constructing her language teacher identities (LTIs). Findings suggest that her identity tensions and struggles take place across space and time and play out at different scales, including classrooms, educational institutions, and within broader societal discourses. However, the short stories presented in this paper speak not only of tension and struggle, but also of determination and resilience to construct LTIs in the academy. Consequently, the results of this study can help to raise awareness amongst stakeholders, including policy makers, leaders of higher education institutions, and language teaching practitioners, of how they can support and sustain the construction of LTIs within the academy. Implications for professional learning for language teaching practitioners and suggestions for future research are considered. Copyright © 2024 The Author(s).

Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Research for Policy and Practice
Early online dateJan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Jan 2024

Citation

Trent, J. (2024). The struggle for pedagogical recognition in higher education: Short stories of tension and triumph in the professional identity construction of an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) practitioner in Hong Kong. Educational Research for Policy and Practice. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10671-023-09365-0

Keywords

  • English for Academic Purposes (EAP)
  • Language teacher identity
  • Narrative inquiry
  • Hong Kong

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