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Professional identity and the 'native speaker': An investigation of essentializing discourses in TESOL

  • Author / Creator
    Breckenridge, Yvonne Marie
  • This study explores the ways that native speakers are represented in different discourses. It combines the personal with the empirical by starting with narratives of professional development, followed by a corpus analysis of how native speakers are defined, and ending with a critical discourse analysis of the roles allocated to native speakers in academic discourse. First, the use of narrative inquiry speaks to the lived experience of three native English speaking language teachers as they develop their professional identity and seek professional development. Their narratives uncover the tensions between their personal goals and external perceptions. In order to situate these narratives in the field, a corpus analysis identifies the difference between how native speakers are defined in general discourse and within academic literature. These different definitions demonstrate distinct patterns of usage that differentiate the concept of the native speaker, the native speaker of English, and the native speaker of English as a language teacher. Finally, a critical discourse analysis illuminates the dominant representations of native speakers in academic literature. An interpretation of six academic articles, drawing on van Leeuwen’s network of role allocation, highlights: 1) how native speakers are differentiated from non-native speakers; 2) how native speaking language teachers are objectified or excluded from the discourse. The analysis reveals how representations of native speakers influence the participation of native English speaking language teachers in the field of TESOL. The implications indicate that the current representations of native speakers detract from professional development by perpetuating static identities rather than encouraging professional development.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2010-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R37P5T
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of Secondary Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Dunn, William (Secondary Education)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Hasebe-Ludt, Erika (University of Lethbridge)
    • Pimm, David (Secondary Education)
    • Johnston, Ingrid (Secondary Education)
    • Wiltse, Lynne (Elementary Education)