Pedagogies of difference: Unknowing immigrant teachers as subjects forever in process

  • 1 University of Waikato, Faculty of Education, Te Whiringa Educational Leadership and Policy, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton, 3240, New Zealand


Immersed in the bicultural, increasingly globalized, yet uniquely local, Aotearoa New Zealand early childhood landscape, immigrant teacher subjects are shaped in complicated, entangled ways. This paper attempts to open fresh spaces for re-thinking knowable teacher identities by drawing on Julia Kristeva’s work on the foreigner and the subject-in-process. It explores the immigrant teacher subject as “infinitely in construction, de-constructible, open and evolving” (Kristeva, 2008, p. 2). In a sector that is grappling with the complexities of outcomes driven expectations of productivity, mass participation and often homogenized indicators of ‘quality’, this paper elevates insights into the subject formation of the Other, to expose cracks in this veneer, through the notions of the semiotic and revolt. In this critical philosophical examination, I reconceptualise the idea of knowing immigrant teacher subjects, and their confrontation and (re)negotiation of social, political and professional expectations and unknowable foreignness.

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