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Assembling threads of identity: installation as a professional learning site for teachers

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This article presents installation as a professional learning site for early childhood teachers to visualise relationships between key events, people and places influencing their professional identity journeys. Aesthetic processes of collecting, creating and representing the ways teachers see their evolving identities offer opportunities to reveal connections and influences that impact identity development. This investigation of teachers’ unfolding stories provoked the methodological design of seven ‘aesthetic frames’ for uncovering and sharing what was revealed about self-as-teacher. Contributions from six early childhood teachers were shared with the primary researcher over a period of 14¬†weeks before being assembled and viewed collectively in a final focus group as installation. Selected frames are offered in this article as storied forms of visual narrative that present participating teachers with opportunities for critical reflection. As an arts-informed research process, installation provided teachers with a uniquely aesthetic model for understanding and transforming their identity journeys. The immediacy of lived teaching experience captured through image and text also prompting teachers to see with refreshed perspective, new ways for expressing and evaluating pedagogy–practice connections.
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Keywords: Professional journeys; arts-based methodologies; research installation; teacher identity

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Educational Studies, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia 2: School of Education and Social Work, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Publication date: May 26, 2020

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