Identity process and transformative pedagogy: Teachers as agents of identity formation

Marinda K. Harrell-Levy, Jennifer L. Kerpelman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Missing from the discussion of adolescent identity development is the role of teachers as identity agents. Teachers can be purposeful co-constructors of adolescents' identities when they use a transformative pedagogical approach that involves fostering collaborative learning and empowering students to think creatively and critically. In an effort to link identity processes with transformative pedagogy, this article begins with a review of theory that approaches identity from a microprocess perspective, emphasizing the role of daily interactions in identity development. It then provides a detailed account of how transformative pedagogy fosters empowerment of adolescents as they move forward in their identity work. Adding to previous literature that has examined a transformative approach in identity work with at-risk youth, this article suggests ways to examine the influence of transformative teaching on identity processes. It concludes with suggestions for how the transformative approach would benefit more adolescents if it became a more common practice in the typical classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-91
Number of pages16
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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