Metaphors We Teach By: Examining Teacher Conceptualizations of Literacy in the English Language Arts Classroom

Connie Kendall Theado


This case study used metaphor analysis to gain insight on the conceptualizations of literacy informing six English Language Arts educators’ understanding of the meaning and goals of U.S. literacy education today. While findings indicated literacy’s functional aspect as the most prominent metaphoric conceptualization employed, the teachers’ use of alternate metaphors to highlight the value of literacy learning beyond its pragmatic outcomes suggests that U.S. literacy education reform may be out of step with the pedagogical goals teachers have for their students. The article concludes with a discussion of the pedagogical implications suggested by the study findings.


conceptualizations of literacy; K-12 literacy education; metaphor analysis; U.S. teacher beliefs

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