Through the voices of induction teachers in Korea
Park, Su Kyoung
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This study focused on recognizing how induction teachers construct and reconstruct particular meanings early in their teaching career and how they shape their sense of self as early childhood education teachers in their everyday lives. A case study approach was used to conduct this in-depth investigation of Korean early childhood education induction teachers and how they perceived themselves as newcomers in the teaching world. The participants in the study were four Korean women in their 20s who had fewer than two years of early childhood teaching experience. To understand the experiences of the individuals in this study, five primary data sources were used: (1) field observations, (2) focus group discussion, (3) individual interviews with participants, (4) field notes, and (5) photoessays. The secondary data sources included the researcher’s journal and artifacts such as e-mail messages, pictures, newspapers, school handouts, and lesson plans. Case analysis was integrated with narrative analysis and a grounded theory approach. In particular, this study focused on how these teachers negotiated their sense of self in the world around them from the perspective of Bakhtin’s (1993) concept of “Being” in the world and Foucault’s (1979) notion of “power relations.” The researcher tried to be especially cognizant of the existence of multiple identities in order to explore political aspects of teacher identity formation. The findings of this study describe the extensive journey that these early childhood education induction teachers took to find their own way in the world of teaching. All participants demonstrated enthusiasm and passion for becoming a teacher when they chose early childhood education as a major. However, the teachers experienced positionality as legitimate peripheral participation when they entered the “real” teaching world. They played the roles of social negotiators and resistors of imposed criteria and labels such as “novice” or “brand new” in order to find and represent themselves in their everyday lives. The teacher identity construction process of all participants was relational in the sense that it was continually being structured out of various memories, social interactions with people, and past and present experiences. The ongoing events of the induction teachers were different and unique according to the given contexts, and they experienced power and ideology as they continuously negotiated their teacher identity in every given moment. The tensions and challenges the induction teachers experienced were not “universal” but “unique” because their given circumstances were endlessly constrained by structure and power relations. This study demonstrated the ways in which a group of early childhood education induction teachers introduced new pedagogies and resisted the dominant thinking about children and teaching.