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

Full Text:



Altet M. (2008). Tensions, régulations et ajustements dans les pratiques enseignantes: analyse de la dynamique des interactions maître-élèves observées dans un débat scientifique. In I. Vinatier y M. Altet (dir.) Analyser et comprendre la pratique enseignante, (pp- 47-56). Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes.

Bertaux D. (1997). Les récits de vie. París: Nathan.

Bordieu P. (1997). Razones prácticas. Sobre la teoría de la acción. Barcelona: Anagrama.

Cicurel F. (2011). Les interactions dans l'enseignement des langues - Agir professoral et pratiques de classe. Paris: Didier.

Cole M. (1996). Cultural Psychology: A Once and Future Discipline. USA: Harvard University Press.

Council of Europe. (2001). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment. Council of Europe: Cambridge University Press.

Elbaz F. (2001). Research on teacher’s knowledge: the evolution of a discourse. Journal of Curriculum studies, 23 (1), 1-19. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0022027910230101

Engeström Y. (1999). Activity theory and individual and social transformation. In Engeström Y.; Miettinen R. and Punamaki R.L. (ed.). Perspectives on Activity Theory (pp.19-38).Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511812774.003

Engeström Y. (2001). Expansive learning at work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work, 14 (1), 133-156. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13639080020028747

Engeström Y. i Sannino A. (2010). Studies of expansive learning: Foundations, findings and future challenges. Educational Research Review, 10, 1-24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.edurev.2009.12.002

Engeström Y. i Sannino A. (2011). Discursive manifestations of contradictions in organizational change efforts. A methodological framework. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 24, 3. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09534811111132758

Freeman D. (1996). The unstudied problem: research on teaching learning in language teaching. In Freeman D.; Richards J.C. (ed.). Teacher learning in language teaching (pp. 351-378). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Hargreaves A. (1999). Sentir-se mestre: les emocions d’ensenyar i el canvi educatiu. Temps d’Educació, 22, 271-291, 33-59.

Kerbrat-Orecchioni C. (2005). Le discours en interaction. París: Armand Colin.

Lahire B. (2011). L’acteur entre dispositions et contextes d’action. In Bigot V. and Cadet L. (dir.). Discours d’enseignants sur leur action en classe. Enjeux théoriques et enjeux de formation. Paris: Riveneuve éditions.

Tusón A. (1995). El análisis de la conversación. Barcelona: Ariel.

Van Lier L. (1996). Interaction in the language curriculum. Awareness, autonomy & Authenticity. London: Longman Group Limited.

Woods D. (1996). Teacher cognition in language teaching: beliefs, decision-making and classroom practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Abstract Views

Metrics Loading ...

Metrics powered by PLOS ALM

This journal is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NonDerivs 4.0 Internacional License.

Universitat Politècnica de València

e-ISSN: 2341-2593   https://dx.doi.org/10.4995/muse