My Ongoing Identity Crisis

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Cole Camplese's word of the week is identity, which is an interesting follow-up to community. As I commented in my posting on the word community I believe that each person is actually a member of multiple communities and may have multiple "identities."

The next question is how does the community define identity? For me, I think the key point is what beliefs commonly shared by the community are also shared by you. Even though I've been an instructional designer for almost a decade, I still feel connected to an "inner linguist" because I feel that many of the values of that discipline are still important to me that aren't always expressed in instructional design (e.g. the need for exact phonetic transcripts).

On the other hand, I do have an instructional designer identity (especially in terms of project planning and course development). If I'm feeling like a lost linguist sometimes at ETS, I know I would be in conflict with my inner instructional designer at a linguistics presentation (the land where we don't use PowerPoint only because we don't use any classroom tech at all).

I know I can define my identity by the communities (or communities of practice) I participate in, but I also seem to define identity by where I'm NOT (a way to contrast myself with others). Although contrast is vexing, I would say that it can be interesting for defining your internal identity. For instance, I didn't really feel like a full-fledged member of the American community until I had a long summer trip to Europe.

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