Discovering the teaching self (the value of a capstone experience as a reflective tool for here and there)
This study explored the impact of capstone experiences on teaching practices and professional identities of teachers returning to work after a period of study abroad. In the capstone experience, we aimed to help students switch on the lights to illuminate the depth of their specialised knowledge in the area of TESOL as they moved on from their graduate studies. A light that shines on areas of their professional identities as teachers of English that exists, but rarely explored. Despite the logistical limitations that constrained data gathering from participants, the quality of the responses used for discussion demonstrated the value of the capstone experience as a reflective tool, an opportunity for students to enter a reflective space free of contextual constraints that so often impede effective professional learning. The reflective space offered by the capstone experience appeared to have a transformative effect on the participants' teaching practices and regenerated their professional identities. Further research is needed to explore the sustainability of this effect and to observe changes in professional behaviour and practice. It is one thing for the participants to say how they have changed, it is another to see the changes in their teaching practices and their interactions with others.