Professional voice: A dialogical model for professional identity development

Emma Scholz, Franziska Trede

Research output: Other contribution to conferencePresentation onlypeer-review


The contemporary world has been described as supercomplex, a state characterised by change, contestation and uncertainty. In such conditions there is a need for models of professional learning that will prepare learners to engage with an unknowable future. The first year of professional practice is a critical developmental period, shaping graduates’ future practices to the extent that it has been described as “make or break.” With this study we explored how new graduates develop their own professional identity during that first year of practice. We adopted a sociocultural orientation to professional identity as a dialogical and developmental phenomenon, shaped by learner agency as well as by situated practice conditions and contexts. This study adopted a blended dialogic narrative research approach including a series of in-depth interviews and integrated workplace observations with eleven new graduate veterinarians in Australia.
A conceptual model was developed, in which new graduate professional identity development can be represented as a process of striving for a professional voice. Through storytelling, and inward and outward facing dialogues, participants described how they struggled and strived for a sense of practice capability and moral authenticity. In making their engagement with professional practice explicit and meaningful, they purposefully trained and strengthened their own professional voices, creating a dialogic space of reflexive inquiry and agency in which they could enact pragmatic professionalism and envisage future practice wisdom.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 03 Dec 2019
Event4th International ProPEL Conference - University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Duration: 09 Dec 201911 Dec 2019


Conference4th International ProPEL Conference
Abbreviated titleProvocations and possibilities
Internet address


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