Teacher identity construction and plurilingual competence: a longitudinal study about language teaching in multilingual contexts

Juli Palou Sangrà, Eva Tresserras Casals


This article is part of a thesis dissertation focused on cognition and belief systems about prior language learning experience, teacher education and classroom practice. This document examines teacher identity construction in relation to plurilingual competence.

We want to study a dynamic identity, which is constructed in the here and now. We use the European Council contents for language teaching.

The central purpose is analyzing belief systems in relation to the teaching of languages in plurilingual contexts. We focus our analysis on teacher understandings of their new social challenges and how they respond in and to these situations.

The interactional data was gathered from five focus groups of ten teachers from different educational stages. Prior to this, we collected recurrent questions which had emerged in reflective narrative and individual interviews. Data was analysed using a qualitative approach. Activity theory is the conceptual framework to identify which tensions appear when we identify not only the theoretical discourse, but also the everyday practical classroom reality. For this reason, we distinguish between dilemmas, conflicts, critical conflicts and double binds.

The impact of this proposal can be summarized in relation to the following results: urgent necessity for teacher training, sharing experiences to help developing professional identity and transferring positive experiences in schools. 


Plurilingual competence; Language learning; Self-confrontation; Reflective training

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