Knowledge and identities: the relation between professional identities and PCK (Pedagogical Content Knowledge)
This study lies at the interface of teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and their professional identities. The aim of this qualitative, multiple case study is to shed light on the professional identities of five teacher participants teaching literature to EFAL (English First Additional Language) learners in the FET (Further Education and Training) phase, namely Grades 10-12. Research on teachers’ knowledge largely focuses on content and pedagogy, but the focus has recently shifted to critical awareness of teachers’ professional identities. Researchers believe that teachers' perceptions of their identities may have an effect on their efficacy, their attitudes towards change and the implementation of innovative teaching practices. Being an effective and confident teacher is subject to the development of a professional identity. The foregrounded aspect of this study is to show how teachers conceptualise the purpose, function and strategies of enacting the pedagogy of English literature teaching. This teaching may be unique to the specific nature of the subject, the kinds of learners and the kinds of contexts. This study also includes probing into how teachers believe English literature should be taught, and the rationale and conceptualisations they developed concerning what is entailed in the discipline of English literature. These beliefs and perceptions are closely linked to teachers' professional identities. On an operational level, this study also aims at exploring the blend between content and pedagogy within the PCK construct by focusing on teacher knowledge domains and pedagogy via interviews, observations and document analysis. Some common perceptions of PCK held by teachers and examiners of provincial papers are presented from which interpretations may be concluded. The results may serve as useful examples to pre-service and experienced teachers for the enhancement of their effectiveness in classrooms. Opportunities are identified for initial and on-going professional development in accordance with teacher needs. This information may also be useful while reviewing teaching quality, and may be adopted for use by the Department of Basic Education and the Department of Higher Education. The findings suggest an effective framework for facilitating reflection on teachers’ knowledge domains and professional identities.
- Education