Constructing configurations to capture the complexity and uniqueness of beginning teachers’ professional identity

Authors Gonny Schellings, Maaike Koopman, Douwe Beijaard, Janine Mommers
Published in European Journal of Teacher Education
Publication date 29 March 2021
Research groups Vocational Education
Type Article


This study focuses on the complexity and uniqueness of 45 beginning teachers’ professional identity, an important perspective that is usually not an explicit part of induction programmes. Data were collected in four workshops designed to support beginning teachers in reflecting on personal and contextual aspects that influence (the development of) their professional identity. Based on these reflections, portraits of each teacher were constructed. Five overarching identity themes emerged from these portraits: Classroom management, Students learning, Workload, Collaboration and Standing up for oneself. All themes were visualised into a configuration consisting of personal and contextual aspects, arranged according to three foci: focus on oneself, on students, and on team/organisation. The configurations differ in their magnitude but do justice to the unique and complex nature of each teacher. Constructing configurations is a promising way for understanding what really matters in beginning teachers’ professional identity development and helping them deepen their reflection.

On this publication contributed

  • Maaike Koopman | Researcher
    Maaike Koopman
    • Researcher
    • Research groups: Vocational Education, Working in Education

Language English
Published in European Journal of Teacher Education
Key words beginning teachers, professional identity, identity workshops, configurations
Digital Object Identifier

Vocational Education