06 SES 06 JS, Professional (Teacher) Identities and Digital Technology
Paper Session, Joint Session NW 06 and NW 10
Teacher professional identity is highly individualistic while at the same time collective in scope. From this perspective, teachers need space and opportunity to develop personal and professional identities, a process that requires them to “engage in the complex integration of personal self, and the taking on of a culturally scripted, often narrowly defined professional role while maintaining individuality” (Alsup, 2006, p. 4). By considering this process from the foundations of situated learning theory and communities of practice, this paper discusses the case of EdCommons, an initiative designed to build professional networks amongst pre-service teachers, novice and experienced teachers, administrators, directors, academics and other key education stakeholders synchronously and asynchronously. From research data collected as part of the ongoing evaluation of the EdCommons initiative, this paper presents a model of workforce capacity building that privileges the notion of collective agency within context.
In a regional Australian university, an initiative was initially established to help pre-service teachers network and engage with professional educators in a global context from the outset of their university study. While the initial focus was on building a pedagogy of professional induction from the commencement of their studies in education, very quickly the professional learning opportunities for the broader community of educators became apparent. The EdCommons, as a professional community of practice, builds professional networks amongst key education stakeholders locally and globally, engaging participants in discussions about relevant and current educational topics.
Initially, EdCommons was designed as a process of professional induction for pre-service teachers in a face-to-face context. However, very quickly the online community site also began to emerge – providing students at a distance parity of experience with their on-campus counterparts. Feedback from participants and stakeholders indicated benefits for all involved, with participation helping pre-service teachers to build a professional identity and a sense of belonging to the profession and to feel optimistic about their future careers (Savickas, 2005). Likewise, the more experienced educators working in the field of education championed the informal professional learning opportunities afforded, while also associating engagement with heightened professional engagement and optimism with regards to their future contribution to the field.
The research associated with this initiative provides insights that will be of relevance to educational researchers from any context where issues around professional induction, professional identity and global connections are important. The theoretical framework, as explained in a later section, drew on evolutionary epistemology (Campbell, 1969) and highlights the research-practice nexus of the project and its intent. In evaluating the initiative, the research began with the folllowing questions:
What benefits are identified by participants about their involvement in Education Commons? What are the challenges that participants face within the community of practice framework? How does a collective approach to building professional identity affect workforce capacity and career optimism?
Alsup, J. (2006). Teacher identity discourses: Negotiating personal and professional spaces. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Campbell, D. (1969). Variation, selection and retention in socio-cultural evolution. General Systems, 14, 69-85. Dart, J., & Davies, R. (2003). A dialogical story-based evaluation tool: The most significant change technique. American Journal of Evaluation, 24, 137-155. Davies, R. (2004). Practical postmodernism, or the systematic use of anecdotes. The Evaluator (Summer). London: UKES. Fugate, M., & Kinicki, A. J. (2008). A dispositional approach to employability: Development of a measure and test of implications for employee reactions to organisational change. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 81(3), 503-527. Maxwell, J. A. (2005). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Savickas, M. L. (2005). The theory and practice of career construction. In S. D. Brown & R. W. Lent (Eds.), Career development and counseling: Putting theory and research to work (pp. 42-70). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. Savickas, M. L., & Porfeli, E. J.(2012). Career Adapt-Abilities Scale: Construction, reliability, and measurement equivalence across 13 countries. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80(3), 661-673.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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