Annals of Dyslexia

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 136–152 | Cite as

Knowledge about basic language constructs among teachers of English as a Foreign Language in China and South Korea

  • Han Suk BaeEmail author
  • Li Yin
  • R. Malatesha Joshi


The purpose of the present study is to explore cross-cultural differences among teachers of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) on the basic language constructs and the impacts on their perceived teaching ability in English-reading instruction. Chinese EFL (n = 73) and Korean EFL (n = 39) teachers were administered the Reading Teacher Knowledge Survey for testing their implicit and explicit knowledge on phonemic awareness, phonological awareness, phonics, and morphological awareness; and their self-perceived teaching ability on teaching typical readers, struggling readers, phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Results showed that both Chinese EFL and Korean EFL teachers’ knowledge on the phonemic awareness, phonological awareness, and phonics was implicit rather than explicit. However, the teachers’ knowledge on morphological awareness showed cross-cultural difference: Chinese EFL teachers had greater explicit knowledge on morphological awareness than implicit knowledge, while their Korean EFL counterparts showed opposite pattern. Self-perceived teaching ability was also distinct cross-culturally, in that Chinese EFL teachers were only confident in teaching English vocabulary, whereas Korean EFL teachers had generally positive self-perception on teaching typical readers, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Importantly, both groups of EFL teachers’ explicit knowledge on the basic language constructs explained additional variance for predicting their self-perception on teaching English reading, controlling for the effects of their years of teaching and implicit knowledge. Educational implications and future research ideas are discussed in relation to the cross-cultural differences of teacher knowledge and their perceived teaching ability.


Basic language constructs EFL teacher knowledge Self-perceived teaching ability 


Funding information

This research was in part supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 81371497) and the Tsinghua University Initiative Scientific Research Program (Grant no. 2016THZWYY07) awarded to the second author.


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Copyright information

© The International Dyslexia Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of International TourismDong-A UniversityBusanSouth Korea
  2. 2.Center for the Study of Language and Psychology, Department of Foreign Languages and LiteraturesTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of Teaching, Learning, and CultureTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA

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