Understanding Teacher Autonomy, Teacher Agency, and Teacher Identity: Voices from Four EFL Student Teachers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Scarce studies have been conducted to understand teacher autonomy, teacher agency, and teacher identity exhibited by English as a foreign language (EFL) student teachers. This study was conducted to fill this gap by exploring how four student teachers take control of their teaching, conduct agentic behavior, and negotiate identities in the Chinese EFL context. Data included interviews, school documents, participants’ practicum reports, and lesson plans. Findings revealed that EFL student teachers encountered constraints related to the school curriculum, evaluation mechanisms, and social settings. Constraints affected their capacity to negotiate the gap between reality and ideals and fostered changes and innovations in teaching. These forces, influenced by the social, institutional, and physical settings, also affected the formation of their identities. The different development trajectories during the teaching practicums were found to be related to teacher autonomy, teacher agency, and teacher identity. While concluding with implications for teaching pre-service teachers and running teaching practicums, the present study also argues for considering the three interrelated constructs as essential parts of researching pre-service EFL teacher education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-212
Number of pages24
JournalEnglish Teaching and Learning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • EFL student teachers
  • Pre-service teachers
  • Teacher agency
  • Teacher autonomy
  • Teacher development
  • Teacher identity


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding Teacher Autonomy, Teacher Agency, and Teacher Identity: Voices from Four EFL Student Teachers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this