Next Article in Journal
Reading Comprehension: An Essential Process for the Development of Critical Thinking
Next Article in Special Issue
A Case Study of Effective Classroom Assessment Adjustments for a Student with Disability: The Role of Teacher Pedagogical Mobility in Assessment Adjustments
Previous Article in Journal
Video Observation of Kindergarten Teachers’ Use of Questions in Picture-Book Reading with Quiet Multilingual Children: A Pilot Study
Previous Article in Special Issue
The Contribution of Educational Psychology to South African Preservice Teacher Training and Learner Support
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

Self-Authorship: A Pedagogical Tool for Pre-Service Teachers to Develop (Pre)Professional Identity

COMBER Research Entity, Faculty of Education, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2531, South Africa
Research Unit Self-Directed Learning, Faculty of Education, North-West University, Potchefstroom 2531, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(11), 1067;
Submission received: 9 August 2023 / Revised: 7 October 2023 / Accepted: 10 October 2023 / Published: 24 October 2023


This article reports on the use of self-authorship as a pedagogical tool to develop pre-service teachers’ professional identities. Pre-professional identity is considered a dynamic, less mature version of professional identity. Such a notion of fluidity in the professional self necessitates the integration of both personal and professional life experiences in the process of becoming, rather than already being, a teacher. A random sample of 56 pre-service teachers from a population of first-year students at a South African university was selected for this qualitative interpretivist study. Thematic analysis of personal reflections after a professional orientation programme indicates that the pre-professional identity of first-year pre-service teachers is mostly based on external cues and naïve perceptions rather than on well-thought-through personal ideology. The authors draw on Baxter-Magolda’s theory of self-authorship to highlight this influence of past life experiences that shape the pre-professional identity that first-year pre-service teachers bring to initial teacher training programs. Self-authorship is defined as a person’s ability to conceptualise and apply their own beliefs, identity, and social relations in various contexts. Findings confirm that most first-year pre-service teachers place themselves within the first phase of self-authorship. It is postulated that higher education institutions could, through platforms such as Work Integrated Learning, shift the structure and focus of pre-service teacher training programmes away from passive observation and instruction to active partnership, engaged reflection, and critical thinking. Such an approach can then contribute to professional and personal development through the remainder of the pre-service teacher programme. It is further argued that a longitudinal study is needed to explore this required movement towards and through the three phases of self-authorship.

1. Introduction

In his critical pedagogy, Freire [1] postulates that lived experiences form the basis of teaching and learning. In turn, Piaget [2] and Vygotsky [3] state that knowledge and the meaning we make from it are socially constructed through the interpretation and re-interpretation of our actions. This includes the interpretation of prior experiences and beliefs. Learning can thus be described as a dynamic and complex process that does not only involve cognitive function but often also issues related to growth and development, such as personal and professional identity.
Learning to teach, like teaching itself, also involves this above-mentioned process. In training for the teaching profession, the learning process is seen as a process of becoming. Britzman [4] encapsulates the essence of this process of becoming as “a time of formation and transformation, of scrutiny into what one is doing and who one can become”. Lamote and Engels [5] highlight the fact that if identity is considered an important aspect of learning to teach, the different stages of identity in pre-service teachers’ ‘becoming’ need to be considered in the planning and implementation of pre-service teacher training programmes.

2. Background

Research in South Africa shows that basic public schooling focuses mainly on developing lower-order thinking tasks and simple cognitive functioning like memorising and understanding. In a mass-production, cookie-cutter public system, learners are often not offered the opportunity to develop critical thinking skills, promote individual interests, and create new knowledge. They seem to be treated mostly as passive recipients of knowledge rather than critical disseminators of content [6].
On tertiary education level, however, there is a definite need for the application of higher-order thinking skills and an implied expectation to grow on a personal and professional level to meet graduate attributes. Students can now not only rely on the transmission model of learning they were exposed to during basic schooling but also need to progressively take responsibility for their own learning and become co-constructors of knowledge [7]. Active engagement with academic content as well as critical consideration thereof are therefore requirements for meaningful and successful learning. Exposure to a variety of academic content, alternative ways of thinking, dogmas, and ideologies also forces the individual to start questioning taken-for-granted discourses and beliefs.
Nonetheless, students are often left to negotiate this learning process by themselves. Some teacher educators also consider themselves merely responsible for the transmission of knowledge, and the onus for personal and professional development is on the students themselves. In professional programmes, such as teacher training, the perception may be that the responsibility for ensuring that the student develops a teacher identity lies with the mentor teacher during teaching practice sessions. Samuel and Stephens [8] also grappled with the commitment of teacher training institutions to acknowledge the importance of including a focus on personal development and professional identity formation in their curricula. They agree that higher education institutions may not consider this an essential task but rather a hidden curriculum matter. Still, it is essential to highlight that, regardless of whether personal and professional development are viewed as part of the direct or hidden curriculum, students need guidance in these matters as they are directly related to the core values and behavioural expectations of their chosen career [9]. In the context of pre-service teachers, a high level of confidence and skills on behalf of university lecturers are needed to negotiate this fluid development throughout teacher training programmes. Although much of the development in question here might initially seem like personal development or a process of self-actualisation, it can have a significant impact on pre-service teachers’ professional development and the subsequent development of their teacher identity.

3. Fluidity of the Socially Constructed Professional Identity

Teacher identity can be considered through various different theoretical lenses, including Erikson’s theory of identity [10], the possible-selves theory [11], Bourdieu’s theory of social capital [12], and more recently, the identity theory perspective [13]. Ruohotie-Lyhty [14] defines professional identity as “a tool through which individuals make sense of themselves in relation to contexts and other people”. He further postulates three sets of factors that constitute this sense of self, namely personal experiences, pedagogical factors, and external discourses about teaching and learning [14]. In a large-scale quantitative study, Hanna et al. [15] used thirty measuring instruments to identify motivation, self-image, self-efficacy, task perception, commitment, and job satisfaction as six domains of professional teacher identity. These authors postulate that job satisfaction and task perception should not be considered meaningful for pre-service teachers. Commitment is, however, considered self-evident because the students chose teaching as a career. This domain should therefore be highly relevant and important to pre-service teachers. The importance of self-esteem and self-efficacy should also not be underestimated, as they speak to the perceptions and experiences that students bring into pre-service teaching programmes.
One needs to acknowledge that both internal and external factors that are closely related to the specific contexts that teachers may find themselves in influence their professional identity [16,17]. Beijaard et al. [18] define the essence of teacher professional identity as a dynamic, rather than fixed, social construction where experiences are continuously interpreted and internalised. These authors explain that professional identity formation is “a process of practical knowledge building characterised by an ongoing integration of what is individually and collectively seen as relevant to teaching” [18].
This process is influenced by both previous and current experiences within the teaching environment [19,20]. Individuals’ perceptions of themselves, how they experience themselves being seen by others, and the different viewpoints they are exposed to during lectures and teaching practice blocks impact their development. Their pre-service professional identity is therefore multi-faceted and related to the various roles of the chosen career. However, this identity remains unique to everyone, as the lived experience that is brought to the pre-service teacher programme is unique to each student.

4. Pre-Professional Identity

It is important to note that pre-service teachers’ professional identity development does not only start after graduation but that it starts taking shape as soon as the career choice has been made [21]. Flores and Day [22], and Jackson [23] use the phrase pre-professional identity to refer to an immature, often naïve, form of identity that students enter pre-service training programmes with. This pre-professional identity is largely built around their perceptions of what the teaching career entails and their motivation to become teachers [24,25,26,27]. It encapsulates their understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a teacher, based on their experiences during years of schooling, and explains how they see themselves fitting into that career. This less mature version of a professional identity is dependent on external support to fully develop into a realistic and multi-faceted professional identity [28].
Through the course of teacher training, students’ developing pre-professional identity ought to be challenged, confirmed, and refined through various interventions, disruptions, and opportunities to grow [23]. The goal is for pre-service teachers to develop a more mature, complex, dynamic, and sophisticated professional identity in preparing for the profession that may be regarded as one of the most challenging. Due to the very nature of teaching, Reyneke and Botha [28] note that despite the level of personal and professional development that pre-service teachers may undergo during their training, teacher identity can never be seen as fully formed and static, as the profession demands lifelong learning and scholarly engagement with pedagogy to ensure sustained development [28].
The process of learning to become a teacher—of moving towards a complex professional identity from the pre-professional identity that pre-service teachers enter programmes with this journey of ‘becoming’, of self-actualisation—is not limited to learning from mentor teachers during periods of teaching practice. It is a process that is also driven by what happens in lecture halls: by what students learn from engaging with each other, with their lecturers, and with academic content [23]. Those pre-service teachers who make a conscious effort to actively facilitate their own development on both a personal and professional level need to be offered various platforms from which they can navigate the development and maturation of their pre-professional identity. They need multiple opportunities to reflect, experiment, and grow under the guidance of lecturers and mentor teachers during periods of teaching practice [29,30,31]. The latter seems to play a pivotal role in pre-service teacher development, as it is while spending time in schools that the realities of teachers’ lives may change their perception of the profession [32].
It is during formal teaching practice sessions in schools that pre-service teachers are exposed to, amongst other things, teaching, administration, disciplinary issues and classroom management, assessment practices, interaction with parents, and power relations among members of the teaching and administrative staff. Due to a myriad of responsibilities and challenges, they may often feel overwhelmed and inadequate [32]. Circumstances and experiences in schools as workplaces may cause consideration of alternative viewpoints and ultimately result in changes in their perception of the profession. Unfortunately, not all pre-service teachers who may be confronted with challenges during periods of practical teaching feel supported by their mentor teachers and might develop negative perceptions about teaching [33]. Even if they have a very rewarding teaching practice experience, they might still be confronted with a reality of teaching that might be different from what they envisioned [34,35,36]. Being forced to alter perceptions is not always a comfortable space, and some students might struggle to manage this process. While some pre-service teachers soon realise that they might have had a limited understanding of the profession, others stagnate and might not be able to tap into their experiences to grow. They might not feel supported enough to face the realisations and use the opportunity for identity formation and the development of their pre-professional identity en route to a more mature professional identity [32].
Teaching practice is not the only effective platform to enhance the maturation of pre-service teachers’ pre-professional identity. Reyneke and Botha [28] report on the effort of a South African tertiary institution to deliberately disrupt the perceptions that first-year pre-service teachers bring to teacher training. At this institution, a professional orientation programme was implemented at the onset of the academic year to motivate first-year students to question some of the dominant discourses and taken-for-granted perceptions that they unknowingly brought to their training. A deliberate disruption of preconceived notions resulted in a positive influence on the development of their personal and pre-professional identities, as well as improving the student experience and attainment of graduate attributes.
Apart from considering the development of professional identity through the lens of the maturation of a pre-professional identity, it could also be understood through Baxter-Magolda’s theory of self-authorship [37].

5. Self-Authorship

The three-tiered theory of self-authorship [37] is based on Kegan’s approach to development, where he built upon Piaget’s idea of constructive developmentalism to explain how people create knowledge and make meaning across three different domains, namely the cognitive, intrapersonal, and relational dimensions [38]. He highlights these three components as the ways in which individuals perceive and interpret their lived experiences. The cognitive component can be defined as the assumptions that an individual has about knowledge, the interpersonal component as their views on and experiences of relationships, and the intrapersonal component as their perceptions and beliefs about their identity [38].
Baxter Magolda [39] used these components as the premise on which she conceptualised the theory of self-authorship. She explains that the process of self-authorship refers to the process of identity development through an individual’s innate ability to make meaning from their internal beliefs and lived experiences. This is not an individual process but is highly dependent on the various relationships that pre-service teachers stand in. The role of people in career choice and decisions during their pre-service teacher training and teaching practicum experiences has a direct influence on a student’s level of self-authorship.
Baxter Magolda [39] explains the role of vital relationships through three assumptions and three key principles. The key assumptions refer to the notion that knowledge is socially constructed, that the individual plays a key role in knowledge construction, and that authoritarian relationships contribute to the mutual creation of new knowledge and meaning. In the three key principles, attention is focused on the situatedness of learning, the mutually constructed process of learning, and the need for new knowledge and meaning to be validated. King and Baxter Magolda [40] further explain that the three assumptions challenge learners to journey towards self-authorship, while the three principles bridge the gap between their current developmental place and authoring their own beliefs, identities, and relationships. During the first phase of self-authorship, these assumptions and experiences are influenced by external factors, but during subsequent phases, the individual develops the internal capacity to question dominant discourses and embrace tensions that allow growth and development towards authentic self-authorship [39]. This process of navigating the assumptions to facilitate growth and reach self-authorship seems to occur in three phases [39].
The three phases of self-authorship, defined by behaviour in three specific dimensions, are the ‘following formulas’ phase, the ‘crossroads’ phase, and then working towards a state of ‘self-authorship’. An individual’s placement on the self-authorship continuum is determined by their development on epistemological (cognitive), intrapersonal, and interpersonal dimensions [40]. These dimensions correlate with the components of identity, and therefore this model is aptly suited to explore pre-service teachers’ processes of professional identity formation and development. The evolution and maturation that pre-service teachers experience throughout their training are evident in these proposed phases. Table 1 provides a summary of the three phases of self-authorship by exploring the characteristics of the three dimensions in question.

6. Self-Authorship and Professional Identity

Baxter Magolda and Marcia [37] acknowledge the importance of context and the social construction of meaning in an individual’s journey through these phases. She also highlights the importance of admitting that these dimensions are intertwined and that lived experience can often not be considered in isolation [40]. This is aligned with Jackson’s [23] understanding of pre-professional identity. In considering this, the influence of lived experience can be understood in three ways. Firstly, the attitudes, beliefs, and values that pre-service teachers bring into their teaching programmes as part of their pre-professional identity will impact their experience of and approach to teaching and learning. Secondly, the view that parents, family, and friends hold of teaching as a career will impact the perception of the pre-service teacher [41]. This will directly influence the phase of self-authorship that individuals may find themselves in.
Thirdly, previous experiences with teachers will have an important impact on self-authorship. Positive and negative experiences with previous teachers, as well as mentor teachers during teaching practice blocks, will influence the maturation of the pre-professional identity and the willingness of the student to deal with these experiences to move towards the next phase of self-authorship. In addition, exposure to different teaching philosophies and various examples of best practices creates opportunities for students to critically evaluate their own philosophies and practices [42].
It is evident that a strong and well-defined pre-professional identity, albeit naive and immature, creates the platform for a pre-service teacher to move towards the next phase of self-authorship. The realisation of a pre-professional identity can serve as a foundation for a student to define their placement on the self-authorship continuum. Furthermore, being aware of self-authorship can create opportunities for pre-service teachers to further develop their pre-professional identities [43]. A greater understanding of the profession and the roles and responsibilities associated with it can offer students a platform to conceptualise their own professional identity.
In this article, it is postulated that Baxter Magolda’s notion of self-authorship can be used as a theoretical framework and pedagogical tool to determine where first-year students place in terms of their self-authorship and to suggest ways in which higher education institutions can actively facilitate this development.

7. Methodology

7.1. Research Question

Research was driven by the following question: How can self-authorship be used to develop the professional identity of pre-service teachers?

7.2. Research Paradigm

The paradigm selected for this research is constructivism. This selection was made because constructivism is concerned with the role of people in constructing knowledge and with the idea that experience should be perceived subjectively rather than objectively [44]. Aligned with the work performed by Baxter Magolda [37] on the importance of context and social construction of meaning and by Jackson [23] on pre-professional identity formation and lived experiences, discussed above, this study concerned itself with the subjective experiences of pre-service teachers in different relationships and the impact thereof on their journeys of becoming teachers.

7.3. Research Design

A qualitative study was pursued as it allowed the researchers to explore individual participants’ views on important role players with whom they stood in different relationships in their journey of becoming teachers. During the first year of pre-service teacher training, the first-year students at this institution are not required to complete teaching practice time in schools since it is merely three months after finishing high school. Instead, the allocated time is designated for a non-placement orientation programme in order to enable them to gain a solid footing in their chosen profession. As part of this programme, students undergo an introductory course in LEGO® 6 Bricks that has been incorporated into the teaching practice curriculum. The objective of the course is to facilitate students in using this manipulative to transcend their comfort zones and, in the process, also explore their personal and professional identity through a playful approach. During this process, the cohort of pre-service teachers’ complete activities to unpack their experiences and perceptions around various role players, including former teachers, friends, and family that influence their thoughts and feelings about people and relationships that influence their career choice and their perceptions of the teaching profession, permitted the research team to develop an understanding of participants’ opinions. With the adoption of a qualitative research design came the acknowledgement that there is no absolute truth and that the new information and knowledge emanating from the study would be situational and derived from the personal experiences of each participant [45].

7.4. Methodology

Play-based activities were utilised to learn about the role players and relationships that impacted the development of pre-service teachers’ pre-professional identity and affected their placement on the self-authorship continuum. Students’ perceptions were activated by means of LEGO® 6 Bricks activities where they could manoeuvre the blocks as they wished before writing reflective narratives. The narratives generated the data for the study.
The use of the six bricks was deemed valid because the free play activity would allow the researchers to accurately measure students’ perceptions. Consistency in results further proved the reliability of the instrument.

7.5. Student Activities

In this study, each first-year pre-service teacher was given a set of LEGO® 6 Bricks (Figure 1) and asked to consider each brick as a role player in their journey to become a teacher. They were then requested to construct a cube that would reflect the importance of and interaction between these role players. Next, they had to take a photograph of their cube before writing a paragraph in which they had to identify each role player, justify the placement of that specific-coloured LEGO® block in their cube, and indicate the value of this role player in their journey of becoming a teacher.

7.6. Sampling and Data Analysis

A purposive sample was drawn from the narratives submitted by all first-year students enrolled for a bachelor’s degree in education at a South African university. In this study, the researchers randomly selected 56 narratives from the larger first-year group. This study forms part of a larger research project for which full ethical clearance, gatekeeper permission, and student informed consent were obtained. The photographs that students were requested to take of the cubes as well as the narratives that they wrote were imported into ATLAS.ti™. The researchers read and reread the students’ narratives to, through inductive analysis, identify themes. These themes were coded and will be discussed in the following section. Validity and reliability were ensured by having a clear research question, triangulation, and a sample that was a fair representation of the population. The authors had regular reflective conversations during and after the research to also act as validity and reliability checks.

8. Findings

Inductive content analysis relies on inductive reasoning and offers researchers the opportunity to reflect on a set of data. This extended exposure to the data offers insight into the material that enables the researchers to reduce the volume of data and subsequently identify emerging patterns and themes.
This qualitative method of data analysis begins with organising the raw material, followed by the ‘read and reflect’ stage, where coding is used to categorise and make notes on the data. In the third step, the number of categories is grouped and sorted into dominant themes.
In this study, three dominant themes are highlighted that are all conceptualised around pre-service teachers’ relationships with relevant role players that impact the development of their pre-professional identity as well as allude to their placement on the self-authorship continuum.
  • Pre-existing relationships (with former teachers and family);
  • Newly developing relationships (with fellow pre-service teachers and teacher educators);
  • Relationship with myself.

8.1. Pre-Existing Relationships

It is evident from the data that pre-service teachers value and recognise the impact of important people in their lives. Certain key moments, life events, and occurrences define their perceptions, contextualise their experiences, and drive important decisions they make, including career choices.

8.1.1. Professional Inspiration: Influence of Prior Teachers

Participants highlighted the role that former teachers played in their decision to choose teaching as a profession. The attributes they saw in those teachers inspired them and possibly resonated with a need they felt to also become teachers.
“The orange block represents my former high school teacher; she has always been supportive and encouraged me to come to university”. (participant 2)
“In my mind, Mr. N, my former history teacher, symbolises motivation. That is why I allocated my blue block to him. To this day, he inspires me towards greatness, and he is still actively involved in my life. He is guiding me to become the same type of teacher that he is. He not only offered to help me with academics at the university, but also provided emotional support when I needed it. He teaches me how I should behave and handle myself as a teacher. Mr. N is more than a teacher to me, I see him as a parent”. (participant 23)
From these statements by the pre-service teachers and their observations of their teachers during basic schooling, it seems that they might place a greater emphasis on how former teachers made them feel than on the academic knowledge they might have gained from them. Participants 2 and 9 prioritised emotional attributes they saw and valued in former teachers in their Six Bricks cube:
“I associate the orange block with Mr. M, the man who taught me to be fearless and to have courage. He taught me to be a leader”. (participant 2)
“My grade 4 teacher taught me not to give up and that I should grab every opportunity that comes my way”. (participant 9)
Botha (2020) had a similar finding that highlighted the emotional rather than academic connection with prior teachers. She found their views to be naïve and limited. Lortie (1975) first explored this limited insight with which scholars viewed their teachers and interpreted their roles and responsibilities. A lack of knowledge about the academic component of teaching could lead learners to focus more on the emotional contribution teachers make to their lives.
King, Baxter Magolda, Barber, Brown, and Lindsay [43] conducted a large-scale study that also found that the understanding that students had of their own experiences and the subsequent ability to make meaning from these experiences were strongly related to what they learned from said experiences. In accordance with Baxter Magolda [37] views, these perceptions are often one-dimensional and linear, and it highlights the immaturity of pre-service teachers in simply believing what they perceive to be rather than critically assessing their experiences and subsequently considering their reactions.
This was validated by the responses in our study, as almost all of the participants only commented on the positive influence of former teachers. Only one participant mentioned having negative experiences with teachers during her basic schooling. This statement displays a critical engagement with her lived experience and the acceptance that not all aspects of teaching are positive. She realised that she could also learn from negative experiences.
“The green block represents all the teachers that taught me as a child. I learned valuable lessons from them, some positive and some definitely negative. I learned a lot about what I think will work well, and I have definitely seen what I do not want to do when I stand in front of my own class”. (participant 22)
In challenging pre-service teachers to write about their lived experiences, we aimed to encourage critical reflection and discourse about the notion of best practice. The data does, however, confirm a lack of critical thinking amongst many participants. They display a simplified and naïve view of the role of teachers and what constitutes best teaching practice, rather than realising that teachers are complex beings and that there is much more to teaching than merely providing emotional support or inspiration [47,48]. It is evident that their pre-professional identity may be conceptualised around a romanticised view of teaching.
The overwhelmingly positive responses further highlight that participants might still be firmly situated within the following formulas phase of self-authorship [40]. Clearly, participants are still authority-dependent and therefore believe that they should not question what or how they are being taught. Their own meaning-making and maturation of internal beliefs are therefore highly dependent on the input of external events and people. As role players, these people also influence their beliefs, attitudes, and values and, in turn, play a significant role in the development of pre-professional identity [49]. The act of making independent meaning and subsequently questioning authority (and thus highlighting negative aspects encountered by former teachers) might label students as rebels. The dominant discourses most pre-service teachers tend to live by are dictated by a one-dimensional view of the role of the teacher as well as the transmission model of teaching that they have just exited, and they seem to simply assimilate rather than create knowledge and experiences [6,47]. Their ability to make meaning is also related to relying on simple, less complex frames of reference (i.e., their perceptions of who teachers are and what they do) and external sources of knowledge and guidelines for behaviour and beliefs.
Although it is evident that former teachers play a significant role in the career choice as well as the conceptualisation of the pre-professional identity of first-year pre-service teachers, the data also highlights other role players that impact personal and professional development.

8.1.2. Family as a Cornerstone of Support

The findings in this study validate the significant role that people from various spheres of their lives play in the meaning-making of pre-service teachers [50]. As discussed in the previous section, former teachers impacted their career choice as well as their perception of best teaching practices. This also seems to be the case for family and friends who hold influence over the development of the pre-professional identity of these potential teachers.
Participants in this study emphasised the support and guidance their families have always provided and which they rely on to be successful in their journeys to becoming teachers. Participants 2 and 27 referred to the support of their families as motivation to persevere. They both credited their families for their academic success thus far and relied on them for future support during their years of teacher training. Participant 5 specifically mentioned her grandmother, who is also a teacher. She is dependent on her grandmother for assistance and advice during her studies. Pre-service teacher 6 shared the same sentiment about her mother, from whom she has learned a lot about working with children. It is noteworthy that a significant number of participants had parents or grandparents who were or are teachers, and this has greatly impacted their own perception of becoming teachers and their understanding of the expectations of the career.
The reasons that participants provided for including family in their Six Bricks cubes were not only limited to the emotional support they provided but also as role models for personal attributes that these pre-service teachers wished to copy. It is interesting to note that these attributes correlate with what they perceive as traits of a good teacher, which they recognised in some of their former teachers. Their pre-professional identity is thus conceptualised in part around their experiences within their own family and the example set by significant family members.
“My father inspires me to be patient. Due to his example, I will be willing to repeat things over and over again when I am a teacher. My nephew showed me how to manage my time. Thanks to him, I will always complete my work on time and keep to my due dates”. (participant 31)
“My sister showed me how to be dedicated, and from my mother I learned communication skills. To be a good teacher, good communication is key”. (participant 43)
Evidently, participants consider family to be the cornerstone and foundation of their support system. As Struyven, Jacobs, and Dochy [21] point out, identity is often constructed by the influence of significant people in a student’s life. The relationship with these people will impact both personal and professional identity as there is a transference of attributes in the family unit to the professional sphere. As indicated by the data in this study, shared values, beliefs, and customs will impact future behaviour, and the approval of these family members is of significant importance. The choices these pre-service teachers make are therefore often dependent on the approval of family members. As they look towards these people for guidance, they often merely accept their instructions and advice without questioning or critically considering the information. In the following formulas phase of self-authorship, meaning-making is dependent on the influence of significant people. They merely accept this as truth and a prescription for their own development and story.
References to family and friends not only alluded to the supportive role they played in the lives of these individuals but also an awareness of the responsibility they felt to succeed for the sake of their families. Some participants shared the expectations that their families had for them to become successful in their chosen careers.
“My family motivates me to become a teacher because I will be the first child in my family to go to university”. (participant 1)
The aforementioned is highly relevant in the South African context, as many first-generation students aim to succeed in their tertiary studies, and the added pressure that they may put themselves under may impact their professional development. Since these students do not have family members who could share their experiences of tertiary studies, their meaning-making as pre-service teachers is limited to their personal perceptions of teaching and their experiences during basic schooling. Furthermore, there is pressure to be successful so that, once they stand in the profession, they will be able to offer financial support to their families [50].
While the impact of family seems to be lasting and significant, even though most students might have left home and relocated to a new environment, the new relationships they form at their tertiary institution also have a significant impact on the maturation of their pre-professional identity and their placement on the self-authorship continuum.

8.2. Newly Developing Relationships

8.2.1. Reliance on Peer Support

Negotiating relationships is a core demand placed on all new pre-service teachers. While they must maintain and renegotiate existing relationships, they are faced with forming new relationships with peers, romantic partners, and teacher educators [51].
It is evident that pre-service teachers enter tertiary education programmes with a pre-professional identity that was and continues to be influenced by certain long-term relationships. In some instances, as school learners, they had no choice but to continue with existing relationships or not. However, once at university and away from home, pre-service teachers can choose to maintain existing relationships or not and to form new bonds with peers, classmates, and friends [52].
It is noteworthy that participants in this study already rely on these new relationships as sources of support. They identify attributes in their friends that they would like to instill and develop in themselves. This does illustrate some sense of self-awareness and might allude to a first step in moving from the following formula phase to the crossroads phase of self-authorship. To critically think about oneself, one’s beliefs, one’s actions, and one’s intent indicate the development of a tension that will trigger growth and development on both personal and professional levels. It is also evident that the pre-professional identity that they have entered their teacher training programme with might already be maturing as they settle into their new identity as pre-service teachers.
When first entering tertiary education, most students’ decisions are likely to be based on the lived experience and perceptions they brought with them from their home and basic schooling [27]. At university, they enjoy the added influence of their lecturers and friends. Their level of self-authorship and the subsequent development of their pre-professional identity are directly impacted and challenged by an array of university experiences. Many participants allocated one or more of their LEGO® Six Bricks blocks to indicate the importance of friends in the development of their identity. Participant 59 devoted his red block to his peers, as they provided him with advice and assistance when needed. He emphasises his commitment to supporting his friends in their time of need. Participant 14 also values the support and resources that she can share with her fellow pre-service teachers. She indicates that they can compare notes, agree on what content and skills are most important, and even debate how they view certain situations. This indicates the openness of this pre-service teacher to the influence of her friends and allowing them to contribute to her personal and professional growth. It also demonstrates the ability to acknowledge differences in opinion and the openness to critically evaluate their own ideas, attitudes, and beliefs, which in turn paves the way for tensions to facilitate the transition towards the next level of self-authorship. This process highlights the complexity of managing emotional, psychological, and social issues of identity formation, particularly in terms of belonging.
It seems that some pre-service teachers might be willing to accept a wider lens, try to create their own knowledge, and start making meaning in different ways. The data indicate that this process is not only facilitated by internal processes and the influence of peers, but also seems to be facilitated by the institution, the modelling provided by teacher educators, and the content of the teacher training programme.

8.2.2. The Role of Tertiary Institutions

Pre-service teachers do not only belong to social circles; they are also members of an academic fraternity where a sense of belonging ought to be fostered. It goes without saying that the teacher educators they encounter will, directly and indirectly, impact the development of their professional identity, which includes the perceptions they have of being and becoming teachers [53].
The academic environment in which pre-service teachers operate includes learning from practice (all campus-based activities) as well as learning in practice (which relates to teaching practice blocks and relationships with mentor teachers). As the first-year pre-service teachers in this study had not yet completed a school-based teaching practice block, this study acknowledged the potential impact on identity formation and the creation of tensions but focused on experiences that participants related to being involved in campus-based programmes, such as the professional orientation programme discussed here.
The participants in this study indicated their expectation of support from what they referred to as “the university”. It is important to note, at the onset, that they see the institution as a being and do not refer specifically to teacher educators. Participant 3 allocated her red brick to the university, as she considers it to be the most important role player in her quest to become a teacher. Participant 14 agreed that the university had a responsibility to prepare her for her chosen career and to assist her in obtaining her degree. According to participant 59:
“…university is where all my “must know” will come from before I become a teacher”.
It seems that these pre-service teachers use the term university as an umbrella term to refer to all components of their teacher training, including practical teaching experiences, mentor teachers, etc. This could be an indication of their immaturity and lack of insight into the teacher training programme that they enrolled for. They may have a naive idea of what the tertiary institution may offer and what the institution’s role is in their journey to become teachers.
The following formulas phase of self-authorship includes a lack of critical thinking and a willingness to accept that authorities (in this case, the university) create the knowledge and make the meaning, which they simply accept as true [39]. In the transmission model, some teacher educators consider themselves to be solely responsible for the cognitive development of pre-service teachers. They rarely include other levels of development or support in their curricula and thus do not involve themselves with the professional and personal development of their students [8]. Many believe that this task is the responsibility of the students themselves or could possibly be influenced by mentor teachers during teaching practice. Having teacher educators who do not challenge pre-service teachers to critically consider content but rather just to memorise and regurgitate is only strengthening their position within the following formulas phase. The success of their relationships with pre-service teachers is often only defined by grades and pass rates, and no meaningful interaction occurs between lecturer and student [53]. Pre-service teachers are not encouraged to question but rather forced to adhere to a strict set of rules and prescribed knowledge. The general goals for their development are often external, linear, and one-dimensional. The pre-professional identity of the pre-service teacher is not challenged, and the only focus is on academic achievement rather than growth and analysis of development within certain contexts.
This approach often leaves pre-service teachers lacking in the development of soft skills, which include communication, problem-solving, conflict management, etc. [5]. While in the following formulas phase, the pre-service teachers themselves often believe that they have already gained all the soft skills needed for success in their chosen careers.
As mentioned, the participants in this study did not specifically mention academic achievement as an important aspect of best practice but rather focused on the emotional components of teaching as the goal they strived towards. For them, this seemed to be an explicit rather than implicit part of their motivation to become teachers.
King and Baxter Magolda [40] define learning as “developing a frame of mind that allows students to put their knowledge in perspective; to understand the sources of their beliefs and values; and to establish a sense of self that enables them to participate effectively in a variety of personal, occupational, and community contexts”. This notion emphasises the importance of all relationships in the development of the pre-professional identity. The influence of pre-existing relationships and newly formed bonds is important, but the main source of development and growth seems to be the pre-service teachers themselves. They often have to acknowledge the realistic view of the career they chose, rather than the romanticised version they might have brought to their tertiary education [20]. This would not only allow them to manage their expectations but also to critically reflect on their perceptions and assumptions.

8.2.3. Relationship with Myself

It can be argued that life experiences and perceptions before tertiary education level scripted the sense of who pre-service teachers are and what their notion may be of good teaching practice [23,47]. This pre-professional identity is clearly embedded in the following formulas phase of self-authorship. Once at university, the academic content they are exposed to, as well as the influence of friends and fellow pre-service teachers, may invite them to start questioning the dominant discourses they might simply have accepted as true. Through these experiences, they start to realise that their identity has thus far been formed by what they have seen [54] and by what they have been taught.
In many cases, however, this is all secondary to an internal conviction to choose teaching as a career. Many pre-service teachers state a calling to teach or a motivation to make a difference in the lives of children as the main motivator for their career choice. While a noble concept, their perception may indicate a naïve perception of the teaching profession, its realities, and its demands.
“I just need to be a teacher so that I will then be able to install knowledge and love in learners. I will have a good relationship with all of them. I will make a difference, and I will make their lives better”. (participant 1)
This statement illustrates that this participant believes that it is inevitable that he will be a good teacher who will undoubtedly make a difference in learners’ lives. The participant does not claim that he hopes to make a difference; it is stated as fact. This underlying drive to make a difference may very likely be challenged during teaching practice, which, in turn, may create tension or even crises that this pre-service teacher will have to manage. Such occurrences become opportunities to reconceptualise identity and transition to a next level of self-authorship.
Within this theme, it was also clear that comments such as having a calling to teach are either focused on pre-service teachers themselves and their perceived ability (as in the case of participant 1) or very strongly based on religious beliefs and convictions. Baxter Magolda [37] points out that formalised religion and customs are important determinants of identity. Becoming a teacher is therefore more than a mere career choice; it is the fulfilment of a higher spiritual task.
It was also evident from the analysed data that making a difference was not limited to individual learners in a classroom but often extended towards communities at large. Participant 1 also commented that the children in her local community were the reason for her decision to become a teacher, and she wished to not only assist them with their schoolwork but to change their lives in general. Participant 9 watched YouTube videos about inspirational teachers and wished to be like them and make a difference in the world.
The naivety and lack of critical consideration of context are evident in these statements. Although making a difference might seem like a selfless act, the motivation might come from a following formula’s perception of innocence and lack of experience.
The influence of external factors on identity formation of these pre-service teachers is clear. Although the data show that most pre-service teachers are still firmly located in the following formula stage of self-authorship, it would however be reckless to assume that all pre-service teachers enter tertiary education in the following formulas phase of self-authorship. The data portray a shift towards the crossroads phase in individual participants; they seem to already be experiencing tensions that might facilitate this maturation and development. The reasons for their experiencing these tensions are beyond the scope of this article, but it is worth exploring an example of such a tension that would, through their four years of pre-service teacher training, transition them into the crossroads phase. Participant 7 states that:
“My former grade 4 teacher played a huge role in my decision to become a teacher, she made it look easy and enjoyable…. much easier than it is looking now”. (participant 7)
Participant 7 has possibly experienced events, realisations, or doubts that made her question her own taken-for-granted assumptions. They might be becoming aware of limitations in their thinking and thus starting to reconsider their own meaning-making and beliefs.
Some of the pre-service teachers seem to be aware that they will have to adapt their approach to teaching as they are exposed to more experiences in the lecture hall and classroom. It is not clear what the reason for this realisation was, but participant 2 commented:
“I will need to learn to be able to adapt because I might be exposed to different contexts and then be able to adapt to the way learners learn”.
From this comment, it can be argued that although they may not know how or what difficulty they could encounter, they do know that they need to develop their adaptive skills for when challenges do arise. Their acknowledgement that adaptive expertise is important creates an interesting space, a space where, if their perceptions regarding teaching and the teaching profession are not questioned and their experiences are not deconstructed, students might remain in the first phase of self-authorship, even if they acknowledge that they need to be able to adapt. It is therefore important that university lecturers create spaces where they can help pre-service teachers explore and reflect on their own practice and teacher identity.

8.3. An Amalgamation of Influences

The findings indicate that a myriad of role players have an influence on the personal and professional development of pre-service teachers. It is also evident that the power to utilise these role players as tools in their journey of development lies greatly in the hands of the pre-service teachers themselves, but it does seem that there is an expectation and responsibility on tertiary educations to actively contribute to this process by creating tensions that would transition pre-service teachers towards the next phase of self-authorship. The challenge for higher education institutions may be the ways in which they should challenge and support pre-service teachers to become aware of their own perceptions, experiences, and expectations and thereby develop their own identity through self-authorship.
Institutions could opt to include opportunities for creating these tensions through selected academic modules, through teaching practice events, or through specific organised events such as the one elucidated in this article. Regardless of the platform used, it is imperative that intended disruption is needed to guide pre-service teachers to question their own status quo and promote their identity development.
It is also paramount to keep in mind that, should situations become challenging and stressful, a student could revert to a previous phase of self-authorship. This is often the occurrence after a less successful teaching practice block, academic struggles, personal turmoil, or a feeling of being overwhelmed by these tensions they are experiencing. On the other hand, should there not be enough tension to motivate transition towards the next phase of self-authorship, they may also stay in the comfort zone of the phase they find themselves in. Acknowledging the role of tertiary institutions to empowering pre-service teachers with the tools to successfully deal with tension could help teacher educators to design powerful learning experiences and valuable teaching practice endeavours. The authors, therefore, suggest the following recommendations for tertiary institutions to increase their active involvement and create these tensions needed to promote the development of the pre-professional identity and movement through the phases of self-authorship.

9. Recommendations

As teacher training programmes are unique and conceptualised with a specific epistemology and context in mind, a range of recommendations are offered, keeping in mind that first-year pre-service teachers seem to mostly find themselves within the following formula phase of self-authorship. Teacher educators could then critically consider the endeavours that would suit their tailor-made environment. Future research on each of these aspects will potentially make a huge contribution to improving teacher training and education. A longitudinal study to explore the further development of professional identity and the movement through the phases of self-authorship can provide more depth in understanding this phenomenon and provide more insight for teacher educators to address these issues.

9.1. Intentional Disruptions

Working towards the graduate attributes of the institution as well as gaining the skills needed for the profession expects a pre-service teacher to constantly evaluate information and situations and then to evolve, adjust, or stand by their opinions and way of thinking. Teacher educators need to create opportunities that will intentionally disrupt and challenge thinking to motivate pre-service teachers to critically evaluate their own opinions and expectations and, in that way, make sense of their experiences. As a result, knowledge is then created rather than passively accepted, and dominant discourses and taken-for-granted assumptions are questioned. Navigating these tensions would advance self-efficacy and agency, as pre-service teachers are now taking ownership of their own learning and creating meaning and knowledge that fits their beliefs, opening them to diverse ways of thinking and doing. Such disruptive events could take the form of special lectures or events that would address various aspects of personal and professional development. It can be incorporated into the academic component of teaching practice or be a significant influence on orientation programmes for first-year pre-service teachers.

9.2. The Importance of Modelling

Teacher educators need to acknowledge the crucial role they play in the identity development of their pre-service teachers. It is important to be cognisant of the various role players that impact their growth and development. In addition, they are responsible for more than teaching content, they have an obligation to model good practice for their students. Institutions cannot only rely on teaching practice and mentor teachers to model the skills and attributes of a good teacher. The teaching strategies that teacher educators utilise in lectures should mirror the expectations they have of their students during teaching practice. It is also important that teacher educators critically reflect on their own journey towards self-authorship.

9.3. Link Learning to Real-World Experiences

Teacher educators who are cognisant of the various role players that impact the development of the pre-professional identity of pre-service teachers realise that their influence on the identity formation of these students is not an isolated event. They aim to create experiences that foster identity development on a practical level, rather than only dealing with theory as part of academic content. Institutions that are committed to contributing to the transition of their students through the phases of self-authorship will create connections with real-world experiences and make a conscious effort to bridge the theory- practice gap. The personal and professional lives of pre-service teachers merge during teaching practice, and the experiences during these blocks are then used as building blocks for development during campus-based teaching.

9.4. Provide Holistic Support

Tertiary institutions should validate the important role of lived experience, local knowledge, and pre-existing relationships in the development of professional identity. The personal and professional lives of pre-service teachers do not function as silos but are intertwined and actively impact each other. All role players are therefore involved in fostering a sense of belonging and trust in pre-service teachers. In this regard, providing holistic support during teaching practice as well as the rest of the academic year is paramount. Such support could be of an academic nature but could also include development on other levels. In addition, pre-service teachers should be motivated to reflect on their own journey and their experiences learning in and learning from practice. They should also reflect on their assumptions, perceptions, and experiences in all the relationships that they are in. An awareness of the different relationships that have influence and the ability to create tensions needed to transition through the process of self-authorship will assist them in their transition. Should a student have trouble managing the tension they experience, they can rely on these role players for support rather than merely falling back on the previous phase of self-authorship they found themselves in. Tertiary institutions should ensure that their students are aware of all the levels of support offered to them by faculty and support services.

10. Conclusions

It should be acknowledged that this was a study of limited scope at a single institution. Findings may not be generalised but should be valued for the awareness created about this phenomenon.
The contribution of this study to the body of knowledge on identity development in pre-service teachers should, however, be considered from a time perspective. Many studies referenced in this article explored identity development and self-authorship during or near the end of teacher training. In this study, the participants were first-year student teachers who had only been on campus for a few months. The LEGO Six Bricks intervention was conducted at the onset of their training to become teachers, and the findings indicated ways in which tertiary institutions could utilise the remainder of their time at university to actively be involved in the process of growth and development.
Becoming a teacher is a complex process that starts long before a pre-service teacher spends their first day in a teaching practice classroom or university lecture hall. The development of an immature and naïve pre-professional identity into a mature and distinguished identity relies on the influence of several role players. The theory of self-authorship highlights the journey that a pre-service teacher undertakes in navigating the tensions they experience from situations intentionally created by role players, such as the tertiary institution they are enrolled at. Although most first-year students still find themselves in the finding formulas phase, tertiary institutions can deliberately create disruptions to foster critical reflection, meaning-making, and being open to alternative ideas. Active involvement in the process of self-authorship leads to students who have a mature and integrated understanding of themselves as teachers.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, C.B., E.M. and M.R.; methodology, C.B., E.M. and M.R.; validation, C.B., E.M. and M.R.; formal analysis, C.B., E.M. and M.R.; resources, C.B., E.M. and M.R.; data curation, C.B., E.M. and M.R.; writing—original draft preparation, C.B., E.M. and M.R.; writing—review and editing, C.B. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research received no external funding.

Institutional Review Board Statement

The study was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki, and approved by NWU-EMELTEN-REC (Ethics Committee) of North-West University (NWU-oooo3-21-A2, date of approval 3 May 2022).

Informed Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all participants involved in the study.

Data Availability Statement

Data is contained within the article.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


  1. Freire, P. Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 30th Anniversary Edition ed.; Continuum: New York, NY, USA, 1970. [Google Scholar]
  2. Piaget, J. Genetic Epistemology; Norton: New York, NY, USA, 1970. [Google Scholar]
  3. Vygotsky, L.S. Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes; Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 1978. [Google Scholar]
  4. Britzman, D.P. Structures of Feeling in Curriculum and Teaching. Theory Into Pract. 1992, 31, 252–258. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  5. Lamote, C.; Engels, N. The development of student teachers’ professional identity. Eur. J. Teach. Educ. 2010, 33, 3–18. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  6. Wolhuter, C.C. Critical issues in South African education. In Critical Issues in South African Education: Illumination from International Comparative Perspectives from the BRICS Countries; Wolhuter, C.C., Ed.; AOSIS Publishing: Cape Town, South Africa, 2020; pp. 1–27. [Google Scholar]
  7. Brouwer, J.; Jansen, E. Beyond grades: Developing knowledge sharing in learning communities as a graduate attribute. High. Educ. Res. Dev. 2018, 38, 219–234. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  8. Samuel, M.; Stephens, D. Critical dialogues with self: Developing teacher identities and roles * a case study of South African student teachers. Int. J. Educ. Res. Policy Pract. 2000, 33, 17. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  9. Nel, C.; Botha, C.S.; Marais, E. A COVID-19 Re-envisioned Teaching Practicum Curriculum. Reseach Soc. Sci. Technol. 2021, 6, 249–266. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  10. Erikson, E.H. Identity, Youth, and Crisis; Norton: New York, NY, USA, 1968. [Google Scholar]
  11. Chong, S.; Low, E.-L. Why I want to teach and how I feel about teaching—Formation of teacher identity from pre-service to the beginning teacher phase. Educ. Res. Policy Pract. 2008, 8, 59–72. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  12. Portes, A. The Two Meanings of Social Capital. Soc. Forum 2000, 15, 1–12. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  13. Brenner, P.S.; Serpe, R.T.; Stryker, S. Role-specific Self-efficacy as Precedent and Product of the Identity Model. Sociol. Perspect. 2017, 61, 57–80. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  14. Ruohotie-Lyhty, M. Struggling for a professional identity: Two newly qualified language teachers’ identity narratives during the first years at work. Teach. Teach. Educ. 2013, 30, 120–129. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  15. Hanna, F.; Oostdam, R.; Severiens, S.E.; Zijlstra, B.J. Domains of teacher identity: A review of quantitative measurement instruments. Educ. Res. Rev. 2019, 27, 15–27. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  16. Baraily, K.; Sherpa, D. Teachers’ Perception on Identity Construction: Lived Experience of Community School Teachers in Nepal. Prithvi Acad. J. 2022, 5, 138–146. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  17. Flores, M.A. Feeling like a student but thinking like a teacher: A study of the development of professional identity in initial teacher education. J. Educ. Teach. 2020, 46, 145–158. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  18. Beijaard, D.; Meijer, P.C.; Verloop, N. Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity. Teach. Teach. Educ. 2004, 20, 107–128. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  19. Wenger, E. Communities of Practice Learning, Meaning, and Identity; Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK, 1998. [Google Scholar]
  20. Bergmark, U.; Lundström, S.; Manderstedt, L.; Palo, A. Why become a teacher? Student teachers’ perceptions of the teaching profession and motives for career choice. Eur. J. Teach. Educ. 2018, 41, 266–281. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  21. Struyven, K.; Jacobs, K.; Dochy, F. Why do they want to teach? The multiple reasons of different groups of students for undertaking teacher education. Eur. J. Psychol. Educ. 2012, 28, 1007–1022. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  22. Flores, M.A.; Day, C. Contexts Which Shape and Reshape New Teachers’ Identities: A Multi-Perspective study. Teach. Teach. Educ. 2006, 22, 219–232. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  23. Jackson, D. Developing pre-professional identity in undergraduates through work-integrated learning. High. Educ. 2016, 74, 833–853. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  24. Kyriacou, C.; Coulthard, M. Undergraduates’ Views of Teaching as a Career Choice. J. Educ. Teach. 2010, 26, 117–126. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  25. Assunção Flores, M.; Niklasson, L. Why Do Student Teachers Enrol for a Teaching Degree? A Study of Teacher Recruitment in Portugal and Sweden. J. Educ. Teach. 2014, 40, 328–343. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  26. Low, E.L.; Ng, P.T.; Hui, C.; Cai, L. Teaching as a Career Choice: Triggers and Drivers. Aust. J. Teach. Educ. 2017, 42, 28–46. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  27. Han, S.W.; Borgonovi, F.; Guerriero, S. What Motivates High School Students to Want to Be Teachers? The Role of Salary, Working Conditions, and Societal Evaluations About Occupations in a Comparative Perspective. Am. Educ. Res. J. 2017, 55, 3–39. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  28. Reyneke, E.M.; Botha, C.S. The professional orientation of first year student teachers in a non-placement work-integrated learning program. Int. J. Work.-Integr. Learn. 2020, 21, 303–316. [Google Scholar]
  29. Azimi, E.; Kuusisto, E.; Tirri, K.; Hatami, J. How do student teachers reflect on their practice through practicum courses? A case study from Iran. J. Educ. Teach. 2019, 45, 277–289. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  30. Baartman, N. Challenges experienced by school-based mentor teachers during initial teacher training in five selected schools in Amathole East district. J. Soc. Sci. Humanit. 2020, 17, 149–161. [Google Scholar]
  31. Bruno, A.; Dell’Aversana, G. ‘What shall I pack in my suitcase?’: The role of work-integrated learning in sustaining social work students’ professional identity. Soc. Work. Educ. 2018, 37, 34–48. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  32. Erasmus, E. ‘My Heart Keeps Getting in the Way’: A Collaborative Journey towards Holistic Support for Pre-Service Teachers during Teaching Practice; North-West University: Potchefstroom, South Africa, 2022. [Google Scholar]
  33. Koross, R. The Student Teachers’ Experiences during Teaching Practice and Its Impact on their Perception of the Teaching Profession. IRA Int. J. Educ. Multidiscip. Stud. 2016, 5, 76–85, ISSN 2455-2526. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  34. Chuanchom, C.; Wichamuk, P.; Imsa-ard, P. Muffled Voices from Thai Pre-Service Teachers: Challenges and Difficulties during Teaching Practicum. Shanlax Int. J. Educ. 2021, 9, 246–260. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  35. Garton, S. “This is why students feel lost when they go into teaching practice”: English Language Teachers’ Views on their Initial Teacher Education. Int. J. Learn. Teach. Educ. Res. 2020, 19, 371–387. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  36. Hurioğlu, L.; Efendioğlu, A. Opening Black-Box of Teaching-Practice: Pre-service Teachers’ Learning from the Hidden Curriculum Perspective. İlköğretim Online 2021, 20, 157–171. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  37. Baxter Magolda, M.B.B.; Marcia, B. Self-authorship: The foundation for twenty-first-century education. New Dir. Teach. Learn. 2007, 2007, 69–83. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  38. Kegan, R. In over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life; Harvard University Press: Cambridge, MA, USA, 1994. [Google Scholar]
  39. Baxter Magolda, M.B.B.; King, M.A. Toward Reflective Conversations: An Advising Approach that Promotes Self-Authorship. Acad. Advis. 2008, 10, 8–11. [Google Scholar]
  40. King, P.M.; Baxter Magolda, M.B.B. A Developmental Model of Intercultural Maturity. J. Coll. Stud. Dev. 2005, 46, 22. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  41. Bransford, J.; Darling-Hammond, L.; Le Page, P. Introduction. In Preparing Teachers for a Changing World: What Teachers Should Learn and Be Able to Do; Darling-Hammond, L., Bransford, J., Eds.; Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, CA, USA, 2005; pp. 1–39. [Google Scholar]
  42. Zhao, H.; Zhang, X. The Influence of Field Teaching Practice on Pre-service Teachers’ Professional Identity: A Mixed Methods Study. Front. Psychol. 2017, 8, 1264. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  43. King, P.M.; Baxter Magolda, M.B.; Barber, J.P.; Brown, M.K.; Lindsay, N.K. Developmentally Effective Experiences for Promoting Self-Authorship. Mind Brain Educ. 2009, 3, 108–118. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  44. Crotty, M. The Foundations of Social Reseach: Meaning and Perspective in the Research Process; Allen & Unwin: Crows Nest, Australia, 1998. [Google Scholar]
  45. Roller, M.R.; Lavrakas, P.J. Applied Qualitative Research Design: A Total Quality Framework Approach; The Guilford Press: New York, NY, USA, 2005. [Google Scholar]
  46. The LEGO Foundation. Six Bricks Booklet; The LEGO Foundation: Billund, Denmark, 2018. [Google Scholar]
  47. Lortie, C.D. Schoolteachers: A Sociological Study; University of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL, USA, 1975. [Google Scholar]
  48. Christensen, S.S. Teacher Recruitment: Highs School Students’ and Parents’ Perceptions of the Teaching Profession; Brigham Young University: Brigham, UT, USA, 2020. [Google Scholar]
  49. Motsabi, S.; Diale, B.M.; van Zyl, A. The role of social support in the persistence of first-year first-generation African students in a higher education institution in South Africa. South Afr. J. High. Educ. 2020, 34, 189–210. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  50. Thwala, N.I.C.; Motolla, L.S.; Lebelo, R.S.; Khumalo, S.; Mabunda, M.R. How close relationships in Higher Education Impact Students Lives: Friendships and Romantic Relationships. In Proceedings of the XIII Internation Concress on Social Sciences, China to Adriatic, Ankara, Turkey, 7–9 August 2021. [Google Scholar]
  51. Buote, V.M.; Pancer, S.M.; Pratt, M.W.; Adams, G.; Birnie-Lefcovitch, S.; Polivy, J.; Wintre, M.G. The Importance of Friends. J. Adolesc. Res. 2016, 22, 665–689. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  52. Richter, E.; Brunner, M.; Richter, D. Teacher educators’ task perception and its relationship to professional identity and teaching practice. Teach. Teach. Educ. 2021, 101, 103303. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  53. Ağçam, R.; Doğan, A. A Study on The Soft Skills of Pre-Service Teachers. Int. J. Progress. Educ. 2021, 17, 35–48. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  54. Ryan, R.M.; Deci, E.L. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivations: Classic definitions and new directions. Contemp. Educ. Psychol. 2000, 25, 54–67. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
Figure 1. LEGO® 6 Bricks [46].
Figure 1. LEGO® 6 Bricks [46].
Education 13 01067 g001
Table 1. The phases of self-authorship.
Table 1. The phases of self-authorship.
DimensionPhases of Self-Authorship
Following FormulasCrossroadsSelf-Authorship
CognitiveKnowledge is fixed and certain.
Authority provides the correct and only answer.
No requirement for critical thinking.
Awareness and acceptance of various perspectives.
Questions taken-for-granted beliefs.
Starts taking responsibility for their own beliefs.
Recognises knowledge as contextual.
Develops an internal belief system.
Critical thinking to evaluate and interpret ideas.
InterpersonalPrevious relationships are the source of your identity.
Dependent on the approval and affirmation of important relationships.
Identifies limitations in relationships.
Recognises the need to include their own ideas
and identity in relationships.
Effort to construct oneself within relationships.
Engages in authentic relationships that are not dependent on the approval of others.
Engage in a variety of relationships based on diversity and inclusivity.
Open to other views and belief systems without judgement.
Can consider other perspectives than their own.
IntrapersonalLack of awareness of one’s own identity, values, and beliefs.
Identity is dependent on external perceptions.
Identity changes depend on circumstances.
Constantly evolving awareness of their own identity, beliefs, and values.
Identity is not founded on external perceptions or approval.
Tension between external prompts and internal considerations leads to self-development and exploration.
Conceptualising an internal sense of self.
Clearly defined value and belief systems.
Critically consider events and circumstances.
Disclaimer/Publisher’s Note: The statements, opinions and data contained in all publications are solely those of the individual author(s) and contributor(s) and not of MDPI and/or the editor(s). MDPI and/or the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to people or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content.

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Botha, C.; Marais, E.; Reyneke, M. Self-Authorship: A Pedagogical Tool for Pre-Service Teachers to Develop (Pre)Professional Identity. Educ. Sci. 2023, 13, 1067.

AMA Style

Botha C, Marais E, Reyneke M. Self-Authorship: A Pedagogical Tool for Pre-Service Teachers to Develop (Pre)Professional Identity. Education Sciences. 2023; 13(11):1067.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Botha, Carolina, Elma Marais, and Maryna Reyneke. 2023. "Self-Authorship: A Pedagogical Tool for Pre-Service Teachers to Develop (Pre)Professional Identity" Education Sciences 13, no. 11: 1067.

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop