Teachers' perceptions of professional identity: An exploratory study from a personal knowledge perspective

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate experienced secondary school teachers' (N=80) current and prior perceptions of their professional identity. A questionnaire was used to explore the way teachers see (and saw) themselves as subject matter experts, didactical experts, and pedagogical experts. The teachers currently see their professional identity as consisting of a combination of the distinct aspects of expertise. Most teachers' current perceptions of their professional identity reportedly differ significantly from their prior perceptions of this identity during their period as beginning teachers. On the basis of their current perceptions of their professional identity, five groups of teachers could be distinguished. These groups had different learning experiences throughout their careers for each aspect of expertise. Also, teachers from different subject areas did not undergo the same changes in their perceptions of their professional identity. The differences among the groups in teachers' current perceptions of professional identity were not related to contextual, experiential, and biographical factors that might influence these perceptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-764
Number of pages16
JournalTeaching and Teacher Education
Volume16
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Expertise
  • Learning experiences
  • Perceptions
  • Professional development
  • Professional identity

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