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The backdrop of this study on teacher identity is the lofty vision of using educational technologies to transform the nature of teaching and learning. At present, this vision has yet to be fully realized in schools. Previous attempts to unpack this disjoint between vision and reality have largely been from a system perspective such as structural barriers and unfavorable contexts. This dissertation departs from the norm by approaching the phenomenon of technology infusion from an agency perspective, underscoring the identity work involved and whether or not teachers develop to be socially regarded as being successful at technology integration, that is, as technology kind.
In particular, this dissertation investigates what teachers do and who they become as they experience technology reform on a level-wide basis in a primary school in Singapore. This work involves a teacher leader and nine other teacher participants and focuses on their sense-making during lesson design, and lesson implementation during curriculum meetings.
Based on discourse identity, four stories are presented that revealed the following: First, the positioning work that teachers performed on selves and peers as one teacher leader attempted to introduce technology to address an instructional gap. In particular, the identity work of technology kind (of the teacher leader) was temporarily lost in a curriculum meeting that was rife with various positionings. This story can be interpreted as the “baseline” of a technology-using journey for teachers.
The second and third stories describe how the constitution as technology kind slowly emerges in the social milieu. In the second story, the findings revealed two salient conditions in the constitution as technology kind. The first being the organization of that performance was found to be mediated by rhetorical devices of enactment and rationalization. When evoked, they made overt the constructivist epistemology underlying technology infusion and bore symbolic meanings of an identity as the technology kind. The second condition was the recognition of performance by a dialogic other that indexed performance in interaction as technology kind. The significance of the recognition work legitimized the technology practice and dialectically augmented the meaning of technology infusion in the social milieu.
Tied closely to the second story, the assertion in the third story is to establish the emergence of a technology practice in the social milieu. However, while there has been evidence to show that a technology practice was emerging within the group of teachers, the frequency of recurrence of identity as technology kind was low within the data collection period. This suggests that the organization of identity work has not been a straightforward process at the micro-genetic level and can be even more challenging in the longer-term aspects.
In the fourth and final story, the trajectory and growth as technology kind was examined. The study of how momentary shifts transited to a more enduring way of being was conducted using the structure and agency lens. The findings have revealed conditions of material affordance and emotion to be significant in accounting for the recurrence as technology kind.
Drawing on the four stories, I discuss what I termed as “affordance of the other” as contribution to theory and practice during technology reform. “Affordance of the other” refers to the relationship between oneself and otherness. Otherness refers to the voices of the macro circulating categorical positions, the other dialogic other in interaction and the other to one self. This construct offers a micro-interactional perspective of studying teacher identity, complementing developmental theories to account for expertise development.
|Appears in Collections:||Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)|
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