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Volume 15 Number 4, Winter 2018, Pages 900-1238 PDF Download

Discursive Construction of Identity Boundaries: Non-native English Teachers' Positionality in Relation to Learners

    Zia Tajeddin & Amirhamid Forough Ameri

A concern with identity has become remarkably widespread since the 1990s. An immense amount of research has been carried out to investigate the construct of identity, but few studies have been done to explore the construct of identity boundary, even less on the discursive construction of identity boundary. To fill this gap, this study explored how Iranian English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers construct identity boundaries between themselves and learners discursively. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 58 Iranian EFL teachers (31 male and 27 female) to identify how they demarcate the boundaries between themselves and learners. Five significant themes emerged from the data analysis: teachers' knowledge and power as indicators of their identity, setting boundaries by drawing up classroom rules, creating boundaries and not walls, demarcating boundaries both discursively and non-discursively, and establishing boundaries more implicitly than explicitly. The findings indicate that four categories could be conceivable with regard to teachers' identity boundary setting: discursive, explicit; discursive, implicit; non-discursive, explicit; and non-discursive, implicit. As the majority of the teachers in this study reported that they tended to demarcate their identity boundaries more implicitly and non-discursively, the implication might be that Iranian EFL teachers prefer to create the identity boundaries more indirectly so as not to cause any negative affective influences on their students.

Keywords: identity, identity boundary, discursive construction, non-native teachers, EFL learners