South African Journal of Education

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A teacher’s identity trajectory within a context of change

M Oswald, M Perold


This article examines the effects of political, socio-economic and educational change on a South African teacher’s identity trajectory. Our research was conducted at a primary school in a historically disadvantaged community in the Western Cape Province, South Africa. We applied a cultural-historical activity theoretical (CHAT) lens to explore the identity trajectory of one of the teachers. Our findings suggest that a teacher’s identity is a social product, drawn from social history, actively internalized and re-authored in response to new circumstances. This was especially evident during the transformation at the macro-political, educational and institutional levels in South Africa since 1994.

Key words: agency; CHAT; disadvantaged context; emerging economy; identity trajectory; practical activity; primaryschool; teacher; transformation
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