Exploring early career physical education teachers’ identities through artifacts

Year: 2016

Author: Peters, Jacqui

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Being a physical education teacher in contemporary times within a complex field and with imminent curriculum change, holds a multitude of challenges. One of those challenges is negotiating one’s professional identity. It is suggested by Fernandez-Balboa (1998) that “the personal is pedagogical, and the pedagogical is personal” (p.127), suggesting that professional identity is linked strongly to practice. This link is important in trying to make sense of PE teachers’ identities and their impacts on practice in contemporary times.In light of above, this research is interested in exploring the professional identities of physical education teachers in helping to make sense of their practice against the backdrop of these challenges. Using a poststructuralist framework, a case study approach has been utilised in order to explore the identities of seven third-year-out teachers of physical education. Bourdieu’s commonly explored notions of habitus, field and capital provide a lens to do so, in addition to his ideas around pedagogic practice and reflexivity. This research utilises vignettes and artifacts as important features of the methodology. This presentation will explore the artifacts chosen by each participant to help explain their professional identity. Using Bourdieu’s notions, the artifacts help in bringing to light aspects of each teacher’s identity that is consistent with and complements the spoken word. As Prosser (2011) explains, it is not the artefact as visual data itself that is important, rather the meaning that the participant attributes to the data. Artifacts also help to make identity “thing-like” (Leander 2002, p.199). The meaning the participants bring to the artifacts will be explored in relation to the data collected through interviews and vignettes.