Escaping the ‘Mimicking Circle’ in the Teaching Practicum

The Role of Imitation in Promoting Language Teacher Identity Development


  • Jacob Rieker Pennsylvania State University



Imitation, Perezhivanie, Second Language Teacher Education, Dramatic Events, Language Teacher Identiity


Grounded in Vygotskian sociocultural theory, the current article examines imitation as a leading activity of development in second language teacher education. The study is centered on a novice teacher in an MA TESL practicum experience who struggled to confront and resolve contradictions surrounding the articulation and enactment of a personally-satisfying teacher identity. Analysis of written reflections collected during the practicum and an in-depth interview conducted two years later revealed how the experiencing of drama arising from imitation, as refracted through the teacher’s perezhivanie and mediated by her mentor teacher, allowed for new understandings to emerge that supported the reframing of her teacher identity. The study concludes by suggesting that the confrontation and working over of dramatic moments supported by appropriate mediation are driving forces in teacher development, and that future research should investigate the experiencing of imitation and other leading activities of development through the lenses of perezhivanie and drama.

Author Biography

Jacob Rieker, Pennsylvania State University

Jacob Rieker is a PhD Candidate in Applied Linguistics at The Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on Vygotskian sociocultural theory, second language teacher education, and concept-based language instruction for language teacher development.


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How to Cite

Rieker, J. (2022). Escaping the ‘Mimicking Circle’ in the Teaching Practicum: The Role of Imitation in Promoting Language Teacher Identity Development. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 9(1), 69–90.