The professional identity of teacher educators in higher education: the experience of motherhood

Chambers, J., 2017. The professional identity of teacher educators in higher education: the experience of motherhood. EdD, Nottingham Trent University.

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The dominant discourse concerned with the impact of being a mother on a woman’s professional career usually draws upon the language of limitations, constraints and glass ceilings. Motherhood is usually considered to inhibit a woman's career progression because women are distracted between separate spheres of activity; they spread time away from being an employee to include being a primary carer. Those working in the teaching profession are not immune to this constructed way of being and are also ill-defined in terms of their professional identity. Motherhood, however, is an enabling experience and shares a purposeful intent common with that of teaching; motherhood is an experience teaching can learn from rather than it disabling professional progression and development.

Drawing upon phenomenological understandings of knowledge development and survey and interview methods of data collection from teacher educators working in a University's School of Education, findings from this enquiry indicate women considered their professional identity to have been influenced and enhanced by the experience of motherhood. Understandings of a teacher educator's professional identity were expressed in terms of relational, empathetic and value-led practice, which were expressions of their own personalities informed by motherhood. Whilst priorities had shifted as a result of becoming a mother, findings indicated teacher educators considered themselves to have become more reflexive and adaptable as a consequence of being a mother. Implications of this enquiry call for continuing professional development and return to work programmes to engage women in a dialogue about how motherhood benefits their professional identity and is an experience that should be celebrated in terms of career development rather than being accepted as a professional limitation.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Chambers, J.
Date: March 2017
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the intellectual property rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Education
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 16 Aug 2017 08:25
Last Modified: 20 Aug 2021 13:03

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