An affinity for learning: Teacher identity and powerful professional development


Professional development (PD) for teachers is widely variable in its effectiveness. Efforts to improve PD at scale are complicated by the tremendous heterogeneity among teachers: what works for one teacher may work not at all for another. Using the lens of professional identity to analyze teachers’ perceptions of PD, I present and discuss five in-depth teacher accounts of their most powerful professional learning experiences, concluding that professional identity is a durable (but malleable) filter through which teachers interpret professional learning. I offer implications for how a better understanding of professional identity could be used to improve PD design and policy.