Teacher identity construction: becoming a ‘teacher of reading’.
In, 44th International Conference of the United Kingdom Literacy Association, Liverpool, UK,
11 - 13 Jul 2008.
The construction of teacher identity is a complex business, growing out of interactions within and across a number of institutions and communities of practice from childhood onwards. It is hardly surprising then that changes in policy do not necessarily translate into the intended changes to practice. Small-group guided reading, for example, introduced by the National Literacy Strategy some ten years ago, has had a patchy uptake, according to the limited data available. Yet many teachers have adopted it with enthusiasm and commitment. Taking this as a starting point, this paper reports on part of a study which explores the development of teachers’ identities and practices specifically as teachers of reading, against a Bernsteinian socio-cultural framework. Three teachers participate, all of whom include guided reading routinely in their pedagogic repertoires. The analysis of data from interviews and observations of video-recorded guided reading lessons enables the relationship between teachers’ past history, current understandings and current practice to become visible. Findings are discussed with a view to their implications for teacher development.
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