EFL teachers' conceptualizations of their roles through metaphor analysis

Mehmet Asmalı, Handan Çelik


Metaphors reflect the way people think and know the world. When they are considered within teaching profession, they can be strong agents revealing teachers’ beliefs about their profession. They may also explore the meaning that teachers attach to themselves. Despite their strength to shed light on how teachers conceptualize themselves, the number of metaphor studies seems to be limited. For this reason, this study set out to reveal what EFL teachers think about their roles through metaphorical representations. 24 EFL teachers, with varied experience in teaching, responded to a metaphor elicitation task through the statement “An English teacher is like …………… because…………………..”. The data were analyzed with reference to the ESL teachers’ role categorization provided by De Guerrero and Villamil (2000). Thus a theory-driven, deductive content analysis was employed. The analysis revealed that the data only matched with 6 out of 9 categories of De Guerrero and Villamil. Therefore, for the metaphors that did not fit in their categorization, a new category was emerged. Revealing the teachers’ interpretations and philosophies regarding teaching, the metaphors within the dominant categories showed that the teachers’ conceptualizations regarding their roles were more traditional and teacher-centered. The variety in metaphors suggests the multi-dynamic nature of teaching. 


Metaphor; English as a foreign language; teacher roles; teacher education, teachers’ beliefs

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