A study of Chinese college English teachers in China - their beliefs and conceptual change.
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This research explored Chinese college English teachers’ beliefs and conceptual change in relation to the government-mandated shift from the traditional grammar-based approaches to language teaching to communicative language teaching (CLT). This study employed an ethnographic approach and was conducted at a university in China. Six Chinese college English teachers agreed to participate in a three-month study during which their classroom teaching was observed and they were interviewed about their teaching experiences, understanding of the new teaching methods, and interpretations of the curriculum change. Three patterns of conceptual change were found in their beliefs about language teaching and learning: (a) change in teaching methods but no significant change in conceptions and beliefs, (b) change in both teaching methods and conceptions accompanied by painful conceptual conflict, and (c) change in both teaching methods and beliefs and an acquisition of broader curriculum perspectives. The stories and experiences of the participants indicate the complex, non-linear nature of conceptual development in their beliefs about language teaching. They struggled to expand their conceptual space by dwelling in the Zone of Between—between Chinese and Western educational traditions, between social, cognitive, and psychological processes of conceptual growth, between teaching and educating, and between curriculum-as-plan and curriculum-in-use. This study is expected to have suggestions for ongoing college English teaching in China, provide insight for the research of teachers’ beliefs related to curriculum development in other cultural contexts, and inform language teacher education and development programs.