Metaphors Used by Malaysian Teachers-in-Training: Implications for Language Teacher Education


Over the past 20 years, there has been increasing interest in exploring what language teachers believe (Borg, 2006). Often these beliefs are expressed in terms of metaphors (Richards, 1998; Woodward, 1991), but there has been little recent research connecting the two strands. The present study is based on the personal reflections of a group of 72 trainee teachers in a Malaysian University after a three-month practicum in local high schools. In these reflections, as well as currently fashionable constructs such as facilitator and motivator, these students often described their perceptions of the role of the language teacher using various metaphors. The wide range of metaphors volunteered by these trainee teachers were coded into various categories, such as terms relating to facilitating, mentorship, entertaining and kinship. This presentation will discuss a number of these, and also quote some of the trainees’ comments in support of their chosen metaphor, which thereby revealstheir underlying beliefs about teaching and learning. Relating their professional activity to other roles illuminates not only what teachers themselves believe, but also reinvigorates notions of (language) teaching itself. One of the implications of this study is that teacher educators, both in the specific setting and in relatable contexts elsewhere, can incorporate such metaphors into their programmes and in this way reimagine, refine and redefine the role of the language teacher for the benefit of their students, and themselves.

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Hasim, Z. , Tunku Mohtar, T. , Barnard, R. & Zakaria, A. (2013). Metaphors Used by Malaysian Teachers-in-Training: Implications for Language Teacher Education. Creative Education, 4, 74-77. doi: 10.4236/ce.2013.49B015.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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