Working the third space: reformulating practice in the transition from classroom teacher to teacher educator

Fleur Diamond, Stephanie Wescott, Kristen Molloy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The working lives and identities of teacher educators remain an under-researched aspect of teacher education. This paper reports on a collaborative narrative inquiry by three early career teacher educators as they made the transition from classroom practice in schools, to teacher education in a university setting. The authors confronted technical understandings, or ‘official stories' (Zukas & Malcolm, 2019) of what it means to prepare prospective teachers, derived from contemporary standards-based policies about teacher professionalism. The paper proposes the concept of ‘working the third space' as a way of framing teacher educators' efforts to draw upon classroom teaching experience while challenging reductive understandings of teachers' work. We argue that understanding teacher education as a ‘third space' practice speaks back to narrow discourses of teacher education that frames it as the unproblematic transfer of practice from experienced to novice practitioner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-54
Number of pages16
JournalAustralian Journal of Teacher Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • practice
  • professional identity
  • teacher education
  • teacher educators
  • third space

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