The role of teachers’ future self guides in creating L2 development opportunities in teacher-led classroom discourse: Reclaiming the relevance of language teacher cognition

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Understanding the relationship between teachers’ use of language in teacher‐led discourse (TLD; Toth, 2008) and opportunities for L2 development is a well‐established area of SLA research. This study examines one teacher's role in creating such opportunities in TLD in her EFL classes in a state secondary school by examining the inner resources that informed her interactional practices. The database comprises audiorecordings of TLD from eight lessons, pre‐ and post‐observation interviews, ethnographic field notes from multiple school visits, and repeated ethnographic interviews with the teacher. The results from a close analysis of TLD and a grounded theory analysis of the ethnographic data show that the teacher's future self guides, conceptualized as language teachers’ possible selves (Kubanyiova, 2009), had a critical influence on how she navigated classroom interaction and the L2 development opportunities that arose as a result. The findings offer new insights into the types of professional development opportunities needed to transform teachers’ discourse. By bridging two domains of inquiry—SLA and language teacher cognition—in a single study, this article sets a new research agenda in applied linguistics and responds to calls for increasing its relevance to the real world (Bygate, 2005; Ortega, 2012a).


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)565-584
Number of pages20
JournalThe Modern Language Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015


  • teacher-led discourse, L2 development opportunities, language teacher cognition, future self guides