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ERIC Number: ED544490
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Dec
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 44
ISSN: ISSN-1324-9320
The Role of Agency in Determining and Enacting the Professional Identities of Early Career Aboriginal Teachers
Burgess, Cathie
Australian Association for Research in Education (NJ1), Paper presented at the Joint Australian Association for Research in Education and Asia-Pacific Educational Research Association Conference (AARE-APERA 2012) World Education Research Association (WERA) Focal Meeting (Sydney, New South Wales, Dec 2-6, 2012)
This study explores the role of agency in early career Aboriginal teachers expressions of their professional identity. It argues that in the context of teaching, opportunities to exercise personal agency are critical to the development and maintenance of a "healthy" professional identity, particularly for those traditionally disempowered by the mainstream system, such as Aboriginal teachers. This qualitative study employs narrative methodology for data collection and analysis, and subsequent construction of three composite narratives. These are shaped from fifteen in-depth interviews and two focus groups with early career Aboriginal teachers. Findings revealed that agency is a key factor in the development of early career Aboriginal teachers professional identities, and that the extent to which Aboriginality plays a role in enacting agency is dependent upon individual lived experiences as well as personal responses to school contexts. This study challenges normative discourses around Aboriginal teacher's actions and responses in specific school contexts, and opens up spaces for Aboriginal teachers to determine their own professional identity either as part of or separate from their Aboriginality. Relevant issues for early career Aboriginal teachers have significant implications for teaching contexts, teacher education, and their transition into teaching.
Australian Association for Research in Education. AARE Secretariat, One Geils Court, Deakin ACT 2600, Australia. Tel: +61-2-6285-8388; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)
Identifiers - Location: Australia