This study examines the professional image of teaching as it develops in prospective teachers in the course of their participation in initial teacher education. The setting for this study is university-based teacher education in the Netherlands, providing one year of postgraduate teacher education for university graduates wanting to qualify for teaching in secondary and higher education. The development of the image of teaching among these prospective teachers is studied in relation with a professional image of teaching developed on the macro level of teacher education to serve as a standard for curriculum and final attainment level. In order to study differences in the elaboration of this common standard by different teacher education establishments two of these establishments have been included in the study. The study also goes into the training conditions in teacher education supporting the development of a professional identity by prospective teachers. The theoretical basis of the study is provided by the tradition of Vygotskian and Neo-Vygotskian social science, allowing a view of assignment of meaning to teaching as a multi-level process (from macro-institutional to personal) and encouraging an approach in which cognitive, affective, and experiential elements in the assignment of meaning are studied in mutual relationship
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