The authoring of self: looking at preservice teachers' professional identities as reflected in an online environment

Access full-text files




Assaf, Lori Czop

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The purpose of this study was to explore the identity construction of six preservice teachers who participated in a reading specialization program for three consecutive semesters. This study employed a qualitative methodology and sought to document the nature of online responses posted to an online bulletin board and discover individual teacher identity construction in the context of a reading specialization program. Data sources included archived electronic messages and course responses, participant interviews, reflective journals, and electronic portfolios. Constant-comparative analysis as described by Lincoln and Guba (1985) and discourse analysis, informed by Gee (1999), were used to uncover the ways in which preservice teachers developed their teaching selves. Study findings suggest that preservice teachers negotiated multiple identities, utilized varied knowledge sources, and relied on practical experiences to author their developing selves as teachers. Implications of this investigation suggest that computer mediated communication, a community structure, carefully planned coursework, extended field experiences, and a personalized model of teaching provided opportunities for preservice teachers to reflect on their developing identities as reading teachers. Online responses allowed for collaborative reflection, attention to dialogic relations between peers and university faculty, and an expanded group identity. Further examination of online discourse is needed along with understanding the knowledge construction and multiple discourses preservice teachers negotiate as they move from a teacher preparation program into their own classrooms