In this age of internationalisation of higher education, many bilingual teachers from non-English-speaking contexts pursue their postgraduate degrees in English-speaking countries. Most programmes focus on providing content knowledge to them, while neglecting their investments. Furthermore, not much attention is given to what these bilingual teachers expect to gain from studying abroad, as well as their lived experiences and identity construction both inside and outside the classroom in English-speaking countries and when they return home. Nevertheless, these dimensions are crucial to their growth as teachers and users of English.
This book explores these neglected aspects through case studies of bilinguals from various backgrounds. Through these case studies, the book examines the hopes, struggles and adaptation of bilinguals. It provides insights into what international students should realistically expect when studying overseas, and how to empower bilingual teachers, users and learners of English.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Complex Identities, Multiple Theories
Chapter 3: Researching Investment, Expectations and Identity Construction
Chapter 4: Juggling Multifaceted Identities
Chapter 5: Being Strategic, Adapting and Showing Agency
Chapter 6: Conclusions and Implications
Melinda Kong is Senior Lecturer and Course Director of MA Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at Swinburne University of Technology, Sarawak, Malaysia. She teaches a range of subjects for MA TESOL, and for degree and foundation programmes. Her research interests include education, teacher education, internationalisation of higher education, identity, agency, international students and language learning strategies.
"Dr. Melinda Kong's book should interest readers both inside and outside of academe. Although thoroughly grounded in the latest research and scholarship, the book is not a dry, jargon-laden tome. Instead, it is rooted in the author's own personal experiences as well as in the experiences of eight other representative students when they were in an English-speaking country and teachers when they returned home to Asia. The need for such a book is obvious: English will continue to be an important language, as the world becomes more and more a "global village." But Dr. Kong's study should also interest people who are studying (and seeking to teach) other languages besides English. This, in short, is one of those rare academic books that should appeal both to lower-level learners, to teachers of introductory courses, as well as to advanced faculty who teach at the graduate level. It should also interest administrators of language programs. It is hard to imagine anyone who is interested in the teaching and learning of languages for any reason and at any level who would not profit from reading this book." - Robert C. Evans, I. B. Young Professor of English, Auburn University at Montgomery, USA
"This book is a welcome contribution to the growing literature on the processes of bilingual identity construction where English as a second and/or an additional language is central. Although its specific focus is on the lives of eight English language teachers from Asian countries who studied in Australia, the data and findings presented by Melinda Kong are relevant and will be of interest to researchers and educators working in other English-dominant higher education settings with students from a range of national and geographic backgrounds. Identity is here conceptualized as multifaceted and as negotiated, and the main focus is on individual agency and the sense of investment of these sojourners who find themselves immersed in English-speaking contexts, both in higher education and society more generally. Written in a very accessible style, Kong’s book shows eloquently how a year of study abroad is a far more transformative life experience than many imagine." - David Block, ICREA Research Professor in Sociolinguistics, Universitat de Lleida, Spain
"Dr. Melinda Kong’s book is a timely addition to current research on teacher education and development, by filling a significant gap in the literature on the professional and personal identity construction of bilingual English teachers, who constitute no less than 80% of all English teachers in the world today, and whose work has an impact on untold millions of learners and (through them) the future of English. It drives home the important point that teachers are not ‘technicians of teaching’ (in the words of Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach) who merely practice methodologies handed down to them, but active participants and contributors in the language-teaching enterprise, whose knowledge, beliefs and attitudes play a significant role in shaping the effectiveness and relevance of second and foreign language teaching and learning." – Professor Tony T.N. Hung, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong