The following study situates feedback in two teacher education courses to explore the following research question: How do students rely on discursive features of feedback to reflect on and write their identities as future teachers? A total of 41 participants were recruited for the study. These participants are undergraduate students enrolled in their first year in the Teacher Education Program at a land grant institution in the Pacific Northwest. The courses in which these students are enrolled are writing-intensive: both instructors are trained in the practice of personalized reflective feedback and assign many reflective writing assignments. A critical discourse analysis of student work was carried out by the researchers to explore traces of identity formation in response to instructor feedback. The results are presented as two distinct cases identified by the pseudonyms Roebuck and Roberta. The themes that emerged from the study are: (a) the use of deflection to resist reflection; (b) the performance of an “expert” identity to be recognized as proficient; and (c) the relational dialogism that most reliably leads to reflection. The results are discussed and contextualized so that future researchers and practitioners can carry the themes of this study forward into new contexts and situations.
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