Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Teacher Education

Major Professor

Susan L. Groenke

Committee Members

Trena M. Paulus, Stergios G. Botzakis, Kirsten F. Benson, Judson C. Laughter


This dissertation was a discourse analysis of how beginning English teachers’ talk contributes to the development of their teacher identities. The study drew on the epistemological and ontological assumptions of discursive psychology, and as such it used methods consistent with discursive psychology and conversation analysis. The data for the study were comprised of twenty-one audio-recorded meetings of eight student teachers in a year-long internship and their field supervisor, who was also the researcher. Orienting to the construct of identity as socially negotiated, unstable, and multiple, the study sought to identify specific discursive strategies that beginning English teacher’s employ to negotiate their identities. The analysis resulted in six discursive strategies, including making explicit identity claims, emphasizing the personal importance of a pedagogical concept, locating themselves in relation to other educators, orienting to feedback, talking about failures, and working up the impact of students on lesson outcomes. Implications for how the identities that are developed in conversation through these strategies can limit and license specific teacher practices and recommendations for how teacher educators can encourage beginning teachers to develop fruitful identities are discussed.

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