Pre-service teachers’ professional identity transformation: a positioning theory perspective

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By innovatively applying positioning theory with reference to a framework of willingness, capability and power, this study explored how pre-service teachers’ professional identities dynamically change through the negotiation of various positions. A qualitative approach was adopted using data from six Hong Kong pre-service teachers in a teacher education programme for teaching Chinese as a second language. Multiple data sources, including interviews, reflective journals, classroom observations and lesson plans, were collected over one year. Pre-service teachers were found to negotiate individual deliberated self-positionings before entering the education programme and forced self-positionings from significant others during the education programme in three key stages: pre-positioning, negotiated positioning and performed positioning. Three differentiated positioning trajectories were identified that were greatly influenced by the pre-service teachers’ levels of willingness, capability and power. Copyright © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-191
JournalProfessional Development in Education
Issue number1
Early online dateJun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2024


Huang, X., & Wang, C. (2024). Pre-service teachers’ professional identity transformation: a positioning theory perspective. Professional Development in Education, 50(1), 174-191.


  • Positioning
  • Professional identity
  • Pre-service teachers
  • Power
  • Willingness
  • Capability


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