Balancing being a ‘good teacher’ and a ‘motivating teacher of English’: Analysing the sense of professional responsibility of pre-service EFL teachers

Malba Barahona, Stephen Darwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The professional responsibility of teachers has been primarily understood in international literature in terms of external obligations, primarily from an accountability perspective. Alternatively, more recent approaches have begun to propose that teacher responsibility is more appropriately understood as an internal drive toward their work and its contribution to broader social development, which is seen as crucial to the design of effective pedagogical practices. However, within this continuing dialogue, limited attention has been given to how professional responsibility develops and is nurtured within the unique contexts of English language teacher education. This mixed-method study investigated the sense of professional responsibility held by pre-service teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) context, framed by an online survey (n = 611) based on a teacher responsibility scale and a series of semi-structured interviews (n = 17). Results demonstrated that there was a comparatively higher sense of responsibility felt in two critical areas: building positive student relationships and ensuring an equitable classroom and society. However, lower levels of responsibility were demonstrated toward the discipline-specific issues of encouraging student engagement, student motivation or success in learning English. This suggests a critical tension that develops in the sense of pre-service teacher responsibility between the abstract and affective notion of being the ‘good teacher’ and the more concrete objectives of building learning environments for language development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage Teaching Research
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • EFL
  • agency
  • motivation
  • student motivation
  • teacher education
  • teacher motivation
  • teacher responsibility


Dive into the research topics of 'Balancing being a ‘good teacher’ and a ‘motivating teacher of English’: Analysing the sense of professional responsibility of pre-service EFL teachers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this