Teachers as Professionals and Teachers’ Identity Construction as an Ecological Construct: An Agenda for Research and Training Drawing upon a Biographical Research Process

From Section:
Professional Development
Aug. 30, 2009

Source: European Educational Research Journal, Volume 8 Number 3 (2009),  pages 461-475.

The study of teacher identity developed greatly during the 1990s and, in a way, replaced other studies on teacher professionalism. Highlighting the interactions, emotions and cognitions in their everyday expression, these studies contributed to making visible the role of specific communities of professionals in valuing and improving professional action.

However, after almost two decades, it became clear that the study of the construction of teacher identity could not be based solely on the description of the interactions, but in fact also required a macro-sociological analysis. Coordinating these levels of analysis is important for developing the construct of the teacher as a professional, a profile that inspires current teacher training policies in Europe.

Based on theoretical contributions such as the ‘construction of professional identities for real social change’ (Claude Dubar), and the ideal-typical model of professionalism (Eliot Freidson), this article aims to present the construction of teacher identity as a subjective dimension of the process of teacher professionalisation, viewing it as an ecological construct.

To this end, the article presents the results of research carried out during the 1990s and the early twenty-first century, in order to shed some light on the dynamics inherent to each of the levels of analysis and the interactions which are established between them.

The article concludes with a discussion of the advantages of this approach for teacher training and research.


Dubar, Claude. La socialisation. Construction des identitיs sociales et professionnelles. Armand Colin, 2002. Pages 255p., 3th edition.

Updated: Jan. 17, 2017
Educational research | Identity | Professional identity | Professional practices | Teachers