Empowering teachers of English to understand their teaching

Document Type

Book Chapter




Nasreen Hussain, Azra Ahmed, and Mohammad Zafar

Publication (Name of Journal)

English and empowerment in the developing world


Professional Development Centre, Karachi


Cambridge Scholars Publishing


Newcastle upon Tyne


This paper reports on a research study in which two experienced teachers of English in Karachi, Pakistan from two diverse contexts were empowered to understand their teaching through narrative inquiry, which rests on the teacher's "personal practical knowledge" (Connelly & Clandinin, 1994, 1990, 1988). This paper enumerates the experiences of the teachers as research participants. Initially, the two teachers were very skeptical about the importance of their own teaching, but during the process they came to realise that they are knowledgeable and that their teaching matters. After the completion of the research study, they appreciated the research process because they realised the importance of looking into their own practices. This experience gave them insights into their teaching and they gained confidence to reflect on and understand their teaching. The findings show that engaging them in the research was a powerful means of giving them autonomy to study their own teaching because they were approached as individuals having their own knowledge of teaching, which they had developed as a result of their day-to-day experiences in their respective contexts (Beattie, 1995, 2001; Johnson, 1990; Mattice, 2002).