The formation of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Teacher Identities: Pre-service teacher’s perceptions

2020-01-20T11:04:34Z (GMT) by Dawne Irving-Bell

Set within the context of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), this study explores the personal teaching philosophies of pre-service teachers training to become qualified teachers, with the purpose of better understanding how participant’s perceptions of teaching are shaped by their previous experiences.


Work considers how these beliefs influence the formation of their identities as teachers and outcomes suggest that the meaning assigned to their lived experience plays a significant role in their development. Nascent themes under discussion include subject knowledge, disciplinary differences and engendered approaches to STEM pedagogy, and presented as theoretical insights the study presents three key findings.


The first describes the impact ‘weak’ subject knowledge has on an individual’s development, and findings show that where an individual believes their knowledge to be limited, development is restricted. The second presents a taxonomy of ‘self-sabotaging’ behaviours which arise from an individual’s inability to challenge their perceptions of ‘what a teacher should be’. The third presents the concept of ‘identity drift’ and describes the incidence where an individual’s ideological values and beliefs and the reality of their classroom practice become unaligned. With the potential impact over time being that an individual is unable to reconcile their internalised identity from their external one, with teacher attrition being the likely consequence.