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Conceptualizing teacher identity as a complex dynamic system: the inner dynamics of transformations during a practicum.

Introduction

Interest in teacher identity has increased substantially in recent years (Alsup, 2006; Beauchamp & Thomas, 2009; Beijaard, Meijer, & Verloop, 2004; Flores & Day, 2006). In this work, growth is conceptualized not so much as an asset-generating, linear process of professional development, but rather one where "becoming" a teacher (Gomez, Black, & Allen, 2007) occurs in the interactions between teachers' beliefs and values and the educational contexts in which they find themselves (Geijsel & Meijers, 2005; Walkington, 2005). Because teacher identities are multiple, unstable, and continually shifting (Rodgers & Scott, 2008), the development of a coherent teacher identity involves constantly grappling with questions such as "Who am I as a teacher?" "Who do I want to become?" (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011, p. 308) and "Who am I at this moment?" (Beijaard et al., 2004, p. 108).

Teachers' in-the-moment identity experiences, and the ways in which identity struggles play out in concrete situations have not, however, been the subject of extensive empirical enquiry. Nor has there been systematic investigation of the processes within which identities change, the inner dynamics of teacher identity transformations remaining a "black box" (Van Rijswijk, Akkerman, & Koster, 2013). In an attempt to examine preservice teacher identity development in context, the current study focuses on shifts between identities that, during a practicum, occur at the "day-to-day, real-time level" (Lichtwarck-Aschoff, van Geert, Bosma, & Kunnen, 2008, p. 396). Teacher identity is conceptualized as a complex dynamic system (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014) and "being someone who teaches" is understood in dialogical terms as a process involving shifts between different and sometimes contradictory teacher voices (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011).

Bringing a complexity approach to the issue of teacher identities has implications beyond the illumination of micro-level developmental processes. A complexity frame of reference can also influence the ways in which teacher educators think about their role in teaching and supervising students (Byrne, 2014). The notion that identities are dynamic and that shifts take place in everyday interaction necessitates a broader consideration of the support that students need in understanding and managing identity issues. This is particularly so during practicum periods. Although it is in the complex school environments of practice learning that identity tensions are most sharply into brought into relief, students often find themselves lacking ways of making sense of changes that take place (Ferrier-Kerr, 2009; Trent, 2013). As will be suggested, by encouraging students to use complexity-based insights to identify and understand identity transformations and the conditions under which they occur, teacher educators can provide important support during the challenges of school-based learning. In the longer term, support structures of this kind can have a positive impact on teacher retention. Drawing on complexity-informed and dialogical conceptions of identity, the purpose of this study is to examine identity development as it takes place in concrete situations during a practicum, and to explore and theoretically account for the dynamic mechanisms through which shifts in preservice teacher identities take place.

Teacher Identities

Teacher identity is conceptualized generally as complex, dynamic, evolving, and emergent (Beauchamp & Thomas, 2011; Beijaard et al., 2004). Because identities are created and recreated over time and influenced by an array of factors, teachers are confronted with "multi-faceted, constantly shifting, and unstable definitions of themselves" (Trent, 2014, p. 58). Although these processes take place throughout working life, it is in preservice and early-career stages where identities are most volatile, tensions experienced in teacher education commonly continuing into early-service practice (Flores & Day, 2006; Pillen, Beijaard, & den Brok, 2013; Pillen, den Brok, & Beijaard, 2013). In these initial career stages, teachers find themselves caught up in processes involving the juxtaposition and potential reconciliation of the personal and professional dimensions of what it means to be a teacher, conflicts that can have consequences not only for current learning but also longer term career trajectories (Beijaard et al., 2004; Pillen, Beijaard, & den Brok, 2013; Pillen, den Brok, & Beijaard, 2013).

Because for many preservice teachers periods of practical learning constitute the most challenging and personally demanding elements of a program, the practicum is regarded as the part of the education when identities are least stable (Beauchamp & Thomas, 2011). It is a time of intensive and extensive identity work where students constantly find themselves in situations where they have to create and recreate, frame and reframe their developing teacher identities (Beauchamp & Thomas, 2011; Trent, 2013). It is a period when student teachers engage in processes of self-positioning and repositioning, and where they can experience contradictions between different teacher identities, as well as between personal and professional identities (Trent, 2013). Not surprisingly, for many preservice teachers the practicum can be a destabilizing and emotionally charged experience (Beauchamp & Thomas, 2011; Bloomfield, 2010). Although new learning experiences can provide excitement and exhilaration--not least in the discovery of being "credible in teaching" and in connecting with young people--preservice teachers can also experience loneliness and marginalization (Bloomfield, 2010, p. 232).

Teacher Identity and Dialogical Self Theory

In light of (a) recent moves toward theorizing teacher identity as emergent, multiple, relational, and dynamic, and (b) the recognition that for many preservice teachers identity trajectories are characterized by tensions, Hermans's (2008) theory of the dialogical self provides a valuable framework within which identity transformations can be understood (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011). It offers a means of conceptualizing identity in a systematic manner as simultaneously unitary and multiple, continuous and discontinuous, and individual as well as social.

In common with similar cognitive theories (e.g., Markus & Nurius's [1986] theory of the self-concept), dialogical self theory emphasizes the complexity and multifacetedness of the self and constitutes an attempt to introduce to psychology a theoretical model that is both systemic and dynamic (Valsiner, 2004). Dialogical self theory draws on Bakhtin's (1981) notion of the polyphonic novel within which multiple voices "accompany and oppose one another in dialogical ways" (Hermans, 2001, p. 245). In Hermans's framing, Bakhtin's polyphonic metaphor parallels processes of cognition where, in the inner world of the individual, the presence of different "characters" creates a mesh of dialogical relations. The dialogical self therefore constitutes a collection of different "voices" which, through the deployment of imagination (cf. Markus & Nurius, 1986), allows the individual to act agentically as if he or she were another, or as if he or she were in another setting (Hermans, Kempen, & Van Loon, 1992). These "characters" occupy "positions" in an imaginal landscape through which the self moves, and within which it has the capacity "to imaginatively endow each position with a voice" (Hermans, 1996, p. 10). As in a story, interaction and information exchanges take place between different voiced positions, the result being a complex and narratively structured self where, at any one time, some positions are dominant while others are subdued.

In this manner, dialogical self theory divides the complex whole of the self into functional sub-parts--"I-positions"--that are readily able to "re-locate within the given space-time field" (Valsiner, 2004, p. 2). In dialogical self theory, space is important. This is reflected in the sense that an I-position "assumes the existence of one or more other 'positions'" (Hermans, 2003, p. 101), and that I-positions operate within an internal "dialogical space." In this space exists an ever-shifting conglomeration of more or less autonomous I-positions, each possessing its own voice, the individual constantly involved in the construction, reconstruction, and relocation of voiced positions (Valsiner, 2004).

In a dialogical self framing, the development of a teacher identity can be understood as a process of continual interactions between different I-positions within the dialogical landscape of "being someone who teaches" (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011, p. 315). As these authors explain, such interactions involve "an ongoing process of negotiating and interrelating multiple I-positions in such a way that a more or less coherent and consistent sense of self is maintained throughout various participations and self-investments in one's (working) life" (p. 317). It is through processes of recognizing and reconciling differences between I-positions that the teacher can be "both many and one at the same time," developing a self that is simultaneously diverse yet cohesive (p. 317).

Tensions Between I-positions

The sense in which I-positions can be both complementary and contradictory is central to dialogical self theory. As Hermans (2008) explains, the dialogical self is "continually challenged or plagued by questions, disagreements, confrontations, and conflicts" (p. 193). Consequently, an account of the processes in which change takes place forms an integral part of the theory. Here too the spatial dimension is important as change involves re-arrangements in the pattern of I-positions within the landscape of the self.

Changes to currently pertaining constellations of I-positions can take place in one of three ways (Hermans, 2008). First, the spatial arrangement of I-positions will necessarily alter whenever a new position, previously outside the system, is introduced. By means of example, Hermans describes how a child's arrival in school can introduce the I-position of "pupil" into the self. The second way is through processes of foregrounding and backgrounding. Here, shifts in the relative prominence of different I-positions within the self system take place. In such situations, two potentially contradictory I-positions can be alternately prominent--for example, in motivated behavior, when action can be stimulated by either "approach" or "avoid" tendencies. Finally, two or more positions can combine to create a new position. This could be, for example, when the separate I-positions of being someone passionate about languages, and someone who wants to help young people develop as individuals, conjoin to form the new I-position of a foreign language teacher. Although, as in this example, positions with closely related orientations might easily combine, it is also possible for a coalition to develop between positions that, previously, might have been each other's opposite.

The Dialogical Self as a Complex Dynamic System

A complex dynamic system is one where all parts are interconnected, where change is ongoing and a consequence of multiple interactions, and where new behaviors emerge as a result of the system's internal capacity for self-organization (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014; van Geert & van Dijk, 2015). In the dialogical self, a continual process of positioning (movements to new positions) and repositioning (the capacity to move back and forth between positions) takes place. Each of these shifts relates to previous shifts, each bringing about the emergence of novel behaviors and new stabilities (Hermans & Hermans-Jansen, 2003). It is these interrelated processes of self-organization and emergence--the key concepts of Complex Dynamic Systems Theory (CDST; Byrne & Callaghan, 2014)--that characterize the internal dynamics of the dialogical self (Bell & Das, 2011; Hennans & Hermans-Jansen, 2003).

To provide a general conceptual framing for the analyses that follow, and to offer insights into the ways in which identity shifts can be understood as a consequence of the dialogical self system's inner dynamics, a number of fundamental CDST concepts are briefly outlined. These explanations serve as an initial orientation, more in-depth accounts being provided in the discussion of the study's results. As van Geert and van Dijk (2015) explain, a complex dynamic system can be defined as one that consists of "many components or elements that interact with one another, often on the basis of quite simple interaction principles." Moreover, as they make clear, "these components change over short-as well as long-term time spans because of their interactions with other components," adding that "typically, these changes are self-organizing and are coordinated in the form of emergent properties." An emergent property is something novel, not previously existing, which originates spontaneously from the system's internal interactions. Self-organization refers to the emergence of relatively stable regions or states within the system's state space. The state space is the totality of all the possible states that a system can occupy, the regions of stability within this landscape known as attractor states. When transitions from one attractor state to another occur, a phase shift is said to take place. This can happen either as a consequence of changes in the system's control parameters (the system's parameters being all the dimensions that constitute the system's state space, those of particular influence at any one time having a "controlling" function), or as a result of perturbations, very specific (and often very sudden) changes in the context (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014).

The dynamics of a complex system can be described in terms of its movement across its state space, identifiable patterns of change constituting the system's "signature dynamics" (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014; Dornyei, 2014; van Geert & Lichtwarck-Aschoff, 2005). Generally, dynamic systems are drawn toward particular attractor states. When a system is in an attractor state, the basin of the attractor--in simple terms the indentation made in the system's three-dimensional landscape (see Figure 1)--will "hold" the system in place, preventing movement to another area until the next phase shift occurs. For a system in a strong attractor state--a deep indentation in the state-space topology--shifts to other areas will be infrequent. Indeed, most dynamic systems are, most of the time, located in a particular part of the state space, thus displaying dynamic stability.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Purpose

To examine identity development in concrete situations, and to delve into the "black box" of identity dynamics (Van Rijswijk et al., 2013), the purpose of this study is to explore the inner dynamics of identity transformations during a practicum. Adopting a CDST approach and using a single-case design, the study aims to examine and theoretically account for the dynamic mechanisms through which, at the "day-to-day, real-time level," shifts in preservice teacher identities take place (Klimstra et al., 2010; Lichtwarck-Aschoff et al., 2008, p. 396). Drawing on the knowledge generated, an additional aim is to consider the value to teacher education of a complexity-based, dialogical model of identity, and its usefulness in mentoring students during practicum periods.

Method

Design

In this single-case design, the participant was a preservice teacher undertaking a 4-week practicum. The investigation was carried out through the examination of data generated on three separate timescales, focus directed to identity shifts occurring (a) across the period as a whole, (b) on a day-to-day basis, and (c) during a single lesson. Both intra- and interpersonal data were collected. While the former came from retrospective interviews, the latter were from posts on an Internet forum and a stimulated recall discussion.

A single case. Because complex dynamic systems need to be understood as cases (and because in social science research most examined cases constitute complex dynamic systems), in CDST research individual cases form the appropriate object of investigation (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014). Because a case study involves the up-close uncovering of the particularities of a subject (Yin, 2013) and can generate insights into "the dynamics present within single settings" (Eisenhardt, 1989, p. 534), a single-case approach provides the researcher with the opportunity to "study complex phenomena within their contexts" (Baxter & Jack, 2008, p. 544). An additional factor motivating the design is that in case studies, insights can be generated in the absence of previous scholarship and/or prior empirical evidence (Eisenhardt, 1989). As little is known about the inner dynamics of teachers' identity formation and transformation processes (Van Rijswijk et al., 2013), the study of a single case provides a productive way forward.

The importance of timescales. A CDST design requires data capturing evolutionary processes at both macro and micro levels, and a means of relating these together (Lichtwarck-Aschoff et al., 2008). Furthermore, in a single-case design, the timescale of measurements or observations needs not only to fit real-time behaviors but also have the capacity to capture longer term change (van Geert & van Dijk, 2015). In attempting to shed light on the inner dynamics of preservice teacher identity transformations, focus needs therefore to be directed to changes occurring across varying timescales. In CDST, the concept of timescales refers to the granularity of developmental processes. As de Bot (2015) explains, time is by nature fractal, and is thus is "scale-free." Consequently, while for research purposes it is necessary to identify the scale on which development is to be examined--that is, a year, a term, a practicum period, a day, a lesson, or a particular activity--there is no scale that is the scale for development (or for any particular aspects). Rather, timescales are interconnected. Consequently, identity development needs to be studied across a range of scales.

In a dialogical self-framed study of teacher identity, a micro-analytical approach needs to be combined with a macro-analytical approach. Although at the micro level the aim is to describe the ways in which, across shorter timescales, a preservice teacher "takes on and shifts between I-positions in response to relevant others," at the macro level, focus is directed to a self-narrative across longer timescales "in terms of past, local and future stories, as well as the socio-cultural conditions of the teacher's environment" (Akkerman & Meijer, 2011, p. 316). Following the approach outlined by Klimstra and colleagues (2010), in the current study, micro-level analyses providing in-depth insights into identity formation processes across the shortest of timescales (here specific events in a language classroom) were combined with macro-level analyses revealing evolutionary patterns over longer timescales (during a day, from one day to another, and over the duration of the practicum period).

Intra-personal and inter-personal data. In addition to the need for data collected across varying timescales, a study examining the inner dynamics of preservice teacher identity transformations requires data that can reveal identity shifts as they occur during interaction with others. In their critique of methods used for studying changes within the self, Jasper, Moore, Whittaker, and Gillespie (2012) argue that while commonly used retrospective self-report methodologies may be adequate for studying "society within the self" (i.e., the impact of social discourses on the construction of identity), such methods do not adequately capture "the self within society or within social relations." This is because they fail to examine inter-personal dialogue. A dialogical approach to understanding identity transformations is therefore facilitated when self-report (intra-personal) data are combined with dialogical (inter-personal) data, such a combination having the potential to "reveal the more subtle dynamics of implicit meanings and positionings" (Jasper et al., 2012, p. 326).

In the current study, intra- and inter-personal data were collected. The intra-personal data consist of two semi-structured interviews (together 5,000 words) conducted with the participant immediately prior/subsequent to the practicum. The inter-personal data consist of (a) postings on a web forum maintained by the participant and a peer (1) (a corpus of 15,000 words), and (b) video-recordings of a stimulated recall discussion immediately subsequent to a lesson carried out by the participant (1,500 words). Although the intra-personal data can provide insights into the participant's life history, experiences prior to the practicum and perceptions of the type of teacher she did (and did not) want to become, the inter-personal data can reveal narrative experiences through the participant's automatic engagement in processes of sense-making (Van Rijswijk et al., 2013). Furthermore, because in the inter-personal data interaction took place within the context of a preexisting relationship--the two students sharing experiences of practicum placements--the participant was able to engage in the process of authoring a dialogical self through the expression of oppositional viewpoints in a secure, understanding, and trusted environment (Dillon, 2012).

The Context and the Participant

The practicum. The choice of a practicum period for exploring the inner dynamics of teacher identity transformations is motivated by the recognition that practice learning is highly demanding (Ferrier-Kerr, 2009; Trent, 2013). It is during the practicum that tensions involved in the construction of a coherent professional identity can be particularly acute, not least when placements come early in the education and students may be ambivalent about their career choice (Flores & Day, 2006). Leaving a campus learning environment with predictable routines, familiar faces, and where students "may have a developing notion of who they are as teachers" can be a destabilizing period (Beauchamp & Thomas, 2011, p. 6). In practicum situations, evolving identities are likely to exhibit significant volatility. Preservice teachers can experience tensions between different conceptions of teaching (Smagorinsky, Cook, Moore, Jackson, & Fry, 2004) and feel unprepared to deal with the challenges of classroom experiences (Flores & Day, 2006).

The participant. The participant was a 22-year-old preservice teacher enrolled on a program providing a qualification to teach English in Grades 7 to 12. Prior to enrollment on the program, she had spent extended periods of time in English-speaking environments, traveling and participating in international exchange programs, experiences which, she recognizes, fueled her interest for English. An ambitious student, she had gained top grades in all of her previous courses, enjoying the new experiences of higher education and opportunities to develop teaching skills and improve her English.

At the point when the data collection began the participant was at the beginning of the second year of the program and about to begin a second practicum period. This practicum was carried out in an adult education center in a medium-sized town in the west of Sweden. The students enrolled at the center were mostly young adults who had left school without the requisite grades for university entrance. For the participant, the practicum posed a very real challenge. Not only were students of a similar age, and many had high levels of English proficiency, but the instructional practice at the college was traditional and highly assessment-oriented. In addition, negative experiences from her previous practicum in a Grade 7 to 9 school had left her ambivalent about her career choice.

Selection. Three considerations were important in selecting the participant. First, because the study design required the generation of inter-personal data, it was necessary to choose a student who had a close and trusting relationship with a peer/peers with whom experiences could comfortably be shared. This was a highly important consideration. For students carrying out teaching practice, concerns about self-disclosure, the "in-public" handling of sensitive topics and events, and the perception of not having established deep and trusting relationships with peers can have constraining effects on active engagement in "in-public" activities such as posting on web forums (Chu, Kwan, & Warning, 2012; Deng & Yuen, 2013). Second, because in a CDST study data rich in detail and collected across closely spaced time points are needed, it was important to select a pairing/group of students committed to gaining experiences from the practicum, and who would record these in a teacher-monitored discussion forum with regularity and detail. During the courses taught by the researcher, the participant had worked closely with another, equally ambitious and conscientious student. Finally the third consideration was the need to select a participant who, to some degree, displayed an ambivalence about his or her career choice, as identity transformations might occur more frequently in the data. For different reasons, both students regarded the practicum as an important testing site, both hoping to gain indications as to whether teaching was the right career choice.

Ethical considerations. Although the participant had been a student in language education courses taught by the researcher, at the time of the study this part of her education was complete, the practicum being part of her general education. Both students were approached with a view to participation 5 months prior to the beginning of the research, thus providing adequate time to consider the invitation. Information about the research was provided, together with assurances of confidentiality, that participation was voluntary and that withdrawal was possible at any time. Written consent was obtained from both students.

Analytical Procedures

The data were analyzed using a discourse analytical approach (Edley, 2001; Potter & Wetherell, 1995). Procedures described by Coyle (2006) were followed in conjunction with the strategy for the investigation of the inner dynamics within the dialogical self developed by Bell and Das (2011).

In a first stage, time was spent carefully reading the forum postings and the transcripts. This provided opportunities to experience the text as a reader, and to generate an awareness of what the text is doing and how this is accomplished. The second stage involved the coding of the text. Instances in the text containing articulations of an identity (an I-position) were identified. Using the "comment" function in Word, these text segments were shaded, the relevant extract additionally copied into the adjacent comment box. Here the aim was to be as inclusive as possible. This meant that even borderline examples of identity articulations were included. In a third stage, these extracts were examined, the aim being to identify the function of the utterances. This involved reading the text in a situated manner in relation to contextually specific discourses associated with teacher education, practice learning, and the purposes and practices of adult education. Here the linguistic construction of the text was in focus, the rhetorical function of discourse features noted in the comment boxes. Particular attention was paid to (a) salient discourse features revealing the identity position currently foregrounded, and (b) variability within the discourse indicating that a shift to a new identity position had occurred (Bell & Das, 2011; Duarte & Goncalves, 2007). Finally, in the fourth stage, for each 1-position identified, a specific question was asked, "Was this the same I-position as that narrated immediately previously, or did it constitute either (i) an entirely new I-position, or (ii) an I-position previously identified in the data?" (Bell & Das, 2011; Duarte & Goncalves, 2007). Again shifts were noted in the adjacent comment boxes. In this way, the dynamic movement between I-positions could be plotted for each set of data.

To provide an insight into the analytical process, a forum entry posted by the other student (Sara) serves as an example:
   One of the reasons they have started this is because they have a
   lot of "weak" students when it comes to these subjects and they
   want as many as possible to get a fair chance and at least get an
   E. So this week "we" (haha, yes, I now see myself as a part of
   the "we" at least when it comes to "mine and my LUVs classes.
   [??] started with these tests


Following an initial reading, in Stage 2 coding of the text took place. Here, two I-positions can be identified. The first is as a preservice teacher. In the initial sentence, Sara emphasizes her identity as "a student on a practicum placement," and as an "outsider in the context of assessment practices at the school" when she describes how the teachers carry out assessments and the rationale underpinning this practice: "they have started this ...," "because they have a lot of ...," and that "they want as many as possible to get a fair chance ...," The second I-position evidenced in the text segment emerges in the second sentence when Sara gives voice to a belonging to the community of teachers at the school when she writes that "we ... have started with these tests," conspicuously noting in her self-reflexive aside that she is now using the first person plural pronoun. In Stage 3 of the analysis, the functions of the text are in focus. Here, examination is carried out in a situated manner, the text recognized as part of a larger educational context, attention paid to discourse features. In the first sentence, Sara's placing of the word "weak" in quotation marks indicates a dissonance between her current 1-position (a critically aware student) and those she positions herself against (the teachers at the school). However, in the following sentence, the use of quotation marks around the word "we" indicates an alternative stance to the same assessment practice. Here, an I-position as a member of the community of teachers at the school is foregrounded. Finally, in the fourth stage, where focus is directed to shifts between I-positions, the word "now" suggests this I-position might be new, the emoticon having a similar function.

Results

This section is divided into three parts. It begins with the longest timescale (changes observed across the practicum period as a whole). Then, like the unpacking of a Russian doll, successively shorter timescales are examined.

The Longest Timescale

In the initial interview, Lina (the pseudonym chosen by the participant) tells how she began her teacher education following a 2-year "gap period," traveling, working in a shop and as a locum teacher at a vocational college. She tells too how she participated in a number of international youth programs, making friends in different parts of the world. Enrolling on the program, she says, was not a clear-cut choice. Describing herself as "insanely ambivalent," she explains how the decision came about due to a lack of alternatives; "I didn't come up with any ideas of what I wanted to do and I always thought that yeah, teaching seems alright." Indeed, it was the prospect of working with English that mostly motivated her: "I think English was what interested me the most. So one way of working with English would be through teaching. So it was English first. English came before teaching."

The interview provides Lina with the opportunity for reflection immediately in advance of the practicum. Thinking about the weeks ahead, she reflects back on her first practicum when she had spent 2 weeks at a secondary school. Experiences of classrooms as chaotic and teaching methods as unconducive to students' learning and development meant she questioned her career choice; "I wasn't sure I wanted to do this." She is critical of the educational approaches she observed and whether they helped students develop; "there was so much going on that doesn't work." She describes the students as being "stuck" in classrooms unsuited to their needs, and how "the only goal that the teacher had was to have order in the classroom." She tells how, arriving home each day, she felt tired and dejected. Often, she says, "it felt hopeless." This feeling was not only due to the conditions at the school but also because she felt that "the students didn't see me as a teacher, they kind of saw me as an extra person," and because "I didn't feel like a teacher." At the same time, she also describes situations where she was able to help students with different tasks, and how this was "definitely closer" to the feeling of being like a teacher that she wanted to experience. Although these experiences caused her to question her career choice, the practicum was also valuable, as is revealed in the following extract:

I: That practicum comes early in the first term. Did it make you in any way question your choice?

Lina: Well, if I had questioned my choice too much I would have dropped out. So apparently not.

I: You wouldn't have had any problems dropping out?

Lina: No. No I wouldn't. Since I wasn't sure I wanted to do this. "I'll like try it out." And then I liked it very much. Yeah, I think the VFU [practicum] made me realize that there is something I like. I like doing work with youths. Yup.

In this interview, two I-positions are narrated. In the first, Lina gives voice to a sense of being "an extra person but not a teacher." This I-position, voiced in the context of her criticisms of the conditions and instructional practice at the school, is prominent in the interview and generally fore-grounded (Hermans, 2008). The other 1-position which emerges is that of "someone who wants to work with and help young people." This remains in the background, fore-grounded only at the end of the interview, when, talking about expectations for the forthcoming practicum, Lina reflects that the reason she has not quit the program is her desire to work with young people.

A similar interview was conducted at the end of the practicum. Here too Lina comes across as ambivalent, questioning her choice of career:
   I think I am probably more insecure now. I am not the kind of
   person who makes up her mind and goes with it the rest of her
   life. I am still thinking "how did I end up here?" and "is this
   really what I want to do?"


Comparing with the first practicum, although she says she is not as despondent, the times when she experienced herself as being a teacher were few:
   I didn't feel hopeless, because this was a lot more, the classes
   here, it worked. The education, my VFU worked. But like I
   didn't, like I didn't get very much space in the classroom, my
   LUV [mentor] didn't ask me to do very much, so I still didn't
   really feel like a teacher, apart from when I was teaching myself.


Much more frequent, she says, were the times when, as an observer, she found herself questioning her mentor's practice: "It was parts of the work that I didn't like. Like it was very much about assessing. Yeah. It felt it was like judging the students and not helping them develop. That's like the part that I don't like."

In the context of her continued insecurity, the I-position foregrounded in this second interview is the same "an extra person but not a teacher" identity given voice in the initial interview. However, it is important to recall that I-positions are located in an imaginal landscape within which other possible positions exist. Thus, even though the system's counterpart I-position, "someone who wants to work with and help young people" does not emerge from the background, its presence is nevertheless felt. As Lina makes clear, the reason she has negative feelings about the practicum is her opposition to the assessment practices, and how these involved "judging the students and not helping them develop."

The Mid-Level Timescale

Having identified two I-positions prominent in Lina's teacher identity system prior and subsequent to the practicum and their relative foregrounding and backgrounding, focus moves to a much shorter timescale. Here, in the analysis of forum excerpts, shifts between these two I-positions are identified and discussed as movements of the system between attractor states, particular attention being given to the role played by the system's control parameters. In a complex dynamic system, movements across the state space can be understood as a function of its control parameters. A system's parameters are the external factors that shape trajectories, those that have a particular influence being its "control parameters." The control parameters determine ("control") the states that it is possible for the system to occupy. When control parameters remain the same, the system will stay in its attractor state. However, when changes occur, movements into new regions of the state space are triggered (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014). The following two forum posts reveal the ways in which Lina's teacher identity system self-organizes (undergoes change and achieves new stabilities) when movement between the two attractor states takes place.

EXCERPT ONE (forum post, Day 4)
   My LUV also had to leave to copy some things and then I got to help
   the class out with some things. They where talking about some
   things in literature I didn't know so much about and its an English
   7 class so its quite advanced. But I still felt that I could
   explain things and they asked me for help sometimes. Made me feel
   loads more confident, It felt great talking English with them. At
   one point I felt that I didn't really know the words for what I
   wanted to say but I could express what I wanted to and I felt
   confident about it. If I had a LUV that spoke perfect English I
   might have felt that my English wasn't good enough then but its a
   very accepting spirit in the class. Im feeling my way around how to
   behave around the students in class, how much to show that I'm
   listening to them, and how much I should ask how they are getting
   along. I suppose its different also because I'm new, but I still
   feel that I'm developing a role I would like to take as a teacher.


EXCERPT TWO (forum post, Day 9)
   My Luv only had one lesson and that was a test. I'm under the
   impression that a lot of things she does in class are more about
   finding ways to assess the students than for the students to
   actually learn.

   This VFU gives me a lot of things. It gives me an opportunity to
   see a different skolform [school-form], it makes it really clear
   how much the education have to be adjusted to the students
   needs. I get to hear the thoughts from a lot of different teachers.
   What it doesn't give me much of are chances to use English,
   possibilities to try out a teacher role, chances to lead lessons.
   (No I'm not this bitter when I'm there, I'm trying, believe me)
   This makes it very difficult for me to reflect and write around
   these topics.


During a practicum, the classroom mentor is one of the most important control parameters in a preservice teacher's identity system. This includes not only mentoring but also relationships with students and pedagogical approaches. When a change in this control parameter occurs--such as in Extract One when the teacher leaves the room--a change in the teacher identity system can be triggered. Here we see how, finding herself alone in the classroom, a shift takes place, Lina's system moving from the attractor state reflecting the "an extra person but not a teacher" I-position (Attractor X in Figure 2), to the counterpoint attractor reflecting the "someone who wants to work with and help young people" I-position (Attractor Y). Finding herself alone with the students, Lina describes being able to act in a different way: "I got to help the class out with some things." She also perceives that the students see her differently: "they asked me for help sometimes." She recalls that this had a positive effect on her emotional state, making her "feel loads more confident," and how it "felt great talking English with them." She is also prompted to reflect on her practice, causing her to think about how she should demonstrate interest and provide support. Importantly, it makes her feel she is "developing a role I would like to take as a teacher."

It is not only Lina's positive emotional state and reflections on her pedagogical role that indicate a shift of the system and the foregrounding of the "someone interested in working with and helping young people" I-position. The shift is also evidenced in the use of semiotic resources, notably the discourse markers that identify the students, and how students are positioned in the subject role. Although at the beginning of the post (immediately after the teacher's exit) the students are referred to in anonymous, collective terms as "the class," this later switches to the discourse marker "they," indicating not only a more personal but also a more symmetrical relation. Similarly, a switch in subject positions--"they asked me for help"--indicates how Lina perceives a relaxing of the teacher-centered interaction order, the classroom dynamics emerging when the mentor leaves being closer to that which, as a teacher, she aspires to achieve. This shift in the power dynamic is similarly evidenced by her reflection that there is "a very accepting spirit in the class" and how, even lacking the appropriate vocabulary--"I didn't really know the words"--she could "express what I wanted to and I felt confident about it."

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

As a parameter controlling the system, her mentor's influence is similarly evident in Extract Three. Writing at the end of a day when the only lesson had been taken up with assessment, Lina is promoted to reflect on the nature of a practice she perceives as problematic: "I'm under the impression that a lot of things she does in class are more about finding ways to assess the students than for the students to actually learn." Given these particular control parameters (her mentor's assessment practices), it is the "an extra person but not a teacher" I-position that is foregrounded, the system lodged in the X attractor.

Here it is important to note that the X attractor has a wide basin of attraction for negative emotion. With the system lodged in this attractor state, opportunities for Lina to experience feelings incongruent with the "an extra person but not a teacher" I-position are few. Rather, the system's location prompts reflections on aspects of the practicum that Lina experiences as problematic. For example, she writes that "what it [the practicum] doesn't give me much of are chances to use English, possibilities to try out a teacher role, chances to lead lessons," and reflects on the frustrations this causes, "No I'm not this bitter when I'm there, I'm trying, believe me," and the struggles she experiences, "This makes it very difficult for me to reflect and write about these topics."

The ways in which Lina's teacher identity system shifts between the two attractor states is evident in her posts throughout the period. In each case, the system's location is strongly influenced by the control parameters:

EXCERPT THREE (forum post, Day 10)
   Im getting forward with the plans for my own lesson. The
   challenge lies in directing it at the right level and figuring out
   what could go wrong and to have a plan b for that. But it's
   exciting to try out my own ideas, and to see what I can make
   happen in the classroom. Im starting to see what kind of teacher
   I wanna be.


EXCERPT FOUR (forum post, Day 12)
   Today I got what I guess is making all the effort worth the
   struggle. The day has also provided me with an opportunity to
   feel that the things that my LUV focuses on, and that I feel bad
   about, may not be the only way. Her lessons and plans have a
   very assessment focused approach but I now think it is possible
   to have an approach that focuses on development and learning.

   I felt very good about the relationship I could create with the
   students. I felt that we were on equal terms and that is definitely
   the kind of teacher I feel I want to be. I had started to feel bad
   about the hierarchy in the classroom and I guess I have seen
   today that it doesn't have to be that way. Makes me feel loads
   more motivated.


EXCERPT FIVE (forum post, Day 20)
   I listened to my LUV and another teacher assessing some
   national tests together. It was very interesting. It became very
   clear that both of them had let their prejudice about the their
   own students affect the grade they gave them on the
   assignments. Both of them also kept asking: "Is it a boy or a
   girl" "Where is she/he from" That shouldn't matter, should it?
   I also realized that my LUV had awarded the girls higher
   grades than her college would have. Especially, nice, good,
   hard working girls.

   I have had a lot of thoughts about whether the teaching profession
   suits me or not. I am yet not sure.


The situations where Lina is planning a lesson (Extract Three) and carrying it out (Extract Four) constitute important control parameters. Here, in the context of a lesson she herself is responsible for designing and teaching, the I-position of "someone who wants to work with and help young people" is foregrounded, the system lodged in the X attractor. The mentor (and the practice she represents) constitutes an I-position currently outside the zonal structure of Lina's teacher identity system, and one which Lina positions herself against (Hermans, 2001 ; Valsiner, 2004).

With the system in the Y attractor, the "someone who wants to work with and help young people" I-position is foregrounded, and positive affect is generated. Lina experiences opportunities to have an impact on students' learning, feeling positive about "the relationship I could create with the students" (Extract Four). She emphasizes her agency and her role in the students' learning, talking about "my own ideas," "what I can make happen," and "the relationship I could create." Importantly, she perceives herself as a facilitator, not an authority: "I felt we were on equal terms."

Self-narratives about previous and ongoing events create not only currently operating I-positions, but also orientations to an envisioned future (Bento, Cunha, & Salgado, 2012). With the system lodged in the Y attractor, Lina speaks as "someone who wants to work with and help young people." She reflects not only on what she has achieved, but also what is possible in the future: "I now think it is possible to have an approach that focuses on development and learning"; "I had started to feel bad about the hierarchy in the classroom and I guess I have seen today that it doesn't have to be that way."

However, in Extract Five, the control parameters are different. In the context of Lina's reflections on a discussion about assessment, negative feelings generated by what she perceives to be highly inequitable practices converge within the basin of the X attractor. With the "an extra person but not a teacher" I-position foregrounded, Lina voices uncertainly about whether or not "the teaching profession suits me." On this final day of the practicum, Lina remains unsure about her future.

The Shortest Timescale

So far, the examination of shifts in Lina's teacher identity system has taken place in the context of retrospection, in the interviews and forum postings. In a complex dynamic system, changes also occur at the micro level, from one moment to the next. In the final extract, taken from the stimulated recall discussion, Lina gives voice to thoughts passing through her mind as she and Sara watch the events of the immediately preceding lesson unfold on a computer screen:

EXCERPT SIX (stimulated recall, Day 12). Six minutes: (Lina has spent the beginning of the lesson standing at the whiteboard giving an explanation of verb tenses. The students are now working with some questions, largely in silence. Lina is at the front of the room, her back to the whiteboard, looking at the students sitting in rows in front of her.)
   I felt I was rushing into things without knowing what to say but it
   turned out alright. It kind of feels that I am watching another
   person, it doesn't feel like me. I was a bit worried here that some
   students would be done very quickly and find it very boring to just
   wait and so it was difficult to find out when to stop. And it's
   also like hard to find the teacher role in, in what you do. Like,
   should I talk to them, should I just stand here, should I do
   something else? Pretend that I'm doing something else?


Seventeen minutes: (Students are working in pairs/small groups with exercises, discussing grammatical forms. Lina is walking around the class spending time with different groupings.)
   It's a great feeling that it is so relaxed in the classroom. That
   they can like, say things. And I don't feel like a, you know, a
   teacher in the front that they have to listen to. I felt like I was
   part of them. And still felt that I could help them develop and
   that's kind of, I guess the teacher I want to be. I don't want to
   be like someone who knows better that they are afraid to say things
   around.


In these two segments, a shift between attractor states can be observed. In the first, students are silently working with grammar tasks. Watching these events, Lina expresses unease at seeing herself at the front, saying how she recalls being uncertain about what to do: "should I talk to them, should I just stand here, should I do something else? Pretend that I'm doing something else?" Viewing herself by the whiteboard, and reflecting on the thoughts then going through her mind, she comments that "it's also like hard to find the teacher role in, in what you do," questioning the pedagogical role she has assigned herself. Continuing to observe herself isolated from the students, she likens this to watching "another person," commenting that this other person "doesn't feel like me." Here, the interaction order in the classroom is an important control parameter. Even though Lina has designed the lesson, the unease she experiences in an authoritative role generates negative affect. Incongruent with the Y attractor, these negative emotions converge on the X attractor. Consequently, at this point, it is the "an extra person but not a teacher" I-position that is foregrounded.

However, moving on to the sequence 17 min into the lesson, Lina observes herself moving around the classroom, talking with students. Here, she comments on the positive emotions generated by the perception of a relaxed atmosphere, and that the students are interacting in English: "It's a great feeling," "That they can like, say things." The changed nature of the classroom interaction order constitutes a change in the system's control parameters. Rather than teacher-centered, it is now student-centered, Lina working in a way that facilitates students in their leaning. With the control parameters changed, the positive emotion generated by experiencing "that it is so relaxed in the classroom" converges within the basin of attraction of the X attractor. A shift takes place. Now it is the "someone interested in working with and helping young people" I-position which is foregrounded.

This change is revealed semiotically in the ways in which Lina describes herself. Although in the first segment she talks of herself as an anonymous and isolated authority figure "a teacher in the front" whom the students "have to listen to," in the second, she positions herself as a member of a larger community of learners in the classroom, as "part of them." The perception of being a facilitator functions to additionally trigger a projection into the future, Lina imagining herself as someone who can "help them develop," remarking that this is "kind of, I guess the teacher I want to be."

Discussion

Using a combined macro/micro analysis of a type demanded in CDST studies (Lichtwarck-Aschoff et al., 2008), and adopting a dialogical self perspective (Hennans, 2003), the inner dynamics of identity transformations were investigated. Because the dialogical self is constructed from both internal and self-other dialogues (Jasper et al., 2012), analyses of intra- and inter-personal data were carried out. These reveal that identity transformations are not random. Rather, they take the form of a stable dynamical pattern. This was conspicuous across each timescale investigated. With predictable consistency, Lina's teacher identity system shifted between two fixed-point attractors in an iterative process involving the foregrounding and backgrounding of mutually contradictory I-positions.

As revealed across the shortest timescale, shifts between I-positions could take place with great rapidity. Although the exact circumstances under which a shift might occur might not always be predictable--the control parameters for Lina's teacher identity system constantly changing--the system dynamics are. In certain complex dynamic systems, oscillations between two (or more) attractor states take place with regularity. Systems in which periodic movements between attractor states occur, and where systematic (i.e., stable) patterns of transitions are observed, are described as demonstrating multi-stability (Vallacher, van Geert, & Nowak, 2015).

An identity system demonstrating multi-stability captures the sense that, like the current participant, a person can have mutually contradictory self-concepts and distinct patterns of behavior reflecting these oppositional states. In multi-stable systems external influences have a different effect than in systems governed by single attractors. Although in single-attractor systems external influences inconsistent with the attractor can have an immediate impact that is subsequently dampened over time (i.e., as the system returns to its attractor), in a multi-stable system this is different. Here the movement of the system depends on the extent to which an external influence is incongruent with an attractor. If, for example, an influence is only mildly incongruent, meaning that it is still within the basin of attraction, its impact will be minimal and temporary. However, if the influence is somewhat more incongruent, such that it falls marginally outside of the basin of attraction, it will then converge on the alternative attractor (Vallacher et al., 2015). This is a phenomenon clearly visible in the current data. As previously noted, the X attractor ("an extra person but not a teacher") has a wide basin of attraction for negative feelings, thus influencing the way Lina generally perceives the practice in her mentor's classroom. However, when contextual circumstances change and emotions extending beyond the basin of attraction of the "an extra person but not a teacher" attractor state are generated--as, for example, in Extracts 1 and 6 when changes in the classroom interaction order take place--a shift to the counterpoint attractor state is triggered.

In multi-stable systems, initial conditions play an important role. At the beginning of any observed behavioral sequence, the self-concept currently activated will have a determining influence on the system's subsequent trajectory. The presence of her classroom mentor (and the practice she represents) is an important initial condition, meaning that, during the practicum, Lina's teacher identity system is generally lodged in the X attractor ("an extra person but not a teacher"). However, should at any time something arise that threatens this self-concept, such as the mentor leaving the room, the likelihood of a shift increases. However, rather than moving to a new area in the state space, the dynamical characteristics of a multi-stable system mean that transition will most likely be into the counterpoint attractor state. For Lina, this means movement to the Y attractor, and the foregrounding of the "someone who wants to work with and help young people" I-position.

The observable interactions between system components that spontaneously produce regularity (i.e., generation of predictable patterns of instability) are an example of the system's capacity for self-organization. Self-organization is the defining characteristic of a complex dynamic system (Steenbeek & van Geert, 2013) and helps us understand why, in the current case, the pattern of identity shifts is predictably dynamic. It is this pattern of "predictable instability" that constitutes the "signature dynamics" (Dornyei, 2014) of Lina's teacher identity system.

Finally, it is interesting to note that the pattern of recurring oscillations between the two I-positions seems to preclude shifts into new areas of the state space; nowhere in the data is there indication of the emergence of a new I-position. However, because the trajectories of complex dynamic systems will be influenced by "unknown unknowns"--things which have an influence but about which nothing is currently known--future development is impossible to predict (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014, p. 166).

As previously noted, Hermans (2008) suggests that in the dialogical self, two or more positions can combine to create a new position. This proposal is wholly consistent with CDST principles of self-organization and emergence. Although there is no indication in the data that Lina's I-positions do combine in any way, there is nevertheless a sense that a reconciliation of these mutually contradictory identities might be possible. In a forum post from the mid-stage of the practicum, Lina writes not only how "working in school means that I have to do things I don't believe in" but also how "these thoughts and qualities might make me a good teacher." Thus, a new 1-position, and new area to which the system could gravitate, is that of "the critically aware practitioner"; an attractor state that, potentially, could emerge from a combination of the system's currently contradictory states.

Limitations

Before considering the conclusions that can be drawn from this study and the implications for teacher education, two important limitations need to be acknowledged. While the first concerns the validity of the findings, the second is methodological and relates to the study's single-case design. Although in discourse analysis it is not normal practice to ask those who produce the data to comment on analyses (Coyle, 2006), in the current study participant verification would have been of value. The analyses indicate that the location of Lina's teacher identity system has consequences for her affective state, and that opportunities for experiencing emotions incongruent with the attractor state in which the system is lodged are limited. The validity of these findings could have been enhanced by inviting Lina to comment on and verify the interpretations made about her mood, her emotional state and her perception of herself as a teacher around the times that phase shifts were identified.

The second limitation involves the case study method itself. No matter how dense or ecologically valid data might be, a case study of a single preservice teacher's identity transformations may be of little value in understanding the identity development of other individuals in other settings. Consequently, if the insights generated by the study are to be of wider value to teacher education, further case study research is required.

Future Research

Additional case studies investigating the dynamics of preservice teachers' identity transformation processes could prove to be extremely fruitful. This is because in complex dynamic systems variability is never limitless. Because complex systems have a propensity to self-organize, this means that not only is it possible to identify particular patterns of dynamical development, but also the outcomes with which they are associated. By way of explanation, Byrne (2005) draws attention to the distinct and recognizable outcomes observable during complex processes of urbanization:
   A city-region might move from an industrial to post-industrial
   character. However, the forms available to post-industrial cities
   are multiple. There is not one kind of post-industrial city.
   Rather, there is a range of possible post-industrial forms, (p.
   105)


Equally true for preservice teacher identity as for the postindustrial city, neither the developmental processes nor the resulting outcomes are likely to be limitless. Rather, both are identifiable within a particular "range."

Consequently, additional case studies would provide valuable opportunities to map the dynamical mechanisms through which teacher identity development takes place. Using processes of systematic case comparison (Byrne & Callaghan, 2014) analysis of a series of carefully selected cases can provide opportunities for generalization, not over subjects (as no two preservice teachers will ever share exactly similar developmental dynamics), but over instances of observed process characteristics (van Geert & Lichtwarck-Aschoff, 2005). Specifically, it can become possible to identify both the patterns of identity transformation dynamics that are characteristic of preservice teachers' development, and the range of outcomes with which they are associated.

Conclusion

By venturing into the "black box" of identity dynamics (Van Rijswijk et al., 2013), the study makes an important contribution to teacher education research by casting light on processes of identity transformation. Using a combination of CDST and dialogical self perspectives, conflicts between contradictory inner-voices have been investigated and unique insights into the transformational dynamics of teacher identity have been provided. Importantly, the study demonstrates how identity transformation processes take place on multiple timescales. It also reveals their fractal nature, showing how observed dynamical patterns are similar across different scales.

Another valuable contribution is the provision of insights into identity development as revealed in inter-personal dialogues. To date, the vast majority of research on teacher identity development has drawn on self-report data. Although analyses of intra-personal dialogues have yielded significant insights into longer term developmental trajectories and changes in belief and value systems, the present study fills an important gap by focusing on identities that are articulated in inter-personal dialogue, and which reveal transformations taking place across shorter timescales.

Finally, the study makes a novel contribution to the literature on identity development during practicum periods by revealing how experiences of being a teacher and the emotions connected with such experiences can rapidly fluctuate. For the current participant, the shift from not seeing herself as a teacher (and concurrent experiences of self-doubt and disillusionment), to perceiving herself as someone capable of working with and helping students could take place in a matter of minutes.

Implications for Teacher Education: Extending Spaces for Identity Exploration and in-the-Moment Identity Management

The insights generated by this study have wider implications for the education of preservice teachers. With the understanding that identity development is scale-free comes a recognition of the dangers involved in assuming that certain activities, such as reflexive writing tasks, provide privileged access to processes of becoming a teacher. Rather, in addition to "identity-targeted" activities, such as journaling and the creation of personal profiles, there is also a need to take account of identity development in activities where it is not immediately focal. Because a student's experience of becoming a teacher can be just as salient when carrying out an instructional task, it becomes necessary to make space for identity exploration across the full range of educational activities.

In an expanded context for identity exploration, developing a familiarity with basic CDST concepts such as phase shifts and non-linearity can be of real value to teacher educators. This is particularly so in the mentoring of students carrying out practice learning, as it is during practicum periods that tensions between competing identities are most keenly felt. By bringing "complexity thinking" (Byrne, 2014) into mentoring, and by taking on the role of "complexity coach" (Steenbeek & van Geert, 2015), teacher educators become able to support students in generating insights into the fluctuating experiences of being a teacher at, or in close proximity to, the times when shifts take place.

In developing a complexity-informed, "in-situ" awareness of identity transformations, students become able to understand how experiences of being a teacher can differ from one instant to another, and why minor and seemingly inconsequential events--such as, for example, a class-teacher momentarily leaving the room--can have major effects (Henry & Tynkkinen, in press). With an increased sensitivity to identity tensions, students are better equipped to handle identity-threatening experiences. This, in turn, has implications for retention.

As Cochran-Smith (2004) makes clear, teacher retention is a multi-dimensional problem requiring macro- and micro-level analyses and solutions. While recent studies (e.g., Buchanan et al., 2013) have demonstrated the importance of reflection, responsiveness and resourcefulness for teacher retention, the development of skills for the in-situ handling of identity experiences can have a similarly positive effect. Specifically, the use of complexity tools in developing an awareness of when shifts to undesired identities take place, and understanding how and why such shifts occur, can function in ways that can reduce energy-sapping effects. For teachers who, like the current participant, are ambivalent about their career choice, the systematic in-the-moment management of identity can enhance their personal resilience to negative identity experiences and, as a consequence, play an important longer term role in increasing the likelihood of them remaining within the profession.

DOI: 10.1177/0022487116655382

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the three anonymous reviewers of this article and the members of the editorial team at Journal of Teacher Education for their insightful comments and advice. Thanks also go to Lena Garberg and Bo Svensson, colleagues at University West who provided invaluable support during the project, and to professor Tammy Gregersen at the University of Northern Iowa, the discussions we had at the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) conference in Dallas being the embryo for this work. Most of all I would like to thank "Lina" and "Sara" for agreeing to take part in the study and, over the course of a month, for sharing so many experiences with me.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Funding

The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Note

(1.) Maintaining a forum during the practicum was a course requirement. Other than the researcher, no other person had access.

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Alastair Henry is a teacher educator at University West, Sweden, and has a PhD in language education from the University of Gothenburg. His research focuses on motivation in second language learning and he has a particular interest in complex dynamic systems. He is the co-editor, with Zoltan Dornyei and Peter MacIntrye, of "Motivational Dynamics in Language Learning" (Multilingual Matters, 2015), and, with Zoltan Dornyei and Christine Muir, is the co-author of "Motivational Currents in Language Learning: Frameworks for Focused Interventions" (Routledge, 2016). His work has mostly appeared in applied linguistics journals including Applied Linguistics, Language Learning, and The Modern Language Journal.

Alastair Henry [1]

[1] University West, Trollhattan, Sweden

Corresponding Author:

Alastair Henry, Department of Social and Behavioural Studies, University West, Trollhattan, Sweden.

Email: al.henry@hv.se
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