Finding an identity and meeting a standard: connecting the conflicting in teacher induction

Jim McNally, Allan Blake, B. Corbin, P. Gray

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This article has the apparently contradictory aims of describing a discourse of new teachers that is at odds with the policy-derived competence-based discourse of the professional standard for teachers, but of also seeking to find some points of connection that may help start a dialogue between policy and research. The experience of new teachers is conceptualized as personal stories of identity formation with a clear emotional-relational dimension and a sense of self and intrinsic purpose in which others, especially colleagues and children, are central - themes not visible in the standard. The empirical context is that of new teachers in Scotland but the argument is supported through a wider literature that extends beyond the traditional limits of teacher education, drawing on, for example, notions of self-identity, pure relationship and ontological security in the work of Giddens. Whether a more constructive dialogue can begin depends partly on the extent to which the formal standard can be expected to capture the complex, personal nature of the beginner's experience, and partly on the possibility of research identifying particular areas of competence, such as understanding difference, that connect in some way to the standard.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-298
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Educational Policy
Issue number3
Early online date25 Apr 2008
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • emotional
  • relational
  • self
  • children
  • purpose
  • curricular studies
  • education

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