PhD, Teacher Indentity

Teacher Identity & Gender


Patrick M. Jenlink (2014) Teacher Identity and the struggle for recognition

Mary Catherine Breen’s contribution focuses on teacher identity and intersubjective experience. The idea of visibility and invisibility in relation to the struggle for identity and recognition is an interesting one. Teachers often feel an uncertainty toward their craft; they feel maligned and under appreciated.(Cohen and Scher, 1997)

The idea of identity as unstable, non-linear and constantly changing connects to Freire’s (1997)  idea of “unfinishedness” in Pedagogy of Freedom.

Lyotard (1984) challenges the masternarratvies and metanarratives that characterise identity – in relation to teacher id, race, gender.

Derrida’s (1973) notion of difference is helpful in making sense of an identity that is not based on sameness, but difference. Other.

Munro (1998) – “the gendered construction of teaching as ideologically congruent with women’s supposed innate, nurturing capacities has obscured the agency of women’s lives.” p. 3

Michelle Khan, “The Irony of women Teacher’s Beliefs about Gender”  – “Notion that teaching is so nurturing, feminine, so womanly, renders women to simple puppets following their destiny without any say of their own.” p 115

Feminist Post Structural Theory is a useful tool to explain how gender is constructed in language, knowledge and power. Weedon (1987)

Weedon (1987) ” We need to understand why women tolerate social relations which subordinate their interest to those of men and the mechanisms whereby women and men adopt particular discursive positions as representatives of the interests.” p 12

Women teachers as ‘surrogate mothers.’

Stuart Hall ( 1990) – we need a position in order to develop an identity

Breen also explores the notion of power, agency, space and self in the feminized power of the teacher. Here she adopts Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own to draw out ideas about women’s need for money, resources and a room to write, to develop the narrative of the self.

Jenlink also uses The English Patient to develop a discussion about changing identity. He relates the notion of Palimpsest to identity – suggesting that the teacher identity is one that undergoes a cultural, relational and biographical process of change and refinement.

Teacher Identity requires new ways of examining discourse, cultural artefacts experiences and memories.

References to follow up: Donald Taylor (2002) – The Quest for Identity, Tambouku, M (2000) The paradox of being a woman teacher, Gender and Education, 12 (4), 463-475

Donald Taylor (2002) – The Quest for Identity


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