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Sometimes fish, sometimes fowl? Liminality, identity work and identity malleability in Graduate Teaching Assistants

Winstone, NE and Moore, D (2016) Sometimes fish, sometimes fowl? Liminality, identity work and identity malleability in Graduate Teaching Assistants Innovations in Education and Teaching International.

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Abstract

Graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) have been described as being ‘neither fish nor fowl’, occupying a role between student and teacher. Their multiple identities are commonly framed within the literature as a key challenge. The present study explored the perspectives of GTAs when discussing their teaching work, through activity-oriented focus groups with nine GTAs from a UK university. Thematic analysis revealed that whilst GTAs showed a lack of clarity over their identity, they are actively involved in the process of ‘identity work’ through negotiating an emerging professional identity. Furthermore, liminality of status, being neither fully a student nor teacher, allows GTAs to operate with identity malleability, adjusting their most salient identity to meet the demands of the situation. It is argued that rather than occupying an ‘ambiguous niche’, GTAs occupy a ‘unique niche’ and the identity malleability they possess affords the optimum conditions in which to engage in identity work.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : subj_Psychology
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Winstone, NEUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Moore, DUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 2016
Copyright Disclaimer : This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article due to published by Taylor & Francis in Innovations in Education and Teaching International in 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 19 Apr 2016 15:12
Last Modified : 20 Apr 2016 09:16
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/810428

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