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

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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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7. The EFL Teacher’s Teaching Practices in the Textbook-based EFL Classroom

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← 122 | 123 →

7.   The EFL Teacher’s Teaching Practices in the Textbook-based EFL Classroom

Chapter 7 aims to show Tong’s moment-to-moment textbook use so as to explore how he acted upon his beliefs. To this end, the first section, through an SFL-based speech function analysis, demonstrates how Tong mediated his students’ language learning in the process of his textbook use (Achugar 2009; Eggins/Slade 1997; Zolkower/Shreyar 2007). It then discusses the relationship between Tong’s textbook use and his beliefs. The second section draws on the thematic analysis of supplementary interviews with Tong and students to show how the context of culture and context of situation conditioned his textbook use in the classroom. The final section summarizes the chapter.

7.1   Tong’s Textbook Use: An SFL-based Speech Function Analysis

While five categorizations of Tong’s beliefs about textbook use were mentioned in the previous chapter (i.e. beliefs about students’ learning, beliefs about learning to use the textbook, beliefs about teaching role, beliefs about literacy and literacy instruction), five corresponding practices are evident in Tong’s literacy instruction. In addition, teaching in the textbook-based classroom, as mentioned earlier in Chapter 2, is primarily implemented through teacher talk and realized linguistically through speech functions (Gibbons 2006; Zolkower/Shreyar 2007). For these reasons, the following subsections explore Tong’s textbook-based teaching practices by focusing on how through his use of speech functions, Tong mediated literacies represented in the textbook (i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing) and acted upon his beliefs. ← 123 | 124 →

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