Pre-Primary and Lower Primary Teachers’ Professional Identity in Primary Schools in Nairobi County, Kenya

  • Phyllis M Magoma Kenyatta University
  • Esther Waithaka, PhD Kenyatta University
  • Teresa Mwoma, PhD Kenyatta University
Keywords: Lower Primary Teacher, Nairobi County, Pre-Primary Teacher, Primary School, Professional Identity
Share Article:


Professional identity is a noteworthy aspect of the teachers’ professional lives. This is because it influences the manner in which they do their work, retention and productivity in their places of work. This article presents findings from a PhD study that aimed at establishing the status of pre-primary and lower primary teachers’ professional identity and exploring factors influencing it. Fredrick Herzberg’s (1950) theory of Satisfaction and Motivation was used to guide the study. The study used concurrent triangulation research design. The dependent variable was early year’s education teachers’ professional identity, while the independent variable was the type of school. The study was conducted in Kasarani Sub-County in Nairobi County, Kenya.  The sample size consisted of 220 teachers and 44 head-teachers in both public and private primary schools. Questionnaires and interview schedules were used to collect data which was then analysed using qualitative and quantitative methods. Findings from the study revealed that pre-primary and lower primary teachers’ professional identity was weak. It was recommended that school management, county and national governments, and other key stakeholders should aim at addressing issues that weaken early year’s education teachers (EYET) professional identity.


Download data is not yet available.


Ahmad, H., Latada, F., Wahab, M. N., Shah, S. R., & Khan, K. (2018). Shaping professional identity through professional development: A retrospective study of TESOL professionals. International Journal of English Linguistics, 8(6), 37-51.

Akkerman, S. F., & Meijer, P. C. (2011). A dialogical approach to conceptualizing teacher identity. Teaching and teacher education, 27(2), 308-319.

Beijaard, D., Meijer, P. C., & Verloop, N. (2004). Reconsidering research on teachers’ professional identity. Teaching and teacher education, 20(2), 107-128.

Beijaard, D., Verloop, N., & Vermunt, J. D. (2000). Teachers’ perceptions of professional identity: An exploratory study from a personal knowledge perspective. Teaching and teacher education, 16(7), 749-764.

Bennell, P., & Ntagaramba, J. (2008). Teacher motivation and incentives in Rwanda: A situational analysis and recommended priority actions. Retrieved on, 22, 2012.

Boyd, M. (2013). " I Love My Work But..." The Professionalization of Early Childhood Education. Qualitative Report, 18(36), 1-20.

Chong, S., & Lu, T. (2019). Early childhood teachers' perception of the professional self and in relation to early childhood communities. Australian Journal of Teacher Education (Online), 44(7), 53-67.

Copple, C., & Bredekamp, S. (2009). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs serving children from birth through age 8. National Association for the Education of Young Children. 1313 L Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 22205-4101.

Dronnesmund, T. (2015). Preschool teachers ‘professionalism: A question of education and competence. (Master’s thesis: University of Gothenburg).

Erdiller, Z. B., & Doğan, Ö. (2015). The examination of teacher stress among Turkish early childhood education teachers. Early Child Development and Care, 185(4), 631-646.

Goffin, S. G., & Washington, V. (2007). Ready or not: Leadership choices in early care and education. Teachers College Press.

Hartell, C. G. & Steyn, M. G. (2015). Teacher professional identity in South Africa: Effect on supply and demand for ECE teachers.

Herzberg, F., Maussner, B., & Snyderman, B. B. (1993). The motivation to work. Somerset, NJ: Transaction Publishers.

Isotaro, S. (2017). Teacher educators’ professional identity formation in challenging context: Experience from Eritrea. (Master’s thesis). University of Jyvaskyla: Eritrea.

Jermolajeva, J., Bogdanova, T., & Silchenkova, S. (2018). Philosophy of the profession in the structure of school teacher professional identity in Latvian and Russian samples. Society integration education, 2, 169-179.

Kadzamira, E. C. (2006). Teacher motivation and incentives in Malawi. (Masters dissertation, University of Malawi).

Kao, Y. S, & Chen, Y. L. (2017). Am I a teacher? How educare givers in Taiwan construct their professional identity during socialisation into public preschools. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 45(1), 53-70.

Karaolis, A., & Philippou, G. N. (2019). Teachers’ professional identity. In Affect and mathematics education (pp. 397-417). Springer, Cham.

Komba, M. L., William, A. L., & Kabataro, J. (2015). Teacher professional identity and quality assurance in Tanzania: The case of the University of Dar es salaam. Teacher Professional Development, 5(3), 61-77.

Lasky, S. (2005). A socio-cultural approach to understanding teacher identity agency and professional vulnerability in a context of secondary school reform. Teaching and Teacher Education 21(8), 899-916.

Lightfoot, S. & Frost, D. (2015). The professional identity of early years educators in England: implications for a transformative approach to continuing professional development, Professional Development in Education, 41(2), 401-418.

Maku, N., & Begi, N. (2017). Determinants of teacher attrition in pre-primary schools in Mombasa County. (Master’s thesis, Kenyatta University: Kenya).

Moloney, M. (2010). Professional identity in early childhood care and education: perspectives of pre-school and infant teachers. Irish educational studies, 29(2), 167-187.

Moloney, M., & Pope, J. (2013). Where to now for early childhood care and education graduates? A study of the experiences of Irish BA ECCE degree graduates. International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Year’s education. Education, 43(2), 142-152.

Motallebzadeh, K., & Kazemi, B. (2018). The relationship between EFL teachers’ professional identity and their self-esteem. Cogent Education, 5(1), 1443374.

Mwoma, T., Begi, N., & Murungi, C. (2018). Safety and security in preschools: A challenge in informal settlements. Issues in Educational Research, 28(3), 720-736.

Rhodes, H. & Huston, A. (2012). Building the Workforce Our Youngest Children Deserve. Social Policy Report, 26(1). Society for Research in Child Development.

Solari, M. & Ortega, M. E. (2020). Teachers Professional Identity Construction: A social-cultural approach to its definition and Research. Journal of Constructivist Psychology.

Tabassum, F. & Malik, K. S. (2017). A comparison of practitioners perceptions about professional identity at the higher secondary level. Bulletin of Education and Research. 39(3), 221-236.

Terell, S. (2012). Mixed research methodology. The Qualitative Report. 17(1).

Woodrow, C. (2008). Discourses of professional identity in early childhood movements in Australia. European Early Childhood Research Journal.16 (2), 269-280.

20 August, 2021
How to Cite
Magoma, P., Waithaka, E., & Mwoma, T. (2021). Pre-Primary and Lower Primary Teachers’ Professional Identity in Primary Schools in Nairobi County, Kenya. East African Journal of Education Studies, 3(1), 223-232.