Discontinuity as part of teacher identity in Canadian French immersion
The scarcity of research on French immersion teachers’ professional identity contrasts with the increasing popularity of French immersion programs in Canada and the concomitant need for French immersion teachers. This study explores the professional identity negotiation of four French immersion teachers in Alberta, Canada, with a focus on discontinuity. Semi-structured interviews conducted face-to-face with the participants were analysed using dialogic narrative analysis. The findings highlight how discontinuity is occasioned by a change in knowledge about the French immersion teaching as a profession, encountering classroom realities, shifting one’s values concerning second language learning and the emotions one experiences in moments of discontinuity. A negative change in emotion may encourage discontinuity in immersion teacher identity and teachers’ understanding of themselves as second language learners. On the other hand, positive emotions underline the harboured passion for French and second language learning and may help re-align French immersion teacher identity to the sense of purpose teachers identified in their professional lives. The study concludes with a discussion of certain considerations arising from the data.