The dynamics of professional identity of university teachers: reflecting on the ideal university teacher
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Current paper investigates development of professional identity of university teachers, observed through reflective exercises which enabled participants' to focus on their perception of the ideal university teacher. Images of the ideal university teacher were studied from two aspects: first - before the participants started teaching, and second - after they had been teaching for some time. This paper focused on how images of the ideal university teacher have changed over time, and discussed the reasons that brought about changes. There is a tendency that ideals are adapted in accordance with teaching experience. Ideals are regarded as unstable phenomena, influenced by the surrounding environment. Current paper made use of a qualitative design of reflective writing exercises and focus group interviews. The sample comprised an aggregate of 42 participants, university teachers and PhD students, and 4 focus groups. Interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The study shows that after some teaching experience, didactic knowledge and communicative skills come to the forefront of the ideal university teacher identity. The study opens the way for further and deeper discussion of images of an ideal university teacher.
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