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Volume 10 Number 1, Spring 2013, Pages 1-131   

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Native-English-Speaking Teachers' Construction of Professional Identity in an EFL Context: A Case of Vietnam

    Le Van Canh

Language teacher identity is an emerging subject of interest in research on language teacher education and teacher development due to the recognized reciprocal relationships between professional identity and professional knowledge and action. While a number of studies have been reported on the (re)construction of non-native English language teachers' professional identity, relatively little attention has been paid to the professional identity of expatriate native-English-speaking teachers (NESTs). This paper reports on a qualitative study that explored the discursive construction of the professional identity of a small group of native-English-speaking teachers (n=5) working in an English Department of a Vietnamese university. Drawing on Wenger's (1998) three modes of belonging - engagement, imagination, and alignment - the study examined the lived experiences of these NESTs in their new sociocultural context through in-depth interviews with each participant. The study indicates that NESTs' limited socialization and non-participation into the local community of practices due to lack of collaboration with the local teachers constitute the major obstacle to the reconstruction of their professional identity. The findings of the study, therefore, could have implications in relatable contexts for better and more collaboration and cooperation between expatriate NESTs and local non-native-English-speaking teachers (NNESTs) given the growing interest in hiring NESTs in Asian countries.

Keywords: native-English-speaking teachers, professional identity, EFL context, non-participation socialization, collaboration, Vietnam