‘What Kind of Teacher I Wish to Be’: Exploring Prospective English Language Teachers’ Future-oriented Identities

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Reyhan Aslan


Studies on identity has shown that future-oriented thinking could be a useful framework for studying teacher identity development and in the contexts of language teacher preparation; however, research into the future-oriented dimensions of teacher identity is still rather limited. Therefore, in this case study, how prospective English language teachers envision their possible selves as future teachers were explored. Writings from the 56 participants were used as a method of data collection to provide a more profound analysis of the context-sensitive nature of their future-oriented identities. Following an interpretive analysis of qualitative data, the findings revealed two patterns in the participants’ future-oriented identity work: highly developed and (under)developed possible selves as L2 teachers. Both groups of participants appeared to be quite diverse in the nature of their hopes and fears as well as in their exercises of agency and response to tensions and challenges of language teaching. Also, participants’ possible language teacher selves seemed to be classified into three primary categories (i.e., L2 teacher development, L2 teacher competency and L2 teacher proficiency). Based on the findings and discussions, how future-oriented perspective may inform teacher identity development and teacher preparation in the context of language teaching was discussed. Several recommendations for further research and preparation of prospective language teachers were made.


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Aslan, R. (2022). ‘What Kind of Teacher I Wish to Be’: Exploring Prospective English Language Teachers’ Future-oriented Identities. Focus on ELT Journal, 4(1), 28–45. https://doi.org/10.14744/felt.2022.4.1.3


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