“Heroic victims”: Discursive constructions of preservice early childhood teacher professional identities

Gibson, Megan L. (2015) “Heroic victims”: Discursive constructions of preservice early childhood teacher professional identities. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 36(2), pp. 142-155.

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Government policies in Australia and in many other parts of the world, are calling for degree-qualified teachers to work in prior to formal school settings (center-based care, preschool). Yet, many preservice early childhood teachers assume they will end up teaching in primary schools. This paper examines the professional identities preservice early childhood teachers take up and speak into action while participating in classes focused on teaching in child care. Employing poststructural social theory, data drawn from focus groups with preservice early childhood teachers was examined through a Foucauldian-informed discourse analysis. Particular ways in which the preservice teachers talked about images of children and quality in early childhood are scrutinized for how discourses work to constitute the professional identities of preservice early childhood teachers. It was found that the participants drew on a range of competing discourses available to them, through their degree, and from elsewhere to describe the work of teaching young children and teaching in child care. These competing and colliding discourses, it is argued produce an identity of preservice teachers as ‘heroic victims.’ The paper raises questions about the discourses in circulation in preservice early childhood teacher education, and considers the implications this has for professional identities and career pathways—particularly work in child care.

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ID Code: 94764
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: early childhood education, teacher education, professional identities, discourse analysis
DOI: 10.1080/10901027.2015.1032449
ISSN: 1090-1027
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori) (130102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators (130313)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood & Inclusive Education
Deposited On: 14 Apr 2016 22:36
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2016 20:56

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