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Understanding Chinese EFL Teachers' Beliefs and Practices in the Textbook-Based Classroom


Xiaodong Zhang

Textbooks have long been considered a pivotal learning and teaching resource in classrooms. However, there is a paucity of research on how teachers use textbooks in relation to their beliefs, with analytic methods in such studies mainly restrained to content-based thematic analysis. To this end, from the perspectives of Halliday’s (1994) systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and Vygostky’s (1978) socio-cultural theory (SCT), this book explores how a Chinese college English teacher acts upon his beliefs and uses textbooks to mediate his students’ English learning in his classroom.

Drawing on constructs of the SFL-based appraisal and speech function as well as interview excerpts, the study reveals that in the textbook-based classroom the Chinese college English teacher acts upon his beliefs that are constructed by diverse contextual factors. Implications of this study include using SFL and SCT to explore educators’ beliefs and practices and also providing effective teacher education for Chinese college English instructors to reshape their beliefs so that they are better prepared to use textbooks in classrooms.

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2. Literature Review on the Textbook, Teachers’ Practices and Beliefs


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2.   Literature Review on the Textbook, Teachers’ Practices and Beliefs

In this chapter, two main questions guide the exploration of the literature review: (1) Why is there a need to contribute to research on English language textbook use in relation to teachers’ beliefs? and (2) Why is there a need for an alternative approach (i.e. discourse analysis) to investigate language teachers’ beliefs and their textbook use. To this end, the first section focuses on the role of textbooks in the language classroom and illuminates the reasons for going beyond an analysis of textbook content to explore textbook use. The second section explores the literature on textbook use and also highlights the importance of including teachers’ beliefs. Following section two, the third section discusses literature on the connection between teachers’ beliefs and their use of textbooks. The last section is a summary.

2.1   The Role of Textbooks

Textbooks are generally used interchangeably with course books and materials. In the language teaching field, a textbook is defined as:

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