Publication details [#3112]

Burwell, Donald W. 2003. Dialogical voices: An exploratory analysis of the role of narrative, voice, and metaphor in the construction of teaching identity among student teachers. Moscow, Ida.. 245 pp.
Publication type
Ph.D dissertation
Publication language


The construction of teaching identity is an important factor in the success of effective teacher preparation programs and in the subsequent decision of teachers to remain in the field. The problem this study addressed is the need for a greater understanding of the process of developing a teaching identity among student teachers. The purpose of this study was to determine if the construction of a teaching identity can be examined through an analysis of the multiple voices identified in the narrative accounts of student teachers, through analysis of documents such as their generative metaphors and reflective written work, and through on-site observations of their respective 'professional knowledge landscapes.' The study employed a critical qualitative case study methodology. Participants were four student teachers involved in a yearlong internship in public schools. A narrative analysis process informed by the work of Mikhail Bakhtin was used to analyze narrative events told through a series of interviews and written artifacts. Personal teaching metaphors were analyzed for their generative properties and compared with the teaching identities that emerged from the narratives. Finally, the teaching identities of the participants were viewed within the context of the 'personal knowledge landscapes' they encountered in their student teaching placements. The stories of each of the four participants were presented separately with appropriate narrative and metaphor analysis. A cross case analysis explored common patterns and themes that emerged from the separate cases. As a result of the study's findings, it was concluded that the student teachers in the case studies used narrative and metaphor to construct a teaching identity. Results of the cross case analysis suggested a positive relationship between a strong teaching identity and a successful student teaching experience. Results also indicated that dialogical narrative analysis and generative metaphor analysis operate as useful tools for exploring the process of constructing a teaching identity. Recommendations were made for practice and for future study. (Donald Burwell)