Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 11. Number3  September 2020                                    Pp. 431-445

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Saudi EFL Teachers’ Identity Formation in Saudi Schools: A case Study 

Sultan Fahd Aljuhaish
Department of Language and Literacy Education, Faculty of Education
University of Malaya

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

Fatiha Senom
Department of Language and Literacy Education, Faculty of Education
University of Malaya




This study aims to explore the influence of contextual factors on English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers’ professional identity formation in the context of Saudi Arabia. More specifically, it aims to examine how the participants’ educational background, life experiences and professional setting influence their professional identities as EFL teachers in Saudi secondary schools. This study involved three EFL teachers who are based in Riyadh. Employing a case study method, the data collection techniques of this qualitative study included in-depth interviews and observations. Drawing upon Wenger’s (1998) concept of communities of practice, the data analysis reveals several factors affecting the EFL Saudi teachers’ professional identity. This study found that the Saudi teachers’ educational background and life experiences act as formative elements which influence their EFL professional identity formation. Moreover, the participating teachers agree that practical experience and teaching community played a more significant role than their educational background in terms of shaping their teacher’s identity construction and their classroom practices. The results have many implications for Saudi Arabia’s development of current teacher education programme. If teacher education curriculum is aimed at improving the professional identity building of EFL teachers, then the policymakers might need to review the curricula of English language teacher education and incorporate some improvements within the programme.
Keywords: EFL teacher, identity formation, professional development, Saudi Arabia

Cite as: Aljuhaish, S.F., Othman, J., Senom, F. (2020). Saudi EFL Teachers’ Identity Formation in Saudi Schools: A case Study. Arab World English Journal11 (3) 431- 445 .


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Sultan Fahd Aljuhaish is a Phd candidate at the Faculty of Education, University of Malaya.
Sultan is working as education supervisor at Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia. Sultan has
authored and co-authored several articles on English studies, Curriculum and Instruction,
ESL/EFL teacher professional development.