More Than ‘Identity’: Tools for the Teaching Profession in Troubled Times

Year: 2006

Author: Mockler, Nicole, Sachs, Judyth

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The growing popular appeal of the concept of identity across a range of fields over the past decade has seen an increased focus in the scholarly and professional literature on the notion of ‘teacher identity’. While both topical and ubiquitous, however, ‘teacher identity’ still remains relatively under theorised in the literature, and the term is applied inconsistently in a variety of ways across a number of contexts. In this paper, we look critically at the notion of ‘identity’ as it stands in relation to the teaching profession, point to some of the work that the concept can do and some of that which, we claim, it cannot. We argue that ‘identity’ as a concept for teachers takes focus away from the ‘real work’, the central task of teaching and that for a transformative teaching profession to emerge, those who support teachers in their work (such as ourselves) need to work with teachers to explore ways in which the politics of transformation can be enacted within this central task rather than outside of it.