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Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics research seminar

A Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics research seminar will take place on Thursday 11th April at 12.00 in C1079, as follows:


Language Teacher Identity: I and we in the Teacher Education Corpus (TEC)


Prof. Fiona Farr (with Dr Angela Farrell and Dr Elaine Riordan) (School of MLAL)



The complexity of the position of the teacher, their beliefs, attitudes and cognitions in the context of changing teaching methodologies over the last 40-50 years has been core to research agendas in language teaching and language teacher education. Inevitably, with this acknowledgement and perspective of the teacher in the complex social environment of the classroom, teacher identity became an important component in helping to understand language teaching (Pennington and Richards 2016). Around the same time period, a different research agenda was exploring the sociocultural and sociopolotical aspects of teaching. ‘This research revealed among other things that many aspects of identity – including, though not restricted to, matters of race, gender, and sexual orientation – were of the utmost importance in the language classroom. By the same token, the teacher too was not a neutral player in the classroom, but on the contrary, her positionality in relation to her students, and to the broader context in which the teacher was situated, was vital’ (Varghese et al 2005:22). These two conceptual and empirical lines of enquiry have coincided to create a growth in the area of language teacher identity research. This paper will contribute to that growth by offering some perspectives on the English language teacher education contexts under examination as part of a larger research project (Farr et al 2019).


The paper will begin with a theoretical discussion, based on the conceptual and empirical literature in the area of language teacher identity, which will lead us to the position we take in the present research. Just like identity itself is present in everything we are and everything we do, the language of identity is ubiquitous in everything we say. However, for research purposes, some compartmentalisation is required, and certain lexico-grammatical choices can provide a more direct lens on the articulation of identity in the Teacher Education Corpus (TEC). For the purposes of this paper, the realm of pronominal I and we use is explored. They are considered in the corpus at large and then more specifically in relation to the probable influencing variables: novice and experienced teachers, face-to-face and online discourse modes, and degrees of expert scaffolding present in the different contexts. The analysis reveals both alignments and discrepancies in the various datasets explored.



Farr, F., Farrell, A. and Riordan, E. (2019), Social Interaction in Language Teacher Education, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Pennington, M. C. and Richards, J.C. (2016), ‘Teacher identity in language teaching: integrating personal, contextual, and professional factors’ RELC Journal, 47 (1), 5-23.

Varghese, M., Morgan, B., Johnston, B. and Johnson, K. A. (2005), 'Theorizing language teacher identity: Three perspectives and beyond', Journal of Language, Identity, and Education, 4: 1, 21-44.





Dr David Atkinson

Senior Lecturer in Spanish/Léachtóir Sinsearach le Spáinnis

School of Modern Languages and Applied Linguistics Research Director/Stiúrthóir Taighde Scoil na Nuatheangacha agus na Teangeolaíochta Feidhmí

Director, Centre for Applied Language Studies/Stiúrthóir, Ionad an Léinn Teangacha Feidhmeacha   

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences/Dámh na nDán, na nDaonnachtaí agus na nEolaíochtaí Sóisialta

University of Limerick/Ollscoil Luimnigh 

Tel/Guthán:  00 353 (0)61 213082