Critical review teaching methodology

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  • 1. Ehsan Ataei MP101459 Feb, 2011 Using attitude scales to investigate teachers attitudes to the communicative approach Evdokia Karavas-DoukasINTRODUCTIONThis research paper looks at teachers’ attitudes toward communication language teachingapproach.Teachers’ attitudeand behavior has the main role to implement any approach.Article introduction discussed over teachers that they are following traditional approach inpractice but they admitted communicative approach. Based on so many studies communicativeclassroomsarerarely found.Then, research comes to communicative approach and teachers attitudes discrepanciesIn order to apply a new approach as (Kennedy 1988:329) it is not enough for people to actdifferently, which is a surfacephenomenon, they may also be required to change the way theythinkabout certain issues, which is a deeper and more complex change.It is very hard for teachers to be innovative without any misunderstanding about any approach soaccording to Breen (1991) in-service teacher development is very important and can solve thisproblem. Sometimes it might happen unconsciously due to teachers’ education ormisinterpretations.BACKGROUND OF STUDYThe background to the study based on studies as Karavas (1993) commented focused on thedegree ofimplementation of a communicative learner-centered approach in Greekpublic secondary schoolEFL classrooms. The investigation of Greek English language teachers attitudes towards thecommunicative approach would help identify the teachers’readiness to accept and implement thisnew approach in their classrooms. Observing classes would reveal classrooms practices, natureof activities and teachers roles
  • 2. The researcher decided to choose Likert -type scale because it is easy, relevant and there is noneed for judgment.The statements in this method covered the main aspects of the communicative learner centeredApproach such as group work, error correction, grammar students’ needs, and the teachers`andlearners ‘roleFINDINGSTeachers hold favorable attitudes toward the communication approach based on scores But intheir observations they diverged from the principles of communicative approach and followed aneclectic approach. According to in-depth analysis those teachers were weak in CLTunderstanding and got average score.It became clear in interviews that they did not understand and they could not apply any practicalimplications of CLT principles.Smart selection in questions minimize the problems occur in likert type scale evaluation andscores.In general, misinterpreting and misunderstanding about CLT approach made teachers to actdifferent or opposite of the approach principles.Regarding to Lamp (1995:79) the focus of teacher training courses should be the teacher beliefs:These need first to be articulated, and then analyzed for potential contradictions with each other,the teaching circumstances, and the beliefs of the learners. Attitude scales can play a significantrole in revealing teacher beliefs Teachers should perfectly train at the time of facing newapproach.And attitude evaluation can be a good guide to uncover teachers’ideas.
  • 3. ARTICLE’S POSITION There are some many papers about learning and teaching strategies, so many critics orarticles about different approaches all of them forget to zoom on the main target which is teachersand learners and their ideas. This article looks at teachers and learners at the center ofresearch. Inrecent years the importance of teacher cognitions has been increasingly recognized(Borg, 2003;Freeman, 2002). There are some studies about teachers’ beliefs and implementation of CLTinVietnam,Australia, Oman,Armenia, South Korea, china and Iran.As Pham Hoa Hiep (2005) found,although the theory of communicative competence on which CLT is based is uniform, it is broad. Asa result, what CLT looks like inclassroom practices may not be uniform. On one hand, it is a good point in CLT to have a wide range of activities and teachers havelimited restrictions but on the other hand it made teachers go beyond CLT or made them confuse.This broad theory has generated many different ways of understandings, descriptions, and uses ofCLT, challenging what it actually means to classroom teachers (Pham Hoa Hiep, 2005)Freeman and Richards (1993) mentioned ‘tensions’ between stated intentions and Actions because of‘divergences’ between different elements in a teacher’s understanding. Several surveys have revealed that teachers’ claims to be using communicativeapproacheshad not any support by their practices (Kumaravadivelu, 1993; Nunan, 1987). Mangubhaiet al. (2005) recommend that teachers might have two conceptualizations: a theoretical one based onstudy, and a practical one based on classroom experience. In contrast of these studies there are someother surveysas Savignon (2005) says Communicative syllabus in curricular reform in Japan showsthat CLT is successful or there is no other alternative. As Nunan (1987) says whilea great deal has been written on the theory and practice ofCLT, there have been comparatively few studies of actual Communicative languagepractice.Some studies in EFL countries prove this fact so we need more investigations on CLTpracticality (especially in EFL countries) also on teachers’ attitude toward CLT.
  • 4. Jack C Richard (2006) categorized CLT in traditional CLT(before 1970s) ClassicCLT(1970s-1990s) and CLT today so it might happen for teachers due to the history of changesin CLT to apply it based on past principles. After 1990s (classic CLT ) so many changeshappened in CLT and it needs to make some changes in implementation as jack C Richard(2006)says In applyingCLT principles in the classroom, new classroom techniques and activitieswere needed, new roles for teachers and learners in the classroom were required. Teachersshould be up dated to find the real CLT. Almarza (1996) found that institutional pressures can cause teachers to use practices thatdiffer from cognitions. Institutional pressures include matters as diverse as examinations, thesocialization of students, and accountability demands (Crookes, 1997). Breen et al. (2001) noticed that different teachers make different associationsbetweenprinciples and practices. Differences may be developmental as well: newknowledge can offernew terminology and new understandings of cognitions and practices(Freeman, 1991). These are related to teaching situations, andit has been recognized that Western methods(such as CLT) may not readily transfer tonon-Western state school settings (Holliday, 1994b).Shamim (1996) And Canagarajah (1999) discuss how differing student expectations can impactteacher andClassroom practices.so we have a wide range of factors based on these studies thataffect teachers CLT implementation and I could not find any comprehensive research for mycritical review.RESEARCH METHODOLOGY– critically discuss the methodological framework adopted. Are they appropriate? What are thestrengths and limitations? What other available options? in all researches, Teachers attitudes evaluation can be done by interviews, Kelly`s gridtechnique, recall method and questionnaires (open and closed ended) and also in-depthinterviews. Using in-depth interview in this article is very good because there are some problemsand limitations in teachers attitudes evaluations that resolved by it. Also observations are the bestways but the number of observation should be more that one time to have a better and anaccurate results. In general, two major useful methods in teachers attitudes evaluation aresemi-structured, in-depth interviews; and stimulated recall interviews involving the use ofvideotapesof lessons taught by the teacher toprompt teacher recall of aspects of herpracticaltheories.(Connelly & Clandinin, 1988; Elbaz, 1983).
  • 5. About factors which affect teachers attitudes researches could use a wide range ofelements but just teachers role teachers error correction and class activities and learners role andgrammar were questioned. According to Pham Hoa Hiep (2005) factorsrange from systemicconstraints such as traditional examinations, largeclass sizes, to cultural constraints characterizedby beliefsStudents’ responsibility, teaching Time is also important. About teacher andstudentrole, and classroom relationships, to personal constraints such asstudents’ low motivation andunequal ability to take part in independentactive learning practices, and even to teachers’ limitedexpertise in creatingcommunicative activities like group work. So I think the range of questionswas limited and not comprehensive. The difficulties reported by the Korean teachers fall into four categories: those caused (a)by the teacher, (b) by the students, (c) by the educational system, and (d) by CLT itself. Amongthem, difficulties falling into the first category were mentioned most often, almost twice or threetimes as much as those in the other three categories DEFENG LI (1998)It would be better forresearcher to give a framework and mentioned important CLT factors and based on that start theevaluation because CLT concepts are divers. According to Ellis (1 994), teaching in a foreign language setting gives rise toconflicts. Clashes of expectations and clashes of assumptions about the acceptablebehavior of individuals from two different cultures are examples of the difficulties in theway of integrating one teaching methodology into another.Ellis (1 994) investigated the appropriateness of the communicative approach inVietnam. It was found that one of the basic problems in implementing a communicativeapproach in Vietnam was the teachers holding on to the deep-rooted tradition. Thisproblem, according to Ellis, was compounded by two traditional practices: the culturalreluctance of the Vietnamese to challenge written words, and the focus on grammar translationin the examination system.
  • 6. FINDINGS AND IMPLICATIONS– an evaluative critique of the findings and implications in terms of its contributions, whether itis worth publishing and aspects it fails to address. It seems that this article is one of the rare articles discussed over teachers attitude andafter that the number of articles with similar subject decrease so it proves using attitude scales inapproach practicality is necessary. But finding teachers attitude with different backgrounds isvery hard so although there are some discrepancies between teacher’s attitude and teacher’simplementationBut this article did not mentioned about the reasons. Evaluating attitudes is very hard and it needs some verification to have the reliability InEvdokia`s article split half method used to do so which is a positive point. About teachersattitude toward CLT there are so many factors as in Kumaravadivelu’s work (2001) attempts ashift in viewpoint by identifying limitations associated with CLT methodology and arguing for afocus on particularity, practicality and possibility within a post method paradigm. However, theproposed post method condition, despite its significant contribution to the study of methodology,has also been seen as adapting but ultimately maintaining the dominant paradigm. I suppose in CLT implementation there are some other factors like CLT practicalityWe come to this question that is CLT suitable for all countries and is it a kind of practical theoryfor all learners (native and ESL and EFL learners) this is another subject can be probe later.Likert scale type can find the discrepancy and it is not suitable to find the reasons and realfeelings of teachers. Also I think it is better to evaluate teachers’ learners’ attitude toward CLTand CLT practicality to have a general conclusion and find the solutions.
  • 7. Brown(1994) notes that CLT is based on a broad theoretical position about thenature oflanguage and of language learning and teaching.Teachers deal with this position in theory and tryto apply it in practice on the other side students and their participation in applying CLT is veryimportant so low participation among students , misunderstanding in CLT theories amongteachers cause So-called communication language teaching .COMPARATIVE STUDY- replicate the study and compare your findings with Doukas’s. Indicate the details of yourrespondents in the reference section.Get at least FIVE respondents for your surveyObserve one classThe score for 5 respondents are: T1=78 T2= 86 T3=92 T=70 T5=69It seems that most of the teachers know about CLT but they cannot put it in practiceThey used to teach elective or they prefer to adapt their methods with their students’ needs soexpecting them to do the real CLT is not based on reality.Based on my own experience in my classes students are not used to do group or pair works dueto following factors 1. They do not know what should they do ( it is better to show them a movie with similar group work or role play ) 2. They know what should they do but they use first language some of them write their conversations and memorize it 3. They do not want to communicate in English even they want to do the job or task or role play maybe because they are not in a real situation and they cannot imagine themselves to be in an imaginary position
  • 8. 4. Role-plays should be relevant to the point in harmony with students level and background and attractive enough to be used by learners 5. I have created English workshop in and English institute I changed the position of role paly and group work from the class to another place (we had built some places like restaurant hotel travel agency shop etc. similar to real places with authentic materials. so students feel relaxed and talk better faster with self-confidence they were not in the class and they were not learning English so that was very successful. Also about evaluation it had 10 extra marks so students were not worried about losing any mark.Also base on my observation in MCI (English institute in Iran which use CLT method inteaching English) teachers are forced to match themselves with CLT methodsMost of the teachers have studied English in GTM and ALM so they cannot reject or deny theirhistory so unconsciously they use other methods rather than CLT they are not updated or they donot observe any real authentic CLT class so they make their own ideal class by their ideas andexperiences.Borg (1998) believes thatteachers’ pedagogic system is shaped by their educationaland professional experience in their life. When we discussed over learners and their cultures and first language it is difficult toapply a specific method in different places so giving a comprehensive definition for CLTapproach and applying it in different regions is difficult. Based on history of CLT this approachwas in progress and not limited or restricted. Local teachers that has no contact with the realEnglish world or CLT teachers that they are just imitators or had studied in GTM or ALMenvironment can not apply it very wellFUTURE DIRECTIONS– discuss the ways in which this particular line of study or analysis should be developed in future.As I mentioned before there should be more researches on CLT practicality in EFL countriesEFL countries should establish their own contingent of language researchers in order to developEnglish teaching theories more suitable for their EFL contexts. Change agents must studyteachers perceptions of an innovation to ensure its success DEFENG LI (1998)
  • 9. Despite the widespread adoption of communicative language teaching (CLT) in ESL countries,research suggests that curricular innovations prompted by the adoption of CLT in EFL countrieshave generally been difficult According to Larsen-Freeman (1986) Communicative activities andauthentic materials are two important basis of CLT so working on CLT is very important to fillthe gap between theory and practiceThe other subject can be learners and teachers attitudes and also some practical methods andtechniques .Also the role of TTC classes ( teacher training courses ) In changing or applying anew approach can be another subject. Ellis (1996) questioned the universal relevance of communicative approach tolanguage teaching in view of the cultural conflicts of different educational theorieshe asserted that tomake communicative approach suitable for Asian situation "it needs to be bothculturallyattuned and culturally accepted so cultural aspects of any approach implication are alsoimportant. In order to have a universal approach we need to think universally and get feed backsfrom different parts of the world. Having a probe on categorized attitudes can be useful as Sato & Kleinsasser (1999) saysteachers’ understandings and beliefs about some key characteristics of CLT differed from thoseappearing in the literature on CLT. teachers’ conceptions of CLT were of four types: (a) CLT isabout learning to communicate in the second language; (b) CLT uses mainly speaking andlistening; (c) CLT involves little grammar instruction; and (d) CLT uses activities that are timeconsuming. Most of studies seem to be small-scale and have been scattered across a number ofdifferent contexts.so it is not possible to have a general conclusion and further studies isnecessary.According to savingnon(2002) there are five components of a communicative curriculum 1. Language arts (related to teachers) 2. Language for a purpose (related to materials) 3. Personal English language use 4. Theatre arts 5 Beyond the classroom ( related to learners) So in applying CLT teachers are as important as students both sides should have a goodunderstanding about CLT and teaching skills and study skills should work together. In some
  • 10. cases pair and group work are difficult to use because ofstudents Pham Hoa Hiep(2005) sostudents are also involved in this subject.I have studied so many articles in accordance with the article from science direct and ELTjournal to EFL journal so I prefer to discuss about this subject rather than writing a criticalreview This is my first experience in writing a critical review so maybe so many points did notmention in this paper.Dealing with misconceptions about CLT is also important and needs more analysisthe four misconceptions about CLT reported byThompson (1 996): CLT means not teachinggrammar; CLT means teaching onlyspeaking; CLT means pair work which means role play; andCLT means expecting toomuch from the teacher. More over CLT is not an EFL methodologyCLT requires a proficient teacher and it is time consuming are also more misconceptions whichshould be clear for teachers and learners.
  • 11. REFERENCESBrown, H. D.(1994). Principles of Language Learningand Teaching: Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice HallRegents.Pham Hoa Hiep (2005) Communicative language teaching:unity within diversity: eltj.oxford JournalsBahram Mowlaie, Ali Rahimi (2010). The effect of teachers’ attitude about communicative Language teaching on their practice: Do they practice what they preach? : Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences 9 (2010) 1524–1528Savignon, S. J.(2002). Communicative curriculumdesign for the 21st century’. English Teaching Forum40: 2–7.Kramsch C. and P. Sullivan.(1996). Appropriatepedagogy: ELT Journal 50/3: 199–212.LiDefeng(1998).Its Always More Difficult Than You Plan and Imagine: Teachers’ Perceived Difficulties in Introducing the Communicative Approach in South Korea: TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 677-703Anderson, J. (1993). Is a communicative approach practical for teaching English in China?Pros and cons.Bax, S. (2003). The end of CLT: a context approach to language teaching: English Language Teaching Journal, 57(3), 278-287.Kazuyoshi Sato, Robert C and Kleinsasser (1999).Communicative Language Teaching
  • 12. (CLT): Practical Understandings: The Modern Language Journal, 83, iv, (1999)Evdokia karavas-doukas (1995). Understanding the gap between teachers` theories and their Classroom practices: an investigation of teachers` attitudes towards error correction and their classroom error correcting behaviorMark Wyatt(2009).Practical Knowledge Growth in Communicative Language Teaching: The Electronic Journal for English as a Second LanguageSandra J. Savignon(2005). Beyond communicative language teaching: What’s ahead?Anne Feryok (2007).An Armenian English language teacher’spractical theory of Communicative language teachingFrancis Mangubhai, Perce Marland, Ann Dashwood and Jeong-Bae Son (2004). Teaching a foreign language: one teacher’s practical theoryChris Kennedy and Judith Kennedy (1996).Teacher attitudes and change implementationLingjie Jin,Michael Singh and Liqun Li(2005).Communicative Language Teaching in China: Misconceptions, Applications and Perceptions