Johannes & Pajak Disentangling Good and Effective Teaching and Instruction Through Corpus Analysis

Johannes, K. & Pajak, E. (2013). Disentangling good and effective teaching and instruction through corpus analysis. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Council for Professors of Instructional Supervision.

Summary: The authors perform a corpus analysis using Davies (2008) Corpus of Contemporary American English to examine the lexical and semantic differences in the use of the modifiers “good” and “effective” when they are applied to words like “instruct” and “teach”. This work builds upon Pajak’s previous work of corpus analysis on “teach” and “instruct” that he presented at COPIS (2011) in Aguadilla and at AERA (2012).  The authors postulate that differences in abstract value and in concrete behavior exist and that individuals use these terms differently, possibly even unconsciously.

“The natural language corpus data reported here demonstrate an interaction between “good” and “effective” as they apply to teaching and instruction: “good teaching” and “effective teaching” have different connotations, but “good instruction” and “effective instruction” do not. These results suggest that the term teaching denotes a multifaceted construct, with abstract value-based and concrete behavior-based concepts that can be separately targeted by the adjectives “good” and “effective” (p. 5).


“The next challenge, it seems, is to develop a vocabulary of “goodness” that can guide the theory and practice of teaching in order to complement the existing vocabulary of “effectiveness” that already guides the theory and practice of instruction” (p. 6).



Davis, M. (2008). The Corpus of Contemporary American English: 450 million words, 1990-present. Available online at

Farr, F. (2010). The Discourse of Teaching Practice Feedback: A Corpus-Based Investigation of Spoken and Written Modes. New York: Routledge.