Coming Back to Ourselves: Teacher Identity in a Digital Age

Monique Harrington, Salve Regina University


This dissertation argues that digital technology has profoundly and irrevocably shaped teacher identity in contemporary American culture. It is postulated that the narrative which educators tell about themselves plays a critical role in the art and science of current teaching praxis, in preparing students to be responsible digital citizens of a democratic society, as well as in the preservation of the value held for human dignity. Educators, as beings in time, experience a modernity that is a dynamic interplay of both the past and the future. Teacher identity is relayed through language and a telling of story, both to oneself and to the world at large. Stories are not told in isolation. A sense of identity is also held in the stories that others tell about who we are. Through such narratives, one creates a sense of understanding, allowing for the creation of meaning and purpose. It is argued that a world that is saturated with digital technology significantly shapes individual and cultural stories, and the meaning of one’s personal and professional identity. This dissertation seeks to answer the question: In what ways are digital technology and the digital culture which surrounds the educational process, reshaping teacher identity in twenty-first century American culture and forcing a profound reshaping of the traditional paradigm of praxis? Through both research and interviews the influence of consumer culture and postmodern values are found critical. A wider picture is drawn of the stakeholders in American education, to include the military, business interests, politicians, and policy makers. The benefits and drawbacks of screen technology and their impact on classroom praxis are considered, as are structures for best practices. The human need for metaphor and human flourishing in a culture saturated with informational and digital technology is emphasized. Visions for the future of teacher identity are advanced.

Subject Area

Educational technology|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Harrington, Monique, "Coming Back to Ourselves: Teacher Identity in a Digital Age" (2020). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI28154952.