Language Teacher Immunity among Iranian EFL Teachers: A Self-Organization Perspective

Document Type: Original Article


1 Department of English, Qeshm Branch, Islamic Azad University, Qeshm, Iran

2 Department of English, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran


As a novel concept in language teacher psychology, language teacher immunity, either in its productive or maladaptive manifestation, is a strong indicator of how teachers behave and respond in the face of adversity and disturbances and it has a profound effect on teachers' career. Research on language teacher immunity is in its nascent stage. This study tried to fill the gap in the existing literature by using a mixed-methods approach to find out what type of language teacher immunity was dominant among Iranian English teachers and how these teachers might have developed their immunity type. For the quantitative part of the study a questionnaire was distributed among 230 English teachers to find out their dominant immunity type. In the qualitative part of the study a series of semi-structured, one-on-one interviews with 13 seasoned English teachers were conducted in order to find out the developmental pathways of teacher immunity. The findings of the two-step cluster analysis of the questionnaire data indicated that maladaptive immunity was a dominant type of immunity among Iranian English teachers since their mean scores on six out of seven questionnaire scales were low. Also, the results of the directed content analysis of the interviews revealed that Iranian English teachers followed the four stages of self-organization, namely, triggering, coupling, realignment, and stabilization in forming their immunity. Further results and their implications for educational policy makers and teacher educators are discussed.