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Volume 14 Number 2, Summer 2017, Pages 211-379 PDF Download

Understanding academic identity development in a changing landscape: The case of university English teachers in Malaysia

    Ida Fatimawati Adi Badiozaman

The changing landscape of higher education (HE) and the expansion of academic work have impacted on academic identity development. However, there is very little known about the academic identity development of English language teachers who transition from teaching in the school sector to working in higher learning institutions in Malaysia. This paper thus seeks to explore how university English teachers' (UET) academic identities are developed and to identify factors that are pertinent to this development through the lens of self-concept. Data were obtained from semi-structured interviews and the analysis was done using the framework of self-concept. The findings reveal that UETs' self-concepts are dynamic constructs influenced by multiple internal and external factors from their past and present contexts. When UETs were placed into a new setting, they had to reflect on and re-evaluate their abilities in order to adapt to internal and situational changes. Self-concept thus played a role in restructuring the self and is strongly associated with motivation and is driven by goals for self-improvement. The findings of this study suggest that strategies which can support and sustain a positive transition for UETs into academia be implemented to ensure improved recruitment and retention.

Keywords: academic identity, identity development, university, English language teachers, self-concept