Reclaiming professional identity through postgraduate professional development: Career practitioners reclaiming their professional selves
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AbstractCareers advisers in the UK have experienced significant change and upheaval within their professional practice. This research explores the role of postgraduate level professional development in contributing to professional identity. The research utilises a case study approach and adopts multiple tools to provide an in-depth examination of practitioners’ perceptions of themselves as professionals within their lived world experience. It presents a group of practitioners struggling to define themselves as professionals due to changing occupational nomenclature resulting from shifting government policy. Postgraduate professional development generated a perceived enhancement in professional identity through exposure to theory, policy and opportunities for reflection, thus contributing to more confident and empowered practitioners. Engagement with study facilitated development of confident, empowered practitioners with a strengthened sense of professional self.
CitationSiobhan Neary (2014) Reclaiming professional identity through postgraduate professional development: careers practitioners reclaiming their professional selves, British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 42:2, 199-210, DOI: 10.1080/03069885.2013.869790
PublisherTaylor and Francis
JournalBritish Journal of Guidance and Counselling
Series/Report no.Voume 42
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Constructing professional identity: the role of postgraduate professional development in asserting the identity of the career practitionerPoultney, Val; Davies, David; Neary, Siobhan (University of DerbyInternational Centre for Guidance Studies (iCeGS), 2014-08-15)The professional identity of career practitioners in the UK has become increasingly challenged in recent decades due to the influence of government policy and the dominance of work-based qualifications. Privatisation, multi-professional working and workforce realignment have all contributed to a reshaping of the career guidance professional. This research examines the views of a group of practitioners all undertaking continuing professional development (CPD) in the form of a postgraduate award. The participants were all UK based practitioners working in a career related role; all were either currently on programme, had completed or stepped off with an interim award within a masters programme. The research explored practitioners’ views at a time of significant upheaval, of themselves as professionals, their professional identity and the extent to which postgraduate CPD contributed to this. The research utilised a case study approach employing document analysis, questionnaire, in-depth interviews and narrative biographies. These tools were specifically selected to enable sequential analysis of data allowing findings from each stage to be rigorously tested out by the next research tool. Applications from potential students were initially analysed helping to establish motivation for undertaking a programme of this type, an on-line survey explored practitioners views of themselves as professionals, motivation for postgraduate study and potential outcomes for themselves, their organisation and their profession. In-depth interviews and narrative biographies provided a voice allowing participants to explore their personal journey with their studies and how this engagement contributed to the establishment, maintenance or enhancement of their practitioner professional identity. Continuing professional development was classified as consisting of three types, operational, experiential and formal. Findings suggested participants predominantly valued formal CPD with operational being perceived as only meeting employer contractual compliance. Postgraduate level CPD contributed to professional identity through engagement with reflection, theory, policy and academic study. Ethics and client focus were central to the professional identity of the career practitioner. Postgraduate study was perceived to empower practitioners and to contribute to the professionalisation of the sector and give parity with other public sector professions. The research contributes to both the limited body of knowledge addressing professional identity within the career guidance context and discourse addressing professionalisation of new professions. It offers a shared professional perspective that can inform the evolving policy debate aiming to professionalise the career and allied workforces. The research offers a unique insight into a profession in transition and the voice of practitioners who have experienced successive waves of government policy, which has been often internalised as de-professionalisation.
Birth professionals make art. Using participatory arts to think about being a birthing professionalHogan, Susan; University of Derby (University of Derby, 2016-10-27)Midwifery and obstetric practices, within a stressful period of austerity for the NHS with litigation fears and pressure from the media, have an impact on the experience of all those involved: women giving birth and birthing professionals. In The Birth Project the arts are being used to interrogate this complex topic. Obstetricians, midwives, and new mothers have been given the opportunity to explore their experiences of compassion fatigue, stress, birth suffering and post-natal readjustments using the arts. These different groups have joined together in ‘mutual recovery’ events in which perspectives have been shared, primarily through elucidation of the art works produced, captured using documentary filmmaking. The raison d’etre of this project is to create dialogue between different communities of interest and experience, to use the arts to interrogate discourses, to challenge embedded assumptions, and in this process, to stimulate mutual recovery between all those who experience and are affected by birth. We situate this endeavour in the context of an emerging practice of health humanities (Crawford et al. 2014). A series of workshops with birth professionals, including professional doulas, who may have experienced vicarious trauma, whose traumatising experience is often overlooked, have used the arts to explore their experiences. This film narrates their concerns and reveals their artistic engagement.
Exploring Secondary School Science Teacher Professional Identity: Can it be influenced and reshaped by experiences of professional development programmes?Subryan, Shubhashnee; N/A (2017-01-11)International test results posed concerns about the future of science education in Canada, the UK, and the USA. Stakeholders such as Let's Talk Science and AMGEN Canada and The Royal Society, UK observed that fewer students were pursuing post-secondary studies and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related fields in their countries, compared to their counterparts in China, India and Singapore. These stakeholders contended that science teachers required the agency to enhance their classroom efficacy and to challenge their students to pursue post-secondary studies and careers in STEM related fields. Reform initiatives, including professional development programmes, have been established across western countries to support science teachers' agency to act as change agents. This study was based on two assumptions; first, science teachers need professional development, experiences to shape their professional identity to act as change agents in science education reform, and secondly, science teachers' professional identity may be influenced and reshaped through experiences during professional development. This research explored the influence on secondary school science teachers' professional identity by their experiences of professional development programmes. A methodological approach of hermeneutic phenomenology facilitated the understanding of science teachers' experiences, while a sociocultural theoretical framework based on Wenger's community of practice, underpinned the research. Narrative interviews, semi-structured interviews, and a questionnaire provided evidence from thirteen purposefully selected science teachers in one school board in Canada for this study. Interpretive phenomenological analysis of interviews and qualitative survey analysis of the questionnaire, identified cognitive development, social interactions, emotional changes, and change in beliefs and classroom practice as the science teacher's experiences of their professional development programme. Such experiences are regarded as indicators of influence on professional identity. The cognitive development, social interactions, and emotional changes experienced by the science teachers, are considered as their dimensions of experiences during learning. Although nine science teachers experienced change in their practice, two of the reported change sin their professional beliefs. It is significant that eleven science teachers did not experience a change in their beliefs, despite changes in their classroom practice. The science teachers who did not experience a change in their beliefs were confident of their existing professional identities that influenced their learning and their views regarding changes in their beliefs and practice. It appears that science teachers' prior professional identity was a determining factor in influencing and reshaping their professional identities. Nevertheless, findings from this study imply that, to some extent, science teachers' professional identity was influenced, perhaps not reshaped, by their experiences of their professional development programme. Findings fro my research have implications for science education reform-minded stakeholders and providers of in-service professional development programmes. They would be informed of research on the role of professional identity in professional learning and classroom practice in a climate of science education reform, as well as the role of prior professional identity in such initiatives.