AWEJ Volume.3 Number.4, 2012                                                                                                     pp. 4 – 18

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The Knowledge Base of Teaching English as an Additional Language: A Framework for Curriculum and Instruction

Ghazi M. Ghaith
American University of Beirut
Beirut, Lebanon

This paper presents a theoretical framework of the knowledge base of teaching English as an additional language. The paper is premised on the assumption that a knowledge base for teaching English as an additional language is essential despite significant variations in educational contexts and learners’ backgrounds. The proposed framework is grounded in the extant literature and consists of three dimensions relative to 1) knowledge of academic content, 2) knowledge of specialized pedagogy, and 3) knowledge of students, schools, and communities. Each of these three dimensions encompasses other types of knowledge concerning language, literature, culture, and the process of language acquisitions as well as methods of teaching and assessment and evaluation. Students’ characteristics, interaction dynamics, and motivations as well as how school and community factors may impact achievement are also discussed. The paper concludes with a suggested framework for the design and implementation of English teacher education programs in Lebanon and similar contexts in the Arab world where English is studied as an additional language for its vitality in the educational, commercial, and cultural domains.

Keywords: Knowledge base, English, Teacher education, Pedagogy, Culture


Ghazi Ghaith has a Ph.D. in Language Education (ESL/EFL) from Indiana University and is
currently Professor and Chairman of the Education Department at the American University of
Beirut. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses and conducts regular in-service training
in Lebanon and the Middle East. His research focuses on the applications of cooperative learning
in language teaching and teacher education.