Teacher Educators’ Identities and Work in England at the Beginning of the Second Decade of the Twenty-First Century

Aug. 01, 2011

Source: Journal of Education for Teaching, Vol. 37, No. 3, August 2011, 261–277.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This paper reports on part of the study of teacher educators in England which entitled ‘The Academic Tribe of Teacher Educators’ (A3TE).

The purpose of A3TE was to examine teacher educators' constructions of their own identities in the academic communities within two university schools of education.

Specifically, the objectives of this part were:
1) to provide an evidence-based account of how these teacher educators viewed their identities,
2) to analyse what these constructions might indicate about teacher education work and the changing discourses and practices of teacher education in these two schools of education.


The findings reveal that teacher educators in both universities constructed repertoires of identities for themselves. The teacher educators positioned these various identities to achieve credibility and recognition or to reflect personal change, depending on the particular context and ‘audience’.

Although entry into the university often triggered a complex and shifting process of the (re)construction of identity around practice as a teacher educator and academic engagement, many of the teacher educators still saw one of their identities as that of ‘once-a-school teacher’.


The authors identify two practical, small-scale, starting points for supporting the development of teacher educators’ academic lives in the future.

First, systematic induction should be provided to ensure that those entering teacher education acquire awareness of the occupational group they are joining and the available research on its knowledge, skills and identities.

Second, the place of research and scholarship in personal practice for teacher educators already in post should be articulated, as part of explicit discussions about the contestations of professional work and knowledge.

Updated: Jan. 23, 2013