Reflections on Critical Incidents of EFL Teachers During Career Entry in Central Mexico

Main Article Content

M. Martha Lengeling
Irasema Mora Pablo


This article explores the reflections of critical incidents of eight beginning English as a foreign language teachers and one of their trainers in Mexico. Based upon narrative inquiry and through the use of journals, critical incidents and how they have impacted beginning teachers in their thinking were specifically looked at. From the data we found seven emerging themes which basically revolve around the relationships that are established between the teacher and the students, the emerging professional identities of the beginning teachers, and the tutor’s reflection on knowledge transfer. Results showed how these teachers reflected upon their teaching practice and how the critical incidents helped them to analyze and evaluate their teaching process.

Article Details

How to Cite
Lengeling, M. M., & Mora Pablo, I. (2016). Reflections on Critical Incidents of EFL Teachers During Career Entry in Central Mexico. HOW Journal, 23(2), 75-88.
Research Reports
Author Biographies

M. Martha Lengeling, Universidad de Guanajuato

M. Martha Lengeling holds a master’s in TESOL (West Virginia University) and a PhD in Language Studies (Kent University, UK). She teaches at Universidad de Guanajuato and is a member of the National System of Researchers (Sistema Nacional de Investigadores) as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the MEXTESOL Journal.

Irasema Mora Pablo, Universidad de Guanajuato

Irasema Mora Pablo holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics (University of Kent, UK). She is the Coordinator and a teacher in the Masters in Applied Linguistics of English Language Teaching program of the Universidad de Guanajuato. She is a member of the National System of Researchers (Sistema Nacional de Investigadores).


Barkhuizen, G. (Ed.). (2013). Narrative research in applied linguistics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Brookfield, S. D. (1990). The skillful teacher. San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass.

Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Davies, P. (2009). Strategic management of ELT in public educational systems: Trying to reduce failure, increase success. TESL-EJ, 13(3). Retrieved from

Day, C. (2004). A passion for teaching. New York, NY: Routledge Falmer.

Farrell, T. S. C. (2008). Critical incidents in ELT initial teacher training. ELT Journal, 62(1), 3-10.

Farrell, T. S. C. (2013). Critical incident analysis through narrative reflective practice: A case study. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research, 1(1), 79-89.

Farrell, T. S. C. (2015). Reflective language teaching: From research to practice. London, UK: Bloomsbury.

Finch, A. (2010). Critical incidents and language learning: Sensitivity to initial conditions. System, 38(3), 422-431.

Flanagan, J C. (1954). The critical incident technique. Psychological bulletin, 51(4).

James, P. (2001). Teachers in action: Tasks for in-service language teacher education and development. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Johnson, K. A. (2003). Every experience is a moving force: Identity and growth through mentoring. Teaching and Teacher Education, 19(8), 787-800.

Kim, S., Micek, T., & Grigsby, Y. (2013). Investigating professionalism in ESOL teacher education through critical incident analysis and evaluation. International Journal of TESOL and Learning, 2(3), 170-186.

Lengeling, M. M. (2010). Becoming an English teacher: Participants’ voices and identities in an in-service teacher training course in central Mexico. Guanajuato, MX: Universidad de Guanajuato.

Measor, L. (1985). Critical incidents in the classroom: Identities, choices and careers. In S. J. Ball & I. F. Goodson (Eds.), Teachers’ lives and careers (pp. 61-77). London, UK: Falmer Press.

Norton, B. (2000). Identity and language learning: Gender, ethnicity and educational change. Harlow, UK: Longman.

Polkinghorne, D. E. (1995). Narrative configuration in qualitative analysis. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 8(1), 5-23.

Randall, M., & Thornton, B. (2001). Advising and supporting teachers. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J. C., & Farrell, T. S. C. (2005). Professional development for language teachers: Strategies to teacher learning. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Stakhnevich, J. (2002). Using critical incidents to teach cross-cultural sensitivity. The Internet TESL Journal, 8(3). Retrieved from

Tripp, D. (1993). Critical incidents in teaching: Developing professional judgement. New York, NY: Routledge.

Underhill, A. (1986). Editorial. Teacher Development Newsletter, 9, 4.

Webster, L., & Mertova, P. (2007). Using narrative inquiry as a research method. London, UK: Routledge.