The personal is the pedagogical: Inquiring into the lived experiences of english teachers in Singapore secondary schools

Year: 2012

Author: Liew, Warren, Loh, Chin Ee

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


This paper presents the preliminary findings of an ongoing study that examines the lived experiences of English Language and Literature (ELL) teachers in Singapore secondary schools. The study draws on teachers' personal narratives, based on interviews, focus groups, and writing workshops, to illuminate the subjective complexities and contextual realities of English teachers' professional lives. A central concern is the role that teacher identity – defined as a composite of teachers' beliefs, values, emotions, and motivations – plays in the enactment of teaching practice. In particular, the study seeks to investigate the nature of English teachers' “personal practical knowledge” (Elbaz, 1981; Clandinin, 1985; Connelly & Clandinin, 1988), namely, that which embodies “a moral, affective, and aesthetic way of knowing life's educational situations” (Connelly & Clandinin, 1988, p. 59). The aim is to better understand how the affective, embodied dimensions of teacher identity are imbricated in the development and enactment of pedagogical expertise in the English classroom.