“I may as well be wallpaper”: Multiple In-Field/ Out-Of-Field identities for teachers introducing a new science subject in their school

Karen Marangio, Ellen Heyting

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This paper explores teachers’ perceptions of enacting a new science subject, psychology, at the senior secondary level in Queensland, Australia, as part of major curriculum reform. Seven teachers (4 IF, 3 OOF) participated in online meetings, one per term, during the inaugural two year period. Three teachers (2 IF, 1 OOF) had experience teaching psychology, four (2 IF & 2 OOF) had experience teaching science, and one (OOF) teaching mathematics. Data were thematically analysed using Hobbs (2013) Boundary Between Field (BBF) Model of OOF Teaching. A binary classification did not capture the complexity of teacher identities these participants experienced, instead, participants moved along multiple teaching IF/OOF continuums as they gained experience and self-awareness. From the onset, all participants were dedicated to teaching psychology, and most felt-like IF psychology teachers. As time progressed, however, feeling-like IF science and mathematics teachers differed. A defining feature was the presence of a culture of support within their school and, more specifically, their science department. This support enabled these teachers to cross the boundaries of psychology, science and mathematics teachers with confidence and agency. Implications for the support required by teachers introducing a new subject are discussed and directions for future research are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventOut-of-field – Teaching Across Specialisations (OOF-TAS) Collective International Symposium 2022: International research and collaboration on the out-of-field teaching phenomenon - Virtual/Online, Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 15 Aug 202216 Aug 2022
Conference number: 9th


ConferenceOut-of-field – Teaching Across Specialisations (OOF-TAS) Collective International Symposium 2022
Abbreviated titleOOF-TAS 2022
Internet address


  • out-of-field teaching
  • psychology curriculum
  • psychology teacher
  • science department
  • subject identity
  • teacher identity

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