Classroom communication and the teaching of Chinese in Canada : a case study
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A few reasons taken together have led to the undertaking of this study: an urgent need to examine classroom teaching in the drastically growing teaching-Chinese-as-a-second/foreign-language (TCSL/TCFL) industry; a personal interest in probing a cross-cultural Chinese teacher’s treatment of communication in teaching; and the implications from theories of teacher beliefs and practice. Thus, this study investigated how a TCFL teacher posits her teaching beliefs and practice in light of her communicative habits when facing a variety of tensions (e.g., those from culture, ideology, educational tradition, curricular prescription, and pedagogical trend). This qualitative case study was triangulated with multiple data sources: interviews, classroom observations, and document analysis, with an experienced teacher in Canada who has taught in both China and Canada. The findings of the study supported the literature on teacher beliefs and practice, and on the implementation of communicative language teaching (CLT). The majority of this teacher’s practices were based on the premise that they corresponded to the actualization of her beliefs. Meanwhile, there existed a few minor gaps between her educational beliefs and practices. This teacher demonstrated adaptability in tailoring her teaching to be most suitable in meeting her educational needs and beliefs. This study first provides insights to TCFL classroom teaching and program development in North America with CLT implementation in this area. In addition, the results of the study have implications for the evolving process of teachers’ belief systems and patterns of practice and future research into this field.