Forming a Teacher Educator Identity: Uncertain Standards, Practice and Relationships

Aug. 01, 2011

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Vol. 37, No. 3, August 2011, 309–323.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

In this article, the author drew on his professional and personal history to explore some of the prominent features that have shaped his own teacher educator identity.

The history of teacher education long echoes the themes of low status and lack of respect. However, the author claims that low status and questionable value may not be prominent factors in shaping how most teacher educators come to identify themselves.

Perspectives on identity
This article relies on four perspectives on identity developed by Gee (2001):
nature - identity by nature,
institutional - identity by the positions we hold,
discursive - identity by what we have done and in dialogue with others, and
affinity -identity by allegiance to practices and perspectives of group affiliation.

In terms of Gee’s model, the discursive and affinity perspectives are more useful for thinking about how this basic frame of identity development elaborates over time.
The author considers his own professional identity as largely formed in practice in relation with colleagues and students involved in the doing of, and thinking about, teacher education.

What does influence on teacher educator's identity?

The article then highlights features that stand out as prominent themes in the author's own teacher educator identity.

First, the article describes the conflict between research and teaching.
Many teacher educators who work in university contexts find their professional lives split by two very distinct activities, research and teaching.
The author also has attempted to negotiate this tension by finding ways to do research on the practice of teacher education.

Furthermore, this paper argues that teacher educators find themselves entangled in the same standards and accountability net that has swept the US education system in the past two decades.
The enactment of standards shapes the author's identity as a teacher educator in both the macro- and micro-settings of practice.

Collaboration with Colleagues and Students

The author concludes that despite the uncertain conditions for the development of professional identity in the field of teacher education, his relationships with his colleagues and his students have shaped his identity as teacher educator.

Relationships with close colleagues, especially those of us who have intentionally come together to form collaborative inquiry communities of practice, play a crucial role in clarifying his identity as a teacher educator.

In addition, the author's teacher educator identity mostly exists in relationships with students, from the shared inquiry he undertakes with each new group of pre-service teachers.

Gee, J.P. 2001. Identity as an analytic lens for research in education. In Review of research
in education, ed. W.G. Secada, Vol. 25, 99–125. Washington, DC: American Educational
Research Association.

Updated: Sep. 11, 2013