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Ethical practice within a longitudinal exploration of teacher identity:. SUPPORTING RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS THROUGHOUT THE COMPLEX TRANSITION FROM PRE-SERVICE TO EARLY CAREER TEACHER. Overview of the presentation. Personal motivation to explore teacher identity
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Ethical practice within a longitudinal exploration of teacher identity: SUPPORTING RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS THROUGHOUT THE COMPLEX TRANSITION FROM PRE-SERVICE TO EARLY CAREER TEACHER
Overview of the presentation • Personal motivation to explore teacher identity • Introduction to the methodological approach of the research • Discussion of teacher identity as a conceptual lens • Introduction to this study and the participants • A brief explanation of the processes of identity formation for these participants through their data • How ethical practice shaped the data collected and the sense that could be made of it
Educationally disadvantaged (Category 1) primary school • Significant areas of unpreparedness (curriculum, pedagogy, student behaviour management, student diversity and need, high accountability) • Disinterest in the complex experiences of temporary relief, short-term contract and early career permanent teaching staff • Confronting experiences challenged beliefs about teaching and about self • High turnover of these inexperienced staff (sometimes within days) • These realities appeared to be anticipated and accepted by more-experienced teaching colleagues, principals and school leaders • Were some of us ‘cut out’ for teaching and some others not? Experiences of early career teaching:My developing beliefs and perceptions of teaching
Qualitative traditions focusing attention:Critical Ethnography, Narrative Inquiry, Phenomenology, Grounded Research • recognizingthe value of qualitative designs and methodologies, studies of human experiences that are not approachable through quantitative approaches • focusing on the wholeness of experience rather than solely on its objects or parts • searchingformeanings and essences of experience rather than measurements or explanations • obtainingdescriptions of experience through first-person accounts in informal and formal conversations and interviews • regardingthe data of experience as imperative in understanding human behaviour and as evidence for scientific investigations • formulatingquestions and problems that reflect the interest, involvement, and personal commitment of the researcher • viewing experience and behaviour as an integrated and inseparable relationship of subject and object and of parts and whole. (Moustakas, 1994, p. 21)
Teacher identity has been difficult to conceptualise, with a variety of definitions and perspectives contributing to the discourse (Beauchamp & Thomas, 2009; Beijaard, Meijer & Verloop, 2004). Within the fields of anthropology, sociology and education, the concept of identity has been gaining acceptance and coherence. (Varghese, Morgan, Johnston & Johnson, 2005) • Sachs (2001) • Watson (2006) • Maclean & White (2007) • Sfard & Prusak (2005) • Akkerman & Meijer (2011) • Sachs (2005) Conceptualising teacher identity
Research participants: Pathways to teaching
Research participants:Employment history and status Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 4 Phase 3 G Graduated Temporary relief Short-term contract Long-term contract Permanent Separated Data collection phase
Teacher identity: Characteristics Dynamic Multi-faceted Discontinuous Malleable Teacher identity: Influential factors
Ethical research practice: How and why it supported this exploration • Teacher identity formation was found to be dynamic, multi-faceted and discontinuous: Bailey’s data revealed contradictions, vulnerabilities, success, progress and failure • Participants often concealed significant areas of struggle as they wanted to position themselves for future success: Melanie reached breaking point before she sought help • Isolated incidents unsettled the participants: Christian and his throw-away line in the staff room • Relationships took time to establish and so reliable data took time to generate: Amy took until term 3 to contribute personally significant data • Vulnerabilities had to be approached delicately: Adele loved her role and her school but wanted to distance herself from problematic staff • Some of the participants’ experiences were confronting: Alice’s choice to leave teaching mid-year and mid-contract • Principals and school leaders needed to be negotiated with tact: Emily’s feelings of abandonment and isolation were attributed to school staff however these staff sometimes sought information about her • Observations sometimes contradicted interview data: Damien’s perceptions of his relationships with students • Data collection needed to be responsive to the needs of the participants: Amelia always scheduled interviews outside of school hours to eliminate the possibility of having to be observed. • The participants needed someone to confide in: All of the participants expressed how important it had been for them to share their experiences, perceptions, vulnerabilities and responses to teaching with someone who was not connected to their on-going employment opportunities
References Akkerman, S. F., & Meijer, P. C. (2011). A dialogical approach to conceptualizing teacher identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(2), 308-319. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York, NY: W.H. Freeman. Beauchamp, C., & Thomas, L. (2009). Understanding teacher identity: An overview of issues in the literature and implications for teacher education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 39(2), 175-189. Beijaard, D., Meijer, P. C., & Verloop, N. (2004). Reconsidering research on teachers' professional identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20(2), 107-128. Department of Education Science and Training. (2002). An ethic of care: Effective programmes for beginning teachers. Canberra, ACT: Commonwealth of Australia. Gee, J. P. (2000). Identity as an Analytic Lens for Research in Education. Review of Research in Education, 25(1), 99-125. Maclean, R., & White, S. (2007). Video reflection and the formation of teacher identity in a team of pre-service and experienced teachers. Reflective Practice, 8(1), 47-60. Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Richards, L. (2009). Handling qualitative data: A practical guide (2nd ed.). London, UK: SAGE. Sachs, J. (2001). Teacher professional identity: Competing discourses, competing outcomes. Journal of Education Policy, 16(2), 149 - 161. Sachs, J. (2005). Teacher education and the development of professional identity: Learning to be a teacher. In P. Denicolo & M. Kompf (Eds.), Connecting policy and practice: Challenges for teaching and learning in schools and universities. Oxford, OXF: Routledge. Sfard, A., & Prusak, A. (2005). Telling identities: In search of an analytic tool for investigating learning as a culturally shaped activity. Educational Researcher, 34(4), 14-22. Varghese, M., Morgan, B., Johnston, B., & Johnson, K. A. (2005). Theorizing language teacher identity: Three perspectives and beyond. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 4(1), 21-44. Watson, C. (2006). Narratives of practice and the construction of identity in teaching. Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, 12(5), 509-526.
Professional Identity:A sorting device • Professional identity thus is a set of attributes that are imposed upon the teaching profession either by outsiders or members of the teaching fraternity itself. It provides a shared set of attributes, values and so on that enable the differentiation of one group from another. • (Sachs, 2001, p. 153)
Professional Identity:A guiding set of beliefs • The importance of the concept of professional identity lies in the assumption that who we think we are influences what we do, i.e. there is a link between professional identity and professional action (in a sense, professional action is doing professional identity. • (Watson, 2006, p. 510)
Professional Identity:A reflection of roles, actions & behaviour • people’s legitimate participation in a profession; their occupation of a professional ‘role’ and ability to control the practices, language, tools and resources associated with that role; the ideals, values and beliefs that lead them to commit to a profession; the unique way in which they personify their professional role as a result of the experiences that have influenced them through their career; and the representation of themselves as a professional that they project both to themselves and to others • (Maclean & White, 2007, pp. 47-48)
Professional Identity:An attempt to understand ourselves • Metaphorically speaking, identifying is an attempt to overcome the fluidity of change by collapsing a video clip into a snapshot. • Based of this assumption, identity talk makes us able to cope with new situations in terms of our past experience and gives us tools to plan for the future. • (Sfard & Prusak, 2005, p. 16)
Professional Identity:A process • ‘being someone who teaches’, or ‘teacher identity’, cannot be seen as an end point, but instead should be defined as an ongoing process of negotiating and interrelating multiple I-positions in such a way that a more or less coherent and consistent sense of self is maintained throughout various participations and self-investments in one’s [working] life. • (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011, pp. 317-318)
Professional Identity:A framework • [Teacher identity] provides a framework for teachers to construct their own ideas of ‘how to be’, ‘how to act’ and ‘how to understand’ their work and their place in society. Importantly, teacher identity is not something that is fixed nor is it imposed; rather it is negotiated through experience and the sense that is made of that experience. • (Sachs, 2005, p. 15)