A multi-layered examination of the concept of the "good language teacher": Native English-speaking teachers in South Korea
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The present dissertation research investigates the concept of "good" language teacher (GLT) identity in the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) immersion environment in South Korea in three different ways, operating across a spectrum of macroscopic and microscopic levels of analysis. Grounded in the belief that GLT identity may emerge differently as GLT identity negotiation is continuously constructed and re-constructed through social interactions, three strands of data sources were analyzed: (1) recruitment/promotional materials of institutions/organizations offering immersion camps and language-related public documents, (2) a series of interviews conducted with two native English-speaking teachers and one Korean assistant teacher, and (3) observational data, including video-recording of classroom interactions and the researcher's fieldnotes. Implementing several discourse analytic tools, namely social semiotic multimodal analysis, narrative analysis, and conversation analysis, the study generates a multidimensional view of how GLT identity was constructed across multiple levels of discourse, and thereby, examines (1) how the discourse of public texts, mainly recruitment promotional materials and broader language-related public documents, envision and construct teachers for teaching English in South Korea, (2) how teachers position themselves in interviews as English teachers in South Korea, and (3) how teacher identity is produced, demonstrated, and negotiated in actual immersive English learning environments. The findings underscore how the discourses constructing GLT identity rely on a combination of multiple ideologies, but the overriding effect is often the same: nationality acts as a token for language proficiency and being a "native" language user is equated with being a capable language teacher, leaving teaching qualifications as secondary considerations. Through discussion of some of the broad ideologies about English language teaching and English language teachers manifesting themselves in Korean society, the study argues that the concept of GLT across sites of language teaching and learning needs to be revisited insofar as such deeply entrenched language ideologies in language policy and programs have an inevitable impact on the nature of language teaching and learning in actual classrooms and position local Korean teachers of English in unfair ways.