Professional identity in classroom interaction

Published: 8 July 2022| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/x9nmx8hr9s.1


This data set contains data coming from a research project focused on understanding relationships among identities, emerging classroom practices, and social constellations beyond the immediate situation. We build on a Patterns-of-Participation framework that combines social practice theory with symbolic interactionism. This is a case study of a teacher, Julia, who works at an underprivileged elementary school in Brazil. The data material includes classroom observations, interviews, and documents, all analyzed using open coding procedures to focus on the social constitution of Julia’s identities and on how they relate to her contributions to classroom practices. Julia draws especially on the reform discourse, the traditions at the school, and her general commitment to the students in classroom interaction. In spite of tensions between these discourses and practices, they all fuel Julia’s experiences of being qualified and of belonging to a reformist educational community. Contribution: We document how immediate interaction and prior and present practices beyond the current situation contribute to teachers’ professional experiences as well as some possible relationships between these experiences and teachers’ contributions to classroom interaction. More formally, we show the potential of dynamic, interactionist perspectives to supplement other approaches to researching professional identities.


Steps to reproduce

We generated data from: •Fieldwork: The researcher visited the school (St. Charles) five times from May to September 2019. At each visit, she spent the entire school day with Julia. Apart from observing Julia teach, time was spent with Julia when she prepared the classroom before the students arrived, when she was in the teachers’ lounge during breaks, and when she organized the classroom after the students had left. The observed lessons included five in mathematics that lasted an average of 2 hours and 30 minutes. These lessons were audio recorded. Copies of teaching-learning materials were collected. The visits included informal talks with Julia before and after each school day, each of them lasting 10-40 minutes. The researcher wrote comprehensive field notes during and after each visit and took pictures of the school, the classroom, and the students’ activities. •Interviews: The researcher conducted two semi-structured interviews with Julia. The first one lasted 60 minutes and was conducted before the first school visit. It revolved around Julia’s education and her teaching experiences. The second interview lasted 70 minutes and was carried out after the school visits. It used stimulated recall to orient conversations about aspects of Julia’s contributions to classroom interaction. Both interviews were conducted in Portuguese, Julia’s mother tongue, and audio recorded. •Documents: Julia wrote two theses, one for her undergraduate degree in secondary mathematics teaching (2008), and one for her master’s degree in Education (2018). Both theses were analyzed. Our analytical process followed three stages. At the first stage, the interviews and classroom recordings were transcribed in full. Then, the first author translated most of the data material into English. On that background, the authors discussed thoroughly the English translation of each mathematics lesson. At the second stage, we developed analytic descriptions of Julia’s professional trajectory, of traditions and local practices at St. Charles, and of Julia’s classroom practices and ways of relating with the students. At a third analytical stage, we developed a fine-grained analysis of one mathematics lesson. Since we consider identity an emerging phenomenon, we, at this stage, analyzed how Julia, in the process of interacting with her students, developed fluctuating identifyings. That is, how, when, and why Julia took the attitudes to herself of the students and of other practices and figured worlds beyond the current situation to adjust her actions and contribute to classroom interaction. The episodes were firstly analyzed by each author separately. Having completed their individual coding, the authors shared and discussed their interpretations and jointly came up with categories that oriented the continued analysis.


Universidade de Sorocaba


Mathematics Education, Identity