Revealing and reconceptualising teaching identity through the landscapes of culture, religion, transformative learning, and sustainability education : a transformation journey of a science educator
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Motivated by Parker Palmer’s call for teachers to understand the self who teaches, I recently completed a transformative research journey that revealed and reconceptualised deeply sedimented dimensions of my teaching identity. I am a university based science teacher educator from Indonesia, and recently participated in a 3-year longitudinal co-teaching project in lower secondary schools in Western Australia. Conducting co-teaching and narrative research stimulated me to think deeply about and reflect critically on my teaching identity. I came to understand the powerful role of culture, religion, and personal experiences in transformative learning and sustainability education in shaping my teaching identity.As the research involved critical reflection on my professional praxis, I adopted a multi-paradigmatic research approach with three focus paradigms - interpretivism, criticalism, and postmodernism - and adopted critical auto/ethnography as my research methodology. I applied multiple genres within arts-based research, including poetic reflections (poems), stories, dialogues within narrative, and metaphors. My five research quality standards were critical reflexivity, praxis, representation, trustworthiness and authenticity, and crystallisation.I discovered that my teaching identity is not fixed and that the journey in revealing my teaching identity is endless. I revealed and reconceptualised my teaching identity from four main perspectives. I came to understand that I am a product of cultural hybridity resulting from interactions of very different cultures, including Javanese, Bimanese, Indonesian and Australian. As I was growing up Islam became my way of life and shaped my values, beliefs and actions in all aspects of my life; I discovered religion as a hegemonic power in my teaching identity. My postgraduate journey embedded three aspects of transformative learning in my teaching identity: (1) constructivism, (2) empowering teacher-student relationships, and (3) dialectical thinking. I came to realise the power of sustainability education in shaping my teaching identity, through my core life values of religion and childhood education. These values have found expression in my teaching practice via ‘Green Chemistry’.This doctoral research was an empowering journey that enriched my personal and professional life by enabling me to examine and develop core values, beliefs, and practices that form my teaching identity. I hope that my newly transformed teaching identity enables me to further develop my professional practice as a science teacher educator who has a passion to empower the agency of her student teachers and to empower her readers to reflect on their own identities, both personally and professionally.
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