University of Oulu

A narrative study of teachers’ professional identity through the eyes of Namibian teachers

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Author: Lyttinen, Sari1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences and Teacher Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1 MB)
Persistent link: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:oulu-201512082269
Language: English
Published: Oulu : S. Lyttinen, 2015
Publish Date: 2015-12-08
Physical Description: 97 p.
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Komulainen, Jyrki
Reviewer: Komulainen, Jyrki
Pinola, Timo
Description:

Abstract

Teachers’ professional identity has been widely studied in the Western academic context during the last decades. This study is examining the stories of subject teachers’ professional identity in the context of Namibia. The purpose of this study was to increase understanding of teacher professional identity through a cross-cultural perspective. The theoretical framework consists of two dimensions: teachers’ professional identity and the Namibian educational culture through a cross-cultural aspect. The first part of the theoretical framework scrutinises narrative identity and teachers’ professional development together with the main concept. The second part of the theoretical framework approaches the studied context by increasing information about it and by reflecting the significance of cross-cultural research and researcher’s position in the study.

The aim of this study is to discover from which essential incidents the professional teacher identity of these Namibian subject teachers’ is constructed in the different phases of their career. Since identity is approached as a phenomenon, qualitative inquiry is applicable for researching the topic. Narrative approach is utilised in this study, since narrativity is linked to the construction of teacher identity in Sfard & Prusak’s (2005), Kaasila’s (2008) and Soreide’s (2006) definitions. The data was collected by using the semi-structures interviews and includes the stories of four Namibian subject teachers of their careers. All the interviewed teachers had gained professional experience before data collection. The analysis of data was performed by utilising Polkinghorne’s (2005) method analysis of narratives.

The main categories that formed the results of this study are 1) The construction of teacher identity, 2) The development of teacher identity on a personal and societal level, 3) The dimensions of teacher identity in contemporary context, and 4) The ideal teacher and teachers’ thoughts of their future. Moreover, the main categories are divided into themes, by applying Polkinghorne’s (2005) method. The themes were construed from the data based on the stories teachers told.

The conclusions show that teacher professional identity is constructed through significant people, events and educational environments in teachers’ lives. Moreover, the development of identity is constructed through evaluation on a personal level and by reflecting the changes in teachers’ profession on a societal level. In the contemporary context teacher identity is constructed via experienced roles, motivation in teachers’ profession, practical experiences, educational values and professional challenges. As Flores & Day (2006) point out, teacher professional identity is shaping constantly during the career. Furthermore, teachers in this study define their identity to the future by professional goals and constructing their image of an ideal teacher. In addition, this study supports Sfard & Prusak’s (2005) definition of teacher professional identity as constructed though stories. The conclusions of this study indicate that teacher professional identity has global and universal elements. From the perspective of conclusions cross-cultural research of this topic enriches the understanding of Finnish teacher professional identity.

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Copyright information: © Sari Lyttinen, 2015. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.