A Study of Language Teachers' Personal Practical Knowledge



    Visiting Assistant Professor
    1. The Pennsylvania State University
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    • Paula R. Golombek is Visiting Assistant Professor at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests are in teacher education and L2 writing pedagogy.


Using data from class observations, interviews, and stimulus recall reports, this study examined how two in-service ESL teachers' personal practical knowledge informed their practice through a description of a tension each teacher faced in the classroom. Upon reflection and dialogue, these teachers articulated their personal practical knowledge in personalized language through the narrative reconstruction of their experiences as learners, teachers, and participants in a teacher education program. This knowledge informed their practice (a) by filtering experience so that the teachers reconstructed it and acted in response to the exigencies of a teaching situation and (b) by giving physical form to their practice; it is their knowledge in action. Furthermore, personal practical knowledge is an affective and moral way of knowing that is permeated with a concern for the consequences of practice for both teachers and students. Through their stories, teachers become aware of these consequences.