The piece by Dr Anne Graham Cagney’s is titled Constructing an Evolving Teacher Identity in Further Education Professional voices from the field
Fulbright Scholar and WIT Senior Lecturer in Education Dr Anne Graham Cagney has had an article outlining research into adult and further education teacher training published in the Education Matters Yearbook.
Dr Anne Graham Cagney, Senior Lecturer, School of Education and Lifelong Learning is Principal Investigator of the TEQ Project, the SAFETTI Study (http://scotens.org/study-in-adult-and-further-education-training-in-ireland/) and the SOFA Study (funded by SCoTENS).
One of the first studies of its kind
Constructing An Evolving Teacher Identity In Further Education: Professional voices from the field shares results from one of the first studies on the experiences of Adult and Further Education (FE) teachers who were forced, in many cases reluctantly, to engage in a process that transformed their perspectives on themselves, personally and professional, and fundamentally changed their relationships with their teaching colleagues.
The research results, published by Education Matters, Ireland’s Yearbook of Education 2019-2020, found that FE teacher qualification programmes must involve the whole person and cannot be separated out as a cognitive act or reduced to the application of skills or competences. For participants, the changes they were experiencing were more visibly focused and directed on their personal lives and professional practice.
The evolving identity
The outcome demonstrates that our understandings of FE teachers’ evolving identity to date are general. It is important that professional development pathways are created that go to the core of what it means to be psychologically present in particular moments and situations that determine the driving force for the type of learning that underpins an evolving professional FE teacher identity. Two subsequent studies (funded by SCoTENS) confirmed these findings.
The TEQ research study was conducted at the School of Education and Lifelong Learning at WIT. Subsequent research was done at WIT in collaboration with the General Teaching Council Northern Ireland and Ulster University.
Dr Graham Cagney says that this work has major implications for those higher education institutions who develop and deliver adult and further education teacher qualification programmes that include professional accreditation from both Teaching Councils in Ireland: North and South.
More research needed
“Further research is needed to understand how we can create different and fulfilling pathways toward professional development for adult and further education teachers. This includes studying both people’s emotional reactions to conscious and unconscious phenomena, and the objective properties of jobs, roles, work, and professional development contexts, all in an adult and further education setting.”
Below are excerpts of participant feedback:
“I had an assumption that someone is going to show me how to be a teacher. Show me the magic book. And there is no magic book.”
“How I describe myself is changing. My confidence in my identity is growing. I am enjoying trying out the name ‘teacher’ and also reclaiming ‘student’.”
“How I view myself has also changed greatly. I am not apologetic when putting my opinions forward during staff discussions. The experience of studying has highlighted what I do know as much as what I don’t, and the balance is convincing me that I do know what I am talking about”.