How, if at all, has remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic changed experienced teachers’ perceptions of their identity as an educator in England?

Hughes, Haili (2024) How, if at all, has remote learning during the Covid-19 pandemic changed experienced teachers’ perceptions of their identity as an educator in England? Ed.D thesis, University of Glasgow.

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A secure professional identity is a vital component in keeping a teacher motivated in their career. Not only does it mediate their understanding of their role and reinforces their purpose, but it also enables them to make sense of their work and wider relationships. An understanding of professional identity also has implications for teachers’ sense of autonomy and self-efficacy. Experienced teacher identity is much more secure as they have become acclimatised to the culture, ways of working and expectations that their role involves. Yet teacher identity is a fluid and dynamic concept, and changes in work context or role expectations can impact on how teachers see themselves and their work. During the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the Department for Education closed schools to all except vulnerable students and key workers and teachers were asked to quickly adapt their teaching to online instruction. This rapid policy change, in the face of a global health emergency, had implications for teachers’ professional identities, particularly experienced teachers, who had to adjust their established ways of teaching and pedagogies to continue educating their students. This had profound effects on how teachers viewed their professional identities, which may have implications for teacher retention rates in the years ahead.

This research study ascertains the main characteristics of teacher professional identity through a review of the existing literature. Guided by Stephen Ball’s work on policy, it uses a thematic analysis to uncover the way in which the Covid-19 school closures may have shaped this identity. Through two focus groups of six experienced teachers who taught during the pandemic, the study evaluates the extent to which the Covid-19 pandemic shaped teacher identity of schoolteachers in England. Findings suggest that teachers were affected in both negative and positive ways, with some teachers feeling isolated from both colleagues and students, finding that technology was no replacement for the relationships which cement their moral purpose as an educator. The teachers in the study also discussed the feelings of resentment they had experienced towards the government, which was reinforced with negative press coverage about teacher’s work, resulting in a trial by media which the general public also joined in with. For other teachers, despite the challenges they faced, their experiences reinvigorated their passion for teaching, making them feel proud of their work and excited by innovations to their pedagogy.

Item Type: Thesis (Ed.D)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Patrick, Dr. Fiona
Date of Award: 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2024-84359
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2024 09:38
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2024 10:38
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.84359

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