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Title: Teaching English literature for the G.C.E. 'O' level in Sri Lanka : a study of teacher professional knowledge
Author: Devendra, Dinali Enoka
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2011
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This study investigates the knowledge base of teachers of English literature in the secondary school context of Sri Lanka. This is a discipline which has been subject to many changes in educational policy and has in fact mirrored the changing status of English in Sri Lanka. This research utilizes the concept of PCK (pedagogical content knowledge) developed by Shulman (1987) as the overall organizing theoretical framework to explore the professional knowledge base of the teachers of English literature. Many definitions have been put forward regarding the precise composition of PCK but this study focuses on the following concepts delineated by Magnusson, Borko and Krajcik (1999): orientation to the subject, knowledge of student difficulties, knowledge of the curriculum and knowledge of instructional strategies. The four participants in the study were primarily language teachers who had subsequently ventured into the field of teaching literature. They had been teaching literature for many years but were essentially teaching outside their area of expertise. A qualitative approach was adopted and data was gathered from interviews, classroom observations and concept maps. The data was analyzed based on categories arising from the theoretical framework. Case studies were developed that provided profiles of PCK of four teachers: Geetha, Nelum, Malini and Anita. The analysis of data revealed that the four participants held different orientations to the teaching of the subject but that they all essentially adopted a text centered approach which concentrated on anlaysing the literary elements of the texts chosen for study. Inadequacies could be seen in several components of PCK. All four participants were unable to diagnose subject specific difficulties that students faced and were also unable to implement subject specific instructional strategies. Many of these issues could be linked to the inadequacies of these teachers' subject matter knowledge as well as the limitations imposed by the context in which they were teaching. The study points to the need to develop and implement new avenues of professional development to enhance the Pedagogical Content Knowledge of teachers of English literature in the Sri Lankan context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available