Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-12-2018


This qualitative study examineshow five in-service male non-native English speaking teachers (NNESTs) constructed and negotiated their professional identity as teachers to make meaning of their lived experiences in an EFL milieu, a Saudi Arabian university. The study also explores the challenges related to NNESTs’ teaching lives and how they negotiated them as they constructed their professional identities. I approached the studied phenomena by employing a narrative inquiry method. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and an autobiography. The study draws on Clandinin and Connelly’s framework of three-dimensional space (temporality, sociality, and place), Bourdieu’s theory of forms of capital,and Gee’s model identity as an analytical lensas the most important theories in this study. The data were analyzed by coding and thematic analysis. Additionally, to conceptualize the themes that emerged, discussions in a form of cross- case analysis as well as a dialogic investigation have been conducted. The study revealed sociocultural and economic factors that had a significant impact on how the NNEST participants constructed their professional identities, such as their religious identity, professional development programs, and their linguistic and cultural competencies. The study also uncovered the challenges that NNEST participants encountered that hindered them from positioning themselves as legitimate professional NNESTs, such as being treated inferior to NESTs and people who carried passports from inner circle countries, as well as strategies that they employed to cope with these impediments. One of the strategies was to emphasize NNESTs’ social capital built with students through shared religious and affinity identity. The study recommends challenging the current power relationship, including criticizing the deficit model of NNESTs by amplifying teachers’ voices, practicing professional collaboration, and allowing NNESTs to give constructive professional feedback. The study concludes with practical implications, caveats of the study, and the need for future research.


Professional identity construction, religious identity, narrative inquiry, EFL/ESL, NNESTs in Saudi Arabia

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Lucretia Pence

Second Committee Member

Dr. Holbrook Mahn

Third Committee Member

Dr. Ricky Lee Allen

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Othman Z. Barnawi