Becoming teachers of English-language learners in two multicultural countries: narratives from preservice teachers in the United States and Malaysia

Open Access
Mohamed Jiri, Khairul Aini
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 15, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Dr Youb Kim, Dissertation Advisor
  • Dr Youb Kim, Committee Chair
  • Kyle Leonard Peck, Committee Member
  • Jamie Myers, Committee Member
  • Susan G Strauss, Special Member
  • Malaysia
  • Comparative and International Education
  • Teacher Education
  • English as a Second Language
  • Multiculturalism
This study explores the experience of becoming English teachers in two multicultural countries through narratives from preservice teachers in the United States and Malaysia. In general, the United States and Malaysia share similarities in the demographic landscapes whereby both are the multicultural countries whose populations consisted of people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds. With regards to English language, it possesses a crucial role in both countries. In the United States, it is the medium of instructions in schools. In Malaysia, it holds a status of the nation second language; compulsory to be learned in schools from K-12. This study investigates the experiences of becoming teachers of the English-Language Learners in the United States and Malaysia where a growing number of student populations come from the diverse linguistic and cultural background while the majority of teacher population is from the mainstreams backgrounds. A narrative inquiry approach guided this study using narratives written by a total of nine preservice teachers including four from the United States and five from Malaysia. Data analysis revealed four major themes: (1) Personal development (2) Developing Relationship (3) Professional Development and (4) Pedagogical Practices. The findings indicate that there are differences in the sense of preparedness between the preservice teachers in the two countries as well as the nature of curricular experiences.