Authoring professional teacher identities: a journey from understanding culturally responsive teaching to identifying as culturally responsive teachers

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christina Marie Tschida (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Colleen Fairbanks

Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the ways in which four elementary preservice teachers came to understand culturally responsive teaching and began authoring their professional teacher identities. It examined the influence of course work and internship at a culturally and linguistically diverse school on their understandings and developing teacher identities. The study employed ethnographic methods of data collection including formal individual interviews, focus groups, audio recordings of seminar meetings, personal documents and artifacts, and observations during intern site visits. Data were analyzed using constant comparative method (Glaser and Strauss, 1967) and discourse analysis (Gee, 2005; Rogers, Marshall, and Tyson, 2006). Sociocultural and dialogical theories of identity formation informed the analysis of the preservice teachers’ talk (Bakhtin, 1981; Gee, 2005; Holland, Skinner, Lachicotte, and Cain, 1998; Rogers et al., 2006). Analysis occurred in two stages; within-case analysis sought to fully understand the individual experiences and understandings of each focal participant, and cross-case analysis was used “to build abstractions across cases” (Merriam, 1998, p. 195). Study findings suggest the understandings of culturally responsive teaching that the preservice teachers came to during teacher education were complex and influenced by a variety of factors including what the students brought with them to teacher education (i.e., their life histories, constructions of race and class, and personal experience with discrimination and knowing culturally diverse individuals), their course work, and the internship experience. Their visions of teaching and their negotiation of the tensions encountered during teacher education were influenced by these understandings, ultimately influencing the trajectories of each participant as they developed professional teacher identities. This study offers insight into the complexity of developing a vision for teaching in culturally responsive ways among preservice teachers. Implications of this study suggest the importance in teacher education of developing experiences for preservice teachers to work in culturally diverse settings, reflect on and engage in meaningful dialogue about such experiences, and reflect on their emerging teacher identities.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Culturally responsive teaching, Teacher education, Teacher identity formation
Elementary school teachers $x Attitudes.
Elementary school teachers $x Training of.
Elementary school teachers $x In-service training.
Multicultural education $x Study and teaching $z United States.
Intercultural communication.

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