Unpacking English as a foreign language PhDs’ return mobility and identity (re)construction at Chinese universities: a qualitative case study

Bin Ai, Jie Zhang, Alexander Kostogriz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Using qualitative case study as a method, the researchers collected data from four PhD returnees specializing in teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) and inquired about their experiences of teacher identity (re)construction after their return to Chinese universities. The collected data demonstrate that these participants have encountered various challenges in complying with Chinese higher education practices; their unique insider/outsider experience and the contribution that they can make to internationalization of the university culture and pedagogy are undervalued, while they often feel unsupported to develop their research profile. This paper contributes to the current research into EFL PhDs’ mobility and their teacher identity (re)construction in the context of the internationalization of Chinese universities. The challenges and issues raised here may have commonalities with those faced in other international tertiary education settings, where EFL PhD students gain their qualifications overseas and return to a career in EFL in their own country.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalResearch in Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

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