Universidad Pedagogica y Tecnologica de colombia (COLOMBIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 3243-3253
ISBN: 978-84-616-0763-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
Central to this study is the question of how teachers construct their professional identity. This research explores the process of becoming a teacher and consequently of the construction of identity in terms of three specific components: belonging to a teacher community, the relationship between systems of knowledge and beliefs and classroom practice, and professional expectations for the future. A group of six Colombian pre-service teachers in the final stage of their five-year teacher education programme were research participants. Interviews, stimulated recall and on-line blogs as methods of data collection, and content and conversational analysis as the analytical approaches, were used. The findings reveal that while the process of learning to teach is individually constructed and experienced, it is socially negotiated. The research participants exhibited a permanent struggle between developing a personal professional style and coping with the restrictions imposed by living in a particular type of society that has already defined what teachers should do. Nevertheless, they manifested well-grounded principles and theories of language teaching and learning and the purpose of education, and awareness of their potential as a new generation of teachers. This suggests that they had developed a sense of professional identity; a way to see themselves as teachers. This evolving identity sometimes conflicted with experience once they had faced the reality of classrooms, assumed institutional roles or negotiated modes of participation within a teacher community. The study has relevance for policymakers in planning action promoting professional development in pre-service and in-service teacher education.

Research in the field of teacher identity has attracted increasing interest in the last decade (van Veen & Sleegers, 2005; Richards, 2006; Clarke, 2008; Day et al., 2006). The subject has generally been approached from the perspective of what constitutes both the visible and invisible domains of the work and lives of teachers. The visible side includes what teachers do, for example, classroom interaction, assessment, material design, or task implementation. This is generally represented in the literature on teacher education as the technical or functional dimension of teaching. On the other hand, the invisible side involves more personal phenomena such as cognition, beliefs, expectations, or emotions. In principle, the exploration of teacher identity might be more fruitful if these two perspectives could be reconciled. To do this, this study aims to investigate how pre-service teachers construct their professional identities from the interplay between participation in a teacher community and their systems of knowledge and beliefs.
Teacher identity, teacher education, beliefs.