Teachers’ changing professional roles and identity under the impact of internationalisation

Year: 2013

Author: Tran, Ly

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

There is a lacuna in empirical research on teachers’ professional roles and identity under the condition of internationalisation. This paper aims to fill out this gap and contribute to our understanding of teachers’ changing roles and professional identity due to the impacts of internationalisation and the growth of international students. It draws on theories about teacher work as cosmopolitan, field of ignorance and imperialism practice in international education as a conceptual framework. Based on a discovery project funded by the Australian Research Council that includes 50 teachers in vocational education and training, this paper shows the emergence of teacher sub-identities as an intercultural learner, an adaptive agent and a researcher. Primarily associated with mutual learning and adaptation, these sub-identities are integral to an international education discourse that ensures more social justice and more ethical reciprocity. These emerging professional identities and roles also nurture the development of cosmopolitan qualities for teachers who are engaged in teaching students from other cultures. The emergence of these sub-identities have important pedagogical implications for the current practices of international education in English speaking countries which are predominantly motivated by the neo-liberal market-driven principles and characterised by the imperialist positioning of international students as ‘others’ and the widely-held assumption about the onus of adaptation placed mainly on international students. The paper also offers suggestions for teacher education in an increasingly internationalized environment.