10 SES 08 A, Teacher Education: Motivation and Identities
The research question of this paper is to investigate how student teachers story their own professional identity through interactions with video evidence of their own practice? The objectives for the research question are as follows:
- How do the student teachers story/his/her self as a teacher after while his/her video of practice?
- What metaphors do the student teachers employ to aid their stories?
- What influences if any emerge from their stories?
Becoming a teacher is a complex and dynamic process where professional self-image is balanced with a variety of roles that teachers feel they have to play (Sugrue, 2008; Volkman and Anderson, 1998). The understanding of the formation of a teacher’s identity has been highlighted in research over the past decade (Beijaard, et al., 2000 and 2004; Brown, 2004; Danielewicz, 2001; Freese, 2006; Korthagen et al., 2001; Olsen, 2008; Sachs, 2005). Issues which have arisen from research include the interplay between different and sometimes conflicting perspectives, prior beliefs and practices as a teacher self develops (Calderhead and Shorrock, 1997; Flores, 2001; Hauge, 2000; Sugrue, 2008). The process of becoming a teacher is seen as constructing an identity. Wenger (1998, p.4) views learning as a social undertaking which involves the practice of forging an identity relevant to the established norms of that community and successfully enacting this identity to retain membership.
This paper aligns with Rodgers and Scott’s (2008) four main assumptions regarding the process of identity-making: (1) identity is formed within multiple contexts which bring social, cultural, political and historical forces to bear upon that formation, (2) identity is formed in relationship with others and involves emotions, (3) identity is shifting, unstable, and multiple and (4) identity involves the construction and reconstruction of meaning through stories over time. Stryker (1980) believes that a self’s identity is a projection of the different positions and relationships one holds in society. A position in this case could be a teacher or a husband. Therefore and of high importance to this study, the self as a teacher is an identity, as is the self as any other innumerable possibilities corresponding to the various roles one may play, such as a brother, boyfriend or a male.
Student teachers’ stories offer a researcher an understanding of how the teachers interpret and give meaning to practice and come to terms with the interplay of self and situation (Carter, 1995). This is heavily supported by Elbaz’s (1991, p.3) contention that “story is the very stuff of teaching…within which the work of teachers can be seen as making sense.”
Video as a representation of teacher’s practice (both pre and in-service) has been prevalent in teacher education due to its unique capability to capture the richness and complexity of elusive classroom practice (Borko, Jacobs, Eiteljorg, & Pittman, 2008; Santagata, 2009). For this reason, Masats and Dooly (2011) express that initial teacher education programmes should integrate contextualised videos in the curricula to promote reflection. By watching videos of their own practice student teachers can provide researchers with an insight to their meaning making. Through stories individuals are provided the tools to express their identity (Bruner, 1987; Bullough and Gitlin, 2001). Connelly and Clandinin believe that
people shape their daily lives by stories of who they and others are and as they interpret their past in terms of these stories. Story, in the current idiom, is a portal through which a person enters the world and by which their experience of the world is interpreted and made personally meaningful (2006, p.477).
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