Unmasking Young Learners’ Perceptions of Good Language Teacher Identity

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-95
Journal / PublicationEnglish Teaching
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes


This study explores the notion of ‘good language teacher’ (GLT) identity in the context of English education in South Korea. While other studies have investigated parents’ and general public preferences for and associations of good language teacher identity with ‘native-speaking’ teachers of English, little research has examined the views of young learners as to what constitutes a GLT. In this study, a survey tool was used to collect student images and descriptions of imagined, good English teachers. A total of 577 young Korean students (K-6th grade) provided their own images and descriptions of good English teachers, both in English and Korean. The findings indicate that student perceptions of GLT identity strongly reflects their immediate learning experience. Contrary to previous studies showing preference for teachers according to ‘native speaker’ or other markers (e.g., race, gender), the study demonstrated no strong preference for native speaking teachers. Instead, factors such as personality were emphasized. This study provides implications for recruiting and hiring practices for English teachers.

Research Area(s)

  • teacher identity, good language teacher, native-speakerism, survey study, young learners