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While literature on teaching emphasizes the importance of identity in teacher development, understanding identity and the issues related to it can be a challenging endeavour. This article provides an overview of the issues revealed in recent discussions of teacher identity: the problem of defining the concept; the place of the self, and related issues of agency, emotion, narrative and discourse; the role of reflection; and the influence of contextual factors. A particular focus is placed on identity in pre-service teachers and new practitioners. Implications of an understanding of these issues for programmes of teacher education are highlighted.