Location of Repository

How and why did I get here? A narrative inquiry into the paths to teaching of a group of EFL teachers in Hong Kong

By Betty Jean Gran

Abstract

The genesis for this exploratory narrative inquiry was high teacher attrition in a\ud new vocational English programme in Hong Kong. The study sought to discover\ud whether the paths to teaching of the remaining, successful teachers, as construed\ud in their own accounts, might include commonalities acting as contributors to\ud success. An understanding of such contributors could inform and enhance the\ud teacher selection process. Seven non-native English speaking teachers of\ud English participated in the study, in which they were interviewed and observed\ud in their classrooms. Polkinghorne’s (1995) framework comprising ‘analysis of\ud narratives’ (thematic analysis) and ‘narrative (storied) analysis’ was adopted to\ud respond to the research aim and questions. Thematic analysis of narratives\ud across participants revealed four pertinent themes: (1) perception of a good fit\ud between person and profession, (2) centrality of the student in the teachers’\ud accounts (3) perception of teaching as an enjoyable and satisfying ‘virtuous\ud cycle’ related to student achievement and (4) a high level of comfort with\ud English as the medium of communication in the classroom. It was suggested that\ud questions crafted to probe for these characteristics could enhance results in\ud teacher recruitment interviews. Analysis of individual participant narratives\ud using structural and literary techniques buttressed by observation data produced\ud nuanced interpretations of the teachers set against the conceptual template of\ud teacher motivation, career and identity derived from the literature and taking into\ud account their cultural context. Portraits of these teachers add to the very limited\ud literature to date on non-native English speaking teachers of English working in\ud their home countries with students sharing their first language. The teachers’\ud stories and stories of teachers produced in this study illuminate the lives of these\ud members of the teaching profession. Finally, it is suggested that interrogating\ud success is an appealing approach to uncovering knowledge about teachers and\ud addressing educational problems

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/7931

Suggested articles

Preview

Citations

  1. (1985b) Understanding Teachers: Concepts and Contexts,
  2. (1992b) Studying Teachers’ Lives: Problems and Possibilities,
  3. (2009a) Non-native English-speaking teachers, context and English language teaching,
  4. (2009b) Learning Language, Learning Teaching: Episodes from the Life of a Teacher of English in Thailand,
  5. (1997). A Longitudinal Study of Persisting and Nonpersisting Teachers’ Academic and Personal Characteristics,
  6. (2008). A narrative approach to exploring context in language teaching,
  7. (2007). A Return to the Gold Standard? Questioning the Future of Narrative Construction as
  8. (2004). A Teacher’s Life,
  9. (2008). A Vygotskian Perspective on Nonnative English-Speaking Teachers’ Identity,
  10. (1990). Action theory approaches to career research,
  11. (1990). Acts of Meaning,
  12. (1986). Actual Minds, Possible Worlds,
  13. (2009). Allen (no date) Protocol for student teacher observations, (http://www.humboldt.edu/-tha1/observ.html:1) [Accessed 24
  14. (2008). Alternate routes in initial teacher education: a critical review of the research and policy implications for Hong Kong,
  15. (1996). An Introduction to Qualitative Research Interviewing,
  16. (2009). An investigation into teacher turnover in international schools,
  17. (1999). An Invitation to Social Construction, Thousand Oaks,
  18. (1992). An open letter to “the profession”,
  19. (2009). Analyzing Narrative Reality,
  20. (1994). Analyzing Social Settings: A Guide to Qualitative Observation and Analysis,
  21. (2004). and The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers (Eds.)
  22. (1993). Arguing for yourself: identity as an organizing principle in teachers’ jobs and lives,
  23. (1994). Argument: A response to “Pedagogy, virtue and narrative identity in teaching”,
  24. (2009). At least I’m the type of teacher I want to be’: Secondcareer English language teachers’ identity formation in Hong Kong secondary schools,
  25. (2008). Becoming a teacher of English in Thailand,
  26. (1992). Beginning Teacher Curriculum Decision Making, Personal Teaching Metaphors,
  27. (1997). Bilingual Education: Teachers’ Narratives,
  28. (1999). Building Teacher Identities: Implications for preservice teacher education, paper presented to the Australian Association for Research
  29. (2006). Call me teacher: the quest of new teachers,
  30. (1992). Career decisions of K-12 science teachers: Factors influencing their decisions and perceptions toward science teaching,
  31. (1990). Careers in the classroom: When teaching is more than a job,
  32. (2000). Careers stages of community-college faculty: A qualitative analysis of their career paths, roles, and development,
  33. (1986). Case Studies in Classroom Research. Milton Keynes:
  34. (1982). Case study and situation analysis,
  35. (2005). Chronicles from the Classroom: Making Sense of the Methodology and Methods of Narrative Analysis,
  36. (2006). Classroom interactions as cross-cultural encounters,
  37. (1986). Classroom practice: Teacher images in action,
  38. (1999). Collecting data by in-depth interviewing,
  39. (1981). Commitment and motivation in primary school teachers,
  40. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity, Cambridge:
  41. (2007). Complexities of Identity Formation: A Narrative Inquiry of an
  42. (2004). Constructing career through narrative,
  43. (1994). Constructivist, interpretivist approaches to human inquiry,
  44. (2008). Contrasting perspectives on narrating selves and identities: an invitation to dialogue,
  45. (1985). Conversations with Teachers: Some Aspects of Life-History Method,
  46. (2008). Counternarratives: studies of teacher education and becoming and being a teacher,
  47. (1985). Critical Incidents in the Classroom: Identities, Choices and Careers,
  48. (1996). Development and Disenchantment in the Professional Lives of Headteachers,
  49. (1978). Differentiation between social groups: Studies in the social psychology of intergroup relations,
  50. (1997). Do EFL Teachers have Careers?
  51. (1983). Documents of Life: An Introduction to the Problems and Literature of a Humanistic Method. London: Allen and Unwin.
  52. (1999). Double standards: Teacher education in the expanding circle,
  53. (1995). Dynamics of Teacher Career Stages,
  54. (1997). East Asian Cultural and Historical Perspectives,
  55. (1987). Educational Platforms, Teacher Selection, and School Reform: Issues Emanating from a Biographical Case Study,
  56. (2000). Evaluating Evaluation in Narrative,
  57. (2000). Evaluation in Text, authorial stance and the construction of discourse,
  58. (2003). Every experience is a moving force”: identity and growth through mentoring,
  59. (2001). Examining the Mismatch between Learner-Centred Teaching and Teacher-Centred Supervision.
  60. (2008). Experience-centred and culturally-oriented approaches to narrative,
  61. (1963). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research,
  62. (1996). Explorations of Narrative Identity,
  63. (2004). Exploring life and experience through narrative inquiry,
  64. (2005). Exploring the lives of non-native speaking English educators in Sri Lanka, Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice,
  65. (1995). Face to face with alterity: Postmodern Jewish identity and the eros of pedagogy,
  66. (2001). Falling in and Filling in: ESL Teaching Careers in Changing Times,
  67. (2003). Falling into it: novice TESOL teacher thinking, Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice,
  68. (1995). Foreword to Jalongo,
  69. (2004). Foundations for research: Methods of inquiry in education and the social sciences, Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  70. (2002). From Self to Society: Reflections on the Power of Narrative Inquiry, in Merriam, S.B. and associates Qualitative research in practice: examples for discussion and analysis.
  71. (1990). Generalizability and the single-case study,
  72. (1993). Getting the story, understanding the lives. From career stories to teachers’ professional development,
  73. (2006). Going All the Way: A life history account focusing on a teacher’s engagement with studies of Asia,
  74. (2006). Handbook of complementary methods in education research,
  75. (2001). Handbook of Ethnography,
  76. (2007). Handbook of Narrative Inquiry: Mapping a Methodology, Thousand Oaks,
  77. (2000). Handbook of Qualitative Research
  78. (1994). Handbook of Qualitative Research,
  79. (1981). Hermeneutics and the human sciences,
  80. (2005). Hong Kong Secondary Schoolteachers’ Understanding of Their Careers, Teacher and Teaching: Theory and Practice,
  81. (2009). How other people shape our careers: A typology drawn from career narratives,
  82. (2008). I had a lot of good lessons’ (laughter) Bibliography
  83. (1992). I loved the course, but…” Career aspirations and realities in adult TESOL,
  84. (2003). I never knew I was bilingual”: Re-imagining teacher identities in TESOL,
  85. (2000). Identity as an Analytic Lens for Research in Education,
  86. (2004). Images of career: Nine key metaphors,
  87. (2008). Improving Teacher Selection with Behavior-based Interviewing,
  88. (1990). In-depth Interviewing.
  89. (2001). Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for Analysing Talk, Text and Interaction,
  90. (1989). Interpretive Biography,
  91. (2006). Interviewing in Educational Research,
  92. (1997). Introduction to the theme issue of ‘narrative perspectives on research on teaching and teacher education’,
  93. (1996). L2 summarizing: in your ‘own’ words in a foreign language? Paper presented at TESOL Convention,
  94. (2000). Language Teacher Education,
  95. (1997). Language, identity and the ownership of English,
  96. (2004). Learning and teaching from experience: perspectives on nonnative English-speaking professionals, Ann Arbor:
  97. (2003). Learning to Teach English in Hong Kong:
  98. (1989). Learning to Teach without Teacher Education,
  99. (1995). Life history and narrative,
  100. (1981). Life History and the
  101. (1991). Life-shaping decisions,
  102. (2004). Loosening chronology’s collar: reframing teacher career narratives as stories of life and work without end,
  103. (2002). Making Stories: Law,
  104. (1997). Making Vocational Choices: A Theory of Careers,
  105. (2000). Male elementary teacher candidates: A narrative perspective on their initial career choice,
  106. (2007). Mapping a landscape of narrative inquiry: Borderland spaces and tensions,
  107. (2008). Measuring the professional identity of Hong Kong in-service teachers,
  108. (1990). Methodological approaches to the study of career,
  109. (2005). Mind the gap: self and perceived native-speaker identities of EFL teachers,
  110. (1992). Models for understanding pre-service and beginning teachers’ biographies: illustrations from case studies,
  111. (1995). Models of narrative analysis: A typology,
  112. (2008). Motivations, perceptions, and aspirations concerning teaching as a career for different types of beginning teachers,
  113. (2005). Motivators That Do Not Motivate: The Case of
  114. (2002). Moving on: from training course to workplace,
  115. (2001). Narrative Analysis in Ethnography,
  116. (2002). Narrative Analysis,
  117. (1985). Narrative and paradigmatic modes of thought,
  118. (2000). Narrative approaches,
  119. (1990). Narrative as a paradigm for career research,
  120. (1995). Narrative configuration in qualitative analysis,
  121. (2002). Narrative in Social Research,
  122. (2004). Narrative inquiry as a mediational space: examining emotional and cognitive dissonance in second-language teachers’ development, Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice,
  123. (2009). Narrative inquiry for teacher education and development: Focus on English as a foreign language
  124. (2006). Narrative inquiry,
  125. (2002). Narrative inquiry: more than just telling stories”,
  126. (2000). Narrative inquiry. Experience and Story in Qualitative Research,
  127. (1988). Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences,
  128. (2008). Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences,
  129. (1995). Narrative Research, Teaching and Teacher Thinking: Perspectives and Possibilities,
  130. (1997). Narrative research: Political issues and implications,
  131. (2008). Narratives of events: Labovian event analysis and its limitations’
  132. (2006). Narratives of practice and the construction of identity in teaching, Teachers and Teaching: theory and practice,
  133. (1992). Native or non-native: Who’s worth more?
  134. (2007). Navigating Sites for Narrative Inquiry,
  135. (1999). Non-native Educators in English Language Teaching,
  136. (2009). Non-Native English Speaking Teachers’ Identity: Review of Relevant Studies and Critical Issues for Future Studies,
  137. (2009). Non-native English-speaking English language teachers: History and research,
  138. (2005). Non-Native Language Teachers: Perceptions, Challenges and Contributions to the Profession,
  139. (2000). Non-native speaker teacher,
  140. (2002). Observation and Interviewing: Options and choice in qualitative research,
  141. (2006). On Dodgy Ground? Problematics and Ethics in Educational Research´,
  142. (1981). On narrative,
  143. (1997). On the power and status of nonnative ESL teachers,
  144. (1995). Pedagogy: the question of impersonation,
  145. (2005). Personality not nationality’: Foreign students’ perceptions of a nonnative speaker lecture of English as a British university,
  146. (1996). Personality, Modernity, and the Storied Self: A Contemporary Framework for Studying Persons,
  147. (1997). Perspectives on the Teaching Career,
  148. (2009). Possible Selves in Language Teacher Development,
  149. (1991). Practice makes practice: a critical study of learning to teach,
  150. (1991). Primary Teachers Talking,
  151. (1996). Prioritizing “Voice” over “Vision”: Reaffirming the
  152. (2006). Programs of Research in Teacher Education,
  153. (2003). Pursuing a “Sense of Success”: New Teachers Explain Their Career Decisions,
  154. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis,
  155. (1990). Qualitative Inquiry in Education: The continuing debate,
  156. (2004). Qualitative Interview Studies,
  157. (2005). Qualitative Interviewing
  158. (2002). Qualitative Research in Action.
  159. (2002). Qualitative research in practice: examples for discussion and analysis.
  160. (2001). Qualitative Research Interviewing,
  161. (2004). Re-writing bilingualism and the bilingual educators’ knowledge base,
  162. (2005). Reasons for choosing a teacher training course,
  163. (2005). Reclaiming the Local in Language Policy and Practice,
  164. (2004). Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity,
  165. (2002). Recruitment to and retention on initial teacher training: a systematic review,
  166. (2001). Reflections based on the professional life histories of eight Montessori teachers in Sweden.
  167. (2006). Reflections on the Narrative Research Approach,
  168. (1996). Reflective teaching: An introduction,
  169. (2006). Rescuing narrative from qualitative research,
  170. (2005). Research and evaluation in education and psychology: integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods (2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks,
  171. (1989). Research and the teacher: A qualitative introduction to school-based research.
  172. (1986). Research Interviewing,
  173. (1986). Research into teachers’ expectations and their effects in
  174. (1999). Researching education: Perspectives and Techniques.
  175. (2005). Researching practice: The methodological case for narrative inquiry,
  176. (1996). Revisiting Voice,
  177. (2000). Routledge Encyclopedia of Language Teaching and Learning,
  178. (1995). School work: Gender and the cultural construction of teaching,
  179. (1975). Schoolteacher – A Sociological Study,
  180. (1988). Selecting Effective Teachers,
  181. (1999). Shaping a professional identity: Stories of educational practice,
  182. (2008). Shifting teacher identities into ‘stories to live by’, Reflective Practice,
  183. (1991). Situated Learning, Cambridge:
  184. (1995). Social identity, investment, and language learning,
  185. (2004). Specialized recruitment: An examination of the motivations and expectations of pre-service urban educators, in paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association.
  186. (2004). Starting points: student teachers’ reasons for becoming teachers and their preconceptions of what this will mean,
  187. (2004). Stayers, Leavers, Lovers and Dreamers: Insights about Teacher Retention,
  188. (2000). Stories of Change and Professional Development: The Costs of Commitment,
  189. (1990). Stories of experience and narrative inquiry,
  190. (2007). Story constellations: A narrative approach to contextualizing teachers’ knowledge of school reform,
  191. (1999). Storylines: Craftartists’ Narratives of Identity, Cambridge:
  192. (2002). Strategic Narrative: new perspectives on the power of stories,
  193. (2003). Student Teachers’ Expectations of Teaching as a Career in England and Norway,
  194. (1996). Student teachers’ lay theories: Implications for professional development,
  195. (2002). Students’ reasons for wanting to teach in primary school,
  196. (1988). Studying teachers’ knowledge of classrooms: Collaborative research, ethics and the negotiation of narrative,
  197. (1992). Studying teachers’ lives,
  198. (1969). Symbolic Interactionism: Perspective and Method,
  199. (2008). Teacher Attrition: a Meta-Analysis,
  200. (1988). Teacher careers and school improvement,
  201. (1985). Teacher Careers: Crises and Continuities,
  202. (1996). Teacher cognition in language teaching, Cambridge:
  203. (2004). Teacher identity as pedagogy: Towards a field-internal conceptualization in bilingual and second language education,
  204. (2002). Teacher Identity in TESOL, paper delivered at
  205. (2006). Teacher Recruitment and Retention: A Review of the Recent Empirical Literature,
  206. (1998). Teacher Turnover in Eight Cognate Areas: National Trends and Predictors,
  207. (2007). Teachers Matter: Connecting Work, Lives and Effectiveness,
  208. (2009). Teachers’ Career Trajectories: An Examination of Research,
  209. (2001). Teachers’ lives and work in a cultural and historical context.
  210. (2002). Teachers’ Pedagogical Stories and the Shaping of Classroom Participation: “The Dancer” and “Graveyard Shift at the 7-11”,
  211. (1995). Teachers’ Professional Knowledge Landscapes,
  212. (2009). Teachers’ Professional Learning and the Workplace Curriculum,
  213. (2006). Teachers’ Stories, Teachers’ Lives,
  214. (1995). Teachers’ Stories: From Personal Narrative to Professional Insight,
  215. (2005). Teaching as a career: a perspective from Hong Kong senior secondary students,
  216. (2005). Teaching English in the World: History, Curriculum and Practice,
  217. (2001). Tell me about your life: Narratives of language teacher development.
  218. (1997). Telling the truth about stories,
  219. (2003). The Attractions of Teaching: an investigation into why people change careers to teach,
  220. (2004). The Complex Construction of Professional Identities: Female EFL Educators in Japan Speak Out,
  221. (1996). The Culture of Education,
  222. (2001). The development of a goal to become a teacher,
  223. (2006). The distinctive characteristics of foreign language teachers, Language teaching research,
  224. (1997). The Edited Topical Life History Approach: a new methodology to inform the study of school leadership,
  225. (2007). The employability of non-native-speaker teachers of EFL: A UK survey,
  226. (1991). The enlightened eye: Qualitative inquiry and the enhancement of educational practice,
  227. (2009). The Ethico-politics of Teacher Identity,
  228. (1999). The expatriate teacher as postmodern paladin,
  229. (2007). The Future of Narrative,
  230. (2004). The Handbook of Applied Linguistics,
  231. (1973). The Interpretation of Cultures,
  232. (1997). The Life and Work of Teachers,
  233. (2000). The Life and Work of Teachers, in
  234. (2000). The Life and Work of Teachers: International Perspectives in Changing Times,
  235. (1985). The Life Cycle of a Teacher,
  236. (1993). The Lives of Teachers,
  237. (2002). The micropolitics of teacher induction, A narrative-biographical study on teacher socialization,
  238. (1993). The Narrative Study of Lives 1,
  239. (1994). The Nonnative English Speaking EFL/ESL teachers’ self-image: An international survey,
  240. (2007). The novice, the native and the nature of language teacher expertise,
  241. (2006). The Personal and Professional Selves of Teachers: Stable and unstable identities,
  242. (1999). The professional life-cycles and professional development of adult teachers of English to speakers of other languages, unpublished PhD dissertation (http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/17832) [accessed 15/5/2009].
  243. (1997). The Promise and Perils of Alternative Forms of Data Representation,
  244. (2002). The Qualitative Researcher’s Companion,
  245. (2001). The Rationality of Narrative Inquiry in Research and Professional Development,
  246. (1991). The Reflective Turn: case studies in and on educational practice,
  247. (1993). The Story of Life’
  248. (1985). The tender trap?’ Commitment and consciousness in entrants to teaching,
  249. (2005). Theorizing Language Teacher Identity: Three Perspectives and Beyond,
  250. (2006). Thinking big with small stories in narrative and identity analysis,
  251. (2000). Three epistemological stances for qualitative inquiry: Interpretation, hermeneutics, and social construction,
  252. (2004). Toward a relational perspective of the psychology of careers and working: A social constructionist analysis,
  253. (1995). Triangles and Crystals: On the Geometry of Qualitative Research,
  254. (1991). True stories: a case study in the use of life history in initial teacher education,
  255. (2001). Turns in the road (introduction)
  256. (2001). Turns in the road: Narrative studies of lives in transition,
  257. (2002). Understanding and validity in qualitative research,
  258. (2003). Understanding Expertise in Teaching: Case Studies of ESL Teachers, Cambridge:
  259. (2009). Understanding stories as gateways to teachers’ development,
  260. (2008). Understanding teachers’ careers: Linking professional life to professional path,
  261. (2004). Using narrative and discourse analysis in researching coprincipalships,
  262. (2007). Validity Issues in
  263. (2003). Values in English Language Teaching,
  264. (2007). Vulnerable story telling,
  265. (2009). What Else Would I Be Doing?”:
  266. (2008). Why did people become secondary-school English as a foreign language teachers in China? An examination of the pathways, motivations and policy through a life-history narrative approach,
  267. (1997). Why did secondary PGCE students choose teaching as a career?
  268. (1989). Why high-achieving students choose to teach: Policy makers take note,
  269. (2002). Why Teach? A case study investigating the decision to train to teach ICT,
  270. (2004). World Englishes,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.