An investigation of EFL teachers' personal practical knowledge
This study investigates teachers' personal practical knowledge about English teaching in an EFL context, Taiwan. It explores the characteristics and development of teachers' personal practical knowledge.
A narrative approach embedded in a qualitative case study was applied to gain access to teachers' personal practical knowledge. Three participants from two schools in a vocational educational system in higher education participated in this study. Data included formal interviews, autobiographical writings, reflective journals, video-taped classroom observations, informal conversations, and classroom artifacts. Data were collected within one semester.
This study found that these EFL teachers' personal practical knowledge included knowledge of self, students, instruction, subject matter, and context. These dimensions of their knowledge are overlapping and intertwined. These teachers' knowledge was mainly formed experientially, contextually, intentionally, and theoretically. This study also found that a narrative approach provided a valuable venue to gain access to language teachers' personal practical knowledge, and it helped teachers articulate their knowledge, engaged teachers in reflections, and validated teachers' knowledge.
This study has implications for understanding language teachers' knowledge development through their voices. Understanding teachers from their inside perspectives creates a sense of meaning for teachers' experiences within their own working contexts. This study advocates that doing research with language teachers can contribute to the broader knowledge base for teaching languages.