Teacher Identity and Motivation: The Dynamic Systems Model of Role Identity

  • Avi KaplanEmail author
  • Joanna K. Garner


In this chapter, we describe the Dynamic Systems Model of Role Identity (DSMRI)—a conceptual model that integrates understandings from multiple perspectives on identity and motivation. By using the DSMRI we capture the rich, complex, dynamic, and contextualized nature of teacher identity, while anchoring it in established identity and motivational constructs. The model highlights the central roles of knowledge and emotion in teacher identity and motivation; emphasizes the interdependence of identity elements, and hence the irreducibility of the teacher identity to its components; illustrates the continuous emergence of identity content, structure, and process of formation; and portrays the non-linear and non-deterministic nature of identity change as afforded and constrained by cultural means as well as individual-dispositional characteristics.


Teacher identity Teacher motivation Dynamic systems Qualitative methods 


  1. Avraamidou, L. (2014). Studying science teacher identity: Current insights and future research directions. Studies in Science Education. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beauchamp, C., & Thomas, L. (2009). Understanding teacher identity: An overview of issues in the literature and implications for teacher education. Cambridge Journal of Education, 39(2), 175–189.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beijaard, D., Meijer, P. C., & Verloop, N. (2004). Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20, 107–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Berzonsky, M. D. (2011). A social-cognitive perspective on identity construction. In S. J. Schwartz, K. Luyckx, & V. L. Vignoles (Eds.), Handbook of identity theory and research (pp. 55–76). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bullough, R. V. (1997). Practicing theory and theorizing practice. In J. Loughran & T. Russell (Eds.), Purpose, passion and pedagogy in teacher education (pp. 13–31). London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  6. Burke, P. J., & Stets, J. E. (2009). Identity theory. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Butler, R. (2007). Teachers’ achievement goal orientations and associations with teachers’ help seeking: Examination of a novel approach to teacher motivation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(2), 241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cross, D. I., & Hong, J. Y. (2010). Beliefs and professional identity: Critical constructs in examining the impact of reform on the emotional experiences of teachers. In P. A. Schutz & M. Zembylas (Eds.), Advances in teacher emotion research: The impact on teachers’ lives (pp. 273–296). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  9. Dweck, C. S. (1999). Self-theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development. Philadelphia: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  10. Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (2011). Predicting and changing behavior: The reasoned action approach. Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  11. Flum, H., & Kaplan, A. (2006). Exploratory orientation as an educational goal. Educational Psychologist, 41, 99–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Garner, J. K., & Kaplan, A. (2017). A complex dynamic systems perspective on teacher learning and identity formation: A case study. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  13. Gunersel, A. B., Kaplan, A., Barnett, P., Etienne, M., & Ponnock, A. R. (2016). Profiles of change in motivation for teaching in higher education at an American research university. Teaching in Higher Education, 21(6), 628–643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hathcock, S. J., Garner, J. K., Kaplan, A., (2014, January). Using professional identity to examine impacts of professional development. Paper presented at Association of Science Teacher Education (ASTE) International Conference, San Antonio, TX, USA.Google Scholar
  15. Henry, A. (2016). Conceptualizing teacher identity as a complex dynamic system: The inner dynamics of transformations during a practicum. Journal of Teacher Education, 67(4), 291–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hofer, B. K., & Pintrich, P. R. (2004). Personal epistemology: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  17. Holland, D., Lachicotte Jr., W., Skinner, D., & Caine, C. (1998). Identity and agency in cultural worlds. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Horn, I. S., Nolen, S. B., Ward, C., & Campbell, S. S. (2008). Developing practices in multiple worlds: The role of identity in learning to teach. Teacher Education Quarterly, 35(3), 61–72.Google Scholar
  19. Izadinia, M. (2013). A review of research on student teachers’ professional identity. British Educational Research Journal, 39(4), 694–713.Google Scholar
  20. Jenlink, P. M. (2014). Teacher identity and the struggle for recognition: Meeting the challenges of a diverse society. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Litlefield Education.Google Scholar
  21. Kaplan, A., & Garner, J. K. (2017). A complex dynamic systems perspective on identity and its development: The dynamic systems model of role identity. Developmental Psychology, 53(11), 2036–2051.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Koopmans, M., & Stamovlasis, D. (Eds.). (2016). Complex dynamical systems in education: Concepts, methods and applications. New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  23. Locke, E. A., & Latham, G. P. (2002). Building a practically useful theory of goal setting and task motivation: A 35-year odyssey. American Psychologist, 57(9), 705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lutovac, S., & Kaasila, R. (2018). Future directions in research on mathematics-related teacher identity. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 16(4), 759–776.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Maehr, M. L. (1984). Meaning and motivation: Toward a theory of personal investment. In C. Ames & R. Ames (Eds.), Research on motivation in education: The classroom milieu (Vol. 1, pp. 115–144). Cambridge, MA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  26. Markus, H., & Nurius, P. (1986). Possible selves. American Psychologist, 41, 954–969.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Nolen, S. B., Horn, I. S., Ward, C. J., & Childers, S. A. (2011). Novice teacher learning and motivation across contexts: Assessment tools as boundary objects. Cognition and Instruction, 29, 88–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Olsen, B. (2008). Introducing teacher identity and this volume. Teacher Education Quarterly, 35(3), 3–6.Google Scholar
  29. Olsen, B. (2014). Learning from experience: A teacher-identity perspective. In V. Ellis & J. Orchard (Eds.), Learning teaching from experience: Multiple perspectives and international contexts (pp. 79–94). London: Bloombsbury.Google Scholar
  30. Olsen, B. (2016, April). Discussion in a symposium titled The Value of teacher identity as a conceptual tool for understanding teacher development and educational equity, presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  31. Opfer, V. D., & Pedder, D. (2011). Conceptualizing teacher professional learning. Review of Educational Research, 81(3), 376–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Richardson, V. (1996). The role of attitudes and beliefs in learning to teach. In J. Sikula, T. J. Buttery, & E. Guyton (Eds.), Handbook of research on teacher education. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan.Google Scholar
  33. Roth, G. (2014). Antecedents and outcomes of teachers’ autonomous motivation: A self-determination theory perspective. In P. W. Richardson, S. Karabenick, & H. M. G. Watt (Eds.), Teacher motivation: Theory and practice (pp. 36–51). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Sachs, J. (2005). Teacher education and the development of professional identity: Learning to be a teacher. In P. Denicolo & M. Kompf (Eds.), Connecting policy and practice: Challenges for teaching and learning in schools and universities (pp. 5–21). Oxford, UK: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Schutz, P. A., Cross, D. I., Hong, J. Y., & Osbon, J. N. (2007). Teacher identities, beliefs, and goals related to emotions in the classroom. In P. A. Schutz & R. Pekrun (Eds.), Emotion in education (pp. 223–241). San Diego, CA: Elsevier.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. St. Pierre, M., & D’Antonio, M. (2016, April). Professional identity of science faculty serving as mentors in teacher professional development: An interview study. Poster presented at the annual convention of the American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  37. Vedder-Weiss, D., Biran, L., Kaplan, A., & Garner, J. K. (in press). Reflexive inquiry as a scaffold for teacher identity exploration during the first year of teaching. In E. Lyle (Ed.), The negotiated self: Employing reflexive inquiry to explore teacher identity. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  38. Weiner, B. (2011). An attribution theory of motivation. In P. A. M. Van Lange, A. W. Kruglanski, & E. T. Higgins (Eds.), Handbook of theories of social psychology (pp. 135–155). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  39. Woolfolk Hoy, A., Hoy, W. K., & Davis, H. (2009). Teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs. In K. Wentzel & A. Wigfield (Eds.), Handbook of motivation in school (pp. 627–654). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  40. Zusho, A., & Clayton, K. (2011). Culturalizing achievement goal theory and research. Educational Psychologist, 46, 239–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological Studies in EducationTemple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Center for Educational PartnershipsOld Dominion UniversityNorfolkUSA

Personalised recommendations