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ISSN : 1226-4822(Print)
ISSN : (Online)
The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea Vol.27 No.2 pp.25-50

Beyond Nativeness versus Nonnativeness in the Construction of Teacher Identity in the Context of Korean as a Foreign Language

Kim Jeongyeon*,Smith Hye Young**
Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology & Graduate student, University of Hawaii, Mānoa


This study examines multiple language-identities embedded within the emerging professional teacher identity of international graduate students teaching Korean as a foreign language (KFL). Situated in the context of Korean classrooms at an American university, this study draws data from two rounds of interviews with three instructors (one nonnative and two native Korean speakers). The qualitative analysis reveals that their professional teacher identity revolves around multiple language identities grounded in their L1 cultural norms and perceived English language proficiencies. Their views and undertakings of local cultural norms indicate the varying ways in which these instructors projected their L1 and L2 identities onto their emergent teacher identity. Given the vexed relationship between notions of teacher authority in her L1 Japanese culture and the local norms of interaction, the nonnative teacher maintained authority by establishing a certain distance from her students. By contrast, the native teachers accommodated the local understandings of teacher authority and (re)shaped their view of a teacher to the locally-defined professionalism, a teacher like ‘a friend’. The negotiated identity of the KFL teachers improved classroom interaction and engendered positive view about teaching. The findings are discussed to highlight foreign language teacher identity in a teacher education program.




  1. Journal Abbreviation : j. Korea Saf. Manag. Sci.
    Frequency : Published three times annually in April, August and December, including an international issue
    Doi Prefix : 10.14353/sjk.
    Year of Launching : 2013
    Publisher :
    The Sociolinguistic Society of Korea
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