FROM GROUP-FOCUSED TO SELF-FOCUSED NARRATIVES: SHAPING PROFESSIONAL IDENTITY OF SCIENCE STUDENT TEACHERS DURING PEDAGOGICAL PRACTICUM
The current research deals with the development of professional identity of 17 Israeli student teachers during their pedagogical practicum while leading PBL by means of team-teaching. For the sake of this study, we define identity as relationally determined and developing through social interactions in the process of team-teaching and, subsequently, manifested in personal and collective narratives by the trainees. The participants of the study were the 3rd-year students in the science teaching track in one of the pedagogical colleges in the central part of Israel. During the practicum, the teacher trainees were instructed to implement PBL process as well as reflect on it as a part of meeting the course requirements.
The data were collected via in-depth interviews and reflective reports and analyzed using both content and linguistic methodology. Our findings indicate that the trainees’ professional identity was shaped through meaningful experiences in two dimensions: on the one hand, the trainees had been challenged while leading PBL in science class; on the other hand, they had been involved in fruitful and supportive cooperation with their peers. This process of identity shaping was manifested in the post-experience narratives produced by the student teachers. Both content and linguistic methods of analysis showed the transformation of the trainees’ professional identity throughout four stages: from
(2) frustration, and difficulty to
(3) coping with and overcoming the difficulties leading to
(4) a sense of success and satisfaction.
The participants’ identity in the narratives changed from group-focused to self-focused pointing at the professional growth, empowerment, and substantial gains in self-confidence. We believe that leading PBL via co-teaching has high potential for shaping professional identity among science student teachers.