Exploring Teachers’ Personal Practical Knowledge about Teaching Reading Comprehension in English : A Study of Teacher Knowledge at a University in China
Teachers’ personal practical knowledge is the knowledge of teachers which is principally known and produced by teachers themselves. Greatly inspired by Meijer, Verloop and Beijaard (1999), this study uses a questionnaire and an interview to continue the line of their investigation. The study aims to describe and illustrate the content of 13 teachers’ personal practical knowledge about teaching reading comprehension to non-English majors at a university in China. The study is also to examine similarities (shared knowledge) and differences in teacher knowledge, and potentially relevant background variables in it. As a result, detailed information about these teachers’ personal practical knowledge about teaching reading comprehension has been found. Meijer et al. (1999) could not find shared knowledge by investigating teachers from different schools. In this study, by investigating teachers from the same school, shared knowledge could not be found either. Thus, by comparing these teachers’ personal practical knowledge, they can be classified into three groups: subject-matter-oriented, student-oriented and student-learning-oriented teachers. Each group is illustrated by describing one teacher’s knowledge as a typical example. Moreover, six potentially relevant background variables are discussed in this study. By matching the six background variables to the responses of these teachers, three patterns in potentially relevant background variables have been developed: professional-growth teachers, student-centered teachers, and authority-maintaining teachers.
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