Becoming a new type of teacher – ‘free and authentic’: The case of experienced British-trained educators transitioning to the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme abroad

Vanessa Walker, Tristan Bunnell

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This paper investigates the experiences of six British-trained teachers who moved from teaching GCSE in state schools in England to teach abroad. They had entered, inadvertently, two separate English-speaking private well-established traditional international schools in Northern Europe where they began to teach the International Baccalaureate’s relatively complex Middle Years Programme (IBMYP). The nature of the IBMYP, with its student-centred focus and conceptual framework, deviates greatly from the dominant, typically prescriptive approach of the GCSE. The demands of the IBMYP, which are represented in the IB’s institutional pillars, exert significant influence over new and experienced teachers to induce a change in identity as they gradually shift to becoming an ‘IBMYP Educator’. Using semi-structured interviews and thematic data analysis, this qualitative study examines teacher identity factors and seeks to understand the process of this identity shift. Using Goffman’s Frame Analysis, the themes are presented as metaphors, helping us to realise the joint experience of transition, as the teachers shifted from feeling temporarily de-skilled to re-skilled. A sense of authenticity and freedom was felt to be the eventual outcome after an initial phase of being in unsettled ‘survival mode’ and ‘adrift’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Research in International Education
Publication statusAcceptance date - 6 Jul 2024

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