Negotiating Teacher Identities: A Case of Singapore

Year: 2015

Author: Chao, Edlyn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teachers teach who they are. This study was based on the premise that the act of teaching is not only complex, but intensely personal and is ultimately inextricably tied to an individual’s life story and identity. Previous research has established the importance of teachers’ biography, life experiences, values and beliefs in their teaching practices which in turn influence opportunities for students to learn. This study explores the interrelationships between the personal biographies of four experienced, primary school teachers and the unique and particular context of Singapore in which they live and work in. Utilising semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and research conversations, this is a qualitative study with the aim of understanding the ways in which personal experiences and agendas, national and cultural contexts, and discourses come together in the construction of teacher identities and in the enactment of teaching in Singapore.

Short biography:
Edlyn Chao hails from Singapore but has spent almost all of her life outside of Singapore. Having been born in Japan, grown up in Indonesia, and lived in the US, China and Australia (currently), identity has been an evolving concept for her. Edlyn has worked and taught in the US, Singapore and Australia in primary schools and tertiary settings. Edlyn Chao is currently a lecturer in the School of Education, Deakin University. Her research interests include: Teachers’ work and lives, K-12 education in global contexts, international/comparative studies in education, intercultural/multicultural education, teacher professional education, and social justice and change.