Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Shea Kerkhoff


Alina Slapac

Laura Westhoff


Previous studies have presented a clear link between teachers’ professional identity construction and teacher effectiveness and have considered the teacher professional identity as a pivotal factor to teachers’ effectiveness, decision-making about their career, commitment to the profession, as well as engagement in professional development (Beijaard et al., 2004; Day et al., 2005; Lasky, 2005; H. Y. Wang, 2020). Positive experiences in terms of teacher professional identity construction during education practicum holds potential to promote student teachers’ professional commitment, specifically, their belief in the value of the teaching profession (Hong, 2010; M. R. Zhao, 2013). This case study examined teacher professional identity construction among student teachers of a normal university in China during their education practicum. Guided by a synthesized theoretical framework of three sociocultural theories for understanding teacher professional identity construction (Davies & Harre, 1990; Engeström, 2015; Lave & Wenger, 1991), this study focuses on two overarching research questions: 1. What is the status of the Chinese student teachers’ professional identity construction during the education practicum?, and 2. How do the Chinese student teachers construct their teacher professional identity during the education practicum? This case study adopted a mixed-methods sequential explanatory design (Creswell, 2012) to explore the process of Chinese student teachers’ professional identity construction through examining their education practicum experiences. The participants were senior students who were completing 12-week education practicum at the assigned placement schools. The data included responses from 275 questionnaires, six focus group interview transcripts, and 51 student-generated education practicum reports. The findings from this study showed that within the placement school context, student teachers constructed a high level of student teacher professional identity during education practicum. Student teachers constructed teacher professional identity by forming an understanding of the teaching profession, gaining teacher knowledge, interacting with people, and acting as role models and classroom managers. This study addresses the need of adjusting the ratio of theoretical curriculum and practicum curriculum in curriculum design, and providing opportunities in which student teachers can participate in classroom teaching and prepare to be a teacher.