Not a proper mathematician, like those with a mathematics degree: ‘Subject switchers’ negotiating identities as beginning teachers of mathematics
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AbstractIn the context of a shortage of teachers of mathematics, the introduction of subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses has widened participation in initial teacher training (ITT) to include graduates of non-mathematical disciplines. In the absence of a term in the literature, the term ‘subject switcher’ is introduced to represent those whose degree is in a discipline that is not directly related to the subject they are training to teach. In the context of this study, a subject switcher is a participant in mathematics initial teacher training whose degree is in a non-mathematical discipline. This study explores how being a subject switcher might influence the negotiation of identities as a teacher of mathematics. Four participant stories were constructed, from a range of narrative sources, to explore individual journeys to becoming a qualified teacher of mathematics. The subject switchers participating in this study had a range of incoming identities, including existing mathematical identities as well as alternative subject identities from the discipline of their degree studies. The theoretical framework of learning and identity construction within communities of practice (Lave and Wenger, 1991; Wenger, 1998) was used to consider the identities of the participants, drawing on a framework developed from Wenger’s (1998) notion of trajectories. The incoming, transitioning and future-orientated identities of the participants are explored in the context of their trajectories and the communities of practice in which they participate. The findings reveal that the participants relied upon their incoming identities as they negotiated identities as teachers of mathematics. This negotiation of identities included their mathematical identities but, particularly, how they viewed themselves as mathematics teachers compared to those who were mathematics graduates. This study concludes that teacher educators should explore more inclusive strategies to support subject switchers to negotiate mathematical identities in becoming a teacher of mathematics.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the University of Wolverhampton for the degree of Doctor of Education.
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