10 SES 16 A, Student Teachers and Professional Identity
Motivated new teachers who remain in the profession are to the benefit of both society and the individual. There is also a need for beginning teachers with sound educational values, clear pedagogical goals as well as the means to meet those ends. One crucial factor in achieving this goal is to support the formation of the professional identity of prospective teachers during teacher training (Thomas & Beauchamp, 2011). Professional identity as a construct/concept is a combination of personal and professional, and individual and social elements. The significance of teacher training and especially teacher practices in the construction of professional identity are well recognized. However, the influence and meaning of experiences outside formal teacher education in the construction of professional identity is relatively unknown, and the number of studies concentrating on physical education (PE) teachers’ professional identity is very limited (Keating et al., 2017). Thus, in this study, we aim to understand the meaning of experiences outside the formal context of physical education teacher education (PETE) in the negotiation of PE student teachers’ professional identity.
In theoretical terms, we refer to professional identity as an individual’s conception of him or herself as a professional subject, based on professional and personal history (Eteläpelto, Vähäsantanen, Hökkä, & Paloniemi, 2014). Current opinions regard professional identity broadly as dynamic and changing in nature, albeit with a thread of continuity. It is also commonly seen as comprising both social and individual aspects and as constructed and negotiated in the interaction between individual resources and the social environment (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011; Beijaard, Meijer, & Verloop, 2004; Beauchamp & Thomas, 2009). For teachers, professional identity includes professional knowledge, beliefs, values, interests and future aspirations (e.g. Beijaard et al., 2004).
Professional identity construction and identity negotiation feature throughout a teacher’s career (Day, 2012). However, they are particularly pertinent during the early years of teaching when tensions in professional identity are common (Pillen, Beijaard, & den Brok, 2013a). The construction of one’s professional identity is usually a slow and complex process, but crucial “key experiences” can also be identified (Meijer, de Graaf, & Meirink, 2011). The role of teacher education in the construction of professional identity is significant, and the construction and negotiation of professional identity should be supported in teacher education (Thomas & Beauchamp, 2011).
The professional identities of PE student teachers and their educators have traditionally centred on sports knowledge and skills rather than on broader educational issues (Dowling, 2011), and physical performance and mastery of specific sports have been valued over critical thinking and reflective approaches (Larsson, 2009). Questions have been raised concerning the applicability of the traditional performance-oriented PE teacher identity in today’s schools (e.g. Dowling, 2011). At the same time, it has long been noted that PE teachers and their educators have tended to reproduce and reinforce a particular professional culture, encompassing discourses, teacher identities and attitudes towards their work (Sirna, Tinning, & Rossi, 2010; Wrench & Garrett, 2015). However, there are some reports of PE students being able to negotiate “new” teacher identities (e.g. Wrench & Garrett, 2012). Overall, there are only few studies on PE teachers’ professional identity (Keating et al., 2017).
Therefore, in this study, we aim to investigate the significance and role of experiences outside the formal context of PETE in the negotiation of PE student teachers’ professional identity. To do this, we have set two research questions:
- What kinds of professional identity negotiations concerning experiences outside the formal context of PETE take place during teacher training?
- What is the relationship between experiences outside and within the formal context of PETE in the negotiation of professional identity?
The research participants comprised 20 preservice PE teachers (12 women, 8 men) who were conducting their final teaching practice within a master’s degree programme in PE at a university in Finland. The trainees participated in a semi-structured interview (see, e.g. Patton, 2002). The interview questions were informed by the concept of professional identity and included themes such as personal and professional history, the aims and basic principles of teaching (e.g. values and goals), gender and the body in teaching PE, influential experiences during teacher training and future career aspirations. The data (360 pages; Times New Roman 12 at 1.5 spacing) were transcribed verbatim and analysed by applying structural coding (1st cycle) and pattern coding (2nd cycle) methods (Saldaña, 2016). During the first cycle of analysis, the data were conceptualized and coded according to the research questions, and the coded extracts were collected for a more detailed analysis. During the second cycle of analysis, two major themes were constructed, and the contents and interrelations of each theme were further elaborated.
When asked about significant experiences in the construction of professional identity, the PE preservice teachers often talked about experiences outside the formal teacher training. By these experiences, we refer to events that took place during teacher training but in other contexts than PETE studies (e.g. work, student politics, travelling, other studies and coaching). The experiences outside the formal context of PETE (question 1) were a significant source of inspiration, offering new insights and “building blocks” for the negotiation of professional identity. The professional identity negotiations under this theme were situated in the following five sub-areas of professional identity: professional commitment, pedagogical values and ideals, professional knowledge and competence, relationship between personal and professional identity and the position of PE in the educational system. The second research question focused on the relationship between the experiences described above and those within the formal context of PETE. The overall interaction between experiences outside the context of teacher training and within PETE was positive. Reflecting on the experiences outside PETE against those within PETE and vice versa enabled a positive cycle that contributed to the construction of professional identity. There were cases of “fixed” professional identities, where PE preservice teachers’ ideas about being a PE teacher were fairly permanent and resistant to change. In these instances, the role of experiences outside teacher training was two-sided. On one hand, they offered a possibility to “break through” the “fixed” professional identity and integrate PETE into professional identity negotiations. On the other hand, the strong influence of experiences outside teacher training on the construction of professional identity could lead to a “fixed” professional identity and an exclusion of PETE from professional identity negotiations. All in all, the experiences outside the formal context of PETE seemed very influential in the negotiation of professional identity.
Akkerman, S. A, & Meijer, P. C. (2011). A dialogical approach to conceptualizing teacher identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 308–319. 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, 107–128. Day, C. (2012). New lives of teachers. Teacher Education Quarterly, 39(1), 7–26. Dowling, F. (2011). Are PE teacher identities fit for postmodern schools or are they clinging to modernist notions of professionalism? A case study of Norwegian PE teacher students’ emerging professional identities. Sport, Education and Society, 16(2), 201¬–222. Eteläpelto, A., Vähäsantanen, K., Hökkä, P., & Paloniemi, S. (2014). Identity and agency in professional learning. In S. Billett, C. Harteis, & H. Gruber (Eds.), International handbook of research in professional and practice-based learning (pp. 645–672). London: Springer. Keating, X. D., Liu, J., Fan, Y., Zhou, K., Shangguan, R., & Harrison, L. (2017). Research on preservice physical education teachers’ and preservice elementary teachers’ physical education Identities: A systematic review. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 36, 162–173. Larsson, L. (2009). Idrott – och helst lite mer idrott: Idrottslärarstudenters möte med utbildningen (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Retrieved on 24 January, 2018 from http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:234649/FULLTEXT01.pdf Meijer, P. C., de Graaf, G., & Meirink, J. (2011). Key experiences in student teachers’ development. Teachers and Teaching, 17(1), 115–129. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods (3rd ed.). London: SAGE. Pillen, M., Beijaard, D., & den Brok, P. (2013a). Tensions in beginning teachers’ professional identity development, accompanying feelings and coping strategies. European Journal of Teacher Education, 36(3), 240–260. Saldaña, J. 2016. The coding manual for qualitative researchers (3rd ed.). London: SAGE. Sirna, K., Tinning, R., & Rossi, T. (2010). Social processes of health and physical education teachers’ identity formation: Reproducing and changing culture. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 31(1), 71–84. Thomas, L., & Beauchamp, C. (2011). Understanding new teachers’ professional identities through metaphor. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27, 762–769. Wrench, A., & Garrett, R. (2012). Identity work: Stories told in learning to teach physical education. Sport, Education and Society, 17(1), 1–19. Wrench, A., & Garrett, R. (2015). PE: it’s just me: Physically active and healthy teacher bodies. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 28(1), 72–91.
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
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.