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UBC Theses and Dissertations

From experienced teachers to newcomers to the profession : the capital conversion of internationally educated teachers in Canada Marom, Lilach


My doctoral thesis, titled, “From Experienced Teachers to Newcomers to the Profession: The Capital Conversion of Internationally Educated Teachers in Canada,” examines the recertification process of internationally educated teachers (IETs). My main research question is: What conceptions of the “good teacher” are evident in the recertification trajectory of IET participants in this study, and how do these open up or close down spaces for IETs to bring their experiences and voices to bear on reconstructing their professional identity in Canada? I argue that assumptions about good teaching intersect with factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, language, and immigration status. Building on Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic capital and its sub-category of professional capital, I explore the conception of the “good teacher” in a recertification program for IETs at the University of British Columbia, and I do so as a way of illustrating the dominant professional capital circulating in teacher education in British Columbia. I argue that, in the field of teacher education, the “good teacher” is a manifestation of a specific form of professional capital, which serves as “local currency” for the field. However, whereas IETs are required to convert their professional capital to the local “currency,” successful conversion does not guarantee successful integration into the teaching profession in Canada. One of the concerns that emerged from my dissertation is that teacher education in Canada, in spite of its claim to foster diversity, often becomes a site for social reproduction. Holding unexamined conceptions of the “good teacher” can lead teacher educators to favour and create teachers who are “like us,” and to discourage different forms and models of teaching.

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