Students’ Perceptions of Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge and their Impact on their Choice of Specialty

La perceptions des étudiants des référentiels pédagogiques et leur impact sur leur choix de spécialité

Stihi Oumnia Bessai-Aoudjit Nesrine

Stihi Oumnia Bessai-Aoudjit Nesrine, « Students’ Perceptions of Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge and their Impact on their Choice of Specialty », Aleph [], 20 March 2022, 06 July 2022. URL : https://aleph-alger2.edinum.org/5440

This study investigates second year students’ perceptions of their teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge and their effect on their choice of specialty in third year in the Department of English at the University of Algiers 2. The study focuses on teachers of two content courses, Linguistics and Literature for they are the two available graduation degree options. To this end, a questionnaire was administered to 70 second year students with the aim of capturing their perceptions regarding their teachers’ performance. The questionnaire adapted from Jang, Guan and Hsieh (2009) comprised twenty-eight items arranged within four main categories representing the four components of Pedagogical Content Knowledge. It also included three extra questions the aim of which was to unveil students’ choice of specialty and the potential impact of their perceptions of their teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge on their preference. The study revealed that participants have relatively consistent views regarding their teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge. Nonetheless, in general terms, students perceive teachers of Linguistics as having a slightly higher Pedagogical Content Knowledge than their colleagues of Literature. The study also showed that although Linguistics seems to be a more attractive option among students, their perceptions of their teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge has a limited impact on their choice of specialty. Their inclination may therefore be due to other factors such as personal preference and perceived easiness of one course over the other.

Cette étude examine les perceptions des étudiants de deuxième année sur la connaissance des contenus pédagogiques de leurs enseignants et leur effet sur leur choix de spécialité en troisième année au département d’anglais de l’Université d’Alger 2. L’étude porte sur les enseignants de deux cours de contenu, la linguistique et la littérature car ces derniers sont les deux options de diplôme disponibles au département. À cette fin, un questionnaire a été administré à 70 étudiants de deuxième année dans le but de recueillir leurs perceptions concernant la performance de leurs enseignants. Le questionnaire adapté de Jang, Guan et Hsieh (2009) comprenait vingt-huit items répartis en quatre grandes catégories représentant les quatre composantes de la connaissance des contenus pédagogiques. Il comprenait également trois questions supplémentaires dont le but était de dévoiler le choix de spécialité des étudiants et l’impact potentiel de leurs perceptions de la CCP de leurs enseignants sur leur affiliation. L’étude a révélé que les participants ont des opinions relativement cohérentes concernant la connaissance des contenus pédagogiques de leurs enseignants. Néanmoins, de manière générale, les étudiants perçoivent les professeurs de linguistique comme ayant une connaissance des contenus pédagogiques légèrement plus élevée que leurs collègues de littérature. L’étude a également montré que bien que la linguistique semble être une option plus attrayante pour les étudiants, leurs perceptions de la connaissance des contenus pédagogiques de leurs enseignants a un impact limité sur leur choix de spécialité. Leur affiliation peut donc être due à d’autres facteurs tels que la préférence personnelle et la facilité perçue d’un cours par rapport à l’autre.

تبحث هذه الدراسة في تصورات طلاب السنة الثانية عن معرفة أساتذتهم بالمحتوى التربوي وتأثيرها على اختيارهم للتخصص في السنة الثالثة في قسم اللغة الإنجليزية بجامعة الجزائر 2. تركز الدراسة على معلمي مقياسي اللغويات والأدب. لهذه الغاية ، تم إجراء استبيان على 70 طالبًا في السنة الثانية بهدف التعرف على تصوراتهم فيما يتعلق بأداء معلميهم. يتكون الاستبيان المقتبس من جانع و غوان و حسييه (2009) من ثمانية وعشرين عنصرًا مرتبة ضمن أربع فئات رئيسية تمثل المكونات الأربعة لـمعرفة المحتوى كما تضمن الإستبيان ثلاثة أسئلة إضافية كان الهدف منها الكشف عن اختيار الطلاب للتخصص والتأثير المحتمل لتصوراتهم عن ـمعرفة المحتوى التربوي لمعلميهم عليه.

كشفت الدراسة أن المشاركين لديهم آراء متسقة نسبيًا بخصوص معرفة المحتوى التربوي لمعلميهم ومع ذلك ، يرى الطلاب أن معرفة معلمي اللسانيات بالمحتوى التربوي أعلى قليلاً من زملائهم في الأدب بشكل عام. أظهرت الدراسة أيضًا أنه على الرغم من أن اللسانيات تبدو خيارًا أكثر جاذبية بين الطلاب ، إلا أن لتصوراتهم تأثير محدود على اختيارهم للتخصص لذلك قد يكون اختيارهم ناتجًا عن عوامل أخرى مثل التفضيل الشخصي والسهولة المتصورة لمقياس ما على الأخر.

Introduction

The relationship between students and teachers plays a major role in setting the learning atmosphere and shaping the educational context. This relationship is particularly crucial when it comes to how students perceive their teachers’ mastery of the subject matter and its delivery. Students’ perceptions of teachers’ proficiency are highly relevant in determining the extent to which students are going to benefit from their learning experience since perceptions may make or break the learning process.

Informal discussions held with students revealed that these latter tend to hold different views regarding how well their teachers are performing their job. Some confessed that they found their teachers highly knowledgeable, skillful and methodic whereas others blamed the teachers for their own failure in understanding subject matter and low achievement. It is in this vein that this study investigates second year students’ perceptions of their teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) in the Department of English at the University of Algiers 2. The study also hopes to unveil the effect of the said perceptions on students’ choice of specialty in third year by addressing the following research questions :

  1. How do students perceive the PCK of their teachers of Linguistics and Literature ?

  2. How do these perceptions influence their choice of specialty in third year ?

It is worth noting that the study focuses on teachers of two content courses, Linguistics and Literature for they seemed to be at the heart of students’ concern. In fact, students are required to choose one of the two domains as a field of specialism in third year. This choice will undeniably impact their future career as potential teachers since they would receive completely different trainings.

1. Theoretical Background

1.1. Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) is a concept that was developed by Shulman (1986) and which refers to the combination of teachers’ knowledge of the subject matter and knowledge of pedagogical concerns related to education. Shulman (1987) explains that PCK is proper to teachers and defines it as “that special amalgam of content and pedagogy that is uniquely the province of teachers, their own special form of professional understanding” (p. 8). In other words, PCK involves the exclusive capacity of the teacher of not only knowing what to teach but also knowing how to teach it.

It has been argued that effective teaching requires the fusion of both subject matter mastery and the use of appropriate methods and techniques to deliver the content. In this regard, Andrews (2005) maintains that “it becomes apparent that the relationship between subject-matter and classroom teaching is very complex and that knowledge alone is not sufficient” (p. 24) to ensure effective teaching and learning. PCK is believed to be gained through experience and reflection over instruction. Teachers build this special type of practical knowledge based on their ongoing teaching experiences and their own evaluation of their performance (Fenstermacher, 1994).

On a more specific level, in the field of language teaching, Walker (2012) prefers the term “literacy pedagogical content knowledge” (LPCK) which she defines as the “knowledge about how spoken and written language are structured for learning ; the recognition that subject areas have their own literacy practices ; and the capacity to design learning and teaching strategies that take account of subject-specific literacy practices” (p. 342). She explains that adding the literacy dimension to the notion of PCK is meant to narrow down the scope to language as it is the subject matter in question.

A number of researchers have tried to conceptualize and break down PCK into a set of components. Shulman (1986) originally describes PCK in terms of two categories, namely knowledge of instructional representations and knowledge of students’ (mis)conceptions and difficulties. Meijer et al. (1999, 2002) as well as Liu (2013) further add the knowledge of the curriculum, the context and the purpose of teaching as well as the knowledge of learners. Other classifications include those made by Feiman-Nemser and Parker (1990), Fernández-Balboa and Stiehl (1995) and Van Driel et al. (1998) where knowledge of the subject matter, teaching methods and general pedagogy are added.

Mishra & Koehler (2006) explain that teachers with a high PCK are aware of what makes concepts easy or difficult to learn and have an idea about their learners’ schemata and use this information to design appropriate materials and implement suitable methods to address learners’ difficulties and promote learning. Tuan (1996) further maintains that in addition to the subject matter knowledge, the knowledge of teaching methods and the understanding of learning processes, PCK includes knowledge about the context of teaching as well as assessment procedures. Knowledge of the context involves knowledge of the schools setting and its culture whereas knowledge about assessment includes beliefs and assumptions of what assessment is and how it should be implemented.

Despite the differences, two fundamental dimensions of PCK are common to almost all classifications, these are teaching techniques and learners’ considerations. In fact, teachers who are said to have pedagogical content knowledge are those who are not only skillful in terms of teaching practices but also aware of the individual differences, conceptions and difficulties of their learners and which may interfere in the learning process.

All in all, Pedagogical Content Knowledge seems to be a characteristic of successful teachers as it enables them to deliver quality instruction using the most appropriate teaching methods. Therefore, it is paramount that teachers not only work on acquiring this skill before embarking in their professional career but also strive to continuously foster it while teaching.

1.2. Students’ Perceptions

Students’ perceptions of their teachers’ performance greatly influence their learning experience. According to Knight and Waxman (1991), students’ perceptions may partially reflect the realities of the teaching situation. Exploring their perceptions can enable researchers to grasp the perceived instructional and contextual parameters that may impact learning. Lloyd and Lloyd (1986) explain that in general, students expect teachers to be highly knowledgeable in their field of specialism. This implies that they could provide rich information as regards specific disciplines and manage to link information together in a clear, comprehensible input as well as to adapt their teaching to the intellectual and affective demands of their students.

Research on students’ perceptions of their teachers’ PCK revealed that according to students, a teacher with good pedagogical content knowledge is one who knows the subject he/she is teaching, provides clear explanations, employs methods that render the subject interesting, gives constructive feedback and assists students in difficulties (Olson and Moore, 1984). Another study by Turley (1994) found that the perceived effective teacher is one who is committed to his teaching profession, exhibits careful lesson planning and employs appropriate teaching strategies.

Research in the field show that students expect teachers to have a certain degree of PCK without necessarily defining the concept as such. This implicitly implies that students can evaluate their teachers’ performance in terms of knowledge and pedagogy to some extent (Jang, Guan and Hsieh, 2009). Thus, investigating students’ perceptions may serve to improve teaching and learning since learners are at the center of the instructional process and can contribute a great deal to its development through their feedback.

2. Methodology

The present study took place in the Department of English at the University of Algiers 2. It involved 70 second year students randomly selected across the 14 existing groups. All groups have been targeted in an attempt at gathering the maximum of information and capturing a full picture of students’ perceptions. Nonetheless, the results of the study are not to be representative of all second-year students due to the subjective nature of perceptions as well as to the relatively small number of participants.

A questionnaire was distributed in order to explore students’ perceptions of the Pedagogical Content Knowledge of both their Linguistics and Literature teachers. The “Assessing Students’ Perceptions of College Teachers” questionnaire by Jang, Guan and Hsieh (2009) was adapted to collect data. The modifications that were brought on the original questionnaire mainly consisted in rephrasing some statements to make them more comprehensible and relevant to our context of study. This adaptation was deemed necessary after a small-scale pilot study involving 10 students was undertaken. The students were asked to highlight any ambiguity or difficulty they faced while completing the questionnaire and adjustments were made accordingly.

The first part of the questionnaire dealing with students’ perceptions took the form of a checklist where students were asked to tick the options they agreed with. It comprised four sections with seven questions each.

The first section, titled Subject Matter Knowledge sought to investigate the extent to which students think their teachers to be knowledgeable about the subject matter they teach, namely Linguistics or Literature. The second category, Instructional Objectives and Context aimed to explore teachers’ knowledge about educational aims, attitudes and classroom management capacities as perceived by their students whereas the third section, Instructional Representations and Strategies targeted practical aspects such as the use of analogies, examples, realia, explanations and technological devices to present the subject matter. It also aimed to unveil the extent to which teachers are familiar with different teaching strategies and techniques. Lastly, the final section, Knowledge of Students’ Understanding aimed to investigate how well teachers realized their students’ background knowledge and checked their understanding during instruction. It also looked at their assessment practices from students’ point of view.

In addition to the above-described section, the questionnaire further included three extra questions. Two close-ended questions investigating students’ choice of specialty and whether their current teachers have influenced their affiliation as well as an open ended one exploring the ways in which their teachers have actually impacted their choice.

As far as the data analysis procedure is concerned, a quantitative approach relying on descriptive statistics was adopted. For the sake of clarity, the results were classified in tables showcasing the number of answers and their corresponding percentages.

3. Results

The data obtained from the checklist is classified in two tables, the first of which represents students’ perceptions of the PCK of their teachers of Literature :

Table 1 : Students’ Perceptions of Literature Teachers’ PCK

Category

Items

Number of Responses

Percentages

Subject Matter Knoweldge

1 My teacher knows the content he/she is teaching.
2 My teacher explains clearly the content of the course.
3 My teacher has knowledge about theories and principles related to the subject matter.
4 My teacher selects the appropriate content for students.
5 My teacher knows the answers to questions that we ask about the subject.
6 My teacher explains the importance and usefulness of the subject matter in the real world.
7 My teacher knows how to link information with one another.

44
37

38

30

37

20

34

63 %
53 %

54 %

43 %

53 %

29 %

49 %

Instructional Objectives and Context

1 My teacher makes me clearly understand objectives of this course.
2 My teacher provides an appropriate interaction and a good classroom atmosphere.
3 My teacher pays attention to students’ reactions
during class and adjusts his/her teaching method.
4 My teacher creates a classroom circumstance to promote my interest for learning.
5 My teacher prepares some additional teaching materials.
6 My teacher manages our classroom appropriately.
7 My teacher clearly has certain beliefs about how teaching and learning should take place.

23

32

22

24

13

20
26

33 %

46 %

31 %

34 %

19 %

29 %
37 %

Instructional Representations and Strategies

1 My teacher uses appropriate examples to explain concepts related to subject matter.
2 My teacher uses familiar analogies to explain concepts of subject matter.
3 My teacher’s teaching methods keep me interested in this subject.
4 My teacher provides opportunities for me to express my views during class.
5 My teacher uses demonstrations to help explaining the main concept.
6 My teacher uses a variety of teaching approaches to transform subject matter into comprehensible knowledge.
7 My teacher uses multimedia or technology (e.g.,
PowerPoint) to express the concept of subject.

30

18

24

26

25

18


2

34 %

26 %

34 %

37 %

36 %

26 %


3 %

Knowledge of Students’ Understanding

1 My teacher recalls students’ prior knowledge at the beginning of the lesson.
2 My teacher is aware of the students’ learning difficulties of subject the subject matter.
3 My teacher’s questions evaluate my understanding of a topic.

4 My teacher’s assessment methods evaluate my understanding of the subject.
5 My teacher uses different approaches (questions, group work, etc.) to find out whether I understand the lessons.
6 My teacher’s assignments facilitate my understanding of the subject.
7 My teacher’s tests help me realize the purpose of the
course.

26

21

34


14

22


23

28

37 %

30 %

49 %


20 %

31 %

33 %


40 %

Results presented in table 1 show that as far as subject matter knowledge is concerned, students believe that their teachers of Literature are fairly knowledgeable about the topic they teach. In fact, 63 % of the participants find that their teachers have a good general knowledge about Literature and 54 % feel that their teachers have knowledge about theories and principles related to the subject matter. Nevertheless, only 29 % of the informants reported that their teachers explained the usefulness of the course in the real world.

As concerns instructional objectives and context, 46 % of students reported that their teachers provided a good learning atmosphere in the classroom whereas only 19 % explained that their teachers prepared additional teaching materials. 33 % of the participants confessed that their teachers made them clearly understand the objectives of the course and 34 % explained that the classroom situation the teacher creates raised their interest in the topic.

Regarding instructional representations and strategy use, 37 % of the informants maintained that the teacher provided room for the expression of viewpoints during class, 34 % explained that the teaching methods the teacher employed kept them interested in the subject and that the examples used by the teachers are appropriate to explain lessons. However, only 3 % of the participants reported the use of educational technology among their teachers.

According to 37 % of the students, teachers of Literature recall students’ background knowledge at the beginning of the lesson. Almost half of the students felt that the questions asked by their teachers actually evaluated their understanding while 40 % sensed that tests administered by their teachers showed them the usefulness of the course. All in all, teachers’ knowledge of their students’ understanding seems quite consistent over the seven items.

The second table summarizes students’ perceptions of the PCK of their teachers of Linguistics as follows :

Table 2 : Students’ Perceptions of Linguistics Teachers’ PCK

Category

Items

Number of Responses

Percentages

Subject Matter Knowledge

1 My teacher knows the content he/she is teaching.
2 My teacher explains clearly the content of the course.
3 My teacher has knowledge about theories and principles related to the subject matter.
4 My teacher selects the appropriate content for students.
5 My teacher knows the answers to questions that we ask about the subject.
6 My teacher explains the importance and usefulness of the subject matter in the real world.
7 My teacher knows how to link information with one another.

52
44
45

43

46

27

28

74 %
63 %
64 %

61 %

66 %

39 %

40 %

Instructional Objectives and Context

1 My teacher makes me clearly understand objectives of this course.
2 My teacher provides an appropriate interaction and a good classroom atmosphere.
3 My teacher pays attention to students’ reactions during class and adjusts his/her teaching method.
4 My teacher creates a classroom circumstance to promote my interest for learning.
5 My teacher prepares some additional teaching materials.
6 My teacher manages our classroom appropriately.
7 My teacher clearly has certain beliefs about how teaching and learning should take place.

34

42

44

32

19

32
34

49 %

60 %

63 %

46 %

27 %

46 %
49 %

Instructional Representations and Strategies

1 My teacher uses appropriate examples to explain concepts related to subject matter.
2 My teacher uses familiar analogies to explain
concepts of subject matter.
3 My teacher’s teaching methods keep me interested in this subject.
4 My teacher provides opportunities for me to express my views during class.
5 My teacher uses demonstrations to help explaining the main concept.
6 My teacher uses a variety of teaching approaches to transform subject matter into comprehensible knowledge.
7 My teacher uses multimedia or technology (e.g., PowerPoint) to express the concept of subject.

44

46

35

36

34

30


12

63 %

66 %

50 %

51 %

49 %

43 %


17 %

Knowledge of Students’ Understanding

1 My teacher recalls students’ prior knowledge at the beginning of the lesson.
2 My teacher is aware of the students’ learning difficulties of subject the subject matter.
3 My teacher’s questions evaluate my understanding of
a topic.
4 My teacher’s assessment methods evaluate my understanding of the subject.
5 My teacher uses different approaches (questions, group work, etc.) to find out whether I understand the lessons.
6 My teacher’s assignments facilitate my understanding of the subject.
7 My teacher’s tests help me realize the purpose of the course.

30

30

35

15

36


30

23

43 %

43 %

50 %

21 %

51 %


43 %

33 %

Table 2 shows that students have more or less the same perceptions of their Linguistics teachers as compared to teachers of Literature only with varying percentages. In fact, the majority of students seem to believe that their teachers’ knowledge of subject matter is satisfactory with 74 % of them responding that their teachers know the content of the course and 66 % reporting that their teachers have answers to their questions about the topic.

When it comes to instructional objectives and context, only 27 % of the participants explained that their teachers prepared additional teaching materials whereas 63 % reported that their teachers paid attention to their reactions in class and adjusted their instruction accordingly.

As far as instructional representations and strategies use are concerned, 66 % of the participants informed that their teachers used familiar analogies to clarify concepts related to Linguistics and 63 % maintained that their teachers explained through the use of appropriate examples. Only 17 % of the students, however, reported that their teachers used technology such as computers, data shows and power point presentations in the classroom.

As for teachers’ knowledge of students’ understanding, 51 % of the participants responded that their teachers employed a variety of approaches to evaluate their understanding of a lesson while 43 % of them found that their teachers’ assignments facilitated subject matter comprehension. In a nutshell, students’ perceptions of the PCK of their teachers of Linguistics seems to be positive throughout the four components.

The second part of the questionnaire comprised two close ended questions and one open ended item that aimed to explore students’ choice of specialty and the impact of their teachers on this affiliation. When asked about the field they intend to carry on their studies in in third year, students responded as follows :

Table 3 : Students’ Choice of Specialty

Specialty

Number of responses

Percentage

Linguistics

44

63 %

Literature

26

37 %

According to Table 3, more than half of the students intend to carry on their studies in Linguistics whereas 37 % are willing to choose Literature as a field of specialism. Linguistics seems to be a more attractive option among students compared to Literature. The reasons behind this disparity may be due to the nature of the two courses or mere personal preference.

When asked about whether their current teachers have influenced their inclination towards one specialty over the other, students answered as follows :

Table 4 : Teachers’ Influence on Students’ Choice

Options

Number of responses

Percentage

Yes

40

57 %

No

30

43 %

According to Table 4, the influence of the teachers on their students’ choice seems to be of little significance since the percentages of students’ responses are slightly different. In fact, 57 % of students confessed that their teachers have a hand in their choice of specialty while 43 % denied any interference on the part of their teachers.

Students who responded positively to the previous question were asked to provide more details on how their teachers influenced their choice. Below are some of their answers :

Table 5 : Reasons for Teachers’ Influence on Students’ Choice

Linguistics

Students 11 : “I feel that the linguistics’ teacher is clear and fair, that’s why I prefer linguistics”
Student 43 : “she made us fall in love with Linguistics, her lessons are clear and straight forward, and her teaching methods are really helpful. She also motivates her students by giving them the marks they deserve”
Student 52 : “Yes, my current teacher of linguistics influenced my choice of specialty because she is highly smart and has very great method of teaching and she is just like a great positive motivation for me.”

Literature

Student 3 : “No words can describe our teacher of Literature she knows how to make the module interesting, and how to link all the information, she knows how to not make her course boring. By giving us the opportunity to stand up and make presentations and giving background knowledge, she managed to make Literature so amusing.”
Student 29 : “My teacher of Literature makes the course interesting. This is by emphasizing the use of imagination that allows me the enter a new world and figure out the hidden realities.”
Student 66 : “this year with my teacher it’s completely different I really got the true meaning of literature and analyzing it and expressing myself actually as if I found myself in her courses but for linguistics I found it boring with my teacher I really love the module and I think its magical how children can acquire language and all the theories we are dealing with but with this year’s teacher I am working hard for good mark not because I found the module interesting because the teacher is making it hard and make me feel lost.”

The above table exhibits a number of answers provided by students as regards the ways in which their teachers influenced their choice of specialty. The statements reveal more or less the same kind of impact both teachers of Linguistics and Literature have on their students’ choice. The influence seems to be mainly due to their knowledgeability, clarity of instruction and effective use of teaching methods.

4. Discussion

Results obtained from the analysis of the data yielded by the questionnaire which was distributed to 70 second-year students in the department of English at the University of Algiers 2 allow the formation of a global picture of their perceptions of the Pedagogical Content Knowledge of their teachers of Linguistics and Literature, each one apart. In fact, teachers of Linguistics seem to have a quite satisfactory PCK from their students’ perspective especially when it comes to their subject matter knowledge with percentages exceeding 50 % across 5 items over 7. Teachers of Linguistics also seem to know the instructional objectives of their course and succeed in transmitting these objectives to their students. They are said to provide an adequate atmosphere for their students to learn as well as to rely on their reactions to adjust their teaching methods. As far as their use of instructional strategies and representations is concerned, teachers of Linguistics reportedly know how to transmit information using appropriate examples and common analogies. They are also said to employ an array of teaching methods that succeed to catch students’ attention and keep them interested in the topic. As for teachers’ knowledge of students’ understanding, students mostly reported that their teachers employed a variety of assessment methods and understanding checking procedures to make sure their students grasped the presented information.

It can be concluded that students’ perceptions of the PCK of their teachers of Linguistics is consistent within the categories but varies from one category to another. More precisely, students believe that their teachers of Linguistics have a good knowledge of the subject they teach but a less established knowledge of assessment practices.

Just like teachers of Linguistics, Literature teachers are said to have a valuable subject matter knowledge. They are perceived as being successful in explaining the objectives of the course and in creating appropriate interaction in the classroom. Their knowledge of students’ understanding is quite satisfactory as they administer tests that help students realize the importance of the course but their use of instructional methods, representations, and strategies can be improved according to their students.

Students’ perceptions of the PCK of their teachers of Literature are distinct from that of teachers of Linguistics both in general terms and across categories. In fact, teachers of Linguistics reportedly have a better overall PCK than teachers of Literature. The knowledge of subject matter of both is perceived as being the strongest component of their PCK and their knowledge of the instructional objectives and context occupies the second place. Nevertheless, the knowledge of students’ understanding among teachers of Literature is found to outdo their knowledge about instructional representations and strategies. Teachers of Linguistics, on the other hand, reportedly have better mastery over teaching methods and strategies than comprehension checking techniques.

The second concern of this paper was to explore the potential impact of students’ perceptions of the PCK of their teachers on their choice of specialty. There seems to be a slight correlation between the two variables since a little more than half the participants confessed that their view regarding their teachers influenced their choice of major option. This implies that although low, teachers’ performance can have an impact on students’ affiliation in either a positive or a negative way.

Conclusion

The present study aimed at unveiling second-year students’ perceptions of their teachers’ PCK and the influence their perspectives can have on their choice of major option in the Department of English at the University of Algiers 2. The outcomes revealed that despite the disparities which have been noted across the categories, students find that teachers of Linguistics have a slightly higher overall PCK than their Literature counterparts. These perceptions, however, seem to have a very slight significance when it comes to their choice of specialty. In other words, teachers’ perceived performance positively or negatively impacts students’ inclination to a very small degree. Nevertheless, it is important that teachers work on improving their Pedagogical Content Knowledge including all its components in order to guarantee the most convenient learning experience for their learners.

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