Choosing to Teach

Working Paper Abstracts

Visions of Good Teaching and the Development of Teacher Identity
Karen Hammerness

  • Abstract: While developing an identity as a teacher involves learning practices, strategies, and skills, ultimately, this identity is not simply the sum of these parts. Rather, developing a sense of oneself as a teacher involves a sense of personal commitment and purpose-a sense of vision. Indeed, vision may be a key element in developing a productive identity as a teacher. In this paper, I argue that whether intentionally or not, teacher education programs play a role in the visions that teachers develop. However, in current literature on teacher preparation, the relationship between program vision and individual visions remains unexplored. To that end, drawing upon data from 30 interviews with graduates of three different teacher preparation programs, I examine the relationship between program visions and the visions that their graduates articulate. In particular, I look for consistencies as well as any absences, in order to understand the role these interactions play in developing a productive teacher identity. I find that graduates of programs with clear visions have purposeful identities as teachers (and a strong sense of future plans), while graduates of programs with vague visions expressed a lack of clarity, and struggled to develop a strong identity as a teacher.