This study aimed to explore the PI of EFL teacher in order to gain a better understanding of PI of EFL teacher and those critical factors of PI contributing to the quality of teaching .A semi-structure interview and a self-designed questionnaire are two instruments used to collect the data needed. A group of EFL teachers (N=42) who were university lecturers and taught at Universities and Language institutes in the city of Isfahan willingly participated in this study. A second group of participants were EFL students (N=102) who were studying at the BA, MA and PhD level at the Department of English language in Isfahan university.
The data were collected sequentially in two phases. At the first phase a semi-structure interview was conducted as a qualitative tool to identify what factors account for a full profile of EFL teacher PI and how to extent these identified factors contribute to the teaching quality. Therefore two general questions were asked from each participant individually in the following terms:
Semi-structured interviews were conducted first with five EFL University teachers who had at least 10 years of teaching experience in the department of English Language at University of Isfahan, and later with five EFL students who were graduating at different levels at University of Isfahan, (Two BA students, Two MA students, and one PhD student).
The interviews were individually conducted in Farsi and simultaneously audio-recorded and concurrently transcribed while important ideas regarding the theme of the discussion were mentioned by the participants.
Next a questionnaire was developed based on the outcome of the interviews in order to explore the perceptions of EFL teacher professional identity and those factors affecting the quality of teaching. The questionnaires consisted of three parts the first part contained demographic questions such as participant’s sex, educational degree, and etc…The second part contained 19 items about the components of the professional identity of EFL teacher in order to identify those factors that make up the professional identity. The third part included 28 items to assess those factors that most contribute to the quality of teaching. These 28 items were derived as the response of the participants to the second question of the semi-structured interviews.
The participants then were instructed to respond to questionnaire items on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 0 (No opinion) to 4 (Strongly agree). The questionnaire was self-administered (delivered personally) in order to ensure high return rate. Based on the data gathered by the first set of questionnaires completed only by the teachers the total reliability of the questionnaire, estimated via Cronbach’s alpha, was 0.84 for the first set of 19 items which identified the EFL teacher PI. The estimated total reliability of the second set of 28 items which contributed to the quality of teaching via Cronbach’s alpha, was 0.87. The questionnaires were distributed among EFL students at the end of class sessions by the help of present instructors and later distributed among EFL teachers at their office. By applying these tools the researcher was able to obtain a more comprehensive image of EFL teacher professional identity, and those factors affecting EFL teacher quality of teaching. Since two different groups of participants (42 EFL teachers and 102 EFL students) completed the questionnaire, the structure of sentences on each part of the questionnaire was arranged according to the respondents.
The audio-recorded Semi-structured interviews were transcribed into texts and the transcriptions were then analyzed in detail, implementing a thematic analysis. Thematic analysis is one of the most common methods for analyzing semi-structured interviews (Flick, 2014). This kind of analysis strives to identify patterns of themes in the interview data. In doing so the researcher studied the transcriptions to find out the emerging themes as an indication of those factors which make up the professional identity of EFL teacher and those factors affecting the quality of teaching. Using thematic analysis each participant’s answers were taken into account and grouped under emerging themes of the study and every theme was rounded by several answers. The result of such analysis led to designing a questionnaire for exploring EFL teacher PI and also identifying important factors in PI that may have contributed to the quality of teaching. It is important to note that the questions in the questionnaire were not presented in predetermined categories so as to increase the reliability of the measures.
The data obtained through questionnaire was then tabulated and analyzed using SPSS version 23. Statistical analysis was carried on at descriptive and analytical levels. Descriptive analysis of data gathered from 143 questionnaires (42 EFL teachers plus 101 EFL students) was used to get an overall picture of the EFL teacher PI and the importance of each component. The mean value and standard deviation for each item was then calculated based on the values assigned to them. The rank importance of each item was also obtained using Freedman Test. Same procedures were conducted for analyzing the data obtained from the third part of the questionnaire regarding those PI factors perceived by respondents as affective on teaching quality.
Factor analysis was used to analyze the data gathered by questionnaires in order to explore the possible pattern of interrelationship between the components of EFL teacher PI it was also used to examine what set of PI factors contribute to the quality of teaching. This analysis provided the appropriate model to test the possible grouping of those components identified as the result of thematic analysis mentioned above. This was hoped that this analysis shed some light on the relative importance of the components of the identified clusters of EFL teacher professional identity and their contribution to quality of teaching. Factor analysis made it possible to differentiate how many factors are necessary to achieve a reconstruction of correlation matrix that is sufficiently good to account satisfactorily for the correlation it contains (Kinner & Gray, 2000). In this study the data gathered from the two groups of participants (EFL teachers N.42 & students N.101) were subjected to a factor analysis.