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Teacher Professional Identity and Learner Engagement

The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.

Can there be something within a teacher’s professional identity that enables them to better engage their students? If so, what are some ways an educator can shape their professional identity to more effectively engage their students in content and skill development?

Education researchers (Salli & Osam, 2018) suggest that a teacher’s professional identity is a balance between both teaching strategies and the teacher’s interactions with students. A person’s identity is made up of several unique perspectives (I-positions), working both separately and in harmony with one another to effect one’s decisions and actions in a given situation (Meijers & Hermans, 2018). I-positions are made up of a person’s past experiences, and each I-position then assumes a role within the person’s identity. When a person encounters a new situation, several I-positions may be activated at the same time and through dialogic interaction, either collaborate or form tension with each other in order for the person to make a decision and act within that situation.

The collaboration and tension among I-positions is where a person’s identity is formed or grows.

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