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Issues in Educational Research, 2020, Vol 30(2), 573-592.
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Experiencing 'otherness': Teacher educators' journey with first year pre-service teachers

Anthony Mpisi, Emma Groenewald and Emma Barnett
Sol Plaatje University, South Africa

Teaching is complicated, and is compounded by changes in the education landscape as far as diversity is concerned. This has forced education planners to reconsider the manner in which initial teacher education programs are structured, to meet the needs of the diverse classroom population. This study reports on the experiences of South African university teacher educators, from diverse backgrounds, who facilitated a first-year education module, "The Individual in Context", which relates to the way identity is constructed and, as a result, 'otherness' is perceived. If pre-service teachers are to adjust to the new, diverse university context, they constantly have to navigate and negotiate the university space, while re-evaluating and reconstructing their own perceptions of 'otherness'. The article argues that, in order for the teacher educators to effectively facilitate the module, they, too, had to subject themselves to a soul-searching process of reflection, re-evaluation and reconstruction of their own perceptions of 'otherness'. A narrative methodology was employed to explore how these teacher educators' own identities were constructed, and how this influenced their perceptions of 'otherness'. The findings of the narratives reveal that these teacher educators constantly had to unlearn prior understandings of 'otherness'.
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Authors: Anthony Mpisi holds a PhD (Psychology of Education, University of the Free State, South Africa). His research specialisation is in diversity education studies and teaching practice.
Email: tony.mpisi@spu.ac.za

Emma Groenewald holds a PhD (Philosophy of Education, University of the Free State, South Africa). She specialises in narrative identity construction of students.
Email: Emma.Groenewald@spu.ac.za

Emma Barnett holds a PhD (Comparative Studies, University of the Western Cape, South Africa. She specialises in comparative and policy studies with a focus on policy implementation.
Email: emma.barnett@spu.ac.za

Please cite as: Mpisi, A., Groenewald, E. & Barnett, E. (2020). Experiencing 'otherness': Teacher educators' journey with first year pre-service teachers. Issues in Educational Research, 30(2), 573-592. http://www.iier.org.au/iier30/mpisi.pdf

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Created 30 May 2020. Last correction: 4 Jan 2021.
Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]