Teaching Shakespeare : exploring the pedagogical content knowledge and beliefs of teachers of English.
The study has three purposes: 1) to understand the Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) of teachers teaching Shakespeare to second language learners in South Africa, 2) to establish the beliefs of these teachers, and 3) to identify the ways in which these beliefs influence the practice of teachers. The participants of this study were four secondary English teachers. Interviews and one lesson observation were conducted with each of the four teachers, in this qualitative research. Data collected from the interview transcripts was used to create I-poems by the researcher. The PCK of the four teachers was analysed according to the cycle of Shulman (1987). The research revealed that the PCK of these teachers were at different developmental stages. It was evident that PCK increases through experience. Another imperative finding was that reflection and new comprehension, the last two stages of the cycle, were not always apparent with the teachers. It is significant that the steps of the cycle seemed to overlap. The research concluded that the participating teachers were enthusiastic and great admirers of Shakespeare; however it was not always easy to translate their own enthusiasm into productive strategies of teaching. There was a definite challenge for teachers and learners. The socio- economic constraints of learners, the fact that most were not English home language speakers, coupled with the beliefs of teachers’ influenced the development of the teachers’ PCK.