Social Representations and their Effect on the Construction of Professional Identities

By Eunice Sanya Pelini.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Social psychologists have claimed that social representations influence not only how individuals construct their social and professional identities but how they evolve within their chosen career as well. This research analyses how these representations influence or are influenced by initial teacher training programs and seeks to determine what influence they have on the construction of social and professional identities among student teachers in Kenya. Primarily based on open ended questionnaires and semi structured interviews, this presentation contrasts beginning student representations to those held by final year student teachers. The findings raise serious doubts about the pre service training’s ability to precipitate positive outcomes and develop professional identities among student teachers. It appears necessary to deconstruct negative social representations if any positive outcomes are to be achieved. The findings equally highlight the need to take into consideration student representations when (re)formulating training curricula. If our results draw attention to the limits of the training proposed, they also underline the need to change the image of the teacher as is portrayed in society. In this paper, I discuss the social representation of student teachers and the implications of the same on the construction of professional identities.

Keywords: Social and Professional Representations, Identity Construction, Professional Training, Kenya, Teachers

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 9, pp.237-248. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 630.758KB).

Eunice Sanya Pelini

Doctoral Student, Teaching and Research Fellow, Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC), PARIS, PARIS, France

As a social researcher, I am particularly interested in the role that social, cultural and historical backgrounds play in the construction of social and professional identities. My research interests include social and professional representations, identity construction, gendered identities and professional development. I am currently preparing my PHD thesis at the Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC) in France where I also work as a teaching and research fellow in charge of courses on group psychology (the social psychology of groups) and contemporary education and training systems around the world.

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