Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 3 (September 2016), pp 545–571.

doi 10.1002/tesq.333


Copyright © 2016 TESOL International Association; published by Wiley-Blackwell. Used by permission.


Our decision to propose a special issue of TESOL Quarterly on language teacher identity (LTI) grew out of our growing recognition of the profound embeddedness of LTI within the research, teaching, and policy practices of (multi)lingual professionals and the immense interest generated by LTI work within the disciplines that engage with language education. We use (multi) in (multi)lingual to underscore our desire to move beyond a monolingual lens in TESOL and to highlight potential extensions to the notion of multilingualism, such as (pluri), (trans), (ethno), and (racio). This allows us to complicate the ever-changing, situated, and fluid nature of LTI beyond the essentialist categories often associated with the profession. These extensions, in particular, acknowledge language teachers (LTs) as denizens and creators of conversational borderlands (Anzaldúa, 1987). As such, each of us came to our individual understandings of this embeddedness in our personal and professional lives by different paths, as illustrated by the following narratives from each co-editor. ...

Exploring our language teacher identities means understanding our lived and living history. It is to understand and unravel the complexities that are at the core of who we are on all levels—for instance, as multilinguals, scholars, children, teachers, parents, community members, language users, and activists and their intersectionality, all of which shape our classroom practices and pedagogy, which in turn fuel and circle back to shape our language teacher identities. After taking initial steps toward this end, this special issue and the articles herein are intended as an invitation for our readers to join us as we take further steps forth.