“Heroic Victims”: Discursive Constructions of Preservice Early Childhood Teacher Professional Identities

May. 15, 2015

Source: Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Volume 36, Issue 2, 2015, p. 142-155

This article examines the professional identities preservice early childhood teachers take up and speak into action while participating in classes focused on teaching in child care.

Employing poststructural social theory, data drawn from focus groups with preservice early childhood teachers was examined through a Foucauldian-informed discourse analysis.
Particular ways in which the preservice teachers talked about images of children and quality in early childhood are scrutinized for how discourses work to constitute the professional identities of preservice early childhood teachers.

The findings revealed that the participants drew on a range of competing discourses available to them, through their degree, and from elsewhere to describe the work of teaching young children and teaching in child care.
These competing and colliding discourses, it is argued produce an identity of preservice teachers as ‘heroic victims.’
The article raises questions about the discourses in circulation in preservice early childhood teacher education, and considers the implications this has for professional identities and career pathways—particularly work in child care.

Updated: Sep. 01, 2015