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Supporting positive teacher identity in times of change

Wednesday 3 July: Conference day one, 11:30am – 12:00pm parallel session



Room 8 – 303 B09 Sem



Dr Katrina Strampel
Edith Cowan University, Australia

Professor Angela Hill
Edith Cowan University, Australia



In 2007, teaching-focussed roles were just starting to appear in the Australian higher education sector. While not necessarily correlated, this coincided with an increased focus on professionalisation of higher education teaching. In today’s higher education context, teacher identity has been found to be ‘central to the teaching profession’ (van Lankveld, Schoonenboom, Volman, Croiset, & Beishuizen, 2017, p. 325). The literature suggests there are four contextual factors that strengthen or constrain teaching identity: the direct work environment; the wider context of higher education; students; and, staff development activities (van Lankveld et al., 2017).

This presentation shares an exploratory case study of an Australian University which has had consistently high student satisfaction rankings. The research looks at how teaching quality is conceptualised within the planning and policy environment in the University at two points in time: 2007 and 2017. The aim of the research is to understand the influence these findings have in relationship to evidence-informed centrally-driven policies and practices (informed prescription) and

staff capability in using professional judgement to apply policies (informed professionalism) (Schleicher, 2008), and in turn, academic identity.

The data analysed included University Strategic Plans, Academic Promotion Frameworks, and Academic Professional Development Policies from both 2007 and 2017. The documents were analysed using critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 1995; Janks, 1997) and Bernstein’s Classification and Framing as a coding device (Bernstein, 2000), to provide an analysis of the ‘current moment’ of the conceptualisation of teaching quality and the role of the teacher.

Ultimately it seems that the shift from 2007 to 2017 in the university was one of re-culturing based on the requirements of external power relations (the wider higher education environment). By demonstrating fluidity and adaptability in policy documentation, it seems the university was able to consistently create conditions for positive teacher identity as well as positive institutional culture.


Presentation topic

Academics – Work and Identity

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