A teacher-in-context: Negotiating professional identity in a job promotion examination

Dorota Werbińska

Interpretative repertoires, professional identity, Poland, In-service language teachers, Teacher promotion examination


Although there is an increasing body of research on the formation/re-formation of language teacher identity, there are still contexts within the professional practice of language teachers that remain relatively unexplored. One such context is the oral examination situation undergone by language teachers in Poland as part of the procedure for professional promotion. During this examination, teachers are expected to present their work, taking the prescribed ministerial regulations as their reference point. As access to teacher identity can be obtained through teacher talk about themselves, the presentations can be treated as teacher-made identity texts. Drawing on the 3A (affiliation, attachment, autonomy) Language Teacher Identity Framework (3ALTIF), this qualitative study focuses on the narratives of 15 examinees, all of whom are in-service English teachers, with a view to discovering: (a) what interpretative repertoires the participants employ with regard to conceptualizations of the language teaching profession (affiliation) which, in turn, determine (b) how they conceptualize themselves as language teacher practitioners with regard to their repertoires (attachment), and (c) how they express their agency through canonical self-presentations and responses to examiners’ questions within the framework of their repertoires (autonomy). Based on the analysis of the study, five interpretative repertoires were identified: the examination-orientation repertoire, the self-positioning repertoire, the care-for-others repertoire, the change repertoire, and the making-a-difference repertoire. The obtained repertoires can be ‘read’ as the participants’ self-evaluations with regard to their perceived teacher roles and the ability to express themselves.

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Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies