Clt in practice

3,871
-1

Published on

0 Comments
1 Like
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
3,871
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
21
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
11
Comments
0
Likes
1
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Clt in practice

  1. 1. Communicative Language Teaching (CLT): Practical UnderstandingsAuthor(s): Kazuyoshi Sato and Robert C. KleinsasserReviewed work(s):Source: The Modern Language Journal, Vol. 83, No. 4 (Winter, 1999), pp. 494-517Published by: Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the National Federation of Modern Language TeachersAssociationsStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/330522 .Accessed: 23/10/2012 02:53Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp.JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.. Wiley-Blackwell and National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Modern Language Journal.http://www.jstor.org
  2. 2. Communicative Language Teaching(CLT): Practical UnderstandingsKAZUYOSHISATO ROBERT C. KLEINSASSERCentre Language Teachingand Research for Centre Language Teachingand Research forThe University Queensland of The University Queensland ofBrisbaneQLD 4072 BrisbaneQLD 4072Australia AustraliaEmail:yoshis@usiwakamaru. or.jp Email: robertk@lingua. uq.edu.au arts. The aim of this article is to report on a study that documented the views and practices of communicative language teaching (CLT) by Japanese second language inservice teachers. Compared to theoretical developments of CLT (e.g., see Savignon, 1991), little is known about what second language teachers actually understand by CLT and how they implement CLT in classrooms. Using multiple data sources including interviews, observations, and sur- veys, the article reports how teachers defined CLT and implemented it in their classrooms. The study identified how teachers actually dealt with CLT in their classrooms teaching Japa- nese. It is interesting to note that their views and actions dealt little with the academic literature pertaining to CLT or their education (be it preservice or inservice) in learning about CLT. Instead, teachers resorted to their personal ideas and experiences, solidifying their notions of foreign language (L2) teaching in further pursuing their evolving concep- tions of CLT.EVER SINCE HYMES (1971) DISCUSSED THE tion, we begin by defining CLT by using variousidea of communicative competence and Canale sources from academia and government policy toand Swain (1980) considered its implications for highlight some of the numerous views from theselanguage teaching, communicative language particular perspectives. We further include anteaching (CLT) (Savignon, 1991) has achieved Australian context to help define CLT from aprominence. Conference papers, articles, and policy perspective, while also allowing such infor-books abound that support and promote CLT.In mation to situate our study. We then explore thethe main, scholars advance CLT by exploring its relevance of teacher beliefs, knowledge, andmeaning and use in classrooms. Writers consider practices. Here we review CLT investigations andvarious facets and mutations of CLT, providing highlight the complexity of understanding rela-valuable codification of CLT elements (e.g., tionships among beliefs, knowledge, and prac-Berns, 1990; Brown, 1994; Howatt, 1984; Little- tices. Inherent in such a presentation is the needwood, 1981; Mitchell, 1988; Richards & Rodgers, to explore change. This we do briefly, with the1986; Savignon, 1983, 1997; Savignon & Berns, discussion culminating in offering the research 1984, 1987; Schulz & Bartz, 1975). Even within questions. Our intent here is to argue for a theo-the expanding literature concerning CLT, how- retical base from language teachers perspectives.ever, its meaning for practitioners receives scant We next outline the research methodology forattention. the project. This combined information positions In this research project, we document second the presentation of our findings, followed by alanguage (Japanese) teachers CLT using their discussion of issues.perspectives.1 To set the stage for this investiga- COMMUNICATIVELANGUAGE TEACHINGTheModernLanguage Journal, 83, iv, (1999)0026-7902/99/494-517 $1.50/0 Savignon (1983, 1997) suggested that a class-?1999 TheModernLanguageJournal room model of communicative competence in-
  3. 3. Sato and RobertC. KleinsasserKazuyoshi 495cludes Canale and Swains (1980, later refined in and receptively" (Brown, 1994, p. 245, italicsCanale, 1983) four components that are gram- original). Richards and Rogers (1986) concludedmatical competence, sociolinguistic competence, thatdiscourse competence, and strategic compe-tence. She further proposed five components of Communicative LanguageTeaching is best consid-a communicative curriculum that include lan- ered an approachrather than a method. Thus al- though a reasonabledegree of theoreticalconsis-guage arts, language for a purpose, personal sec-ond language (L2) use, theater arts, and beyond tencycan be discernedat the levelsof languageandthe classroom (Savignon, 1983, 1997). These ele- learningtheory,at the levelsof designand procedure there is muchgreaterroomfor individual interpreta-ments together help support both theoretical tion and variationthanmostmethodspermit.(p. 83)and practical foundations for CLT.Yet, it is clearthat Savignon (1997) did not rely on these as the These perspectives, among others, offer possibili-sole arbitrator of CLT. In particular, with regard ties of what CLT is, and their various authors giveto the four competences she concluded, ideas of what can transpire in a L2 classroom. Yet, not all views of CLT are necessarily the domain of Whatever relative the of importance the various com- academicians. As will be discussed next, national ponents at any given level of overallproficiency, one and state initiatives give an additional view of must keep in mind the interactivenature of their The whole of communicative CLT. relationships. compe- tence is always somethingother than the simplesum To understand CLT in Australia better, we offer of its parts.(p. 50) an overview of this countrys recent (second) lan- guage initiatives. The past 20 years in AustraliaThe same could also be said about the five cur- have been supportive of and exciting for thericulum components. Moreover, Savignon (1991) teaching of foreign languages or Languagescast an even wider net over what influences and Other Than English (LOTE), as they are pres-challenges the promotion of CLT: ently called. Clyne, Jenkins, Chen, Tsokalidou, CLTthus can be seen to derivefrom a multidiscipli- and Wallner (1995) overviewed the latest initial nary perspectivethat includes, at least, linguistics, push regarding languages in Australia. They re- psychology,philosophy,sociology,and educational ported that in 1976 the Committee on the Teach- research.The focus has been the elaborationand ing of Migrant Languages in Schools (CTMLS) of implementation programand methodologiesthat recommended that, starting in their primary promote the development of functional language years, children be given opportunities to learn abilitythroughlearnerparticipation communica- in other languages and understand other cultures. tive events. Centralto CLTis the understanding of They further relayed that a Senate report (1984) languagelearningas both an educationaland politi- on national language policy advocated principles cal issue. (p. 265) such as competence in English, maintenance and To be sure, there are other conceptualizations development of languages other than English,of communicative competence and CLT. For in- and opportunities for learning L2s. This reportstance, Bachman (1990) charted a theoretical eventually led to the National Policy on Lan-framework for communicative language ability guages (Lo Bianco, 1987) "which actually recom-that includes knowledge structures, strategic mended implementation strategies and govern-competence, psychophysiological mechanisms, ment spending in innovative areas which werecontext of situation, and language competence. accepted by the federal government" (Clyne etLanguage competence is further divided into or- al., 1995, p. 6).ganizational competence (grammatical and tex- The development of students communicativetual competences) and pragmatic competence skills in L2s was emphasized around the same (illocutionary and sociolinguistic competences). time. The Australian Language Levels (ALL) Proj-Brown (1994) proposed a definition of CLT to ect responded to the Senate (1984) and Lo Bi-include the following issues: (a) "Classroomgoals anco (1987) policies on languages and developedare focused on all of the components of commu- curriculum ideas for the teaching of L2. Austra-nicative competence"; (b) "Language techniques lian Language Levels (ALL) Guidelines (Scarino,are designed to engage learners in the pragmatic, Vale, McKay,& Clark, 1988) were published andauthentic, functional use of language for mean- subsequently Pocket ALL (Vale, Scarino, & McKay,ingful purposes"; (c) "Fluency and accuracy are 1991) was published as a handy teachers guide.seen as complementary principles underlying These guidelines included topics such as the eightcommunicative techniques"; and (d) "students principles of language learning, the goals of lan-ultimately have to use the language, productively guage learning, the table of language use, devel-
  4. 4. 496 The ModernLanguageJournal83 (1999)oping modules for a syllabus, resources, and as- LOTE teachers in L2 learning and teaching envi-sessment. Each state followed ALL Guidelines and ronments.developed and wrote language syllabi. TheQueensland Department of Education (1989), SKETCHINGA THEORETICALBASEfor instance, promoted the five ALL goals for lan-guage learning: a communication goal, a so- We highlight the importance of teacher beliefsciocultural goal, a learning-how-to-learn goal, a in this project, for as Pajares (1992) acknowl-language and cultural awareness goal, and a edged in his synthesis of 35 empirical educationalknowledge goal. Among these goals, emphasis was investigations, "Allteachers hold beliefs, howeverplaced upon communication: "Language-learn- defined and labeled, about their work, their stu-ing programs are aimed at the development of dents, their subject matter, and their roles andcommunicative competency in a particular lan- responsibilities" (p. 314). However, a variety ofguage" (p. v). As a result, various LOTE syllabi conceptions of educational beliefs appears in thefollowed these general guidelines. The Japanese literature.2 Citing Nespors (1987) influentialSenior Syllabus, for example, referred to the pri- work, Pajares suggested that "beliefs are far moremary objective by stating that "bythe end of Year influential than knowledge in determining how12, learners should be able to communicate in individuals organize and define tasks and prob-standard Japanese" (Board of Senior School Sec- lems and are stronger predictors of behavior" (p.ondary Studies, 1995, p. 4). In addition, the six 311). Pajares promoted 16 "fundamental assump-assessment criteria tasks that LOTE teachers were tions that may reasonably be made when initiat-to implement included: ing a study of teachers educational beliefs" (p. 324). These assumptions include, among others, 1. Assess the students ability to communicatein the notions that (a) beliefs are formed early andthe language. tend to self-perpetuate; (b) some beliefs are more 2. Use authentictexts. incontrovertible than others; (c) beliefs about 3. Give students the opportunity to speak and teaching are well established by the time a stu-write from their own experience. dent gets to college; (d) changes in beliefs during 4. Call for unrehearsedresponses from the stu- adulthood are rare; (e) beliefs are instrumentaldent. in defining tasks and selecting the cognitive tools 5. Allow students responses to be matched to with which to interpret, plan, and make decisionscriteriaand standards. regarding such tasks; (f) individuals beliefs 6. Provide informative feedbackto students to strongly affect their behavior; and (g) knowledgeallow them to manage their own learning. (Board and beliefs are inextricably intertwined (for com-of Senior Secondary School Studies, 1996, p. 1, plete discussion of all 16 assumptions, see Pajares,italics original) 1992, pp. 324-326). The tenuous relationship between beliefs andThese criteria follow the ALL Guidelines(Scarino knowledge creates a possible tension. Althoughet al., 1988). In short, over the past 2 decades the Pajares (1992) readily admitted that it is difficultpromotion of LOTE learning and the develop- to distinguish knowledge from beliefs, he arguedment of LOTE students communicative skills Nespors (1987) point "that beliefs have strongerhave been promoted vigorously in national and affective and evaluative components than knowl-state policy documents. LOTE teachers in schools edge and that affect typically operates inde-during the past decade have received either train- pendently of the cognition associated with knowl-ing or inservices in CLT because of the national edge" (p. 309). Richardson (1996) seeminglyand state initiatives to develop students commu- agreed that although the distinction between be-nicative abilities in LOTE. There is little insight, liefs and knowledge remains fuzzy, beliefs influ-however, into how LOTE (Japanese) teachers ence teaching practice more directly than knowl-perceive these views and implement these ideas. edge and that the "relationship between beliefsThere is also a dearth of information concerning and actions is interactive" (p. 104). Moreover,how LOTE teachers perceive the views of the Richardson (1994) assigned the teacher the roleacademicians. LOTE teachers beliefs, knowl- of one who mediates ideas, constructs meaningedge, and practice of CLT remain somewhat of a and knowledge, and acts upon those construc-mystery in the CLT literature. Yet, as we will see tions. She maintained that, in order to under-next, it is precisely teachers beliefs, knowledge, stand how teachers make sense of teaching andand practice that need to be reviewed in order to learning, one should focus on teachers beliefsunderstand better just how CLT is understood by and practices. (Such a view appears to contrast
  5. 5. Sato and RobertC. KleinsasserKazuyoshi 497slightly with the view that teachers decision-mak- classrooms, they offered students few opportuni-ing is based upon knowledge and skills [e.g., ties for genuine communicative language use inShulman, 1986, 1987]). the class sessions that he recorded. Although the Regardless of theoretical stance, empirical lesson plans of these teachers might have con-studies consistently reveal the difficulties of pro- formed to the sorts of communicative principlesmoting knowledge and skills that challenge or advocated in the CLT literature, the actual pat-contradict currently held beliefs and practices terns of classroom interaction resembled tradi- (see, e.g., the reviews by Richardson, 1996, and tional patterns rather than what he identified asWideen, Mayer-Smith, & Moon, 1998). In L2 genuine interaction. Karavas-Doukas (1996) re-teacher studies in general, there is definitely a ported similar findings in the responses of 14tendency for those studied to rely on their pre- Greek teachers of English to an attitude surveyconceived beliefs, and there appears to be little and in the observations she made of their class-alteration in traditionally (form focus, teacher- rooms. She found that the survey results leanedled) held images of L2 teaching (see, e.g, toward agreement with CLT principles, but whenJohnson, 1994; Lamb, 1995; Neustupny, 1981). she observed the classroom teaching environ-Nonetheless, studies that specifically single out ments, "classroom practices (with very few excep-typical CLT also reveal glimpses of links among tions) deviated considerably from the principlesbeliefs, knowledge, and practices. On the one of the communicative approach" (p. 193). Al-hand, a few studies show little change in teacher though she acknowledged that there werebeliefs, knowledge, or practice, whereas, on the glimpses of communicative approaches, theother hand, a few studies reveal the possibility for teachers in her sample favored traditional ones.change in teacher beliefs, knowledge, or practice. In this case, traditional meant, "Mostlessons wereThus, these studies provide evidence that the teacher-fronted and exhibited an explicit focuschallenges found in L2 teaching literature are on form" (p. 193).little different from the controversy in the wider As indicated earlier, not all of the news is bleak.teaching literature. The extent to which teachers Okazaki (1996) completed a longitudinal studycan or will actually change is an issue within using surveys to find out whether preserviceteacher education, regardless of discipline. teachers changed their beliefs concerning CLT For example, Thompson (1996) discovered after a 1-year methodology course. She con-four misconceptions that were common among cluded that although beliefs of preservice teach-his colleagues concerning the meaning of CLT: ers were not easily swayed, some of them were (a) not teaching grammar, (b) teaching only influenced in the desired direction by what Wen-speaking, (c) completing pair work (i.e., role den (1991) called persuasive communication,play), and (d) expecting too much from teachers. which aims at changing participants beliefs byThompson mentioned that a surprisingly large reflective teaching. For example, she reportednumber of teachers invoke erroneous reasoning that the teachers emphasis increased on suchfor criticizing or rejecting CLT. He concluded items as the learners role and decreased on suchthat the future development of CLT depended items as pronunciation and error corrections. Ku-upon correcting these misconceptions. Fox maravadivelu (1993) studied two teachers whom (1993) surveyed first-yearFrench graduate teach- he identified as "believers in the CLT move-ing assistants at 20 universities in the U.S. and ment" (p. 14), and who both had masters degreesanalyzed their responses according to the defini- in ESL. With one teacher he promoted the effec-tions of communicative competence (CC) set tiveness of five macrostrategies for successful CLTforth by Canale and Swain (1980). She reported (see also Kumaravadivelu, 1992). He then tran-that teaching assistants did not conceptualize lan- scribed the two teachers classes and concludedguage according to this particular model of CC. that the episodes showed "different kinds of class-Instead, the participants relied on grammar at room input and interaction" (p. 18). One groupthe expense of communicative activities. She con- was motivated, enthusiastic, and active. The samecluded that their beliefs about language teaching group in the second session was less motivated,and learning should be exposed so that they less enthusiastic, and much less active. Althoughcould develop their beliefs and knowledge about he identified session one as a speaking class, andCLT. session two as a grammar class, he believed that Even teachers committed to CLT often seem to the use of the macrostrategies given to theshow a very superficial adherence to CLT princi- teacher in session one "contributed to this re-ples. As Nunan (1987) discovered, although the markable variation in the communicative natureteachers in his study had goals for communicative of the two episodes" (p. 18). Regardless of the
  6. 6. 498 The ModernLanguageJournal83 (1999)theoretical and practical problems of such a featurein this literature that someone outside the isstudy, Kumaravadivelu (1993) claimed effective- classroomdecides what changes teacherswill make.ness for strategy training with regard to teachers (p. 11, italicsoriginal)uses of CLT.In a study concerning L2 teaching in It is interesting to note that Nunan (1987) andmore general terms, Freeman (1993) maintained Kamaravadivelu (1992, 1993, 1994) offered evi-that four foreign language teachers (citing two dence (from "someone outside the classroom")illustrations) changed their ideas about teaching that highlighted this specific issue within the L2when they were introduced to the discourse of teaching profession. For instance, Nunan identi-current professional issues and notions. fied strategies, such as using referential questions In summary, the controversy in the teacher that could be used to increase the opportunitieschange literature about teachers beliefs and for genuine communication, and Kumaravadi-practices continues. As Richardson (1996) com- velu increased from 5 to 10 the number ofmented: macrostrategies that might now come to influ- ence the ideas of a principled communicative Perhaps the greatest controversyin the teacher change literature relatesto the difficulty changing in approach (see Celce-Murcia, Dornyei, & Thur- beliefs and practices.For some scholars,beliefs are rell, 1997). However, neither of the authors ex- thoughtto be extremelydifficult,if not impossibleto plained how the teachers adapted the referential change. This apparentdifficultyis often used as an questions or macrostrategies into situation-spe- explanation the sense thatteachersarerecalcitrant of cific problems or how the teachers developed and do not like to change.Anothergroupof scholars their beliefs, knowledge, and practice with regard and educators,however,are optimisticthat teachers to CLT. In other words, the authors seemed to and teacher education studentscan change and, in and have ignored the teachers actual developmental fact,often do change theirbeliefsand practices, thatprograms help them do so in significant can and processes and stages, or else they neglected to worthwhile directions.(p. 110) uncover and document how the teachers actually dealt with an innovation such as CLT. Such a comment may be a bit shortsighted, if In short, these studies, reviews, and narrativesnot overgeneralized. Many of the studies cited portray the complexity of the issues pertaining toabove neither integrate information from a vari- beliefs, knowledge, and practices and focus on theety of data sources nor give a complete picture of interplay among them. Despite the theoretical de-the interaction among beliefs, knowledge, and velopments and policy acceptance of CLT for nu-practice. Some relied on scales or interviews merous L2 learning environments, many ques-alone, others completed only observations, while tions linger concerning how teachers think aboutstill others tried surveys and observations but and use CLTin classrooms. It seems worthwhile toomitted interviews. Most of the studies concern- investigate further the perspectives of L2 teach-ing CLT mentioned the fact that multiple data ers, that is, how they view, learn about, and imple-sources would eventually help address the limita- ment CLT.In addition, within the Australian con-tions of the work already completed. Moreover, text of teachingJapanese in high schools, there ismany of the L2 teacher studies concerning CLT little known about inservice LOTE teachers per-seemed to rely on the extent to which the prac- spectives about CLT. These teachers of Japanesetice of CLT notions adhered to CLT principles as in Australia have identified such problems in theirput forth in the professional literature. Richard- teaching as articulation, low proficiency level, andson (1990) pointed out in more global terms the lack of quality inservices, good materials, anddifficulties educational change issues bring to school support (Kawagoe, 1989; Koide, 1976).classrooms: Nonetheless these inservice LOTE (Japanese) however, note that change, It is important, to research- teachers have not been studied in any great based or otherwise,is defined in this literatureas depth, especially regarding their ideas about CLT teachersdoing somethingthat othersare suggesting and practice. This omission triggers several they do. Thus, the change is deemed as good or broader questions: How is teachers knowledge appropriate, resistanceis viewedas bad or inap- and about CLT developed or understood in light of propriate. Eventhe recentworkthatis more sensitive the fact that national and state directives urge the to teachersnorms and beliefs fails to question the reformsthemselves(Donmoyer,1987). Further,the acquisition of communicative LOTE abilities? constantchanges that teachersmakewhen meeting How are teachers implementing CLT ideas at the the changingneeds of the studentsin the classroom classroom level? How do teachers actually teach in or tryingout ideasthattheyhearfromother teachers language classrooms in a country and state that is not recognized in these formulations.A critical promote communicative competence? These un-
  7. 7. KazuyoshiSato and RobertC. Kleinsasser 499answered questions guided this investigation and 1 male). Three teachers had less than 3 yearspromoted the analysis undertaken for this article. experience teaching Japanese, 3 teachers had 3Our overall goal was to uncover teachers beliefs to 6 years teaching experience, 2 teachers had 6and knowledge about CLT in connection with to 10 years teaching experience, and 2 teacherstheir practices in an Australian context-a goal had 10 to 13 years teaching experience.3 Theiroverlooked and understudied by both researchers professional preparation also varied. Four teach-and policy-makers. The following questions pro- ers (including the nativeJapanese speaker) com-vided focus: pleted a Postgraduate Diploma in Education-a 1. What are Japanese LOTE teachers beliefs 1-year course-and 1 holds a Master of Arts inand knowledge about (communicative) language Applied Linguistics. Three teachers holding the Postgraduate Diploma in Education degree ma-teaching? 2. How do they implement CLT in their class- jored in Japanese for their undergraduate stud-rooms? ies, while the native Japanese speaker majored in French. The rest of the teachers started to teach 3. How are their beliefs and knowledge about(communicative) language teaching acquired Japanese without any formal academic prepara- tion in Japanese LOTE teaching. Their majorsand developed? variously represented the disciplines of biology, commerce, economics, English, and music. Some DATAOVERVIEW,PARTICIPANTS, of the teachers finished short-term inservice pro-COLLECTION, AND DATAANALYSIS grams on Japanese language and LOTE instruc- In order to reveal teachers beliefs, knowledge, tion after they had already begun teaching.and practices about CLT,we employed triangula- Among the 9 native Australian English speakers,tion that included qualitative and quantitative 7 teachers experienced living in Japan for 1 to 2data sources (or multiple data sources) of LOTE years, 1 teacher stayed for 6 years, and 1 teacherteachers perspectives. Mathison (1988) argued made four trips to Japan, lasting 2 to 3 weeks perthat "the use of any single method, just like the visit. In other words, most of the teachers who didview of any single individual, will necessarily be not receive formal academic preparation had ex-subjective and therefore biased" (p. 14). There- periences overseas in the target language culturefore, she valued triangulation where one con- before they began teaching Japanese. In addi-structs meaningful explanations from multiple tion, 8 of the 10 teachers also taught such otherdata sources-sources that may appear inconsis- subjects as English (3), mathematics (1), socialtent or contradictory rather than cohering sciences (1), history and social education (1),around a single proposition. This use of multiple music (1), and sports (table tennis, 1). Pseudo-sources is especially important in exploring be- nyms for the 10 teachers are used throughout theliefs, practices, and mandates. Pajares (1992) data presentation (see Table 1).reminded researchers of the dimensions in re-searching beliefs: Interview It is also clear that, if reasonableinferences about As researchers, we developed an open-ended beliefs require assessmentsof what individualssay, interview protocol. After an initial pilot interview, intend, and do, then teachers verbal expressions, we made several modifications. For example, predispositions to action, and teaching behaviors must all be included in assessments of beliefs. Not to background questions were separated from the do so calls into question the validity of the findings major interview questions so that the interview and the value of the study. Traditional belief invento- could focus on specific questions (e.g., under- ries provide limited information with which to make standings of CLT,use of the textbook, the role of inferences, and it is at this step in the measurement grammar, communicative activities, and teacher process that understanding the context-specific na- development). Ultimately, we developed and re- ture of beliefs becomes critical. (p. 327) fined 20 questions following Spradleys (1979) descriptive questions so that the respondentParticipants would display "perspectives and moral forms" (p. 107). A standardized protocol was established Ten state (public) school teachers ofJapanese to focus on certain issues following Spradleys(including 9 native Australian English speakers recommendations. Twelve major questions wereand 1 native Japanese speaker) in 10 different then agreed upon, and two more pilot interviewsstate high schools in a large Australian metropoli- were conducted to test their efficiency. The finaltan area participated in this study (9 female and interview protocol was completed, with minor
  8. 8. 500 TheModernLanguageJournal 83 (1999)TABLE1Participantsin the Study,Including Their Participationin the Three Data Collection StrategiesName Years Degrees(s) Study Interview Survey Observation Teaching Area(s)Sean 1.5 BA, PGD Japanese and Asian Studies Yes Yes NoMargaret 5 BA Economics Yes Yes YesTracey 5 BA, PGD Japanese and Linguistics Yes Yes NoJoan 6.5 BA History and English Yes Yes YesAlicia 13 Diploma of Commerce Yes Yes Yes EducationDebra 13 BA, PGD Japanese and History Yes No YesJane 4 BA, MA English and Applied Yes Yes Yes LinguisticsLaura 8 BA Music Yes Yes YesTamara 2.5 BS Biology Yes Yes YesYumiko .75 BA, PGD French Literatureand Yes Yes Yes JapaneseNote.Pseudonymsare used throughout the article. PGD=PostgraduateDiploma in Education (apanese), forYumikoa PostgraduateDiploma in Education (French).modifications of wording. All 10 interviews were recorded as participant observations. In thetranscribed for descriptive data and analyzed. other classrooms our notes were made as ob-Each interview (10 total) was conducted in En- server only. A total of 20 classroom observationsglish except for the interview with the nativeJapa- offered evidence about Japanese language in-nese speaking teacher, which was recorded and struction.transcribed in Japanese and subsequently trans-lated into English by one of the researchers.These transcribed interviews provided descrip- Surveytive data for analysis. To add a dimension not tapped in the pre- viously explained data sources, we adapted the Foreign Language Attitude Survey for TeachersObservations (FLAST; for a full description see Savignon, 1983). Specifically, the responses to the survey Classroom observations followed the inter- uncovered teachers individual differences andviews. The researcher was usually seated at the overall general attitude. Nine of the 10 teachersback of the classroom and occasionally moved returned the questionnaires. Their Likert-scaledaround the class. Field notes taken on site docu- responses were analyzed using descriptive statis-mented the progression and procedures of each tics and the computer program StatView (1993).lesson. Adhering to Silvermans (1993) warning Although Savignon warned that FLAST was notto avoid early generalizations, we focused on what meant to be scored, she also proposed thatwas observable: setting, participants, events, acts,and gestures (Glesne & Peshkin, 1992). In addi- the answers teachers give will depend on their inter-tion, immediately following the observations, we pretation of the questions as well as on their secondreviewed and expanded all notes to include fur- language learning and teaching experiences. A com-ther information and detail (Glesne & Peshkin, parison of responses, however, will reveal the differ- ences in attitude among teachers working together,1992; Spradley, 1979). The observations of Japa- presumably toward similar goals. (p. 122)nese class lessons were completed two to threetimes in each of eight of the Japanese language It was precisely these differences of interpretationclassrooms. Two teachers requested not to be ob- among a group of professional language teachersserved. Furthermore, 2 other teachers wanted to and the comparison of these differences with in-use the native Japanese researcher as a native terview and observation data that, we believed,informant, so in these classrooms it was not pos- could further reveal and better delineate teach-sible to observe a typical class session. However, ers attitudes toward CLT. Responses were nu-the interactions in these particular classes were merically coded and those items receiving a mean
  9. 9. Sato and RobertC. Kleinsasser Kazuyoshi 501of 3.6 or higher were those with which teachers veys, while also offering a glimpse of what actuallyagreed (the closer to 5, the more strongly teach- happened in Japanese language teachers class-ers agreed with it). Those items receiving a mean rooms. Their conceptions of CLT serve as a cata-of 2.4 or lower were those with which teachers lyst to promote their understandings. We hope todisagreed. Items falling between 2.4 and 3.6 were show that the challenges they face help clarify, inthose with which teachers neither agreed nor dis- part, why they understand CLT the way they do.agreed, perhaps giving evidence of some uncer- In the second part, we uncover where these teach-tainty among the participants as a group. ers think they learned about CLT. We acknowl- edge how teachers situate their own under-Analysis standings about CLT (and L2 teaching, in general). The three data sources help articulate In the main, qualitative inductive approaches how these LOTE teachers view (communicative)were used to analyze the data for this article (for language teaching as an evolving enterprise, acomplete introductory discussion see Glesne & phenomenon that continually challenges them inPeshkin, 1992). In this instance, data were pe- their hourly, daily, monthly, and yearly L2 teach-rused and trends, categories, and classifications ing and learning experiences.were developed using the constant comparativemethod, suggested by Glaser and Strauss (1967), Towarda Definition of (Practical)CLTand other similar procedure descriptions oranalysis suggestions from more recent publica- The teachers gave few complete descriptionstions (e.g., Foss & Kleinsasser, 1996; Kleinsasser, about what CLT was and held varying, even frag-1993). Themes that emerged from the various mented, views. Yet, these fragmented views can bedata sources were identified, compared, and de- explained by the challenges these teachers faced.veloped into the analysis presented below for the The 10 participants revealed their beliefs aboutL2 profession. In addition, the act of writing itself CLT in broad terms and many concurred thatwas also part of the analysis. As Krathwohl (1993) CLT was neither fully articulated nor necessarilysuggested, an integral part of their instructional repertoires. Writingenforces a discipline that helps articulate half-formed ideas. Somethinghappens between the Language Teachers WhatJapanese Said, Responded, formationof an idea and its appearance paper,a on and Did latencythat somehowresultsin the clarificationand untanglingof our thinking.Writinghelps bring un- One teacher eloquently overviewed the notion conscious processingto light as articulatedsynthe- that CLT was not yet established, giving valuable sizedstatements.(p. 81) insight into many of the teachers feelings. A sen-Glesne and Peshkin (1992) reminded that: "The timent that CLT was a "work in progress" fore-act of writing also stimulates new thoughts, new shadowed evolving understandings of CLT by theconnections. Writing is rewarding in that it cre- participants in this study. When asked, "How doates the product, the housing for the meaning you define CLT?"she replied:that you and others have made of your research Itsa difficultquestion.Well,I supposethe definitionadventure. Writing is about constructing a text" of [a] CLT method has not been establishedyet.(p. 151). Moreover, the researchers sought to de- There are some varietiessuch as task-based some ...velop this particular presentation so that readers rigid scholarssuggestnot [even] using Englishin acould enter into the events studied and vicari- class.So, I am at a loss whatCLTis. I thinklanguageously participate in creating text (Eisner, 1991). teachingshould be related to studentsexperiencesInstead of talking about qualitative data, here it is and interests whichcreatenaturalsituations them foractually presented.4 to speak.I supposeit is important,but I dont know whetherit is communicative not. (Yumiko) orCLT:PRACTICALUNDERSTANDINGS Four main conceptions about CLT were dis- cussed by the teachers: (a) CLT is learning to In this section, we bring together data from communicate in the L2, (b) CLT uses mainlyinterviews, surveys, and observations to describe speaking and listening, (c) CLT involves littleteachers beliefs, knowledge, and prac- grammar instruction, (d) CLT uses (time-con-tices-their understandings-of CLT. In the first suming) activities. How teachers talked about andpart, we outline the salient issues they conveyed defined their notions of CLT were developedin the interviews and responded to on their sur- through these four main conceptions that were
  10. 10. 502 The ModernLanguageJournal83 (1999)revealed through LOTE (Japanese) teachers 1989; Koide, 1976; Lange, 1982] and became par-voices, responses, and actions. ticularly highlighted when foreign language or LOTE instruction spread to primary schools CLTIsLearningto Communicate theL2. Almost in [Clyne, 1977; Heining-Boynton, 1990]). Theall teachers globally defined CLT as learning to teachers relayed their frustrations when discuss-communicate with other people using the L2. Afew specifically added to that definition the idea ing these problems with (communicative) lan-of using language for real purposes. Participants guage teaching. As Japanese language teaching and learningrelayed their sentiments as the following teachers became popular (and required) in primarydid. schools, these high school teachers faced articu- I would hope that I would, ought to teach students lation problems. Alicia described how the teach- how to communicate both orally and in a written ers did not necessarily welcome previous lan- form so that I would expect them to hold a conversa- guage learning experiences by their students in tion at the best of their ability. (Debra) primary schools. Tracey maintained that LOTE Its teaching language that can be used by students in teaching needed to be accepted and supported real life, in real life-like situations. Its used for real within the school and wider community, and Yu- purposes. There must be some need to communicate miko yearned for collegiality. in order to be able to challenge the students to use language communicatively. (Joan) I think the most difficult thing is [the] students com- Learning to communicate was an important ing from [the] primary school. Some of them maybeattribute of CLT, and, through the survey, these have 3 years, and some of them maybe have 1 year inteachers agreed that the students motivation to primary school, some of them have nothing. Then,continue language study was directly related to theyre coming to Year 8. And its very difficult to have the mixed classes. Then, when youre getting totheir success in actually learning to speak the Year 9, you have students who are coming to doJapa-language. They also suggested that students did nese in Year 9, who have no Japanese, who havenot have to answer a question posed in Japanese various experiences [and you start] all over again.with a complete sentence and strongly agreed (Alicia)that one could not teach language without cul- Another issue is at the moment, were in [a] realture, while concurring that cultural information transition period in the community with acceptanceshould be given in the L2 as much as possible. and nonacceptance of LOTE teaching as valuable.These teachers were clearly aware that simulated Some people value it, some people dont value it at all. And some of the people in the community dontreal-life situations should be used to teach conver- value it, or colleagues [within the school dont valuesational skills, yet were ultimately realistic in it either]. So thats very difficult until we have a cul-agreeing that most language classes did not pro- ture of, no, not a culture of, uh, a mindset, wherevide enough opportunity for the development of having a second language is valuable. Thats the be-such conversational skills. It is clear that teachers ginning and the end. Learning all languages is valu-saw the value in what CLT offered; nonetheless, able. Thats it. So you learn it all through primarytheir scepticism about attaining communicative [school], secondary [school]. Its exactly the same,skills surfaced. The participants neither agreed science, English, math you do it. Its just part of whatnor disagreed that the ability to speak a language you do. But we are not there yet. So until we get towas innate; therefore, they believed that everyone that point, this transition is very difficult. We have an opposition from others. (Tracey)capable of speaking a first language should be I also feel its difficult to receive support from thecapable of learning to speak a L2. Although there school just because Im not Australian. I think itswas the potential for communication in their true. We dont usually communicate with other col-classrooms, the teachers were unsure about the leagues. We talk to each other only within closeextent to which they had the time to promote it friends. Though its not related to language teachingand whether or not all students were capable of directly, I think it is a problem. (Yumiko)learning it. Three challenges created further tensions for On the survey the LOTE teachers as a groupteachers in promoting communication in the L2. neither agreed nor disagreed that they needed toThese included subject matter articulation, lack be fluent themselves to begin to teach communi-of institutional support, and their own lack of catively. Nonetheless, during the interviews, theproficiency in the L2. (These three issues have teachers commented on their own (inadequate)plagued the language professions in both Austra- language proficiency; however, many reportedlia and the U.S. [e.g., Ariew, 1982; Australian Lan- that they tried to use the L2 as much as possible.guage and Literacy Council, 1996; Kawagoe, Tamara felt insecure about her language profi-
  11. 11. Sato and RobertC. KleinsasserKazuyoshi 503ciency. Joan responded that, as she became more ing. In short, her L2 learning experiencesconfident with her L2 proficiency and ability to seemed to have formed a belief that CLT usedmeet students needs, she moved further away only speaking and listening.from the textbook. Tamara was not afraid to be The survey results reinforced the significancehonest. Joan decided to go back to university to of speaking and listening skills, or at least sug-finish her 3rd year of Japanese study. gested that there might be an order to how skills were learned. The teachers agreed that the in- Also, my ability to speak Japanese. Sometimes I feel struction of such skills preceded the teaching of like my language is not sufficient to challenge the students, to push them. I dont think I give them reading and writing, that L2 acquisition was most successful when based on an oral approach, and enough listening experience, because I am insecure of my ownJapanese. (Tamara) that students could still be successful in learning In terms of the daily use of textbook, I am surprised to communicate in a L2 even if they did not read to find that I am moving further and further away well. The teachers did not attribute weak oral from [the] use of the regular textbook. Every year competence to a lack of objective means in teach- level has one, but I find as I become more confident ing it. Nonetheless, assessment of students lan- with my language, and as I become more confident to guage abilities caused some concern. meet the needs or interest of the students and differ- The LOTE teachers found that assessment ent topics, I want real Japanese language, not the tasks that were focused on the four skills offered textbook. (oan) another slight obstacle. It is interesting to note The teachers reported that CLT meant learn- that the LOTE teachers emphasized that CLTing to communicate in the L2. The interview and meant speaking and listening; however, the gov-survey data showed how they coped with what this ernment guidelines for communicative assess-meant to them. The challenges, however, seemed ment included all four skills, each seeminglysometimes to outweigh the benefits of making given equal weighting. The teachers concernscommunication in the L2 a reality. Nonetheless, dealt with the number of tests and the lack ofthe first conception served as a general reminder cohesion among the skill examinations.about the global purpose of CLT. This focus on And we have four tests at the end of each semester,communication led to the second conception reading, writing, listening, and speaking. And thethat these teachers think writing and reading are middle of each semester, we have two tests. In thenot as prevalent (important) as listening and middle of [the] first semester, if we test reading andspeaking. writing, then, in the middle of [the] second semester, we test speaking and listening. So by the end of the CLT Uses Mainly Speakingand Listening.A sec- year weve tested four skills, three times. (Margaret)ond trend from the data revealed that several Well, according to the senior curriculum, I am re-teachers viewed CLT as focusing extensively on quired to give them a certain number of tests in whatspeaking and listening skills. The following they call the four macro skills-reading, writing,quotes represented this general view. speaking, and listening. They all have to be separate tests. So I have to give them one of each kind of tests The goal of the teaching is that at the end of learning each term. I basicallyjust give them tests, you know. I the language, people can actually talk in the language will have a passage written in Japanese on a topic that with the native speakers understand [ing] what weve studied. And they have to read it and they have theyre saying and be [ing] able to communicate their questions in English and they have to answer in En- ideas rather than just being able to read and write. glish. So its just as a comprehensive test. Listening, (Margaret) well, Ill have [a] passage in Japanese. Ill read it and My understanding of CLT is that you teach so that then theyll have questions in English. So they dont [the] students hear it and so that they speak it. I see it. Theyjust think they read it. Then, they have to would try where its possible to teach something new answer in English. And speaking, I just give them by actually speaking. [...] I think writing needs a little some topics to talk about and they have to talk. (Role explanation to teach the pattern and get them to play or interview?) Oh, both. So, thats how I evalu- write the pattern. [. . .] And perhaps because I ate, just standard, four micro skills tests. Im not par- learned Japanese as an adult and learned it commu- ticularly looking for communicative skills as such, but nicatively, I didnt learn a lot of writing at the time. just as four micro skills, which is the prescribed way Writing was the neglected skill. So I suppose Ive been of testing. (Sean) very aware of CLT. (Alicia) The tension between CLT and skills became At the completion of her interview, Alicia re- apparent. The teachers saw two completely differ-vealed again that she learnedJapanese communi- ent issues and proceeded with what they per-catively in speaking and listening, but not in writ- ceived they had to do in their classrooms for their
  12. 12. 504 The Modern Language Journal 83 (1999)students. It is interesting to note that many of nation. So thats why I like [a] combination of boththem did not see, or present, how the competing systems. (Jane)conceptions could be reconciled. They allowed Debra was in a dilemma, because she was nottheir understanding of skills (through policy) to allowed to offer a grammar test according to theoutweigh their promotion of CLT (especially in governments guidelines of communicative as-using speaking and listening). Items from the sessment.survey further revealed that the group thoughtthat dialogue memorization was an effective tech- I think that [the] writing test is the main worry. It is the big worry, because it takes us a lot of time. Actu-nique in the process of learning a L2 but dis-agreed over the belief that mastering L2 gram- ally this is the big problem with CLT,because our tests have to be communicative, too. So we cant have amar was a prerequisite to developing oralcommunication skills. This disagreement could grammar test. We cant have a test where you have to do multiple choice. No, we cant. We cant do it at all.be why some teachers saw these other skills (read- So what we have to do is trying authentic material foring and writing) as a means to focus on grammar. students to read. (Debra)These issues and challenges only seemed to rein-force the third conception about the role of The participants were challenged over what to in CLT. do with grammar in their learning environments.grammar Most teachers did not discuss the role of gram- mar in CLT because they thought grammar was CLT Involves Little Grammar Instruction. Quite a not part of CLT. Neither did they understandfew teachers understood CLT as not involving completely the guidelines for not allowing gram-grammar, or any type of language structure. Al- mar to be included in their testing. Yet they re-though some teachers did not directly mention layed difficulties in teaching it when it came togrammar usage, many alluded to the problem ofhow, if at all, to include it. discussing what went on with language teaching in their classrooms. Although some did not know Another issue in LOTE learning and teaching is that the role of grammar in CLT as revealed in the "Is communicative teaching good?" Because people definitions above, others blamed English teach- have taken it so far to the point of the banning of ers for not teaching grammar or felt it difficult to grammar teaching or of the banning of drilling, of present grammar in an interesting way, or both. the banning of all little parts. You have to do at some points, to learn Hiragana [apanese syllabary], you Uh, these are difficult questions. Whats the role of have to write out over and over after practice. But in grammar? Uh, I think grammar is important so that communicative language, you think, "Icant do it. Its meaning is not lost, but I try not to correct the stu- not communicative." So thats the burden. ... So dents grammar too much, when they speak, because when I [was] first teaching grammar, it had very little, I dont want to inhibit them. I dont think it is [a] very very little place. We did lots of talking, lots of reading important thing. I treat it as a building block, and and writing and listening, but not so much grammar. then, hopefully that will make students practice what- Which is the mistake of, I think, part of the flow in ever language theyve learned before. And if there communicative teaching. I almost expected that stu- are many minor mistakes on grammar, I dont fix dents would pick it up. They would somehow work it them up on it. Yeah, I cant answer that question very out without me saying "wo is the object.... It well. (Tamara) would work if you guess. Sometimes I still do that. For a number of years now, they havent really been (Tracey) teaching even in English very much. I found a lot of Its using Japanese whenever possible in the class- my students at high school dont really know much room. But Im not particularly a communicative lan- about the technical aspects of English language. So it was discouraged for some years. The teaching of En- guage teacher, because I love teaching grammar.... While I like some aspects of it, I very much dislike glish grammar was discouraged. So a lot of the stu- some ... aspects of it... while I was studying inJapan, dents have gone through the high school system not I had a teacher who was studying [the] communica- really learning English grammar. So then, you know, tive method. And she believed that she did not ex- I think its unfortunate. So its hard to teach them plain grammatical points in the text. She believed you Japanese grammar if they dont understand English should get to understand them from the atmosphere. grammar. (Sean) And that was very frustrating as a student. So thats The conundrum of grammars place within why I dont like it so much, because I love to under- CLT (or language teaching in general, for that stand the grammar. And I think many of the best students do. And students we have doing Japanese matter) was further highlighted in the survey re- are often very analytical thinkers. AndJapanese to me sults. As a group, these teachers were uncertain is a little bit like math. And students thought of it like about the importance of having students learn math. So sometimes its possible to have a little expla- rules of grammar (they neither agreed nor dis-
  13. 13. Sato and RobertC. KleinsasserKazuyoshi 505agreed) but were adamant that the grammar- Then, we give them ... extrathingsthey can add totranslation approach to L2 learning was not effec- it. Then, theymustlearnand presentit in a class.Dotive in developing oral communication skills. On role-play or so. And in Year9 [it is] similar, but theres more freedom. By the time you get to Year 12, justthe one hand, these LOTE teachers accepted that talk. (Laura)student responses in the L2 did not have to belinguistically accurate. They further agreed thatwhen a student made syntactical errors, the er- WhatJapanese LanguageTeachers Did: Traditionalrors should be accepted as a natural and inevita- Practices.Regardless of the role grammar had ac-ble part of language acquisition and that ideas cording to the individual teachers or what teach-can be exchanged spontaneously in a foreign lan- ers said about accommodating learning styles,guage without having linguistic accuracy. On the many findings from classroom observations con-other hand, the LOTE teachers agreed that if first founded the information given by the teachers inlanguage (L1) teachers taught grammar the way their interviews and on their surveys. Grammarthey should, it would be easier for them to teach was more central in their language teaching thana L2. The participants further agreed that when these LOTE teachers admitted. The teachersthe foreign language structure differed from that were more didactic in their instruction than theyof the LI, sometimes extensive repetitions, sim- related and less concerned with individuals thanple and varied, were needed to form the new with the class as a group entity. Whether or nothabit. They agreed that pattern practice was an they were teaching communicatively, grammareffective learning technique and that the estab- was a central focus in the observed classrooms.lishment of new language habits required exten- For example, although most teachers said thatsive, well-planned practice on a limited body of they used role-play, games, simulations, and sovocabulary and sentence patterns. on, classes observed for this study were heavily It is interesting to note that puzzlement over teacher-fronted, grammar was presented withoutissues surrounding grammar also manifested it- any context clues, and there were few interactionsself within another challenge teachers had with seen among students in the classrooms (this de-learning styles. Most teachers acknowledged that scribes what we mean by "traditional practices").they had to be aware of students learning styles, Most Japanese teachers used English extensivelyespecially different styles between year levels. to explain grammatical points and give instruc-They tended to agree with the survey item that all tions; L2 communicative use and speaking in thestudents, regardless of previous academic success L2 by students, in particular, were not as preva-and preparation, should be encouraged and lent as one might assume from listening to thegiven the opportunity to study a foreign lan- interviews or reading the survey results. TheJapa-guage. Nonetheless, learning styles offered an ad- nese teachers readily allowed students to answerditional focus that some felt was not at all part of in English. A few teachers tried to integrate cul-CLT. Moreover, here teachers related that some ture into their lessons. In short, most teachersstudents wanted a grammar focus. displayed traditional practice tendencies. The fol- All Grade11 and 12 wantto studyin a formalway.So lowing selected examples typicallyportrayed what was seen in the Japanese language classrooms. even though I introduce a communicative activity, For instance, Tamara started her lesson for they dont want to get involvedin it. They are more interestedin grammatical Year 12 with a Kanji (Chinese characters) quiz. explanations.But, for ex- ample,Grade10 get along well with me. They really like interestingtopics and start to speak. So I feel At the beginning, she handed out quiz sheets to eve- more comfortable juniors.Seniorsseem to have with ryone. She gave students 10 minutes to complete the acquireda formalwayof studyinglikeJapanesestu- quiz. While students were working on the quiz, she dents .. .This is where the difficulty lies, I feel. (Yu- wrote grammatical points on the board. After the miko) quiz, she started to explain the grammar (passive Uh, Year 8, they learn patterns. We teach them, you form) by using English sentences as examples. Then, know, This is the pattern." If you want to say, I like she explained it with Japanese sentences. While she French and I like math, and I hate science. Then, we explained verb conjugations, students wrote them teach them to say, ". . . ga suki," ". . . ga kirai desu." down in their notebooks. After that, she showed verb Then, we give them a list of subjects. And we get them cards and made students say passive forms. It was like to talk. So they can express their own feeling inJapa- drills. Then, she asked students to open the text- nese. We did the same things with sports and hobbies books, and they did exercises that transformed active and families.... And then, if we are doing something sentences into passive ones. She called on each stu- like [the topic of] restaurant, then, we give them a dent individually and let him or her answer. Finally, dialogue. We get them to learn the basic dialogue. she asked students to create their own sentences by
  14. 14. 506 TheModernLanguageJournal 83 (1999) using passive forms. After a few minutes, the bell Students came in the classroom in a line. First, she rang. (Observation of Tamara) reviewed the grammar structure (potential form) on the blackboard. She asked a yes-no question to indi- This was her lesson. There was little interaction vidual students. Then, she reviewed Kanji usingbetween the teacher and the students, and little cards. Students read several cards, each time theamong the students. Moreover, this lesson pro- teacher showed the card to them several times. Aftervided little evidence of attention to varying learn- that, she told the students to open the textbook. Theying styles. Grammar points were explained de- did translation exercises. She asked individual stu-ductively without any context clues and were dents to answer them. Then, she asked two studentsfollowed by mechanical exercises in textbooks. to read the short model conversation. She asked an- Yumiko is a native Japanese teacher. She just other pair to read it. She gave the students five min- utes to practice the skit in pairs. After that, she askedstarted teaching in the academic year after she for volunteers. Students were shy. So she asked twofinished her Postgraduate Diploma of Education. pairs to perform the skit without looking at the text-The following is her Year 12 lesson. She said in book. The rest of the class helped the performersher interview that communicative activities did when they got stuck. The bell rang, and she told thenot work for Years 11 and 12, because these stu- students that they would practice the skit more nextdents liked a more formal way of study, especially time. (Observation of Margaret)grammatical explanations. Margaret related in her interview that she had She spent most of her lesson speaking Japanese. difficulty motivating Year 8 and 9 students and First, she gave an example to introduce a new sen- tence pattern in context. She kept on giving other managing their discipline. Although she stated that "in Year 10 and 11 and 12 by the students examples in Japanese. Each student was checking the new function with the handout the teacher had who have chosen to do the subject, my teaching method is totally different. I do lots of question- given them previously. Then, after several examples, she asked yes-no questions to students. But students naires, lots of games, and lot of more discussion, answered in English. Sometimes students asked role-play ... ," she actually relied here on tradi- questions in English about the content of the topic tional practices. As our interview, survey, and ob- or examples. There were no interactions among stu- servation data coalesced, it became clear that ten- dents. Then, she started to give another example to sions abounded over grammar instruction, introduce another grammatical point. They re- learning styles, and CLT. The challenges of meet- peated the same process. Finally, she introduced three new Kanji words. She wrote them on the black- ing students needs continued to give focus to the teachers daily instruction, while their idea of board and she made sure of the meaning of each CLT as minimal grammar instruction was mud- word by asking individual students. Students an- swered in English. There were no exercises with dled in the quagmire of what they did or thought Kanji in sentences. The lesson stopped here. (Ob- they had to do. servation of Yumiko) Activities.The final CLT Uses (Time-Consuming) This native-speaking Japanese teacher took conception evidenced in the interview data waspride in her approach to introducing grammar in that CLT used activities that must be fun, andcontexts. In her interview, she stated, "I often use almost all teachers admitted that preparing suchmany examples in Japanese to explain a new jovial activities was time intensive. Although theword. I keep on saying it until students can guess survey showed that teachers disagreed with thewhat it is. I like it that way." Nevertheless, students statement that a good foreign language teacheranswered in English during this lesson. No inter- did not need audiovisuals to build an effectiveaction among students could be seen, and it program, they agreed that if language teachersneeds to be remembered that this teacher men- used all the audiovisual equipment, materials,tioned that she relied little on communicative and techniques the experts say they should, thereactivities because "they dont want to get involved would be no time for eating and sleeping, muchin it." At this stage, she seemed to give up even less teaching. TheseJapanese teachers also nearlytrying to get them involved. She believed that agreed (mean 3.4) that individualizing instruc-certain students learning styles outweighed us- tion was really not feasible in L2 classes (which,ing communicative activities. in a surprising way, ties in with their issues regard- Margaret did a lesson for Year 10. Although she ing their reports of learning styles). Tracey com-attempted to use role-play, it was in reality a dia- mented that teachers felt they were failing if thelogue memorization. Overall, she relied heavily class did not include fun elements, and Sean dis-on traditional practices. cussed how he coped with the issue.
  15. 15. Kazuyoshi Sato and Robert C. Kleinsasser 507 Its from CLT or Im not sure where it comes from. exercise. But I dont teach from the textbook, usually But there is an understanding that as LOTE teachers I teach something new, before they look at the text- we must have our classes, [they] must be fun, they book. So we need more time to prepare our own must be entertaining, and so [we] play lots of games materials. Its quite hard. Its not like Japan where and kill ourselves trying to entertain our students. If they use, everybody uses the same, and same day, they are not, if it is not entertaining, we feel like were same page.... I think I need time to prepare the failing. And students also [say], Thats boring, Miss." resources for the students. I think thats really impor- And you think, of course, everything has some bor- tant. To make flash cards, to make the lesson interest- ing, bad, some not interesting parts, right? So thats ing, we need to have really more time. (Debra) another part. (Tracey) The time to reflect as a teacher. [... ] And I teach 27 My understanding of communicative teaching is, I out of 35 lessons a week. [... ] I might have three or suppose, teaching in a way rather than just learn [ing] four lessons a week at most of my own preparation grammar or translat[ing] from one language to an- and correction time. What I would really love is the other. It involves using learning activities where the luxury of something like a position, a head of Depart- students are actually engaged in communicating with ment, where you have [a] half time table, half teach- other people, of course, usually within [a] class ing, half managing, where you would have time to group.... In that way, I suppose, they are supposed look at resource materials available and slowly and to learn how to use the language more easily than just carefully put together a course. (Joan) to try [the] grammatical translation [way] to learn- ing.... But I have not really used them very much. Another major challenge to CLT and its activi- Well, its time-consuming. Of course, its so much ties was discipline. Margaret revealed in her inter- easier to use [a] textbook. I mean it would be nicer if view that discipline was the priority and that there it was a textbook with a lot of communicative learning was little room for her to use communicative ac- activities in it. To be always making every week, for tivities in Grade 8 classes. Jane also used a similar every lesson, to make activities in it, its very time-con- technique to "settle students down." suming and [I] just wonder, I dont have that much time to spend on it. Because I have other subjects and But unfortunately a lot of our students, lots of stu- another class to teach, too. (Sean) dents I am teaching at high school at Year 8, they are forced to studyJapanese. So they have very negative Quite a few participants said they occasionally attitudes. So if I speak to them in Japanese in theused CLT activities in classrooms. Alicia described classroom, they switch off from what they want toher use of a fun activity. know. So all of the time I have to speak in English So you can use group activities or pair activities, inter- anyway. And they are quite badly behaved students views, they can be interviewing. For instance, another anyway.So the way that I teach Japanese is not really communicative. Its more like Ive got to keep these thing the Year 10 just learned is to say when is your kids quiet, more behaved for 35 minutes. And the birthday. So they have to go around and ask 10 peo- main idea is not that Im teaching at all. The main ple that question.... So thats communication. They can go around and ask. This school is very interest- idea is discipline. (Margaret) ing. Hardly anybody was born in [suburb]. So I use Nearly everyday I give them a little quiz to start with activities like that as often as I can. And then also for the lesson, quite often. And it might be grammar or listening, for instance, today, with one of my Year 10 vocabulary or Kanji or something. Almost everyday, classes, I was pretending to be their phone answering particularlywith Grade 8, it settles them down. If they machine. Im the answering machine. So they had to write something, they can concentrate on it. (Jane) take notes. So I pretended to be the person. So I made suggestions. (Alicia) Although LOTE teachers agreed that language learning should be fun, they disagreed that L2 Almost all teachers reported they needed more acquisition was not and probably never would betime to prepare materials for CLT activities, relevant to the average Australian student. Butwhich related directly to the fact that these teach- they neither agreed nor disagreed as a group thaters perceived there existed a lack of good materi- one of their problems in teaching a L2 was thatals including textbooks for communicative lan- they tried to make learning fun and games. Someguage instruction. teachers agreed, others disagreed, and there was no consensus. We dont use the textbook everyday.My Grade 8, they have no textbook. Next year well have one, but this Yet, student motivation and LOTE teachers concerns about it appeared throughout the inter- year we dont, because the textbook was not commu- nicative. It was too boring. For Grade 9 we have Is- views. As seen in previous quotations and discus- shoni just for the first time this year. So I use this sions, these teachers struggled to motivate their perhaps half of the time. So after four lessons maybe students. This particular issue gained momentum Ill use it for part of the lessons. And then, well use when the teachers admitted to their difficulties this to practice. And they can use this for a homework with subject matter articulation, grammar in-
  16. 16. 508 The Modern LanguageJournal 83 (1999)struction, acknowledgment of individual learn- music, then, they can read a music magazine or watch the video clip, or [sing] some Japanese songs oring styles, and questionable assessment items. Stu-dent motivation also affected the decision on something like that. And that makes them more in- terested. (Debra)whether or not to try out CLT.Jane expressed herdifficulty in motivating students who, especially in CLT activities appeared, at first glance, to influ-Grade 8, had to take the subject. Note further ence student motivation, but this was not neces-that she again highlighted and integrally related sarily the case. Instead, their focus on form andthe issue of learning styles. student discipline made these teachers shy away from CLT activities, or relegate them to the more The most critical issue at the junior level is that be- advanced language learners. Moreover, it ap- cause they are not streamed academically, we have [a] very wide range of ability from very good to very poor peared that the lack of availability of CLT activi- [students in the] language class we have today. And ties (or time to create them) caused these teach- so we must teach "Hiragana."But some students cant ers practically to ignore them. Time was not what master that. So they are already dropping behind. So these teachers had, so CLT activities were not a by the end of the year, theres a very wide gap. And priority. This low priority was apparent in the those students who are very poor become very resent- scarcity of CLT activities (of any kind) seen dur- ful. And its very hard to maintain the interest level of ing observations. everyone, when theres such a wide gap. So thats one of the most critical issues. And I dont know what the What Japanese Language TeachersDid: Innovative answer is, we should stream or what we should do. But Practices. It was obvious that the teachers believed that also subtracts from CLT,because, of course, they that CLT activities created too much work for cant understand. Theyre slower learners. So they them, because few participants were observed to cant write, they cant stand what is happening as well use such activities in the classroom. In contrast to as the better students. So thats one of the most criti- their use of the traditional practices mentioned cal issues. (Jane) previously, only a few teachers used student-stu- Tamara revisited the value of learning another dent interactions or made students use the lan-language: guage for real purposes. Of these, two teachers also attempted to use Japanese to a greater extent And also I think it important that students see a value than the other teachers did. As mentioned above, in learning another language, because if they dont Alicia reported using some innovative ideas. Her see it as just another subject that they have to do, I dont think were going to have a right attitude to lesson for Year 9 gave further insight into her learning about cultures. And if they are not inter- practices. ested in culture, then, its also going to make it diffi- First, she reviewed some Kanji numbers. She held cult for them to pick up the language. (Tamara) cards and asked each student to read one. The stu- Debra lamented the fact that students lacked dent picked up the card. She told the student inJapa- nese to show the card to everyone. Others repeatedmotivation because they did not particularly care the number. She tried several cards. All these wordsfor discrete-point learning: were related to the topic "restaurant." Then, she I think sometimes, [students] lack the motivation to showed a Japanese tea cup, a sake cup, and other really study a language, the skills of the language. For things asking questions in Japanese. Students an- swered in Japanese. She checked homework. Those example, I can teach them some new words or new who did not do the homework stood up, and they Kanji, but students find it very hard to learn. The students must realize that they need to study. And, of were told to come back to the classroom during course, if they had a trip toJapan, that would be good lunchtime to show the homework. Then, they did motivation for them. (Debra) translation exercises from the textbook. After giving instruction for the next homework assignment, she Debra did encourage students in Years 11 and gave students 10 minutes to prepare for a role-play (at12 to involve themselves in theJapanese language the Japanese restaurant) in groups of 3 to 4. One stu- dent was a waiter/waitress, and the others were cus-by watching TV programs and reading. Theseactivities would, she felt, encourage the students tomers. She walked around the class and sometimesto be motivated to learn in her advanced classes. answered students questions. Then, four groups per- formed in front of the class. Three groups mainly fol- And Im trying to build up the materials that we have lowed the model dialogue, but the last group was in- at school so that students can be interested in the teresting because the students did not follow the subject. So, for example, if we have students in class, model dialogue. They made the class laugh. She made who are interested in sports, they can read some some comments on their performance-"Well done" sporting magazine, so [we] watch the baseball or and a little tip about how to order at aJapanese restau- Sumo on TV. Or if the students are interested in rant. (Observation of Alicia)

×