2021, Kamenarac & Gould Transnational conversations about teacher identities in ECE places and spaces.pdf
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The professional identities of teachers are fundamental to their understanding of how to be and how to act in early childhood education and care (ECEC). Professional identities have emerged as a key consideration both in policy and scholarship as a result of growing political interest in ECEC and the work of teachers. When we first called for papers for a special issue on teacher identities, it was in the context of a global neoliberal policy-scape dominated by ideas about the social and economic benefits of investing in ECEC, as well as free-market and entrepreneurial discourses. Specifically, our intention was to engage in a collective and cross-national conversation that problematised prevailing discourses, examined intersections with local concerns and policy priorities, and their shifting and ongoing influences on professional identities. The complexities associated with neoliberal discourse in ECEC have surfaced more urgently in the context of a global Covid-19 pandemic. In many countries, ECEC teachers have been positioned as essential workers supporting ongoing economic activity during the pandemic, sometimes at the same time as schools and tertiary institutions have remained closed. ECEC work has become more entrenched in economic narratives that position the purpose of ECEC as supporting work-force participation, child wellbeing, and family support. These new and unexpected contexts also shape teacher identities. The tensions present in current policy constructions of teachers and intersections with emergency measures present new opportunities to govern teachers and practice in particular ways. These materialise in teachers’ daily experiences, work conditions, and wellbeing. A current narrative about the pandemic includes the idea of not letting the crisis go to waste, and we agree that it is important to use this moment to re-think and problematise teacher identities across educational contexts and to encourage critical conversations about what we do, why we do it and who benefits.
© 2021. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.
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