Insights into L2 teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge: A cognitive perspective on their grammar explanations

H S Sanchez, Simon Borg

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Language teacher cognition research has deepened our understandings of the pedagogical decisions L2 teachers make and of how these are influenced by a range of psychological, socio-cultural, and environmental factors. Building on this tradition of work, this paper examines the interactions between cognitions and context in the grammar teaching practices of two experienced secondary school teachers of English in Argentina. The primary data came from classroom observations and post-lesson stimulated recall interviews in which the teachers provided the rationale for their grammar explanations. Further data were collected through semi-structured interviews. The findings highlight not only the array of instructional strategies employed by the teachers in their explanations but also the diverse and interacting range of pedagogical concerns which informed the choice of these strategies. The results also show evidence of the influence on teachers’ pedagogical decisions of their perceptions of the context in which they worked. The findings shed light on the nature of L2 teachers’ grammar-related pedagogical content knowledge. The qualitative accounts of teachers’ classroom practices and of their rationales also constitute material which can be productively used in language teacher development contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Early online date6 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014


  • language teacher cognition
  • grammar explanations
  • knowledge about grammar
  • pedagogical content knowledge


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