Preservice teachers’ professional identity development and the role of mentor teachers
Emerald Group Publishing Ltd.
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine changes in eight preservice teachers’ professional identity and the factors contributing to such changes during a four-week block practicum. Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative case study design was used and the data were gathered through semi-structured interviews with preservice teachers and their mentors, reflective journals and observation checklists. Thematic analysis was used to interpret the data. Findings – The findings showed high levels of confidence and development of teacher voice by the end of their four-week block practicum. The findings also suggested that positive mentoring relationships contributed to changes in the preservice teachers’ teacher identity. Research limitations/implications – Despite focussing on a relatively small number of preservice secondary teachers during the first four-week practicum of a single teacher education program at a Western Australian University, this research highlights the need to maintain constructive mentoring relationships with preservice teachers to provide positive influences on their professional identity. In order to facilitate this, preservice teacher education programs should provide thorough training for mentor teachers. Originality/value – This work highlighted the crucial role of mentor teachers in creating positive impacts on preservice teachers’ professional identity, such as development of their confidence and teacher voice. This paper provides useful insights for researchers, mentor teachers, and preservice teacher education policy developers. © 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.