Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Dan O'Sullivan
Educational Studies Association of Ireland (ESAI) Annual Conference 2015
Positional Identity Shaping of Beginning Teachers: A 'Figured Worlds' Perspective
National University of Ireland Maynooth
Oral Presentation
Optional Fields
Positional Identity Shaping of Beginning Teachers: A ‘Figured Worlds’ Perspective Positional identity shaping, among beginning primary teachers, during the course of their initial year of workplace practice, post-graduation, is the focus of my presentation. My guiding theoretical framework is informed by the principles of figured worlds theory (Holland et al. 1998), a suitable heuristic for understanding the shaping of beginning teacher positional identity, as positions inhering in the historically contingent, socially enacted, culturally constructed figured worlds of primary schooling, are analysed. Constituting a key world where individuals come to figure who they perceive themselves to be, of particular importance in the figured world of beginning teaching, is the manner in which power is operationalised in the workplace between beginning teachers and others whose positions are defined relationally vis-à-vis the beginner. Consequently, comprehensive accounts of beginning teaching must incorporate the positional significance of power differentials and the micro-political nature of the socially reproduced sites we know as ‘schools’. Offering a situated analysis of early-career identity shaping, among nine primary school teachers, across multiple sites, over the space of one year, using a multi-temporal, triangulated methodology, changing positional identity processes are captured. Drawing on figured worlds theory, my conclusions are set in a wider context of theoretically informed current themes and preoccupations relating to beginning teaching.