Language Teachers’ Gendered Identity in Ideologized Spaces: A Narrative Analysis of Their Positioning

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of English Language Teaching, Faculty of Humanities, IAU, West Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of English Language Teaching, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran


Understanding the nature of language teachers’ gendered identity is of significance due to its influential role in the development of their professional identity.  However, the number of studies conducted on this area has been rare. The current case study investigated language teacher gendered identity formation to address this gap, focusing on 3 dimensions of gender-based constraints, gender-based discrimination, and gender-based attitudes toward the teaching profession. To analyze the data, content analysis was conducted on the narratives of a male and a female EFL teacher based on 3 levels of coding: (a) open coding, (b) axial coding, and (c) selective coding (Riazi, 2016). Results indicated that the participants experienced a completely opposite professional status based on their gender and the impact of the dominant gender-based ideologies and patriarchal structure in their society. Whereas the female teacher suffered from the existing constraints and discrimination resulting from her gender, the male teacher was more concerned about his economic status as men are breadwinners based on their social norms. This study has pedagogical implications for teachers to be aware of the dynamic nature of their identity and for policymakers, teacher educators, and institutional administrators who need to be cognizant of the impact of sociocultural norms on the formation of language teachers’ gendered identity.


Al Bahri, M. A. S. (2019). Omani teachers’ professional identity and continuous professional development (CPD) opportunities. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Exeter.
Asanti, C. (2016). Gender identity formation of Indonesian woman EFL teachers: Because womb-man does exist. Calls, 2(2), 35-52.
Badjanova, J., Pipere, A., & Ilisko, D. (2017). Gender identity of students and teachers: Implications for a sustainable future. Journal of Teacher Education for Sustainability, 19(2), 138-153.
Bayar, Ö., Haskan Avci, Ö., & Koc, M. (2017). What’s expected of men in Turkish culture: Perceptions of male university students. International Journal Advances in Social Science and Humanities, 5(9), 1-8.
Benson, P., Barkhuizen, G., Bodycott, P., & Brown, J. (2013). Second language identity in narratives of study abroad. Basingstoke, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Block, D. (2017). Journey to the center of language teacher identity. In G. Barkhuizen (Ed.), Reflections on language teacher identity research (pp. 57-66). London: Routledge.
Eslamdoost, S., King, K. A., & Tajeddin, Z. (2019). Professional identity conflict and (re)construction among English teachers in Iran. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 18(1), 1-15. 1676157
Flores, M. A. (2020). Feeling like a student but thinking like a teacher: A study of the development of professional identity in initial teacher education. Journal of Education for Teaching, 46(2), 145-158. 2020.1724659      
Gholamshahi, A., Alemi, M., &Tajeddin, Z. (2021). Developing and validating an EFL teacher imposed identity inventory: A mixed-methods study. Journal of Modern Research in English Language Studies, 8(2), 91-116.
Karimi, M. N., & Mofidi, M. (2019). L2 teacher identity development: An activity theoretic perspective. System, 81(1), 122-134.
Kayi-Aydar, H. (2017). A language teacher’s agency in the development of her professional identities: A narrative case study. Journal of Latinos and Education, 16(1), 1-15.
Kayi-Aydar, H. (2018). If Carmen can analyze Shakespeare, everybody can: Positions, conflicts, and negotiations in the narratives of Latina preservice teachers. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 17(2), 118-130.
Kayi-Aydar, H. (2019). Positioning theory in applied linguistics: Research design and applications. Berlin: Springer Nature.
Kheng, C. C. S., & Baldauf, R.B. (2011). Microlanguage planning. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 936-951). London: Routledge.
Lawrence, L., & Nagashima, Y. (2019). The intersectionality of gender, sexuality, race, and native-speakerness: Investigating ELT teacher identity through duoethnography. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 19(1), 42-55.
Luk-Fonga, Y. Y. P., & Brennan, M. (2010). Women teachers in Hong Kong: Stories of changing gendered identities. Asia-Pacific Journal of Education, 30(2), 213-229.
Moroz, O. (2017). Where gender and English language teacher identity intersect: Narratives of two Ukrainian teachers [Master’s thesis, Indiana University of Pennsylvania]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.
Noorbakhsh, Z., Pishghadam, R., & Saboori, F. (2018). Stroke and gender identity in teacher success: From learners’ viewpoints. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences, 41(1), 39-48.
Pishghadam, R., Saboori, F., Samavarchi, L., & Hassanzadeh, T. (2016). Examining the gender identity of language teachers using a masculinity-femininity scale: A case from Iran. Issues in Educational Research, 26(1), 131-146.
Poczatkova, B., & Kribikova, P. (2017). Gender inequality in the field of science and research, Journal of International Studies, 10(1), 267-276. 8330.2017/10-1/19
Raman, Y., & Çavusoglu, Ç. (2019). I want to shout “like a man”: Gendered discourses among EFL teachers. System, 82(1), 74-82.
Rashidi, N., & Hosseini, S. A. (2019). The perceptions of Iranian policymakers as articulated in Iran’s foreign language policy document: A systemic functional linguistics approach. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 7(1), 23-42.
Riazi, M. (2016). The Routledge encyclopedia of research methods in applied linguistics: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods research. London: Routledge.
Rudolph, N. (2018). Essentialization, idealization, and apprehensions of local language practice in the classroom. In Y. Bedrettin & N.  Rudolph (Eds.), Criticality, teacher identity, and (in)equity in English language teaching (pp. 275-302). Berlin: Springer Nature.
Ruohotie-Lyhty, M. (2018). Research on teacher identity: Introduction to mapping challenges and innovations. In P. A. Schutz, D. C. Francis, & J. Hong (Eds.), Identity-agency in progress: Teachers authoring their identities (pp. 25-36). Berlin: Springer Nature.
Sabbe, E., & Aelterman, A. (2007). Gender in teaching: A literature review. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 13(5), 521-538.
Safatian, F. (2020). The complex construction of female English teachers’ identity in Iran. Journal for the Study of English Linguistics, 8(1), 137-165.
Stets, J. E., & Burke, P. J. (2000). Femininity/masculinity. In E. F. Borgatta & R. J. V. Montgomery (Eds.), Encyclopedia of sociology (pp. 997-1005). New York: Macmillan.
Tailassane, R. (2019). Women’s rights and representation in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey: The patriarchal domination of religious interpretations [Master’s thesis, Ursinus College]. International Relations Honors Papers.
Vandrick, S. (2017). Feminist language teacher identity research. In G. Barkhuizen (Ed.), Reflections on language teacher identity research (pp. 377-386). London: Routledge.
Velez-Rendon, G. (2010). From social identity to professional identity: Issues of language and gender. Foreign Language Annals, 43(4), 635-649.
ZakerSalehi, G. (2020). The status of women in the Iranian constitution. Journal of International Women’s Studies, 21(1), 309-327.