Author: Burt, Kelly Lamonte
The purpose of this qualitative case study is to examine how the professional identity of French Immersion teachers in British Columbia is constructed and sustained in discourse. I examine the interplay of individual identity construction and institutional discourses related to bilingualism, to language and culture, and to French Immersion education as an agency of cultural and linguistic reproduction. This study was conducted with 12 French Immersion teachers in one Greater Vancouver school district. I examine individual interview and focus group data and official documents related to bilingualism in Canada and British Columbia, in order to reveal the ways in which French Immersion teacher identity is shaped and constrained by dominant ideologies of language and authoritative discourses of bilingualism. My analysis indicates that participants construct a sense of professional identity as French Immersion teachers by drawing on discourses of language that privilege native-speakers and discourses of bilingualism as dual monolingualism's. Identity construction is largely confined by dominant discourses that position these participants as outsiders or bilingual impostors. A critical examination of the authoritative discourses that inform French Immersion teacher identity creates an opportunity to consider alternative discursive understandings of language and bilingualism for future and current French Immersion teachers. The findings of this study suggest that French Immersion teachers should be offered alternative, progressive discourses that provide new ways of reconceptualising their professional identities in positive ways. Teacher education, both pre-service and in-service, can offer French Immersion teachers access to progressive discourses in order to reimagine and construct their professional identities in favourable ways.
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Thesis advisor: Sabatier, Cecile
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