Early Years Teacher: a Posthuman identity

Fairchild, N. (2015) Early Years Teacher: a Posthuman identity. In: British Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2015, 15 - 17 September 2015, Queens University, Belfast.

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The aim of this paper is to build on the current conceptions of professional identity formation which require a new way to view the subject and subjectivities (St. Pierre, 2004) and to provide an alternative lens on the formation of professional identities of Early Years Teachers. The application of Posthumanist theory (Deleuze and Guattari, 1987; Braidotti, 2011, Coleman and Ringrose, 2013; Jones and Holmes, 2014; Osgood, 2014) allows for a wider exploration of the complexity of the social world and can provide a new theoretical perspective on the experiences of Early Years Teachers as they negotiate a new professional identity which has been defined via the Teachers’ Standards (Early Years) as stipulated by the Department for Education.

The notion of professional identity is used to define how a professional should act and behave. Hickey-Moody and Malins (2007) argue that the politics of identity, although enabling important socio-political change, have their limitations. Deleuze and Guattari (1987) described identity as a way society makes sense of a changing world. When bodies are stratified the stable sense of self allows for the production of ‘the thinking, speaking political subject’ (Hickey-Moody and Malins, 2007: 5). The politics of identity can have a limiting effect as they can promote the reproduction of a negative view of difference – the self, versus the ‘other’. However, Deleuze (1994) argued difference is positive and productive and allows for an exploration of new ways of becoming. The development of the Early Years Teacher could be viewed as top down State mandated professionalism leading to a dominant view of professional practice which takes a molar form defining normative practice (Ringrose, 2012). Coupled with dominant discourses from policy as to how children should be taught and become school ready the view of suitable professional practice can take the form of a molar machine (Jackson, 2013) which attempts to dominate, territorialize and stabilise professional identity.

This paper draws on qualitative semi-structured interview data collected from Early Years Teachers in training. The data was (re)viewed using Posthuman concepts of the assemblage, the nomad and becoming (Delueze and Guattari, 1987). Charting becomings allowed for the opening up of possibilities ‘a radical possibility of the unfinalised’ (Jackson, 2013: 123) and provided an alternative conceptualisation of professional identity formation.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1139 Early childhood education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1705 Education and training of teachers and administrators
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Education, Social and Life Sciences > Childhood
Event Title: British Educational Research Association Annual Conference 2015
Event Location: Queens University, Belfast
Event Dates: 15 - 17 September 2015
Depositing User: Nicola Fairchild
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2015 09:36
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2017 12:33
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/1504

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