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Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice


This research project began as an effort to redesign a learning theory course as transitional space and evolved into an analysis of how unresolved conflict from younger learning selves influence graduate preservice teachers’ acquisition of teacher identity. The study draws upon work by Ellsworth (2005) on transitional space and Britzman (2007) on “Teacher Education as Uneven Development.” The data for the study were collected throughout a three-semester graduate teacher education program and include narrative and formal writing using theoretical discourses. Foucauldian concepts of discourse analysis were used to interpret the initial data set; discourse analysis maps were then employed to further develop data interpretation. Two case study illustrations of preservice teachers resulted from this work. These demonstrate how transitional space is troubled space and the unevenness of teacher development. The study raises the question, “What will teacher education do with uncertainty?”


This document has undergone peer review. This is an electronic version of an article published in:

Phillips, D. K. (2010). On Transitional Space, Unresolved Conflicts, and an Uncertain Teacher Education 16(5). Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice, pp. 633-644. doi: 10.1080/13540602.2010.507970

The final, definitive version of this document, which should be used for reference and citation purposes, is available online at:

Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice

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