10 SES 08 D, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
We have noted that the issue of identity formation and its critical role in the development of professional identity appears as the key factor in such studies of learning as Geijsel and Meijers (2005), who treat the formation of teacher identity as a continuous learning process, where each professional experience is re-thought against a background of interactions of emotions and knowledge and where an experience can be both deeply individual and one which is experienced with peers.
One specific aspect of identity formation that is being regarded as critical is the emotions stimulated by the complex relationships between teacher, students, colleagues, mentor, school, community and state (Britzman 1992; Hargreaves 2001; Kelchtermans 2005; Zembylas 2003, 2005). Whilst contexts and relationships describe external aspects, stories and emotions describe the internal, meaning-making aspects of identity formation. Emotions, therefore, have been increasingly addressed as critical (Rodgers and Scott 2008).
Several studies (Maldarez et al. 2007; Poulou 2007) suggest that becoming a teacher is a highly emotional experience that can generate both negative and positive emotions. Positive emotions support learning but it is also generally considered inevitable that negative experiences will occur during teaching practice. Brown (2006) says that students have to be ready, all the time, to acknowledge and address the short comings of the teacher self that mentors and pupils reveal to them (or claim for them) and goes on to comment that other people’s perceptions of one’s self can be shocking. Processing these revelations can be a difficult task for student teachers during initial teaching practice and the concomitant early stages of professional identity because first practice is intrinsically highly emotional, complicated and contradictory. Our own research (Timoštšuk and Ugaste 2010) revealed that the emotions of student teachers highlight and intensify experiences. The study further indicates that personal experiences in initial teaching practice focus on the student’s own subject and their relationships withpupils and supervisors is more important than the broader context of teaching, a position supported by many researchers (Brown 2006; Flores and Day 2006; Poulou 2007; Rodgers and Scott 2008).
Our aim is to describe and understand the role of emotions in student teachers professional identity. ‘Emotion’ in this paper is understood according to Lasky (2005) as being both a biological and social construction, mediated by social structures, cultural tools and identity.
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