Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Janet Penner-Williams

Committee Member

Freddie A. Bowles

Second Committee Member

Christian Z. Goering


Experienced Nonnative ESL Teachers, MA TESOL Curriculum, NNESTs in ESL, NNESTs' Challenges and Coping Strategies, NNESTs' Teacher Identity, Nonnative ESL Teachers in the Inner Circle


Kamhi-Stein (1999) declares that little is known about nonnative English-speaking teachers (NNEST) who work in ESL settings also known as Inner Circle countries. Twenty years later, Fan and de Jong (2019) have echoed that view by stating that traditionally research on NNESTs focuses on Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) international graduate students and that little is known about professional nonnative English-speaking teachers in English-dominant environments such as the U.S.A. Therefore, to try to help fill this gap in the literature, I investigated the lived experiences of English teachers who speak English as an additional language, often called nonnative English-speaking teachers, through a critical phenomenological heuristic approach. More specifically, those teachers are experienced nonnative ESL teachers who have been working in Intensive English Programs (IEPs) in the U.S.A. for at least five years. Through open-ended interviews five participants, originally from Argentina, Brazil, The Philippines, and Russia, shared how they have navigated nonnativeness-related challenges and their coping strategies when dealing with such challenges. They also stated that the challenges and strategies they have had over their years of ESL teaching experience in the U.S.A. has influenced how they have transformed and reconstructed their Language teacher identities (LTI). The whole process has indicated an often-emotional journey into a more empowered, more confident, and prouder view of themselves as nonnative ESL teachers. In addition to help filling the gap in the literature mentioned above, the purpose of this research is also to contribute to raising awareness in the TESOL field by clarifying certain myths and bringing light to unknown facts related to nonnative English-speaking teachers in an Inner Circle country, the U.S.A.