AWEJ Volume.5 Number.1, 2014                                                                     Pp.99-112

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 Performing Identity: Differences between Native and Nonnative Speakers of English in Gatekeeping Encounters


Hassan M. T. Qutub
University of Bristol, United Kingdom



The current study investigates how native and nonnative speakers of English applying for teaching positions performed their identities in job interviews. The data included two teacher job interviews; one was with a native speaker of English, and the other was with a nonnative speaker. Both interviews were transcribed and analyzed in accordance with Pomerantz and Fehr’s (1997) conversation analysis framework and Gee’s (2000) identity framework. Results indicated that miscommunication, feelings of a lack of experience compared to westerners, and unsuccessful co-membership affected the identity performance of the nonnative speaking candidate. The identity performance of the native speaking candidate was characterized by the absence of miscommunication and successful co-membership. The paper recommends that nonnative speaking teachers of English be exposed to the pragmatics of interviews through direct instructions in teacher preparation and professional development programs. This will help in increasing their chances of successful identity performance in teacher job interviews and other forms of gatekeeping encounters.
Keywords: Gatekeeping encounters; Identity; Miscommunication.


Hassan Mohammad-Taher Qutub is a full-time graduate student at the doctor of Education
program, (EdD) in TESOL/Applied Linguistics at the University of Bristol, UK. He holds an
MA in TESL from Northern Arizona University, USA. He taught English in Saudi Arabia for 14
years, and then moved to work as a lecturer at King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia.