But I don’t want to be a teacher: Work based learning in Education Studies

Catherine Simon


This paper considers the impact of placement experiences on student professional identity formation and its intersection with career identity within the university context of learning.  To this end, the paper focuses on undergraduate Education Studies students’ conceptualisation of their work-based placement experiences and perceptions of their professional identity formation.  Respondents were second year students enrolled in a three-year undergraduate Education Studies course at a University in the south of England.  The course did not offer qualified teacher status and was therefore not a teacher training programme.  Two distinct groups of students were identified: those intent upon becoming teachers and those who were clear that formal classroom teaching was not their chosen career goal.  Participants from both groups were undertaking a core module which included a compulsory placement of one day per week for eight to ten weeks in the Spring term, 2015.  The notion of boundary crossing (Engestrom et al., 1995) was used for exploring the complex intersections of university and professional contexts and their impact on student career identity formation.  Findings indicated that both sets of students were aware of the boundaries between university and the workplace but more significantly, that these boundaries shift over time. Furthermore, social interaction amongst peers within each group was key to professional identity formation but for those students looking for diverse professional education careers other than teaching, Education Studies courses should be mindful of widening student access to networks of other types of education professionals and work-based learning opportunities.

Simon, C. (2017) But I don’t want to be a teacher: Work based learning in Education Studies. Educationalfutures, [online] Vol. 8(2). Available at: https://educationstudies.org.uk/?p=7622 [Accessed 15 Apr, 2024].


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