Developing teacher professional identity through online learning: a social capital perspective

Balatti, Jo, Haase, Malcolm, Henderson, Lyn, and Knight, Cecily (2010) Developing teacher professional identity through online learning: a social capital perspective. In: Proceedings of Australian Teacher Education Association Conference. pp. 1-8. From: ATEA 2010 Australian Teacher Education Association Conference, 4-7 July 2010, Townsville, QLD, Australia.

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Social capital has been defined as the 'networks, together with shared norms, values and understandings which facilitate cooperation within or amongst groups' (ABS, 2004, p. 5). Fundamental to social capital theory is the proposition that networks of relationships can facilitate access to resources of value to individuals or groups for specific purposes. A social capital perspective to designing learning environments in preservice teacher education would suggest that the quality of the learning experienced is impacted by the networks to which preservice teachers have access, the resources that are available within those networks, and the norms and levels of trust that shape the kinds of interactions that take place within those networks.

This paper describes and critiques an online learning environment that was designed from a social capital perspective to help preservice teachers learn a professional teacher identity. The online activity formed part of a subject in the second year of a four year undergraduate education degree at an Australian university. Developing or learning a professional identity is an ongoing process that is social in nature and negotiated in communities of practice (Wenger, 1998). Such communities of practice developed in the online environment of this case.

In the study, changes to the identity resources (Falk & Balatti, 2003) associated with a teacher professional identity were considered as evidence of learning. The data analysed comprised the online text preservice teachers produced and their responses to survey questions concerning the learning they experienced over the semester-long subject.

Two findings of note are the potential for online interaction of the kind described in this paper to develop professional literacies and to normalise the deprivatisation of practice. In an era in which teaching practice is being made more visible and accountable to the public, these two professional identity resources are important in developing the professional confidence necessary for sustainable teaching careers. A dilemma that remained unresolved in the study was the voluntary nature of the participation in the online activities.

Item ID: 16476
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-0-9752324-5-3
Keywords: professional teacher identity, social capital, preservice teacher education
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Date Deposited: 10 May 2011 12:44
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930102 Learner and Learning Processes @ 60%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9305 Education and Training Systems > 930503 Resourcing of Education and Training Systems @ 40%
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