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Knowledge Domains of English Literature Teachers in South Africa

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This essay inquires into the knowledge domains of teachers who teach English literature to first additional language learners in the Further Education and Training phase, namely Grades 10–12, in South Africa. We explore teachers’ perceptions about content and pedagogy, their knowledge of their students, as well as their knowledge and beliefs about the place of literature teaching within the curriculum. Drawing on interviews, observations and document analysis, we endeavour to provide a glimpse into these knowledge domains, which often remain tacit. A conflict between the teachers’ preferred reader-oriented approaches to teaching, with emphasis on collaborative knowledge construction and meaning making between teachers and their students, and more formal, text-oriented approaches, is evident. The focus on text-oriented approaches seems to be a result of required forms of assessment, as well as teachers’ sense of responsibility towards their learners’ achieving success in examinations.
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Keywords: Literature teaching; South African secondary education; pedagogical content knowledge

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Faculty of Education, School of Languages in Education, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa 2: Teaching and Learning, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Publication date: October 2, 2018

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