Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Teaching and Teacher Education (2009) 25: 34-41; doi: 10.1016/j.tate.2008.06.003 Copyright © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. Used by permission.


From a sociocultural perspective, teacher identity is constructed in relation to others, including other teachers and students. Drawing on positioning theory and the concept of investment, this study analyzed the case of a secondary English teacher who negotiated his teacher identity in relation to English language learners (ELLs). Findings indicated that the teacher made an investment in ELLs’ identity by positioning them as like any other student. The desired return on the teacher’s investment was a strengthened self-positioning as a natural and highly competent teacher. The implications of teacher investment in learner identity for teacher practice, learner identity construction, and teacher education are discussed.