Document Type : Research article


1 Ph.D Candidate, Department of English Language, Qeshm Branch, Islamic Azad University, Qeshm, Iran;

2 Department of English Language and Literature, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of English Language, Qeshm Branch, Islamic Azad University, Qeshm, Iran


As a novel concept in teacher psychology, language teacher immunity is a strong indicator of how teachers thrive or survive in the face of adversity. Research on language teacher immunity is still in its nascent stage, and the present qualitative study tries to fill the gap in the existing literature. This study aimed to investigate the possible sources of immunity among Iranian EFL teachers, the impact immunity may have on teachers’ classroom practices, and intervention strategies EFL teachers suggested to influence the development of immunity. Based on interviews with 13 seasoned high school EFL teachers, we found that four main stressors, namely, personal-level, school-level, organization-based, and sociocultural stressors, were the sources of maladaptive immunity development. The only cause for the development of positive immunity in EFL teachers was altruistic motivation. It was further found that those EFL teachers with positive immunity kept functioning effectively in their classrooms, whereas teachers with maladaptive immunity set into a state of indifference towards their students and complacency without exercising agency. These teachers had surrendered in the face of a multitude of adversities they faced during their professional life. The findings also indicated that in order to influence the development of immunity formation process to gear it towards an adaptive one, teachers’ economic situation should be improved by increasing their salaries, praising and appreciating their efforts, organizing practical in-service teacher training courses, and supporting them at schools by principals and other educational authorities.


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