“Do all roads lead to Rome?”: The influence of two different higher education programmes on beginner teacher identity

Keywords: beginner teacher identity, full-time student, part-time student, Possible Selves theory, teacher education programmes


In South Africa there are currently several teacher education programmes from which educational students can choose. In this qualitative comparative case study, we explored the experiences of beginner teachers who chose opposite routes to becoming teachers and report on the influences of this choice on the construction and development of their beginner teacher identities. Purposefully selected, three participants were beginner teachers who studied full-time and three participants beginner teachers who studied part-time while working at a school. Epistemologically underpinned by the Interpretivist paradigm, we employed the Possible Selves theory (Marcus & Nurius, 1986) as theoretical lens. Thematic analysis of data demonstrated a correlation between beginner teacher identity and the teacher education programmes chosen by participants. Full-time participants showed a slower and more complex process of identity development where part-time participants came to terms with the realities of teaching earlier and were more prepared and confident for the realities of teaching.

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