10 SES 05 D, Teacher Education: The development of identity
.An accumulating body of research on teacher education highlights the importance of teacher identity formation in teacher development (Lasky, 2005; Sachs, 2005). A review of the studies in the area indicates some main issues. The first issue is the lack of explicit definition of identity in many studies. In Beijaard et al. (2004)’s review of studies on teacher professional identity, ten of the 22 reviewed studies did not give an explicit definition of teacher identity. The second issue is that most studies still focus on the personal aspect of identity formation (Beijaard et al., 2004; Tsui, 2007). The definition of teacher identity in Beijaard et al. (2004)’s reviewed studies emphasizes the personal side of becoming a teacher. Beijaard et al. (2004) also point out “the need to pay explicit attention to the influence of context” on identity formation (p.125). However, Akkerman and Meijer (2011) challenge the focus on the social nature of identity in research and argue that it is not clear how a person is socially determined. The third issue is the relationship between agency and identity (Tsui, 2007). The recognition of teacher agency shifts from a structural view of the individual to regarding teachers as intentional individuals, but we also bear in mind that teacher agency may be constrained by the subject or the institutions (Cross & Gearon, 2007; Tsui, 2007). Akkerman and Meijer (2011) also point out that it is not clear how a person shows agency to move beyond the given context. Therefore, it is necessary to explore how the relationship between the subject and the social context are mediated and the role of agency in teacher’s identity formation.
This study, therefore, aims to explore two research questions:
1 How do pre-service TESOL teachers learn to teach in Australia context during their practicum ?
2 How this learning to teach experience constructs their identities as teachers?
We use activity theory and Vygotsky (1978)’s ZPD as the theoretical framework to explore pre-service teachers’ identity formation.
Activity theory could capture how the incorporation of tools and artefacts mediate, expand and even limit the interaction between the subject and the community, as this theory argues that human consciousness is constructed on the social plane in which the relationship between the subject and the object are mediated by tools and artefacts ( Engeström, 1987; Smagorinsky, Cook, Moore, Jackson, & Fry, 2004). In addition, activity theory focuses on both individual minds and collective action and can help to explain “the incorporation of the collective into the individual” (Edwards, 2005, p. 170). In the activity theory framework, tools, community, rules, and division of labour are the social and material structures that enable and constrain human agency (Sewell, 1992). From activity theory perspective, identity is the product of an activity (Roth et al., 2004). To illustrate this system of relations, this study draws on the third generation activity theory to analyse teacher identity construction during their practicum because the third generation activity theory enables the analysis of the interaction between two or more related activity systems (Engeström, 2009). In addition, a pre-service teachers’ identity is constructed during the process of learning to be a teacher with the assistance from more experienced teachers. As for this point, the ZPD offers an insightful and theoretical way to reveal the complex nature of transformation during learning (Wells, 1999) and describes the process of negotiation of identity during the process of collaboration on the social plane. The use of the ZPD could resolve the problem posed by Akkerman and Meijer (2011) to show how a person shows agency to move beyond the given context with the assistance from others.
Akkerman, S. F., & Meijer, P. C. (2011). A dialogical approach to conceptualizing teacher identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(2), 308-319. Beijaard, D., Meijer, P. C., & Verloop, N. (2004). Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20(2), 107-128. Cross, R., & Gearon, M. (2007). The confluence of doing, thinking and knowing: Classroom practice as the crucible of foreign language teacher identity. In A. Berry, A. Clemans & A. Kostogriz (Eds.), Dimensions of Professional Learning: Professonalism, Practice and Identity (pp. 53-67). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers. Edwards, A. (2005). Relational agency: Learning to be a resourceful practitioner. International Journal of Educational Research, 43(3), 168-182. Engeström, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: An activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Helsinki: Orienta-Konsultit. Engeström, Y. (2009). The future of activity theory: A rough draft. In A. Sannino, H. Daniels & K. D. Gutiérrez (Eds.), Learning and expanding with activity theory (pp. 303-328). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Lasky, S. (2005). A sociocultural approach to understanding teacher identity, agency and professional vulnerability in a context of secondary school reform. Teaching and Teacher Education, 21(8), 899-916. Roth, W.-M., Tobin, K., Elmesky, R., Carambo, C., McKnight, Y.-M., & Beers, J. (2004). Re/making identities in the praxis of urban schooling: A cultural historical perspective. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 11(1), 48-69. doi: 10.1207/s15327884mca1101_4 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 (pp. 5-21). Oxford: Routledge. Sewell, W. H. (1992). A theory of structure: Duality, agency, and transformation. American journal of sociology, 1-29. Smagorinsky, P., Cook, L. S., Moore, C., Jackson, A. Y., & Fry, P. G. (2004). Tensions in learning to teach accommodation and the development of a teaching identity. Journal of Teacher Education, 55(1), 8-24. Tsui, A. (2007). Complexities of identity formation: A narrative inquiry of an EFL teacher. TESOL Quarterly, 41(4), 657-680. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wells, G. (1999). Dialogic inquiry: Towards a socio-cultural practice and theory of education. New York: Cambridge University Press.
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
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Network 10. Teacher Education Research
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