“English Made Me Feel Proud of Myself”:

Student-Teachers’ Evolving Identities within an English-Medium Teacher Education Degree



This case study aims to track longitudinally how the imagined identities as English users of two student-teachers evolve during the English-Medium Primary Teacher Education Bachelor’s Degree (EMI-TED) offered by one public university in Catalonia (Spain). The study draws on the identity approach to second language acquisition and Communities of Practice (CoP) perspective on learning. Adopting a qualitative and interpretive approach, the combination of thematic analysis and narrative analysis of individual interviews and linguistic autobiographies shows how the participants’ imagined identities expand and evolve towards fuller participation in real English-medium CoPs as they reposition themselves in relation to English. The analysis also reveals the effect that their investments in learning English have on their identities while they gain more legitimacy as English users due to the process of ‘internationalization at home’, i.e. studying the EMI degree at the home university. The findings indicate that the EMI-TED constitutes a particularly empowering context for those students without any prior experience of participating in real English-medium CoPs. Its international dimension not only affords such students numerous opportunities for language learning and use within their local realities but also allows them to envisage a new range of identities, without negatively affecting their local selves. 


imagined identities, investment, communitites of practice (CoP), empowerment, English-Medium Instruction (EMI)


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Author Biographies

Natalia Evnitskaya, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya

Natalia Evnitskaya is a tenure-track lecturer and works as a teacher educator at the Department of Applied  Linguistics, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya, Barcelona. Her teaching and research interests are innovative approaches to TEFL and teacher education, CLIL, disciplinary literacies, classroom interaction, multimodality, conversation analysis and systemic functional linguistics.

Berta Torras Vila, Universitat de Vic-Universitat de la Catalunya Central

Berta Torras-Vila holds Bachelor in Primary Music Education and Masters in The Acquisition of English and Intercultural Education (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, UAB) and in Applied Linguistics (University of Bristol), and PhD in English Language Pedagogy. She began her professional career working as a Music teacher in Music schools and in public schools. She is currently working as a teacher educator at the UCC- Vic, at the UB and at the UAB. She also collaborates with the Language and Education (LED) research group (UAB) and offers MOVIC (Movement & Music in English) workshops in several institutions.




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