Teacher Identity in Structural Reflective Workshops: A View from China

  • Zhou Li-HuaEmail author
  • Li Xiao-Wen
  • Wu Aruna
  • Gao Ya-Bing
Part of the Cultural Psychology of Education book series (CPED, volume 10)


There have been mismatches between Chinese traditional educational culture and pedagogical practice in today’s classrooms, as well as between societal needs of students’ autonomy development and the limitations of teacher training in contemporary China. These point to the demand to focus on the development of teacher identity. Previous research has been conducted on the identity formation of student–teachers, yet there have been few efforts to study the identities of Chinese teachers in in-service training. Drawing upon the Dialogical Self Theory (DST), the purpose of this study was to elaborate on identity negotiations by identifying the main I-positions of Chinese teachers in structured reflective workshops. Nine teachers coming from the same school participated in the research. In one academic year, 13 workshops were held, excluding the summer and winter breaks. Data were analyzed using a content analysis approach with constant comparison. The results showed that, first, Chinese experienced teachers were subject to the main tensions between a “controller” I-position and a “partner” I-position. Second, three forms of negotiations between these two I-positions were evident in the workshops, namely, inhibiting the previous I-position, conflicting I-positions, and dialogue between I-positions. The presence of these negotiations indicates that the structured reflective workshops serve as a vehicle to promote the development of experienced teacher identity.



The authors greatly thank Professor Jaan Valsiner for his powerful comments on initial ideas about this work and Editors Pernille Hviid as well as Mariann Märtsin for their helpful works and proofreading for this paper.

This research was partly supported by a grant from Philosophy and Social Science Planning Project of Zhejiang Province (No.: 13NDJC071YB).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhou Li-Hua
    • 1
    Email author
  • Li Xiao-Wen
    • 2
  • Wu Aruna
    • 3
  • Gao Ya-Bing
    • 1
  1. 1.Zhejiang International Studies UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.East China Normal UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Shanghai Normal UniversityShanghaiChina

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