Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 12. Number3   September 2021                              Pp. 524-535

Full Paper PDF 

Factors Influencing Non-Native EFL Teachers’ Identity Construction at a Saudi School in
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Juliana Othman
Department of Language and Literacy Education, Faculty of Education
University of Malaya
Corresponding Author:

Sultan Fahd Aljuhaishi
Ministry of Education
Saudi Arabia


Received: 4/3/2021                 Accepted:  6/9/2021               Published:  9/29/2021


In recent years, an increasing number of non-native EFL teachers have been recruited to teach English in English dominant settings. Grounded in sociocultural views of identity, the research question of this study focused on how contextual factors influence the professional identity construction of three EFL teachers in a Saudi School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The study employs a qualitative case study method, where in-depth interviews and classroom observation are utilised. Drawing on Wenger’s (1998) communities of practice framework to analyse and interpret the data, the analysis indicates various factors affecting the EFL Saudi teachers’ professional identity. Findings reveal that identity formation is a complex and highly contextual process. The participants in this study construct their identities by engaging in their teaching environment, shared practices with their peers, engaged in student-parents relationship and participated in professional development. Through transitioning into the English as a second language (ESL) setting, the EFL teachers have demonstrated how professional identity is a dynamic and socially situated construct. As a result, these teachers’ identities may be transformed by the global educational settings in which they work. The findings contribute to our understanding of the importance of a conducive professional environment in supporting teachers to develop their professional identities.
Keywords: EFL teachers, identity construction, professional identity, Saudi schools


Cite as: Othman, J. , & Aljuhaish, S.F. (2021).   Factors Influencing Non-Native EFL Teachers’ Identity Construction at a Saudi School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  Arab World English Journal, 12 (3) 524-535.


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Received: 4/3/2021
Accepted: 6/9/2021
Published: 9/29/2021 

Dr. Juliana Othman is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya. Dr Juliana has authored and co-authored several books, chapters and articles on issues in ESL teacher professional development, preservice teacher education, second language pedagogy and content-based instruction.

Dr. Sultan Fahd Aljuhaish  is working as education supervisor at Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia. Sultan has authored and co-authored several articles on ESL/EFL teacher professional development.