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Revista Lusófona de Educação

versão impressa ISSN 1645-7250

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MARTA, Margarida  e  LOPES, Amélia. Identity configurations of preschool teachers in public and private sectors during the first decade of the 21st century. Rev. Lusófona de Educação [online]. 2012, n.22, pp.159-175. ISSN 1645-7250.

The educational policies of the first decade of the 21st century introduced significant changes to preschool education in Portugal, in organisational terms, professional terms and in terms of what could be offered to the child, thus deeply affecting the lifestyles of preschool teachers. In this article, we intend to make visible the ways in which educational policies of the first decade of the 21st century interfered with the professional activity of preschool teachers in the public and private sectors of preschool education, and the relation ships established between them through institutional and personal dynamics. We also aim to contribute to clarifying how public policies can influence the overall quality of education. In fact, within the context of the Portuguese educational system, preschool education has a special place in informing this type of contribution since the private sector does not have the same scope on any other level of education. Early childhood education in Portugal is not just a diverse reality, but it is also different from what we encounter on other educational levels. This is because the educational offer is almost equally divided between the public and private sectors, and because it has a unique history regarding this matter - private education widely precedes provisions from the public sector, both in terms of training and work contexts. To respond to these objectives, we present and discuss findings from research into the impact of educational policies in the first decade of the 21st century on preschool educators in the public and private sectors. The study is theoretically grounded in the concept of construction of professional identities by Claude Dubar, in the concept of construction of teaching professional identities as an ecological construct by Amélia Lopes, in the concept of identities at work by Sainsaulieu and in the concept of psychosocial identity by Marisa Zavalloni. In terms of methodology, Marisa Zavalloni's Psychosocial Identity Inventory was used. The Inventory allowed us to analyse the images and meanings that educators attribute to their personal and professional belongings and experiences through discourse representing the past (memory), the present and the future. The study comprised 59 educators from various private institutions and groups of schools. The results indicate a strengthening of the education element in the private sector, generating a new kind of professionalism, and the existence of losses - in autonomy - and gains - in feelings of belonging to a wider group of public sector educators/ teachers - in the configuration of identities amongst public sector educators.

Palavras-chave : construction of professional identities; preschool education; public sector; private sector.

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