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Title: Becoming a secondary science teacher : an exploration of key personal, professional & situated experiences & how these shape science teacher identities : a multiple case study
Authors: Jutla, Jaswinder
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This holistic study theorises student teachers (STs’) personal, professional and situated experiences as identity formation and embraces Wenger’s (1998) social theory of learning framework. The study offers fruitful insights into the intricate scenarios that challenge or support STs’ identity development as secondary science teachers. Three ST’s partook, two PGCE ST’s and one GTP ST which formed each case study. They were recruited using a sample of convenience. Data collection methods include semi-structured interviews, three questionnaires, diamond ranking and documentary evidence. The methodology of analysis is embedded within an interpretive paradigm. Thematic analysis is used in addition to an integrated analytical framework. This includes aspects of Day and Kington’s (2008) identity model intertwined with Valsiner's (1997) two basic extended zone theory concepts comprised of the Zone of Free Movement (ZFM) and Zone of Promoted Action (ZPA). The three ST’s professional and situated experiences are mapped on to these models to identify factors that exercise the most/least dominance. This revealed the relative stability/instability depicted within each identity dimension including the personal dimension of identity. This provided an overall snapshot of the identity scenario each ST experienced whilst training and highlighted areas of training that required further improvement and development. Study findings confirm that STs’ experiences are uniquely constructed and socially negotiated for each individual. A combination of personal, professional and situated identity scenarios is experienced to varying degrees by all STs’ which either challenge or support identity development. Experiences embedded within the situated dimension (context-dependent) in HEI/DRB and school learning communities (for both GTPs and PGCEs) are found to be most dominant in shaping STs’ identities as science teachers. The quality of emotional/professional support (from NQTs, HEI/DRB personnel and school mentors), training provision and availability of stable teaching environments are all pertinent factors. The various discourses STs’ participate in, the professional relationships they establish and a sense of belonging to learning/teaching communities are also found to be an influential mediating factors. Those who experience conflict(s) in these training areas did not always recognise the value of these tensions in developing their teacher identities. Findings also reveal how those who express confidence with their subject-knowledge, felt ill-equipped with the Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) required (e.g. lesson planning) needed to teach their subject matter at a level that pupils could grasp. This signals that greater recognition of the link between PCK and Subject Content knowledge (SCK) is required. This left some STs’ feeling despondent and inadequate as science teachers which impacted on their confidence, well-being and hindered their identity development. Study findings have implications at programme/school level and for policy makers by highlighting key areas of the teacher education curriculum/training provision that may require development and further improvements. Addressing key concern areas may subsequently provide future STs’ with stronger more stable learning/teaching environments where identity development as science teachers could be enhanced. There is a need for teacher educators to encourage STs’ to be mindful of all their experiences (positive or negative) and how experiencing highs and lows is a normal part of becoming a teacher and can prove fruitful in shaping their identities as science teachers.
Description: Ed. D. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences

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