Asia Pacific Education Review

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 123–132 | Cite as

A biographical narrative inquiry into teachers’ knowledge: an intergenerational approach

  • Hong qin Zhao
  • Louise Poulson
Articles and Reports


This study is an investigation into Chinese EFL teachers’ knowledge and understanding of teaching English as a foreign language within the context of a time of tremendous social change in China. In a medium-sized city, biographical narrative interviews and observation were used to three Chinese secondary EFL teachers, of three successive generations. An in-depth narrative analysis interpreting their metaphors, and constructing their life stories is employed to understand the biographical narrative data. It indicates how individual teacher’s knowledge is both constrained and enabled by themselves and by the wider society they live in, and how change and continuity are intertwined in the teaching and learning practices of the three generations. This paper also addresses certain key issues in biographical narrative studies, namely subjectivity, representation, and cultural bearings, and teachers’ knowledge, all of which constitute a form of pedagogy in educational research.

Key words

Biographical narrative inquiry teachers’ knowledge Intergenerational approach 


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Copyright information

© Education Research Institute 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Education DepartmentUniversity of BathUK

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