Practical learning: achieving excellence in the human services

January 23-25 2008 Edinburgh International Conference Centre

An Examination of Beginning Teachers' Self-Presentation Styles and Strategies

Keywords: linking practice and practice, involving service users and service providers, listen to unheard voices of young people, learn how to review religious and cultural applications in practice and policy

Author: Hayuta Yinon, University of Haifa

This qualitative study, which adopts a dramaturgical approach, aims at exploring what impressions interns make through their self-reported cases and how they construct those impressions. For this purpose, fifty interns' self-reported cases, which were documented as part of an internship workshop's assignments and in line with a practice-based pedagogy, are being analyzed using Schütz's four styles of self-presentation (1998): assertive, offensive, protective and defensive. While the first two styles are used in order to look good, the other two are used in order not to look bad.

The uniqueness of the study lies mainly on three factors. First, although impression management styles and strategies have been applied to many domains, they have only few applications in educational research and in teacher education. This study aims at filling this gap in the literature. Second, since the performance component is inherent in the teaching profession, impression management is extremely important for teachers. Therefore, it is important to examine how teachers operate this mechanism. Third, the study focuses on self-reported cases, which the teachers chose to share with their colleagues. As such, these cases are perceived as meaningful by the teachers, and can open a window into their inner cognitive world, to which research has only a limited access.

The initial findings of the study reveal that interns used all Schütz's four self-presentation styles, with the protective style being used less dominantly. Furthermore, interns usually used a combination of a few self-presentation styles and didn't stick to one style. In addition, it seems that interns used the cases to present themselves as competent and serious teachers, as well as to encourage the group to support them.

The study exhibits the potential of using self-presentation styles and strategies for improving beginning teachers' practice. Self-presentation styles and strategies, which do not constitute a part of Israeli teacher education programs and professional development courses at the moment, can be introduced to teachers as an interpretive lens for analyzing their own practice. As a result, teachers can learn to manage the impressions they make, and perform accordingly.

This paper can interest teacher educators, educational researchers, and any human services providers.

Date: Wednesday 23 January 2008, 3.30-4.00

Venue: Ochil One

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Organised by the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services in association with PEPE (Practical Experiences in Professional Education).