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The Social Fashioning of Teacher Identities

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Monica Miller Marsh

Rather than conceptualizing teacher thinking as an individual enterprise, this book conceives of teacher thought as a social venture. Through the use of qualitative methods and the theories of Valentin Volosinov and Mikhail Bakhtin on their respective concepts of ideology and language, two case studies examine how the identities of two first-year early childhood teachers are fashioned discursively, as they move through the contexts of their teacher education programs, the elementary schools in which they teach, and personal aspects of their lives. Research findings illustrate how these first-year teachers pieced together their identities by appropriating fragments of discourses that circumscribed the various contexts through which they moved. These particular discourses positioned them in relation to their students and families and shaped their pedagogy in ways that created opportunities as well as constraints for the social identities of the children in their care. Monica Miller Marsh illustrates how the concept of discourse can be used with and by early childhood educators to help them develop an awareness of the relational nature of identity formation.