Student teachers experiences of teachers' professional identity within the context of curriculum change in a University in KwaZulu-Natal.
Fomunyam, Kehdinga George.
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This study is an exploration of student teachers experiences of teachers’ professional identity within the context of curriculum change in a University in KwaZulu-Natal. Exploring the experiences that student teachers have of teachers’ professional identity gives the researcher an understanding of what it means to be a teacher, thereby giving teacher educators and stakeholders the understanding of what needs to be restructured in teacher education programs and the kind of challenges student teachers are facing. The study intended to answer the following questions; what experiences do student teachers have of teachers’ professional identity within the context of changing curriculum? And how can these experiences shape or not shape their professional development as teachers of tomorrow? In answering this question, the researcher used case study research which was situated within the qualitative framework and enshrined in the interpretive paradigm. Four student teachers were selected using non-probability purposive sampling were interviewed and two journal articles were analysed, also to generate data. The data generated from the interviews was analysed using the social constructionism theory as the theoretical framework. The data generated indicated that experiencing teachers professional identity was all about four main themes; the complicated demand teaching places on the student teacher, the curriculum or the sum total of what happens in schools, the relationship between content and pedagogy and finally professional development. These four main themes were further broken into eight sub themes; the single self and the multiple self, the syllabus and lesson delivery, content, pedagogy, becoming a teacher and teaching skills. All these combine to give the student teacher the place, ideas and skills he or she needs to navigate through the teaching profession. From the findings it was clear that experiencing teachers’ professional identity provides the student teacher with an arsenal with which he or she can handle the teaching profession. It also helps to foster the professional development of the student teacher. Recommendations for a quantitative study on the topic was made and stake holders were also admonished to take into consideration the challenges student teachers go through when experiencing teachers professional identity to improve teacher education programs and finally student teachers were admonished to take control of their learning.