Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Language, Literature, Culture and Education 2016

English Language Teaching Expertise in India: A Sociocultural Analysis

Helen Boyd Toraskar

Centennial College, Hong Kong


This study utilized a sociocultural perspective to explore the teaching expertise of three EFL tenth standard teachers employed in Marathi-medium government-sponsored schools in India. The purpose of the study was to shed light on EFL teacher expertise and examine how teaching expertise is context and culture bound, given the specific sociocultural context within which teachers operate. The three participants in this research study are tenth standard, EFL teachers who teach English as a third language in the secondary schools of the Pune community of Maharashtra, India. The qualitative research paradigm utilizes the tools of ethnography and case study methodology to analyze the data. A significant finding of the research is that tenth standard EFL teaching expertise evolves over time and supports Berliner’s notion of adaptive expertise (Berliner, 2001b). Secondly, the results indicate that EFL teacher expertise is dependent on the formation of the key construct namely, deep pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) which is a requirement of teaching expertise (Killen, 2009; Shulman, 1987). Thirdly, the research data support a dialectical view of human learning and development in relation to teaching expertise. Thus, the teachers’ awareness of best teaching practices is modified through their interactions with their students, their communities of practice (Wenger, 1998) and the sociocultural context (Vygotsky, 1978) in which they live and work, resulting in an ongoing transformation in the nature of their teaching practice and their professional identities as expert EFL teachers.


EFL teacher expertise, adaptive expertise, deep pedagogical content knowledge; professional community of practice, sociocultural context, qualitative research.

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