Holistic Identity of Language Teachers: A Grounded Theory Study

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

2 English Department, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azd University, Tabriz, Iran

3 Department of English Language, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran


It is one of the major areas of interest within the field of educational research to examine the role of teachers, their professional accomplishment and influential factors affecting or inhibiting the practice; of which, the study of teacher identity has taken on fundamental property. Thus, the present study explored different aspects of a language teacher identity which led to the development of the theoretical framework of Holistic Identity of Language Teachers (HILT) based on the grounded theory. The data were collected in semi-structured individual interviews from 64 teachers in Iran. Employing a version of Strauss and Corbin’s (1998) coding paradigm, emerged a framework of a set of categories in terms of ‘process’ (i.e., becoming a teacher) as well as the grounding categories of ‘Persona Grata’ and ‘Public Persona’, resulted in the core category of ‘Teacherality’, along with three categories of ‘Navigating Strategies’, ‘Conditional Contributors’, and ‘Contextual Patterns’. The final consequence of the framework is ‘Actual Teaching Approach’, referring to the eventual phenomenon of the evolutionary continuum of being a holistic language teacher. The most obvious finding of the study refers to the emergent as well as evolutionary nature of HILT. Following the interplay between self and society in emergence of HILT, the schema was proposed to round up all revealed and unnoticed aspects of language teacher identity which can be implemented operationally to redefine, highlight, and activate its unprecedented role in an Iranian context.


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