English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 27.1
EA Journal Volume 27 No 1 18 ‘ moments of disruption’ and the development of expatriate TESol teachers roderiCk neilsen Queensland University of Technology TESOL teachers, like mainstream teachers, often experience key incidents in their professional development. In expatriate TESOL, however, unfamiliar cultural and linguistic contexts may disrupt teachers’ sense of both professional and personal identity. In this article, narratives constructed from interviews of teacher experiences document a selection of critical events and discuss their implications for professional development in TESOL. Teachers reported that deep reflection on their experiences led to a re-conceptualisation of their professional and cultural identities. The analysis of their reflections may have significant implications for TESOL work in the context of the global and the local. Introduction In the life histories of teachers, narrative studies have revealed key moments through which new insights lead to personal and professional development; these have been termed variously as ‘critical phases’, ‘turning points’, or ‘critical incidents’. Such ‘critical moments’ may be necessary in that they help us grow and expand our comfort zone, impacting on the way we live and teach (Loewen & Nelson, 2007, p. 1). For teachers working in TESOL, there are problems and issues arising from intercultural contact, in particular, which are little documented. This paper focuses on how such contact may change the personal and professional perspectives of teachers in expatriate contexts, and explores how such experience can help them make sense of these new developments. Critical events are documented here as narratives of the life-experiences of nine teachers who have lived for extended periods in non-English speaking countries. I will use the term ‘moments of disruption’ to refer to incidents which have altered their worldview and modified their attitudes towards the culture-language nexus they initially assumed they were representing and embodying. Their experiences are valuable in that they have accumulated not only cross-cultural knowledge, but also the kind of knowledge which is received from direct contact with the effects of globalisation and glocalisation in a variety of cultures.
English Australia Journal 27.2