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The present research aims to explore metaphors used by pre-service English teachers as evidence for their thinking about “grammar”. A cohort of 47 pre-service English teachers partook in the study. The metaphors were elicited both at the beginning and the end of four-year pre-service education and this interval paved the way for examining the potential change in participants’ beliefs over time. The metaphors were first clustered into two considering their suggested definition for grammar as grammar as a phenomenon and grammar as a school subject. Grammar as a phenomenon was further grouped into three sub-categories as rule (discrete rules, control mechanism, guideline for rules), system (system of smaller units, central construct of a larger system), and function (medium for meaning). The results suggest that pre-service teachers’ beliefs changed over time. By the end of pre-service education, rule metaphors decreased distinctively while system and function metaphors increased. It is revealed that pre-service English teachers adopted a more system-oriented perspective about grammar at the exit level.
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