Elt j 1996-karavas-doukas-187-98

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Elt j 1996-karavas-doukas-187-98

  1. 1. Using attitude scales to investigate teachers attitudes to the communicative approach Evdokia Karavas-Doukas Downloaded from eltj.oxfordjournals.org at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia on February 3, 2011 Despite the widespread adoption of the communicative approach by textbooks and curricula around the world, research suggests that com- municative language teaching principles in classrooms are rare, with most teachers professing commitment to the communicative approach but fol- lowing more structural approaches in their classrooms. The literature on curriculum innovation and implementation suggests that one of the causes of the discrepancy between prescribed theory and classroom practice may be teacher attitudes. In an effort to understand teachers attitudes towards the communicative approach within the context of an EFL innovation in Greek public secondary schools, a Likert-type attitude scale was developed. This article focuses on the development and use of the attitude scale on a sample of fourteen Greek English language teachers whose classroom practices had also been observed. The advantages and disadvantages of using attitude scales to investigate teachers attitudes are then discussed.Introduction The past decades have witnessed an abundance of research into the strategies learners use to learn and cope with the demands of a language, into the characteristics of successful and unsuccessful language learners, and into tasks, activities, materials, techniques, and teacher behaviours which lead to, facilitate, or obstruct second language acquisition. The findings of this research have been fed, either directly or indirectly, into the development and expansion of what is commonly referred to as the communicative approach. This approach has various syllabus realiza- tions, but just one ultimate aim: the development of learners communicative competence. Despite the increasing popularity of the communicative approach, the few small-scale classroom studies that have been carried out (e.g. Burns 1990; Guthrie 1984; Kamaradivelu 1993; Long and Sato 1983; Mitchell 1988; Nunan 1987; Walz 1989) seem to suggest that communicative classrooms are rare; while most teachers profess to be following a communicative approach, in practice they are following more traditional approaches. Broadly speaking, the communicative approach appears to have brought innovation more on the level of theory than on the level of teachers actual classroom practices. ELT Journal Volume 50/3 July 1996 © Oxford University Press 1996 187
  2. 2. The Why does this disparity between prescribed theory and actual classroom communicative practice exist? An answer to this question can be found in the approach and curriculum innovation literature, where teacher attitudes are seen to teachers play a crucial role in determining the implementation of an approach. attitudes What decision-makers often seem to forget is that teachers are not atheoretical beings. The introduction of a new programme or approach will be in competition with well-established theories of language teaching and learning which are the product of previous teaching and learning experiences, prejudices, and beliefs (Freeman and Richards 1993). Teachers educational attitudes and theories, although in many cases unconsciously held, have an effect on their classroom behaviour, Downloaded from eltj.oxfordjournals.org at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia on February 3, 2011 influence what students actually learn, and are a potent determinant of teachers teaching style, a truth recognized by many authors, including Bennet (1976), Brophy and Good (1974), Burns (1990), Clark and Peterson (1986), Clark and Yinger (1979), Gayle (1979), McNergney and Carrier (1981), Nunan (1990), and Stern and Keislar (1977). When introducing a new approach in the classroom it may be necessary for the teacher to revise, refine, or change attitudes which may not be compatible with the principles of that approach. Within the context of curriculum innovations it is not enough for people to act differently, which is a surface phenomenon, they may also be required to change the way they think about certain issues, which is a deeper and more complex change. (Kennedy 1988: 329) In other words, attitude change is an essential and inevitable part of any pedagogical innovation. If incompatibilities between the philosophy of an approach and teachers theories exist, teachers will tend to interpret new information in the light of their own theories, and will tend to translate innovative ideas to conform with their own style of teaching (Wagner 1991). The investigation of teachers attitudes can help identify the difficulties teachers face when implementing curricular innovations in the classroom (Dingwall 1985), and can help in establishing the most appropriate kind of support that is needed in in-service teacher development (Breen 1991). Despite the importance of teachers attitudes in determining the successful implementation of innovatory ideas and in understanding teachers classroom behaviour, teacher attitudes have been neglected in second language classroom research (see Grotjahn 1991; Kleinsasser and Savignon 1991; Nunan 1991). As Kleinsasser and Savignon (1991: 299) argue In our quest for the improvement of language teaching, we have overlooked the language teacher. Exploration ... of teachers perceptions of what they do and why they do it, holds promise for understanding the frequently noted discrepancies between theoretical understanding of second/foreign language acquisition and classroom practice.188 Evdokia Karavas-Doukas
  3. 3. Background to In an effort to understand language teachers attitudes towards the the study communicative approach an attitude scale was developed as part of a larger study. The study (Karavas 1993) focused on the degree of implementation of a communicative learner-centred approach in Greek public secondary school EFL classrooms. A series of textbooks and a curriculum embodying principles of the communicative approach, as advocated by the Council of Europe Project No. 12 (van Ek 1987, Girard and Trim 1993), were introduced in Greek EFL classrooms in 1987. The ultimate aim of the new curriculum and textbooks is the development of students linguistic repertoire, sociolinguistic skills, and interactive strategies, as well as the promotion of students intellectual Downloaded from eltj.oxfordjournals.org at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia on February 3, 2011 and social development through the process of foreign language learning. Teachers are urged in the teachers guides to make learners the centre of attention by encouraging them to take initiatives, and by providing opportunities for them to practise authentic spontaneous communication in authentic contexts. The presence of the teacher in the capacity of facilitator and guide to the language learning process (rather than transmitter of knowledge and authority), and the affective and cognitive involvement of the learners in the classroom proceedings (achieved through the plethora of pair and group work activities within the textbook series), are some of the basic features of the new curriculum and textbooks. Before the introduction of this innovation teachers used a variety of textbooks from foreign publishing companies and the curriculum was structural. The investigation of Greek English language teachers attitudes towards the communicative approach would help identify whether teachers were ready to accept and implement this new approach in their classrooms. It would also be valuable in understanding teachers classroom practices, which were observed with the use of an observation scheme aimed at documenting and analysing the types and nature of activities carried out in the classrooms, and the teachers roles during those activities. The next sections will focus on the development of the attitude scale, and the results of its application on the Greek English language teachers.Developing the A variety of methods have been employed in educational research for attitude scale the study of teachers attitudes and beliefs, e.g. interviews (Mitchell 1988), variations of Kellys grid technique (Munby 1982; Olson 1981), stimulated recall methods (Mitchell and Marland 1989), and, to a greater extent, questionnaires consisting of open-ended (and closed) items (Bennet 1976; Brown and Mclntyre 1978). Although such methods can obtain fairly reliable indications of teacher attitudes, they cannot, and should not, make any pretence to measure attitudes in the strict sense. As Moser and Kalton (1971: 350) state: to try and combine the answers a respondent gives to the various questions into a measurement of the extremity and intensity of his overall attitude requires a different analytical approach; and this is where scaling devices find their place. An attitude scale is a crude measuring device, consisting of a number of Using altitude scales 189
  4. 4. statements to which the respondent must express his or her degree of agreement or disagreement. Depending on the respondents endorse- ment of each statement, a particular score is rendered. The total score, which is calculated by adding up the scores for each item, places the respondent on a continuum from least favourable to most favourable. Usually, the higher the score, the more favourable the respondents attitude. The rating scale constructed for this study followed the Likert technique of scale construction. The Likert-type scale (or method of summated ratings) is the most widely used method of scale construction because of Downloaded from eltj.oxfordjournals.org at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia on February 3, 2011 its relative ease of construction, its use of fewer statistical assumptions, and the fact that, in contrast to other scaling techniques, no judges are required.1 As in all methods of scale construction, the first step in the process is to compose a series of statements that cover all aspects of the attitude under study (i.e. the communicative learner-centred approach as embodied in the new curriculum) in such a way that statements can distinguish between those holding favourable and those holding unfavourable attitudes (i.e. neutral or extreme statements should be avoided). The attitude statements for this studys attitude scale were composed on the basis of an extensive review of the communicative approach, and the reports of the Council of Europe (Edelhoff 1985; Sheils 1988; Trim 1985; Van Ek 1985). Conscious efforts were made to develop statements that referred to the version of the communicative approach adopted by the Greek English language curriculum and textbooks. Selecting the The statements covered the main aspects of the communicative learner- most appropriate centred approach: group work, error correction, the place and statements importance of grammar, the needs of students, and the role of the teacher and learner. The initial pool of items consisted of 85 statements (40 favourable and 45 unfavourable). Many statements overlapped in content but differed in wording; this was done in order to determine which wording was best. The items were placed in random order, and next to the items was a grid consisting of five columns: strongly agree, agree, uncertain, disagree, strongly disagree; each column had a particular value, i.e. 5, 4, 3, 2,1 respectively. Respondents were asked to tick the appropriate box, to indicate how far they agreed or disagreed with each item. It was decided that a high score on the scale would imply a favourable attitude. Thus, favourable statements (i.e. statements consonant with principles of the communicative approach) would be scored 5 for strongly agree down to 1 for strongly disagree; for the scoring of unfavourable items the scoring was reversed (unfavourable items scored 1 for strongly agree up to 5 for strongly disagree). The next step in the construction of a Likert scale is to determine which statements are the most representative and successful in measuring the attitude in question. An item analysis is carried out in order to190 Evdokia Karavas-Doukas
  5. 5. determine the internal consistency of the scale. This is done by first giving the initial pool of items to a representative sample of the target population, and then determining which items have the highest correlations by correlating each respondents score on each item with his/her total score minus the score for the item in question. In this study, the initial 85 statement scale was given to a sample of 60 non-native English language teachers completing their MA degrees in the UK. With this sample the item analysis was carried out and the correlations were computed. The items with the strongest correlations (r > 0.30) were then selected. From this analysis, 18 favourable statements and 34 Downloaded from eltj.oxfordjournals.org at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia on February 3, 2011 unfavourable items had correlations over 0.30. Since there were fewer of them, the selection process for the final version of the scale was based upon the favourable items. These fell into 5 thematic groups. Unfavourable items with strong correlations that fell into these groups were then selected, rendering a scale that consisted of 24 statements (12 favourable and 12 unfavourable)2, which fell into the following thematic groups: 1 group/pair work (4 statements); 2 quality and quantity of error correction (4 statements); 3 the role and contribution of learners in the learning process (6 statements); 4 the role of the teacher in the classroom (4 statements); 5 place/importance of grammar (6 statements).Testing the scale The split-half method was used to determine the reliability of the studys for reliability attitude scale. This is the most widely used method, and measures reliability by dividing the scale into two matched halves and correlating the scores of each half. In order to test the scales reliability, the 24 statements were divided into two parts, and the initial samples responses in each part (from 60 respondents) were correlated. The corrected split-half reliability coefficient was rw = 0.81. The attitude scale was also distributed to 40 Greek English language teachers teaching English at private language institutes within the Athens area. Thirty seven questionnaires were returned and the split- half method was applied to their responses. The split-half reliability coefficient was rw = 0.88. This coefficient proved that the scale had a high level of internal consistency, since as Oppenheim (1966, 1992) points out, most Likert scales achieve a reliability of 0.85. After this reliability check, and discussions with the Greek English language teachers concerning the wording of the statements, it was decided that these 24 statements would constitute the final version of the scale (see Appendix). Teachers The highest possible score that can be obtained in the attitude scale and attitudes to the the one indicative of the most favourable attitude towards the communicative communicative approach is 120 (by scoring 5, the highest mark on all approach 24 statements), while the lowest and the one indicating the least Using attitude scales 191
  6. 6. favourable attitude towards the communicative approach is 24. Respondents scores can therefore fall within a continuum from 24 to 120, the middle (neutral) point of the continuum being 72 (achieved by being uncertain about all 24 items). It should be pointed out that one of the limitations of Likert-type scales is the difficulty of establishing a neutral point (and consequently a neutral score) on the scale. The neutral point is not necessarily the mid- point between the extreme scores (Oppenheim 1966, 1992). This is because a respondent can obtain a middle-of-the-range score by either being uncertain about many items, or by holding inconsistent or strongly Downloaded from eltj.oxfordjournals.org at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia on February 3, 2011 favourable and strongly unfavourable attitudes towards the attitude object in question. For purposes of presentation, however, the score of 72 will be taken as the neutral or middle score of this studys attitude scale. The attitude scale was given to 101 Greek secondary school English language teachers, fourteen of whom were observed in their classrooms and interviewed. The results presented here will focus on the fourteen teachers scores which were analysed in depth. Table 1 shows their scores on the attitude scale. Table V. Teachers scores on the Teacher Score attitude scale K3 103 S3 96 T2 94 C2 91 D1 89 A2 88 C1 85 L3 85 K2 84 A1 79 L2 79 P3 75 KO2 73 G1 56 Although their scores ranged considerably, the vast majority of the teachers seem to hold mildly favourable to favourable attitudes towards the communicative approach. With the exception of one teacher (teacher Gl, who scored the lowest in the group), the rest of the teachers scored over 72, which was the middle point of the continuum. The standard deviation of the 14 scores was SD = 11.2, the average score being 83. Taken at face value, the scores seem to suggest that, on the whole, teachers hold favourable attitudes towards the communicative approach.192 Evdokia Karavas-Doukas
  7. 7. When the teachers were observed, however, their classroom practices (with very few exceptions) deviated considerably from the principles of the communicative approach. Teachers tended to follow an eclectic approach, exhibiting features of both traditional and communicative approaches in their classroom practices (the former featuring much more frequently than the latter). Most lessons were teacher-fronted and exhibited an explicit focus on form; pair work activities were used in two classrooms whereas group work activities were never implemented —although each unit in the textbooks contains an average of four pair work activities and two group work activities. Downloaded from eltj.oxfordjournals.org at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia on February 3, 2011 This discrepancy between teachers classroom practices and their expressed attitudes towards the communicative approach prompted an in-depth analysis of their responses to the attitude statements, which revealed the cause of this discrepancy. The teachers who had obtained average scores had responded inconsistently to many of the statements in the attitude scale; in other words, they tended to respond in the same manner to both favourable and unfavourable statements, revealing their lack of understanding of many principles of the communicative approach. This lack of understanding, or confusion, was also verified in interviews held with the teachers, where teachers either did not understand or were unable to see the practical implications of many of the principles of the communicative approach. It should be noted at this point that an individuals agreement with two apparently opposing statements (one, for example, dealing with the merits of teacher-centred instruction, and the other with the merits of learner-centred instruction) does not necessarily imply a lack of understanding, or an inconsistent attitude on part of the respondent.3 A teacher may well respond to both statements having in mind teaching contexts in which both teacher-centred and learner-centred practices have an important role to play. Such a pattern of responding does, however, create problems in the interpretation of scores. Is the teachers similar endorsement of both statements due to lack of understanding of the implications of learner-centred and teacher-centred practices, or is it due to an awareness of the contribution that both could make to effective language learning? One way of minimizing this problem is with the careful selection and wording of attitude statements (i.e. the judicious insertion of extreme words or superlatives); statements can and should be worded in such a way as to prompt the respondent to take a certain position in relation to a particular issue. Alternatively, the problem of score interpretation could be overcome with the subsequent interviewing of teachers. Interviews would enable the teacher trainer or researcher to assess the depth of the teachers knowledge, and how they perceive two seemingly opposing practices as fitting into their overall classroom routines.Conclusion The discrepancy between teachers classroom practices and their expressed attitudes may raise serious doubts about the reliability, validity, and usefulness of the attitude scale as a means of investigating Using attitude scales 193
  8. 8. teacher attitudes. As was mentioned earlier, however, the identification of disparities between teachers classroom behaviour and their expressed attitudes is not unique to this study. More often than not, this is due to teachers existing attitudes and beliefs being largely neglected prior to the introduction of a new approach. Courses designed to train teachers in the new approach focus on transmitting information about the new approach and persuading teachers of its effectiveness. When the teachers return to their classrooms they misinterpret the new ideas and translate them to conform to their existing classroom routines—at the same time believing that they are doing exactly what the new approach calls for (Lamb 1995; Wagner 1991). Downloaded from eltj.oxfordjournals.org at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia on February 3, 2011 The importance of taking teachers attitudes as a starting point in any teacher training course is gradually being recognized by teacher educators (Johnson 1994; Richards and Lockhart 1994; Tillema 1994). As Lamb (1995: 79) concluded, after a disappointing experience with teacher trainees in Indonesia, the focus of teacher training courses should be the teacher beliefs: These need first to be articulated, and then analysed for potential contradictions with each other, the teaching circumstances, and the beliefs of the learners. Attitude scales can play a significant role in revealing teacher beliefs. An attitude scale can act as a cost-effective and easy to administer instrument for gathering baseline data on trainees beliefs on particular issues, especially where large groups of trainees are concerned. Although the scores (specifically middle of the range scores) may not give insights into the exact nature of an individuals attitudes, a closer examination of the trainees pattern of responding to favourable and unfavourable statements, followed by interviews or group discussions with the trainees, will reveal potential contradictions in trainees beliefs, and thus the areas in which teachers will need further clarification and support. Moreover, the administration of the attitude scale and subsequent discussion of teachers responses will give the opportunity to teachers to become more aware of their attitudes and of elements within them which can be less readily justified. If awareness of ones attitudes is the first step towards clarifying them and developing the appropriate frame of reference in which to receive new ideas, then attitude scales can certainly help in achieving this aim. Received February 1995194 Evdokia Karavas-Doukas
  9. 9. Notes Gayle, G.M.H. 1979. A model for second1 There are two other very common techniques of language teaching. Canadian Modern Language attitude scale construction: the Thurstone tech- Review 35/3: 348-65. nique and the Guttman technique. The former Girard, D. and J. Trim 1993. Learning and uses experts to judge which statements are most Teaching Modern Languages for Communication. appropriate for the attitude scale, in which Strasbourg: Council of Europe. respondents need only tick the statements they Grotjahn, R. 1991. The research programme agree with. The Guttman technique uses a subjective theories. Studies in Second Language laborious procedure called scalogram analysis Acquisition 13/2: 187-214. to select the most appropriate items for inclu- Guthrie, E.L. 1984. Intake, communication and sion in the scale. In scales, respondents are second language teaching in S.J. Savignon and presented with an agree/disagree option. M.S. Burns (eds.). 1984. Initiatives in Commu- (Details and criticisms of these techniques can nicative Language Teaching. Reading, Mass.: Downloaded from eltj.oxfordjournals.org at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia on February 3, 2011 be found in Oppenheim 1966, 1992; Oskamp Addison Wesley. 1977.) Johnson, K.E. 1994. The emerging beliefs and2 The favourable items in the studys attitude instructional practices of pre-service English as a scale are statements 2,3, 6, 7,8, 9,12,14,16,18, second language teachers. Teaching and Teacher 20, 24. The rest are unfavourable. Education 10/4: 439-523 I wish to thank the reviewer who pointed this Kamaravadivelu, B. 1993. Maximizing learner issue out to me in an earlier version of this potential in the communicative classroom. ELT paper. Journal 47/1: 12-21 Karavas, E. 1993. English Language Teachers inReferences the Greek Secondary School: A Study of theirBennet, N. 1976. Teaching Styles and Pupil Classroom Practices and their Attitudes towardsProgress. London: Open Books. Methodological and Materials Innovation.Breen, M. P. 1991. Understanding the language Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Warwick.teacher in Phillipson et al. 1991. Kennedy, C 1988. Evaluation of the managementBrindley, G. (ed.) 1990. The Second Language of change in ELT projects. Applied LinguisticsCurriculum in Action. Sydney: NCELTR. 9/4: 329-42.Brophy J. and T. Good. 1974. Teacher-Student Kleinsasser, R.C and SJ. Savignon. 1991. Lin-Relationships: Causes and Consequences. New guistics, language pedagogy and teachers techni-York: Holt Rinehart Winston. cal cultures in Georgetown University RoundBrown, S. and D. Mclntyre. 1978. Factors Table in Languages and Linguistics. Georgetown:influencing teacher responses to curricular Georgetown University Press.innovations. Research Intelligence 4/1: 19-23. Lamb, M. 1995. The consequences of INSET.Burns, A. 1990. Focus on language in the ELT Journal 49/1: 72-80.communicative classroom in Brindley (ed.). 1990. Long, M.H. and CJ. Sato. 1983. ClassroomClark, CM. and P.L. Peterson. 1986. Teachers foreigner talk discourse: Forms and functions ofthought processes in M.C. Wittrock (ed.). 1986. teachers questions in H. W. Seliger and M. H.Handbook of Research on Teaching. London: Long (eds.). 1983. Classroom Oriented Research inMacmillan. Second Language Acquisition. Rowley, Mass.:Clark, CM. and RJ. Yinger. 1979. Teachers Newbury House.thinking in P.L. Peterson and H.J. Walberg (eds.). McNergney, R.F. and C.A. Carrier. 1981. TeacherResearch on Teaching: Concepts, Findings and Development. London: Macmillan.Implications. California: McCuthran. Mitchell, J. and P. Marland. 1989. Research onCouncil of Europe. 1985. Symposium on the Initial teacher thinking: The next phase. Teaching andand In-Service Training of Teachers of Modern Teacher Education 5/2: 115-28.Languages. Strasbourg: Council of Europe. Mitchell, R. 1988. Communicative LanguageDingwall, S.C. 1985. The Teacher Variable in Teaching in Practice. London: CILT.ELT. Unpublished PhD thesis, Lancaster Uni- Moser, C.A. and G. Kalton. 1971. Survey Methodsversity. in Social Investigation. London: Gower.Edelhoff, C. 1985. Language learning for com- Munby, H. 1982. The place of teacher beliefs inmunication: The roles, needs, and problems of research on teacher thinking and decision making,language teachers in Council of Europe 1985. and an alternative methodology. InstructionalFreeman, D. and J.C Richards. 1993. Concep- Science 11: 201-25.tions of teaching and the education of second Nunan, D. 1987. Communicative language teach-language teachers. TESOL Quarterly 25/2: ing: making it work. ELT Journal 41/2: 136-45.193-216 Nunan, D. 1990. The language teacher as decision Using attitude scales 195
  10. 10. maker: a case study in G. Brindley (ed.)- 1990. tion and pre-existing beliefs of teachers. TeachingNunan, D. 1991. Methods in second language and Teacher Education 10/6: 601-15.classroom research: a critical review. Studies in Trim, J.L.M. 1985. The learning and teaching ofSecond Language Acquisition 13/2: 249-74. modern languages for communication in CouncilOlson, J. 1981. Teacher influence in the class- of Europe 1985.room. Instructional Science 10: 259-75. Van Ek, J.A. 1985. Language learning forOppenheim, A.N. 1966. Questionnaire Design and communication: the needs and problems ofAttitude Measurement. London: Heinemann. learners in Council of Europe 1985.Oppenheim, A.N. 1992. Questionnaire Design, Van Ek, J. A. 1987. Objectives for ForeignInterviewing and Attitude Measurement. London, Language Learning. Vols. I and II. Strasbourg:New York: Pinter. Council of Europe.Oskamp, S. 1977. Attitudes and Opinions. New Wagner, J. 1991. Innovation in foreign languageJersey: Prentice Hall. teaching in Phillipson et al. 1991. Downloaded from eltj.oxfordjournals.org at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia on February 3, 2011PhilJipson, R., E. Kellerman, L. Selinker, M.Sharwood Smith, and M. Swain (eds.). 1991. Walz, J. 1989. Context and contextuaiised lan-Foreign/Second Language Pedagogy Research. guage practice in foreign language teaching.Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters. Modern Language Journal 73/2: 160-68.Richards, J.C., and C. Lockhart. 1994. ReflectiveTeaching in Second Language Classrooms. Cam-bridge: Cambridge University Press. The authorSheils, J. 1988. Communication in the Modern Evdokia Karavas-Doukas has taught EFL inLanguage Classroom. Strasbourg: Council of Greece and EAP in the UK. She has an MAEurope. and a PhD from the University of Warwick, whereStern, C. and E.R. Keislar. 1977. Teacher she is currently a lecturer in the Centre for Englishattitudes and attitude change. Journal of Research Language Teacher Education. Her research inter-and Development in Education 10/2: 63-76. ests include teacher training and development,Tillema, H.H. 1994. Training and professional evaluation and implementation of language teach-expertise: Bridging the gap between new informa- ing programmes, and classroom-oriented research.196 Evdokia Karavas-Doukas
  11. 11. Appendix Strongly Agree Uncertain Disagree Strongly Agree Disagree 5 4 3 2 1 1 Grammatical correctness is the most important criterion by which language performance should be judged. 2 Group work activities are essential in providing opportunities for co-operative relationships to emerge and in promoting Downloaded from eltj.oxfordjournals.org at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia on February 3, 2011 genuine interaction among students. 3 Grammar should be taught only as a means to an end and not as an end in itself. 4 Since the learner comes to the language classroom with little or no knowledge of the language, he/she is in no position to suggest what the content of the lesson should be or what activities are useful for him/her. 5 Training learners to take responsibility for their own learning is futile since learners are not used to such an approach. 6 For students to become effective communicators in the foreign language, the teachers feedback must be focused on the appropriateness and not the linguistic form of the students responses. 7 The teacher as authority and instructor is no longer adequate to describe the teachers role in the language classroom. 8 The learner-centred approach to language teaching encourages responsibility and self-discipline and allows each student to develop his/her full potential. 9 Group work allows students to explore problems for themselves and thus have some measure of control over their own learning. It is therefore an invaluable means of organizing classroom experiences10 The teacher should correct all the grammatical errors students make. If errors are ignored, this will result in imperfect learning.11 It is impossible in a large class of students to organize your teaching so as to suit the needs of all. Using attitude scales 197
  12. 12. 12 Knowledge of the rules of a language does not guarantee ability to use the language.13 Group work activities take too long to organize and waste a lot of valuable teaching time.14 Since errors are a normal part of learning, much correction is wasteful of time.15 The communicative approach to language teaching produces fluent but inaccurate learners. Downloaded from eltj.oxfordjournals.org at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia on February 3, 201116 The teacher as transmitter of knowledge is only one of the many different roles he/she must perform during the course of a lesson.17 By mastering the rules of grammar, students become fully capable of communicating with a native speaker.18 For most students language is acquired most effectively when it is used as a vehicle for doing something else and not when it is studied in a direct or explicit way.19 The role of the teacher in the language classroom is to impart knowledge through activities such as explanation, writing, and example.20 Tasks and activities should be negotiated and adapted to suit the students needs rather than imposed on them.21 Students do their best when taught as a whole class by the teacher. Small group work may occasionally be useful to vary the routine, but it can never replace sound formal instruction by a competent teacher.22 Group work activities have little use since it is very difficult for the teacher to monitor the students performance and prevent them from using their mother tongue.23 Direct instruction in the rules and terminology of grammar is essential if students are to learn to communicate effectively.24 A textbook alone is not able to cater for all the needs and interests of the students. The teacher must supplement the textbook with other materials and tasks so as to satisfy the widely differing needs of the students198 Evdokia Karavas-Doukas

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