University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Tales from the Watershed: Using Repertory Grids in the Study of Teachers' Mid-career Identity

Bingle, Branwen, Kington, Alison ORCID:, Howard, Colin ORCID: and Robinson, Catriona (2017) Tales from the Watershed: Using Repertory Grids in the Study of Teachers' Mid-career Identity. In: Personal Construct Psychology at 60: Papers from the 21st International Congress. Cambridge Scholars Press, Newcastle upon Tyne, pp. 314-332. ISBN 978-1-4438-8279-8

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The project reported in this chapter aimed to explore the factors that influence and contribute to the professional identity of a group of primary teachers who are located in what may be seen as the mid-phase of their teaching careers. This phase covers the period of between 8 and 15 years of teaching, which has been described as a “watershed” period during which a teacher can experience a number of changes in their professional and/or personal lives (Day et al 2007; Kington et al. 2014); the research was intended to deepen understanding of the effect of these changes on professional identity.

The project, a study of the perceptions of 18 primary teachers located in the West Midlands region of the UK, was informed by the use of an integrated mixed methods design that is the focus for this chapter. In order to record effectively the factors influencing their personal identities, the study adopted a mixture of critical event narrative and repertory grid interviews. These methods provided a meaningful way to facilitate teachers’ descriptions, enabling them to articulate and understand the intricacies that underpin a primary teacher’s sense of professional identity. The intention behind this combined approach of data collection tools was to generate differing sources of data which then could be used to analyze and provide insights into constructs of professional identity, their influences, evolution, and development. In addition to this, the data provided a deeper understanding of the coping and/or managing strategies primary teachers employ in adapting to these critical events, in different contexts and at different points in their career and personal lives.

Although this chapter primarily reports upon the methodological advantages gained by including the repertory grid interview within the overall design, examples of emerging findings will be used for illustrative purposes.

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: primary teaching, primary teachers, professional identity, teaching careers, mid-phase of teaching career, repertory grid interviews
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
Depositing User: Branwen Bingle
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2017 10:48
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2021 04:00

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