Exploring the Identities of Acehnese EFL Teachers at Secondary Schools

  • Rahmi

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Teacher identity has long been an area of interest in the field of EFL teaching. While teacher identity has been widely investigated in a variety of contexts, few empirical studies have been conducted in Indonesia. This study aimed to gain a deeper understanding of the aspects that influenced the identity construction of EFL Acehnese teachers in Indonesia and to describe how the teachers’ identities contributed to their agency.
To achieve the research aims, data were collected from six Acehnese EFL teachers in three different regions in Aceh. The data were gathered over a period of nine months using in-depth interviews, classroom observations, and observations outside the classroom. Thematic analysis was the method of data analysis used. Figured world and complexity theories were applied as theoretical frameworks in interpreting the data. Metaphors were used to illustrate the aspects that influenced the teachers’ identity formations.
The study revealed that three aspects influenced the teachers’ identity construction: teachers’ beliefs, career stages, and interactions. Concerning the influence of the teachers’ beliefs on their identity formation, their religious beliefs showed the most compelling result. Furthermore, the teachers’ career stages, which included exploration, establishment, and maintenance, also impacted on their identities. Likewise, the teachers’ interactions with their students, colleagues, and management influenced how the teachers constructed meaning about themselves and their professions. Meanwhile, the teachers’ identities contributed to their agency, which the teachers demonstrated by using multilingual instructions in their teaching, investing in their work, developing their self-efficacy, and exercising professional autonomy.
This study makes three original contributions to the field of teacher identity. First, it resulted in a developed model capturing two sides of identity; namely, it acknowledged collaboration of both Western and indigenous knowledge in understanding teacher identities. Second, being informed by figured world theory, the study revealed the importance of individual, social, historical, and metaphysical spheres in constructing teacher identities. Third, the study coined the concept of vertical and horizontal nestedness with the support of complexity theory in the study of teacher identity. These results will be discussed, implications will be given for the teaching/learning context, and suggestions will be made for future research.
Date of Award23 Mar 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorAdem Soruc (Supervisor) & Santiago Sanchez (Supervisor)

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