This paper describes the preliminary stage of a research project that will investigate whether the course that students take to become teachers of design and technology makes any difference to the professional identity of the teacher they become.
Design and technology (D&T) student teachers come from a wide range of backgrounds; some are young undergraduates straight from school who are acquiring subject knowledge whilst also learning to teach it. Others begin their postgraduate training having achieved subject expertise via their first degree and subsequently gained a wealth of industrial and commercial experience. Whichever route is taken; learning to teach involves not only learning the knowledge and skills required but also the formation of a professional identity as a teacher.
Like Stenberg (2010) we believe that who we are as teachers (our professional identity) is an important aspect not only of our own selves but also informs our classroom practice. According to Sachs teachers’ professional identity stands at the core of the teaching profession. It provides a framework for teachers to construct their own ideas of ’how to be’; ’how to act’ and ’how to understand’ their work and their place in society’. Teachers’ professional identity is shaped by historical and political influences as well as social and cultural ones; including the student teacher experience and context of learning to teach. It is; therefore; important to understand the impact that the teacher preparation course has on the development of student teachers’ emerging professional identity and how this might influence how (student) teachers are; act; and understand.
Our research is being undertaken in England; where teacher preparation is currently undergoing upheaval; with increasing numbers of school-based routes to qualification being proposed. We are investigating two types of teacher preparation courses; one university-based and one school-based; to find out whether these two courses have different outcomes in terms of the professional identities of the design and technology teachers and the types of teachers they are in the classroom. This may give some insight into the teachers we can expect in the future; given the Government’s change in emphasis from university-based to school-based preparation. This will have relevance for those investigating D&T student teachers’ professional identity and for those concerned with the role of the university and the role of the school in the preparation of teachers.
Keywords: Initial teacher education; PGCE; GTP; teacher professional identity