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Narrating Their Lives

Examining English Language Teachers' Professional Identities within the Classroom

Lia Kamhi-Stein

Publication Year: 2013

“…a groundbreaking book that will…engage, inform, and connect with present and future teachers and teacher educators.” ---Stephanie Vandrick, Foreword to Narrating Their Lives The field of TESOL has called attention to the ways that the issues of race and ethnicity, language status and power, and cultural background affect second language learners’ identities and, to some degree, those of teachers. In Narrating Their Lives, Kamhi-Stein examines the process of identity construction of classroom teachers so as to make connections between their personal and professional identities and their instructional practices. To do that, she has selected six autobiographical narratives from teachers who were once part of her TESL 570 (Educational Sociolinguistics) class in the MA TESOL program at California State University, Los Angeles. These six narratives cover a surprisingly wide range of identity issues but also touch on broader instructional themes that are part of teacher education programs. Because of the reflective nature of the narratives—with the teachers using their stories to better understand how their experiences shape what they do in the classroom—this volume includes provocative chapter-opening and reflective chapter-closing questions. An informative discussion of the autobiographical narrative assignment and the TESL 570 course (including supplemental course readings and assessment criteria) is also included.

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-7

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pp. vii-viii

Usually in this section, authors and editors thank people who helped them complete their book projects. In my case, I have a long list of going through a very difficult time in my life. This book project began in 2007. For the spring quarter of 2008, I received a California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) Creative Leave Award that would ...

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pp. ix-xiv

I am truly pleased to welcome this groundbreaking book, Narrating Their Lives: Examining English Language Teachers? Professional Identities within the Classroom. As someone who has herself written about edu-cators? identities and about personal narratives as a genre of scholar-ship, I consider these two topics, and the ways they intersect, essential ...


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pp. xv-xvi

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pp. 1-17

This book was prompted by this question, asked by an ESL teacher teacher?a former student of mine?at the 2007 California Teachers of ence. The presenter, who had immigrated from El Salvador to the U.S. at the age of 17, showcased the autobiographical narrative she had written in TESL 570, Educational Sociolinguistics, a required class ...

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Chapter 1. From “The Sound of Music” to “the Sound of Silence” and Back: Language Learning, Teaching, and Identity

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pp. 18-26

This chapter describes my first experiences as an EFL learner and then analyzes those experiences by drawing on two different explanations: one provided by traditional SLA research and the other by poststructuralist views in SLA. I also discuss how my initial experi-ences have influenced my instructional practices as a teacher educator. Like many professionals born and raised in Expanding Circle (Kachru, ...

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Chapter 2. Narrating One’s Life: Autobiographies of Transnational Teachers from the Expanding Circle

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pp. 27-44

This chapter presents the autobiographical narratives of Veneza Angel Pablico, Hee-Jin Kim, and Jessie Chen. Jessie and Hee-Jin were born in South Korea, and Angel was born in the Philippines. These autobiographical narratives reflect the journeys of these teach-ers as they became multilingual and adapted to life in new cultures (for example, the cultures of the countries to which they immigrated) ...

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From Outer Circle to Inner Circle Society: A Code-Switcher’s Sociolinguistic Journey Veneza Angel Pablico

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pp. 28-39

Intensive English Program, California State University, Los AngelesEnglish?speaking teachers was a stimulating topic of discussion in my sociolinguistics class when I was a graduate student in a mas-vide insightful and well-argued viewpoints. During the discussion, however, I was silenced and confronted by a burning dilemma?I did ...

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Learning to Fit In and Create My Own Place Hee-Jin Kim

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pp. 40-53

...ther one. How do I perceive myself? I perceive myself as a bilingual or a multicompetent speaker. I learned English and Tagalog at the same time, and I have been code-switching ever since I can remember. My fluency in these two languages has made me flexible, powerful, and skillful in responding to all of life?s demands. As an immigrant to this ...

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A Culturally Amorphous ESL Teacher Jessie Chen

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pp. 54-62

Although I am a U.S. citizen and have lived in the United States since I was 11 years old, I am frequently asked, ?Are you Korean?? I usu-ally hesitate before I can say, ?Yes, I am.? I think I am, but then I know I am not, at least not entirely. As I have lived in three different coun-tries (Korea, Taiwan, and the United States) and nine different cities ...

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Chapter 3. Narrating One’s Life: Autobiographies Problematizing the Notion of “Inner Circle Legitimacy”

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pp. 63-81

This chapter presents autobiographies by Jeremy C. Kelley, Val-erie J. Callet and Shannon Ladymon. These teachers are white and were born in the United States. One might assume that their journeys to become ESL/EFL teachers was unproblematic, but that would be wrong. As they explain in their autobiographies, these teachers, much like those in the previous chapter, were perceived ...

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From English to Englishes: A Native English Speaker’s Language Learning Journey Jeremy C. Kelley

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pp. 64-79

People are often surprised to find out that I view myself as a second language learner of standard American English (SAE), even though I was born and raised in Alabama and consider myself to be a native speaker of American English. This statement might be a little difficult to comprehend for some, especially since the majority of the world ...

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Amidst the Fog, I See Clearly for a Moment Valerie J. Callet

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pp. 80-93

...standard variety native speakers, non-standard variety native speak-ers, nonnative speakers who have achieved near native proficiency, and those who simply identify with the language in question?leaves us with no choice but to view English as a living entity that adapts to the environment in which it finds itself. No longer limited to the ...

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Searching for a Linguistic Community: A Call for the Recognition of Multilingual and Multicultural Identities Shannon Ladymon

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pp. 94-105

Humans are social animals by nature and therefore need to belong to a community. However, the difficulty for me has come in finding exactly which community that is?the one that I can belong to and call my own. The difficulties of a childhood split between states com-bined with a strong desire to be accepted led me on a long journey to ...

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Chapter 4. Beyond Individual Stories and on to the Classroom: Pedagogical Practices that Draw on the Teachers’ Identities

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pp. 106-122

This chapter provides a summary of the pedagogical practices that were identified across the various narratives presented in this book.1 The chapter also contextualizes the pedagogical practices in current SLA thinking. The chapter concludes with a personal reflec-learners succeed?? As you will recall, this was the question that prompted me to write this book. As I explained, the question was ...

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Chapter 5. From the Language Classroom to the Teacher Preparation Classroom: Using Narratives to Promote Teacher Reflection

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pp. 123-130

This comment was made by an anonymous Educational Sociolin-guistics pre-service teacher on the end-of-the-term student opinion survey in the fall 2010. Some readers may think the statement is self-serving; but I offer it as an example of what my pre-service teachers have had to say about the autobiographical narrative assignment. Over the years, the pre-service teachers in my class have not always had ...


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pp. 131-142

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Biographical Statements

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pp. 143-146

L?a D. Kamhi-Stein, Ph.D., California State University, Los Angeles. I am originally from Argentina where I was an EFL learner. I gradu-ated from Universidad del Salvador with a degree as a Certified Pub-lic Translator (CPT) but decided to obtain an EFL teaching degree from the same university because I felt isolated and unfulfilled working as ...

Subject Index

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pp. 147-150

Author Index

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pp. 151-152

E-ISBN-13: 9780472120147
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472034994

Page Count: 168
Publication Year: 2013

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • English teachers -- Training of -- Social aspects.
  • English teachers -- Self-rating of.
  • English teachers -- Training of -- Research -- Methodology.
  • Identity (Psychology) -- Social aspects.
  • English language -- Study and teaching -- Foreign speakers -- Evaluation.
  • Second language acquisition -- Research -- Methodology.
  • Communication in education -- Social aspects.
  • Language and education.
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