Exploring Teacher Professional Identity With Teachers of English of a Secondary School in Senegal

Diop, Dame (2016). Exploring Teacher Professional Identity With Teachers of English of a Secondary School in Senegal. MRes thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000ef53

Abstract

This study takes a sociocultural approach to teacher professional identity to explore how a small group of teachers of English in Senegal see themselves as teachers, the different contextual elements that might influence their perceptions and the relationship which exists between the latter and their practice. As shown in the literature, teacher professional identity has been of interest to educational researchers for a number of years (Beijaard et al. , 2004; Day et al. , 2006 and Cross & Ndofirepi, 2015). This is due to its significance in teacher education both at pre-service and in-service levels. A number of studies have established an interrelation between how teachers see themselves as professionals, their sociocultural environments, and working contexts (Lasky, 2005; Smit &Fritz, 2008; Cross & Ndofirepi, 2015). A small group of teachers of English working in one Senegalese secondary school were studied using a variety of qualitative data collection instruments. They were first interviewed, observed in classrooms and then interviewed again. Data were also collected as field notes from observations about the school and participation in a pedagogical cell meeting. The analysis of the data through ‘crafting profiles’ (Seidman, 2006) and thematic analysis has shown that participants have different perceptions of their professional identities such as ‘knowledge provider’, ‘role model’, and ‘advice giver’ and they enact these in various ways. The findings suggest that much importance needs to be given to discussions about matters related to teacher professional identity itself and its relationship with practice in in-service teacher training activities. This study has also highlighted the importance of school culture in the formation and enactment of teacher professional identity. Hence, it is significant that educational authorities give due consideration to the institutional level when making policies and planning for enactment of policy in practice.

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