Teacher Knowledge: A conceptualization Based on an Empirical Study
Teacher knowledge is important as it is seen to underlie teachers’ thinking and behaviour in teaching. Teacher knowledge has been generally conceptualized as consisting of subject knowledge and pedagogical knowledge. While the former type of knowledge is seen as technical in nature and generalizable, the latter is largely practical developed from the experience of teaching and personal in nature owing to its sensitiveness to environment in which teaching takes place. In this key-note, I first present findings of an empirical study of 213 effective Chinese university EFL teachers on (1) what makes them different from their less effective colleagues and (2) what factors have led to their success in teaching English to Chinese learners, which I encapsulate in a professional profile of the effective Chinese EFL teachers. I then further conceptualize teacher knowledge as consisting of pedagogical content knowledge and emancipatory knowledge. The former is a merging of subject knowledge and practical pedagogical knowledge, and the latter largely spiritual, involving teachers’ outlook on and attitude towards the profession, awareness of self-reflection and self-development, moral values, etc. Implications of the conceptualization are discussed.