Possible Teaching Selves: The Challenges of Becoming a Bilingual Teacher

Imelda K. Brady


Recent research on L2 motivation and language learning psychology has shifted its focus from the learner to the educator and drawn the figure of the language teacher into the limelight for the first time (cf. Kubanyiova, 2012; Mercer & Kostolous, 2018). This paper presents some of the qualitative insights into the L2 motivation of two undergraduate teacher trainees who, thanks to a recent impulse for bilingual education in Spain, have been faced with an expected L2 certification proviso in order to graduate and teach. The qualitative study reported here, part of a larger (N 520) mixed methods study employing the lens of the L2 Motivational Self System (Dörnyei, 2005, 2009) to examine L2 learner profiles in Spain, attempted to identify both ideal and ought L2 selves in the discourse of the two interviewees. To complement the possible self view of these L2 learners, Lave and Wenger’s (1991) concept of ‘legitimate peripheral participation was also employed. The interview data provides insight into the effects of a decision to implement a bilingual education system with little apparent empathy for the time and effort required by undergraduates to comply with the L2 certification requirements. Through this study, we see how these two participants struggle to conflate ideal teaching selves with ought L2 teaching selves.


Possible Selves, Ideal L2 Self, Ought L2 Self, Bilingual Teaching, Legitimate Peripheral Participation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.8n.2p.145


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