'More than an academic thing': Becoming a teacher in Ltyentye Apurte and beyond

Alison Strangeways, Vivien Pettit

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    Becoming a teacher involves much more than building an effective collection of professional knowledge and practice. Establishing a satisfying and meaningful teacher identity is the foundation of teacher development and has implications for teacher retention and for reclaiming the profession from its current domination by policy discourses. Much can be learned by teacher educators, education leaders and teachers themselves from narratives of identity development. Such stories offer an embodied picture of the complex inter-relationship between the different elements of a teacher’s identity and how a teacher’s experiences, relationships and socio-cultural context shape the meaning they make of their teacher-self. This paper draws on arts-based, narrative and dialogic methods to share Author 2’s story of his professional identity formation before, during and after his participation in the Growing Our Own (GOO) program at Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa).

    The story emerges from data collected over six years of the eight-year working relationship between Author 2 and Author 1, a lecturer on the program. It casts light on the people, places and experiences that shaped his professional identity, on the challenges he encountered, and the impact becoming a teacher had on his identity as an Indigenous man and a member of his community. This story contests the notion of professional identity development as a straightforward journey towards a known destination and offers a rich embodiment of the complex nature of teacher identity as ecological, transactional and relative to time and place.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)44-61
    Number of pages18
    JournalLearning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social contexts
    Issue number25
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


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