The Discursive Construction of “Native” and “Non-Native” ‎Speaker English Teacher Identities in Japan: A Linguistic ‎Ethnographic Investigation

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Toyo University, Japan

Abstract

Recent poststructuralist theories of identity posit identities as being discursively constructed in interactions with society, institutions, and individuals. This study used a Linguistic Ethnographic framework to investigate the discursive identity construction of two English teachers, one ‘non-native’ English speaker, and one ‘native’ English speaker, teaching English in a tertiary institution in Japan. Using naturally occurring data taken from classroom observations as well as data from reflexive semi-structured interviews, a Membership Categorization Analysis approach was taken to analyze how the participating teachers are positioned and position themselves in relation to the institution itself as well as at the classroom level when interacting with students. The study found that a clear distinction between ‘native’ and ‘non-native’ speaker teachers was created at the institutional level, which the teachers had little control over. However, at the classroom level, the participants exercised greater agency, which was used by the teachers to resist straightforward identity ascriptions. 

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