Teacher professionalism, teacher identity : how do I see myself?
thesisposted on 15.12.2014, 10:42 by Nalita James
This doctoral thesis describes a research study that explores how academic psychologists see themselves in the communities in which they live and work - in this context higher education and their professional body, the British Psychological Society. It examines how professional identity is constructed in such communities and how they underpin their teacher professionalism. A detailed literature review has taken place, involving an examination of two theoretical concepts - the nature of teacher professionalism and professional identity. The epistemological framework of the study and the narrative inquiry approach both provide a way of understanding the academic psychologists' experiences as lived and told narratives. The relationships that define their lives have also been explored - these include talking to Society staff and students studying on undergraduate degrees in psychology. A narrative method of inquiry has been used in the form of email interviewing, offering an alternative site for the academic psychologists to reflect upon experiential events and write their accounts. This is complemented by the use of non-narrative methods such as email questionnaires delivered to the students and face-to-face interviews conducted with Society staff. Through the data analysis the emergent themes illustrate how the academic psychologists see themselves and how they are perceived by others. Conclusions drawn suggest an emerging model of teacher professionalism whereby the academic psychologists are engaged in critical self-reflection to explore their identities using self-images. They also highlight that a multiplicity of identities exist that are shaped by the academic psychologists' varied working communities and are interlinked with their personal lives. Recommendations for organisational practice have also been made, looking at how academic psychologists see themselves as members of the Society and the implications this has for supporting the development of the profession.