Studies have suggested that, to understand language teaching and learning, it is critical to examine teachers’ beliefs and identities, along with their impacts on actual teaching practices in the classroom. The purpose of this study was to explore teaching beliefs and teacher identities of eight non-native English speaking teachers (NNESTs) in Japanese public high schools. Three research questions were addressed to examine what teaching beliefs they have, what influences their belief formation and professional identity development, and what identities constitute their teacher identity. To do this, a qualitative case study was undertaken. An in-depth analysis of the interview transcripts revealed the participants’ beliefs toward communicative language teaching, student-centered instruction, and the medium of instruction in the classroom. It was also found that the following factors impacted their teaching beliefs and practices and their identity: personal experiences in childhood and adolescence, experiences as an in-service teacher, and English education policy in Japan. As for the question pertaining to their teacher identity, the data analysis found four salient identities that are closely connected to their identity as an English teacher, which include general teacher identity, context-related identity, language teacher identity, and non-native English speaking teacher identity. It is concluded that the teachers’ beliefs and identities are formed through continuous negotiations with external factors, such as past experiences, contextual factors surrounding their teaching sites, and students’ expectations of and the national policy on English education. Furthermore, it is concluded that how their identities are non-fixed and transformative, complex and multiple, and seemingly stable but susceptible, which reflect the complex nature of language teacher identity construction as noted in the literature.


Sarah Henderson Lee

Committee Member

Glen Poupore

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Arts and Humanities



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