What Makes Me, Me? Factors influencing pre-service teacher personal identity development during professional practice
The concept of identity can be broken up into two constructs: personal and professional. Developing teacher professional identity is an important part of becoming a teacher. Research suggests pre-service teachers primarily develop their professional identity during professional practice. Personal and professional identities are interlinked, and conflict can arise when pre-service teachers take their personal identity on professional practice. In the past ten years, much research about pre-service teacher professional identity development had been completed, while personal identity was largely overlooked. This phenomenological study uses qualitative methods including ecomaps, semi-structured interviews, and field notes to investigate factors influencing primary school pre-service teacher personal identity development during professional practice. Reflexive thematic analysis revealed themes situated within Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems, including factors that enable, challenge, or enable and challenge identity development. Findings suggest pre-service teachers’ individual aspects and contextual factors, primarily whānau, can influence identity development, and imply the role of resilience. This study poses implications for pre-service teachers, initial teacher education providers, educators, professional practice schools, and researchers.