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The developing professional identity of Primary Mathematics Specialist Teachers [PMaSTs]; how primary teachers’ biographical processes and experiences shape their new professional identities and career trajectories

Majid, Nasreen; (2021) The developing professional identity of Primary Mathematics Specialist Teachers [PMaSTs]; how primary teachers’ biographical processes and experiences shape their new professional identities and career trajectories. Doctoral thesis (Ed.D), University of Reading. Green open access

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Abstract

The teaching of mathematics in English primary schools is a crucial component to building successful and confident mathematicians. Although there are established research in the field of mathematics learners and identity, little research exists on generalist primary teachers building their identity as Primary Mathematics Specialists (PMaSTs). This study sets out to understand how primary teachers in England, throughout their professional career, build their identity as PMaSTs. The study mapped out the participants’ journey from learning mathematics, the part this played in shaping their mathematics identity, and their career development. Their values and future career goals that emerged as a result of becoming PMaSTs were explored to understand the shaping of a professional identity. Emerging from the literature review, the conceptual framework for this study drew on three interconnected themes: identity, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and career trajectories. The research adopted an interpretative, narrative life history approach to capture the lived experiences of twelve participants, who were established PMaSTs in their educational setting. Data were collected in two stages. First, through a Life Graph drawing activity, and second, a life history interview. The narrative data were analysed using three distinct stages, helping to reduce the data to develop themes and codes within the data set. The findings show the way primary teachers learn mathematics has a profound effect on how they see themselves as mathematicians and teachers of mathematics. The data highlights how primary teachers can be supported to overcome their negative experiences to develop specialist roles through transformative learning processes, supported by leaders and coaches, throughout their careers. Therefore, the theoretical framework emerging from this thesis could be replicated to support subject leadership career aspirations of primary teachers across the primary subject range. The study, although not generalisable, adds to the canon of literature on identity development within mathematics education. The detailed understanding gained about PMaSTs’ identity constructs and their professional careers trajectories aspires to help policymakers in supporting primary teachers seeking to develop into PMaSTs.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ed.D
Title: The developing professional identity of Primary Mathematics Specialist Teachers [PMaSTs]; how primary teachers’ biographical processes and experiences shape their new professional identities and career trajectories
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.48683/1926.00097144
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.48683/1926.00097144
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10174650
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