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Making changes or holding on: Early childhood teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand engage in identity work

Alison Warren


This article explores identity-work stories of three newly qualified early childhood teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand. A small poststructural research study investigated how five newly qualified early childhood teachers understood their identities as teachers. Within the data was evidence of three dominant discourses of early childhood education that shaped how the participants understood themselves: the authority discourse, the relational-professionalism discourse, and the identity-work discourse. The identity-work discourse positioned the participants as responsible for shaping their professional identities. They engaged in identity work to change their teacher identities and to hold on to valued ways of being teachers.

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