Türkiye’de İngilizceyi Yabanci Dil Olarak Öğreten Eğitmenlerin Mesleki Kimliklerini Araştırma

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Year-Number: 2020-8.4
Yayımlanma Tarihi: 2020-12-07 11:09:59.0
Language : İngilizce
Konu : English Language Teaching
Number of pages: 146-158
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Abstract

Mevcut literatürde eğitim düzeylerinde öğretmenlerin mesleki kimliğinin evrensel olarak kabul edilmiş kavramsallaştırılması veya tanımlanması olmaması, öğretmenlerin mesleki kimliğini keşfetmeyi zorlaştırmaktadır. Öğretmenlerin mesleki kimliği, yalnızca öğretmenlerin kendilerini sosyal bağlamlarıyla devam eden etkileşimlerine ilişkin yorumlarına dayanarak öğretim profesyonelleri olarak görmelerini değil, aynı zamanda hedeflerine ulaşmak için ajans kullanmalarını da sağlar (Beijaard ve ark., 2004). Bu temel unsurları göz önünde bulundurarak, bu makale Türkiye'deki 15 EFL eğitmeninin mesleki kimliklerini incelemeyi amaçlamıştır. Bu tanımlayıcı çalışmada katılımcılar amaç doğrultusunda seçilmiştir. Noi et'den uyarlanmış 40 maddelik 5 noktalı Likert ölçeği anketi. al. (2016) EFL eğitmenlerinin mesleki kimliklerini bu yönlere göre ortaya çıkarmak için kullanıldı; (1) öğretim inançları, (2) profesyonel sosyalleşme, (3) kariyer ilerlemesi ve (4) mesleki yeterlilik. Anketten elde edilen nicel verileri sürdürmek için, Kuhn ve McPharland (1954) tarafından Twenty Statements Test (Tst), kodlama ve kategorize etme sonucunda anahtar kavramları işletmek için uygulanmıştır. Çalışmanın sonuçları, EFL eğitmenlerinin güçlü öğretim inançlarına, daha yüksek mesleki sosyalleşme oranlarına ve kariyer ilerlemesine karşı büyük bir hevese sahip olduklarını ve kurumlarından daha fazla desteğe ihtiyaç duyduklarını ortaya koymuştur. Öte yandan, EFL eğitmenlerinin çoğunluğu kendilerini danışman olarak algılarlar ve enstitülerinde adaletsizlik olduğunda daha az değerli ve demotivasyon hissederler.

Keywords

Abstract

The fact that there is no universally agreed conceptualization or definition of the professional identity of teachers across education levels in the existing literature makes it difficult to explore teachers’ professional identity. Teachers’ professional identity embodies not only how teachers see themselves as teaching professionals based on their interpretations of their continuing interactions with their social contexts, but also allow them to exercise agency to pursue their goals (Beijaard et al., 2004). Bearing these essential elements in mind, this paper aimed to examine the professional identities of 15 EFL instructors in Turkey. In this descriptive study, the participants were selected purposively. A 5-point Likert scale questionnaire with 40 items adapted from Noi et. al. (2016) was utilized to reveal EFL instructors’ professional identities based on those aspects; (1) teaching beliefs, (2) professional socialization, (3) career progression and (4) professional competence. To sustain the quantitative data derived from the questionnaire, Twenty Statements Test (TST) by Kuhn and McPharland (1954) was implemented to operationalize key concepts as a result of coding and categorizing. The results of the study revealed that EFL instructors have strong teaching beliefs, higher rates of professional socialization and a great extent of eagerness toward career progression whereas they need more support from their institutions. On the other hand, the majority of the EFL instructors perceive themselves as mentors, and they feel less valuable and demotivated when there is unfairness in their institutes.

Keywords


  • It is important to understand identity as a complex and multiple individual and social phenomenon.This complexity makes it difficult to define within a static baseline. Furthermore, people do not havefixed identities, which they build via membership, context and language use (Gee,1996). Because of thedynamic and multifaceted nature of the identity concept, it requires to have clear definitions. Different elements within identity construction are illustrated by Kiernan (2008) in Figure 1.

  • In this figure, Kiernan (2008) explains that the physical features are genetic and biological in origin andrelatively permanent throughout a lifetime, even though the discourses of race and gender associatedwith them are socially acquired and continuously changing. He also assumes that the further up anelement moves, the more contingent identity becomes on time and place within this layered inverted triangle.

  • Types of identities also bear significance when it comes to the point that one should differentiatebetween them. Block’s (2009) listed 7 types of identities, namely Ethnic Identity, Racial Identity,National Identity, Migrant Identity, Gender Identity, Social Class Identity and Language Identity.According to Block’s (2009) identity types, professional identity can be counted as a subcategory of asocial class identity, which employs a very significant role in an individual’s life because of the time spent in a professional setting by socializing and interacting with other people.

  • Roe (1992) states that language teaching is a career for life, and career development is a life-long process.In this ongoing process, professional identity is a crucial term that affects the way teachers believe,behave and act out to develop professionally. Professional identity is defined by Collin (2009) as one’ssense of self that is connected to a particular vocation. Whatever job the person possesses, the feeling ofbelonging to it and its society holds to the core of the effectiveness of the work outcome and professional satisfaction.

  • When it comes to teaching as a profession, the outcomes affect not only the individual teachers but alsothe lives of their students as well. In fact, constructing a professional identity as a teacher starts longbefore teachers enter the profession. Indeed, they absorb all the experiences, both positive and negativeones, as they were students themselves as Lortie (1975) defines them as ‘apprentices of observation’who spend nearly 13 years observing teachers and participating in classrooms as students, thus,sympathizing with the identities of the teachers is a burdensome transaction as their professionalidentities began to be shaped long before their induction. Moreover, Varghese et al. (2005) claim thatteachers, their beliefs, knowledge and values should be understood to understand the classroom as awhole since it is the teacher who is at play in the classroom. In the light of an extensive review of existingliterature in their study, Noi et al. (2016) define four core dimensions that establish teachers’ professional identity as follows.

  • There are a few studies about the professional identities of teachers in the literature. For example,Mofrad (2016) investigated teachers’ professional identities in Iran and worked with 79 Iranian Englishlanguage teachers. The results demonstrated that Iranian language teachers viewed themselves asdidactical, pedagogical and subject matter experts. In another study, Canrinus (2011) investigated theteachers’ professional identities considering the factors such as job satisfaction, occupationalcommitment and self-efficacy; and found out that teachers are looking for relationship satisfaction andwant to improve themselves by receiving help from teaching experts. Hsieh (2015), on the other hand,conducted a study and explored three teachers’ professional identity orientations concerningprofessional experiences, classroom-based experiences and research-grounded discourses. The resultsof his study displayed that the professional identity construction was portrayed as self-oriented,classroom-oriented, and dialogically oriented for the participant teachers. Likewise, Yuan and Burns(2017) explored two English language teachers’ professional identities through action research andrevealed that the teachers developed positive and strong professional identities although theyexperienced several negative contextual factors such as insufficient support from the institution and lack of career development opportunities.

  • In the Turkish context, the studies about teachers’ professional identities are limited in number. To startwith, Yavuz (2010) investigated personal and professional experiences that influence the teacheridentity of Turkish EFL teachers and found that teacher knowledge, professional development andteacher anxiety affected teachers’ identities. Balban (2015) studied teacher identity formations of threenovice teachers and uncovered that various elements such as students, workload, assessment andprofessional development opportunities played a role in their perception of teacher identities. Inaddition, Ölmez (2016) explored Turkish EFL instructors’ perceptions of their professional identities.The results of the study demonstrated that the instructors had highly developed professional identities.Also, Dikilitaş and Yaylı (2018) conducted a study to find out the professional identities of teachers. Theresults suggested 4 dimensions of teacher identities, which were sensitive teacher, active seeker of informed practice, self-reflector and empathy builder and collaborator.

  • In this study, both qualitative and quantitative methods were utilized to ensure triangulation. It isconducted in the fall semester of the 2018-2019 academic year with 15 EFL lecturers who were selectedpurposively as participants. Some of the participants have started taking Ph.D. lessons while othershave already finished their Ph.D. degrees. They have at least 3 years of experience. Table 1 shows the demographic distributions of the participants.

  • As a quantitative data collection tool, a 5-point Likert scale questionnaire with 40 items adapted fromNoi et al. (2016) was utilized to reveal EFL lecturers’ professional identities based on those aspects; (1)teaching beliefs, (2) professional socialization, (3) career progression and (4) professional competence.The first part of the questionnaire, which dealt with teaching beliefs, consisted of 10 items while thesecond part dealing with professional socialization had 7 items. The third part of the questionnaire had8 items emphasizing career progression, and the last part focusing on professional competence had 15items. The items of the questionnaire demonstrated positive reliability (std. alpha> .77) as a result of thepilot study, which was conducted with 9 participants who were excluded from the study later on.

  • To sustain the quantitative data acquired via the questionnaire, Twenty Statements Test (TST) by Kuhnand McPharland (1954) was used, and the obtained data were examined by using a categorical-contentanalysis strategy. TST protocol has widely been used to describe the content of the self. The concept iseasy to use and provides rich data, and therefore many studies utilized the concept (Carpenter & Meade-Pruit, 2008). Seemingly, to help teachers to develop their professional identity, Korthagen (2004)emphasizes the importance of asking questions to themselves such as ‘Who am I?’, ‘What kind of teacherdo I want to be?’, and ‘How do I see my role as a teacher?’. Thus, in the TST protocol, participantsanswer the ‘Who am I?’ question with 20 statements in a free writing style. Then their statements werecoded and tabulated into four categories (A, B, C, D) by the researcher according to TST protocol.Alpyay and Alpyay (2011) identified that while statements about physical characteristics such as age,home location, etc., belong to Category A, identifications of the self concerning social groupings(interpersonal) and norms belong to Category B. On the other hand, reference or implication to a specificpattern of behaviors such as attitudes, values, and needs belong to Category C, and the self- identifications of vague and abstract concepts belong to Category D.

  • Being a provider for students to have a safe environment to learn (4,93), encouraging them to participate(4,93) and preparing them for life-long learning (4,93) are the strongest beliefs that teachers haveaccording to Table 5. On the other hand, a good teacher’s being an expert on a subject matter has thelowest score mean (3,93) among the other items. Nevertheless, general scores appear high in this chapterof the questionnaire which means teachers have strong beliefs about the mentioned characteristics ofteaching. These beliefs are said to direct teachers’ actions and their perception of themselves in theirfunction as teachers (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011). Therefore, it is possible to predict that the EFL lecturers who participated in the study tend to direct their teachings in the light of these strong beliefs.

  • Q4. A good teacher is one who recognizes the learning needs of his/her students. 4,80 0,41Q5. A good teacher should have a genuine interest in their students’ well-being. 4,46 0,51Q6. A good teacher is one who can motivate students to learn. 4,73 0,45Q7. A good teacher has to be a subject matter expert. 3,93 0,96Q8. A good education should prepare students for lifelong learning. 4,93 0,25Q9. A good education should prepare students for life. 4,33 0,61Q10. Teachers must use technology to enable students to learn effectively. 4,13 0,74findings are promising because of the sense of collaboration and professional socialization in EFLlecturers maintain throughout their careers. It is important to remember that teachers’ professionalidentity can simply be affected by personal, social and cognitive responses such that the formation ofprofessional identity occurs within interpersonal communication (Flores & Day, 2006). Similarly, it isrational to think that the professional identity of teachers depends on the perception and understandingof the wider professional community (Browne-Ferrigno & Muth, 2004). By participating in professionaldevelopment/training courses/conferences, the professional identities of EFL lecturers may co-construct themselves within a wider professional community.

  • It is evident from the findings of the third chapter that EFL lecturers are proud to be teachers (4,46), andthey need to pursue a career (4,66) in education. On the other hand, the lowest mean score (3,00) revealsthe fact that there are some organizational problems in achieving a clear career track for EFL instructors.Organizations must provide clear career tracks since a clear career path or structure can provide theteachers with a clearer vision and systematic progression for higher quality performance (Day & Gu,2007). Organizational support holds great importance in sustaining commitment and effectiveness over a career.

  • It is evident from Table 8 that EFL lecturers perceive themselves as having sufficient knowledge aboutthe teaching subject. Among the highest scores, being a mentor (4,73) and career guide (4,60) are theprominent roles they mentioned. Besides, the participant instructors think that they have sufficientknowledge about the target subject (4,46) and guide their students by selecting appropriate teachingapproaches (4,40). These roles play crucial parts in professional identities. As it is stated by Hagger &McIntyre (2006), a teacher’s professional identity is closely linked with the role of the teacher in theclassroom as well as directly linked with the ‘craft’ of teaching, that is, the teacher’s competence in hisor her professional knowledge and skills. The subject matter and curriculum goals, teaching andstudents’ improvement in a social context are indispensable parts of the teaching profession, and they all affect teacher identity.

  • To get a deep understanding of EFL lecturers’ professional identities, the TST protocol by Kuhn andMcPharland (1954), which has widely been used to describe the content of self, was used to collect data.The concept is easy to use and provides rich data, and therefore many studies utilized the concept (Carpenter & Meade-Pruit, 2008). General findings were summarized in Table 9 as follows;

  • The results of the study revealed that EFL lecturers have strong teaching beliefs and a great extent ofeagerness toward career progression. They are proud to be teachers, and it is vital for them to pursue acareer in education. They are also in the opinion that their job has a high professional status. Thisoutcome of the study has been supported by Mofrad (2006) who uncovered that teachers value theircareer development and feel privileged to be teachers. Another study that supports this outcome is theone conducted by Kazımlar (2019) that illustrated that language teachers have highly developed professional identities.

  • The study also unearthed that when EFL lecturers describe their professional identities, they mostlylabeled themselves by using reflective characteristics such as their attitudes, values, and needs. Theyalso referred to their social traits such as their ability to socialize, work in collaboration and their socialroles in the teaching community. This outcome of the study is supported by the one conducted by Farrelland Mom (2015), in which the researchers found that the teachers generally refer to their reflective characteristics when describing themselves as a teacher.

  • The study also demonstrated that the majority of the EFL lecturers perceive themselves as mentors andfacilitators. They think that being a provider for students to have a safe environment to learn,encouraging them to participate and preparing them for life-long learning are the duties of teachers inthe education process. The conclusion above agrees with the study of Sayar (2014), in which theresearcher found out that the teachers act as mentors and nurturers regarding instructors’ professional identities.

  • It is also uncovered by the study that EFL lecturers have higher rates of professional socialization asthey want to take part in educational conferences and receive help from other professional educatorswithin and outside their institutions as they give importance to be a member of the teaching profession.This finding of the study is in agreement with Canrinus’s (2011) findings that showed that teachers arelooking for relationship satisfaction and want to improve themselves by receiving help from professionals.

  • Another outcome of the study is that EFL lecturers are not satisfied with the career developmentopportunities provided by their institutions and need more support from the administrators. Thisoutcome of the study goes parallel with the one conducted by Yuan and Burns (2017) that demonstratedthat the teachers have positive and robust professional identities even though they experienced severalnegative contextual factors such as insufficient support from the institution and lack of career development opportunities.

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  • Balban, S. (2015). Reflections on teacher identity: a case study of novice language teachers (DoctoralDissertation). Middle East Technical University, Graduate School of Social Sciences, Ankara.

  • Beijaard, D., Meijer, P. C., & Verloop, N. (2004). Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20(2), 107-128.

  • Block, D. (2009). Second language identities. Bloomsbury Publishing.

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