Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jeannine M. Fontaine, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jean Nienkamp, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Michael M. Williamson, Ph.D.


The present study is a narrative inquiry into the experience of 9 international graduate students’ critical reflection on the practices of their TESOL graduate discourse community, participation modes, and the negotiation process. This study created a space for the NNESs to reflect and articulate their own inquiries about the discourse and their socialization process in The TESOL field. This study also describes the multitude of obstacles NNES ESL teachers overcome in developing the power of their minds. The importance of this study is that it explores the TESOL discourse community as one of the sources that may contribute to empower/disempowered NNEST in the TESOL field. In other words, it is looking at the TESOL discourse community of prospective teachers as a potential locus for in interactions that can be observed influencing their socialization process. Data collected during the year of 2009 included one in depth individual interview with 6 of my participants, and two rounds of interviews with a focus group which include 3 of my participants. The benefit of having two interviews in this study was to generate collective dialogue in order to support participants in reconstructing their experiences. The findings of this study reveal that the international graduate students’ perceptions of their respective TESOL graduate programs were varied, depending on the availability of assistance, support, and equal opportunities. Furthermore, when they could relate what they learned, based on their personal experiences and their future teaching environments, their perceptions of their discourse communities were positive, and their academic discourse socialization processes progressed. Academic discourse socialization processes, however, were not only social and political, but also personal and individual. Nevertheless, this study found that international graduate students in the U.S.-based TESOL discourse communities do not simply embrace the practices and knowledge of their discourse communities; rather, they negotiate, resist, and strategize.