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Complexities of Identity Formation: A Narrative Inquiry of an EFL Teacher

Amy B. M. Tsui
TESOL Quarterly
Vol. 41, No. 4 (Dec., 2007), pp. 657-680
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40264401
Page Count: 24
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Complexities of Identity Formation: A Narrative Inquiry of an EFL Teacher
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Abstract

This article explores teachers' identity formation through a narrative inquiry of the professional identity of an EFL teacher, Minfang, in the People's Republic of China. Drawing on Wenger's (1998) social theory of identity formation as a dual process of identification and negotiation of meanings, it examines the lived experience of Minfang as an EFL learner and EFL teacher throughout his 6 years of teaching, the processes that were involved as he struggled with multiple identities, the interplay between reification and negotiation of meanings, and the institutional construction and his personal reconstruction of identities. The stories of Minfang highlighted the complex relationships between membership, competence, and legitimacy of access to practice; between the appropriation and ownership of meanings, the centrality of participation, and the mediating role of power relationships in the processes of identity formation.

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