University of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Knowing, doing and becoming : pre-service and in-service teachers' beliefs about grammar, teacher knowledge and teacher identity

posted on 2023-05-27, 17:33 authored by Short, Megan Mary
This thesis presents an examination of the beliefs held by pre-service and in-service teachers in relation to teaching grammar and their construct of teacher knowledge and explores how their beliefs about grammar and knowledge might impact upon their identities as teachers. This study is located within current debates about literacy education which has recently included discussion on: standards of literacy education in Australia; the most appropriate pedagogical approach for the teaching of grammar; community concern regarding the need for a 'back to basics' approach for literacy education and the quality of teacher knowledge and practice. Applications for practice for both pre-service and in-service teachers are considered. The study utilised a mixed methods approach, gathering both qualitative and quantitative data from two separate cohorts. Qualitative data was gained from electronic bulletin board responses (pre-service teacher cohort) and from semi-structured interviews (in-service teacher cohort). Quantitative data for both pre-service and in-service teacher cohorts was from a nearly identical 38 item Likert-style questionnaire. Analysis of the qualitative data proceeded from a constructivist approach utilising grounded theory coding strategies, critical discourse analysis and thematic analysis. The quantitative data was analysed using the computerised statistical analysis package SPSS in order to develop frequency distributions, which were subsequently discussed. In this study, beliefs are considered to be the filter through which experience is understood, reflected upon and transformed into teaching practice. An exploration of the teachers' personal and pedagogical beliefs about grammar led to subsequent investigations into their beliefs about teacher knowledge and the process of becoming a teacher. Findings indicate that there are differences between pre-service and inservice teachers' belief systems. Pre-service teachers' beliefs about grammar tend to be informed by their own schooling experiences of grammar and a belief that grammar is characterised by prescriptive rules. As many of the pre-service teachers recalled little explicit grammar teaching, the prospect of teaching grammar induces anxiety and trepidation at the prospect of including grammar in their own teaching practice. Findings suggest that in-service teachers have both knowledge of grammar from their own schooling experience and substantial teaching experience to draw upon. Their belief systems, therefore, tend to be shaped by the existence of foundational primary beliefs that serve as organising principles for their grammar teaching. In exploring the beliefs that both pre-service and in-service teachers have of grammar teaching, links between teachers' beliefs and teaching practice were identified. The findings also suggest that there are complex linkages between teacher belief, teacher knowledge and the construction of a teacher's professional identity.


Publication status

  • Unpublished

Rights statement

Copyright 2010 the Author Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2010. Includes bibliographical references

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Usage metrics

    Thesis collection


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager