Reconstructing Teacher’s Professional Identity in a Research Discourse: A Professional Development Opportunity in an Informal Setting


Elena Jurasaite-Harbison


University of Michigan



Abstract. Informal teacher learning has not been in focus of educational research. This study encourages reconceptualizing the process of “doing” research with teachers treating research context as a possibility for informal teachers’ learning. Three dimensions that comprise the theoretical perspective are: an exploration of specific features of teachers as learners, an account of adult learning peculiarities and representation of professional (self)identification as a social process, allocate the trajectory of one teacher’s professional growth as a reconstruction of her professional identity in a research setting within con­temporary theoretical discourse. Considering the multiple contested and situated nature of identity, the study offers an exploration of how professional growth occurs in informal (research) settings using ethnographic tools. It concentrates on specific ways the teacher reconstructs her core identity as a learner in her interactions with the researcher. By means of discourse analysis, the investigation of language-in-use allows finding out what this core identity is.


Keywords: professional development, informal teacher learning, professional identity, core identity, discourse analysis