Young learners’ portrayals of ‘good English teacher’ identities in South Korea

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)225-248
Journal / PublicationApplied Linguistics Review
Issue number2-3
Online published21 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


In the climate of shifting language policies and constant influx of native English-speaking teachers to South Korea, the question of what constitu- tes a “good” language teacher (GLT) arises. To this end, the present study examines how 577 young English learners (K-6th grade) come to demonstrate their understanding of GLT by making use of visual images and written narra- tives. A social semiotic, multimodal approach to analysis is employed to scru- tinize how these textual and visual narratives construct and/or presuppose a certain image of teacher identity and, as a result, display societal ideologies (Jewitt 2009). The findings yield two dimensions with regard to the objects associated with GLTs, an emotional/abstract dimension and a teaching-related dimension, and the differing use of these objects in relation to teacher gender indicating students’ awareness of teacher roles and gender. Moreover, the ways in which learners place themselves in the storied worlds seem to provide evidence for how teacher identity is, in fact, co-constructed with the notion of learner identity. Thus, the study underscores the complex nature of GLT identity construction and further highlights the benefits of using both textual and visual methods to gain better insights into learners’ beliefs about, attitudes towards, and perspectives on teachers, students, and language learning.

Research Area(s)

  • language teacher identity, good language teacher, visual narratives, multimodal analysis, young learners