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Crossing borders: new teachers coconstructing professional identity in performative times

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journal contribution
posted on 2012-02-24, 11:37 authored by Chris Wilkins, Hugh Busher, Michalis Kakos, Carmen Mohamed, Joan Smith
This paper draws on a range of theoretical perspectives on the construction of new teachers’ professional identity. It focuses particularly on the impact of the development in many national education systems of a performative culture of the management and regulation of teachers’ work. Whilst the role of interactions with professional colleagues and school managers in the performative school has been extensively researched, less attention has been paid to new teachers’ interactions with students. This paper highlights the need for further research focusing on the process of identity co-construction with students. A key theoretical concept employed is that of liminality, the space within which identities are in transition as teachers adjust to the culture of a new professional workplace, and the nature of the engagement of new teachers, or teachers who change schools, with students. The authors argue that an investigation into the processes of this co-construction of identity offers scope for new insights into the extent to which teachers might construct either a teacher identity at odds with their personal and professional values, or a more ‘authentic’ identity that counters performative discourses. These insights will in turn add to our understanding of the complex range of factors impacting on teacher resilience and motivation.



Professional Development in Education, 2012, 38(1), pp. 65-77.

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/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCE/School of Education


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Professional Development in Education


Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis





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This is an electronic version of an article published in Professional Development in Education, 2012, 38(1), pp. 65-77. Professional Development in Education is available online at:



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