Exploring teachers’ identity positions as teacher-writers and writer-teachers in the classroom

Cremin, Teresa (2015). Exploring teachers’ identity positions as teacher-writers and writer-teachers in the classroom. In: Turnbull, Jan; Barton, Georgina and Brock, Cynthia eds. Teaching Writing in Today's Classroom: Looking Back to Looking Forward. Sydney: Australian Literacy Educators' Association (ALEA), pp. 51–68.


In the context of increased international interest in teachers’ literate habitus and identities, this paper discusses teachers’ identities as writers within the classroom. In order to do so, relevant literature is reviewed and empirical data from a case study of two UK primary phase professionals are drawn upon (Cremin and Baker, 2010; 2014). The study which employed interviews, observation and video stimulated review, examined the practices employed by these teachers who sought to position themselves as writers in the classroom. The practices foregrounded were twofold: firstly ‘demonstration writing’, (when the teachers simultaneously thought out loud as they wrote in front of the class), voicing metacognitively the complexities of composing. Secondly, ‘writing alongside’, (when the teachers sat in the midst of the younger writers), following the same compositional remit as the children. The first analytic stage of this study focused on the teachers’ identity positioning (Cremin and Baker, 2010). The second analytic stage explored this in more detail through examining the multimodal interactive discourses indexed in demonstration writing and writing alongside (Cremin and Baker, 2014). The data show that the writing classroom in which the teachers performed and enacted their identities as teacher-writers and writer-teachers was a site of struggle. Ongoing conflict between the teachers’ intended discourse positions/identities and the recognition and acceptance of these attempts by the children was also evidenced.

The chapter thus foregrounds the challenge of teachers’ positioning themselves as writers in school. A model for conceptualising teachers’ writing identities on a teacher-writer-writer-teacher identity continuum is offered, and the potential of developing Writing Teachers: ‘teachers who write and writers who teach’ is explored.

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