Working Papers in Educational Linguistics (WPEL)




Within language teacher education (LTE), telling stories about their teaching allows novice teachers to make sense of their experiences, explore problems and pedagogical strategies, and develop coherent identities as skilled language teachers. The stakes are high, though, when we ask—or require—novice teachers to talk about moments of challenge, or even failure, in front of their peers and evaluators. In this paper, I examine two stories told by one novice teacher—about the same teaching event, but framing this first as a success and then as a challenge—within an LTE course discussion to demonstrate how she works to position herself as a competent teacher even as her unfolding narrative seems to threaten this identity. By analyzing not only the content of her stories, but also the context and enactment of their telling—and by highlighting the LTE course instructor’s role as a co-narrator—I argue for the importance of understanding and supporting the complex work novice teachers engage in when they narrate their practice, particularly when focusing on moments of struggle.