Picturebooks in teacher education for early English language learning in Portugal

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


Scholarship associated with teacher education for early English as a foreign language (EFL) considers that the knowledge domains required for teachers in primary education include four areas: content knowledge (ie the language), pedagogical content knowledge (ie how languages are learned and taught); knowledge of context and curriculum and general knowledge (ie management of learning and resources) (cif. Roters, 2017). Storytelling, as an approach to teaching early EFL, is recommended (cf. Brewster, Ellis & Girard, 2002) with an onus on the inclusion of children’s literature in the form of picturebooks affording ‘high-quality input’ (Bland, 2019: 90) and a potential for language learning which includes the intercultural competence (Mourão, 2015). The research context for this study is a Higher Education Institution (HEI) in Portugal which is one of ten HEIs to offer a pre-service MA course for teachers of EFL in primary education. The research context for this study is a group of ten Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Portugal, which offer a pre-service MA course for teachers of EFL in primary education. My research questions are: • To what extent do these MA courses include course units on children’s literature or which make reference to children’s literature and to which of the knowledge domains do they contribute, if any? • Do they afford the development of teaching-related competences for early EFL contexts? If so, how? Data will be collected from the HEI study plans and course unit descriptions using a document analysis approach to ascertain the general panorama and situation regarding the development of competences for learning to teach EFL with children’s literature. I will show that a course unit on children’s literature may not in fact provide the teaching-related competences competences and suggest that competences for despite some institutional limitations regarding specific course units will complete this small piece of research by taking one HEI as a case-study and looking closely at how, despite no specific course unit on children’s literature, children’s literature in the form of picturebooks is This study is part of ‘TEYL in the practicum: mapping supervisory and teaching approaches’ (2018 – 2020) a research project led by CETAPS - FCT (UIDB/04097/2020).
Period21 Nov 2020
Event titleFostering dialogue: Teaching Children’s Literature at University Level
Event typeConference
Conference number1
LocationPadua, ItalyShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • teacher education
  • picturebooks
  • methodology
  • practices