Selected Studies On Teacher Beliefs And Practices Education Essay

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In this section, I review empirical studies conducted to examine how various factors influence teacher beliefs and practices and consider how these in turn might influence the implementation of CLT. . The review is focused on the relationship between (a) Teacher Beliefs and Classroom Practices, (b) Learning Experience and Teacher Beliefs, (c) Pre-service Training and Teacher Beliefs, (d) In-service Training and Teacher Beliefs, (e) Teaching Experience and Teacher Beliefs, and (f) Contextual Factors and Teacher Beliefs or Classroom Practices. After reviewing these issues, I review previous research on teachers' beliefs and practices regarding the use of CLT.

2.11.1 Teacher Beliefs and Classroom Practices Regarding CLT

Research findings emphasized that teacher beliefs have a great influence on classroom practice. Woods (1996), and Borg (1998, 1999) explained how teachers' beliefs affected their classroom behaviour and decision-making.

Woods (1996) conducted a longitudinal study with eight experienced ESL teachers from four universities in Canada. The data collected by interviews, modified longitudinal ethnographic observations, and video-based introspective interviews in an attempt to provide detailed insight into teachers' decision- making processes and the factors influencing those processes. He noted that the teachers' coherent beliefs, assumptions, and knowledge about teaching and learning exerted a pervasive influence on their behaviours, strategies, and decisions.

Smith (1996) also conducted a qualitative study investigating the decision- making processes of nine ESL teachers who attended public adult education courses in Canada.

They had taken undergraduate teacher training courses in TESL and had 8-13 weeks of teaching experience. Four consecutive two-hour classes of each teacher were videotaped and field notes were written during the observation of their lessons. After the classes, the teachers watched the videos and commented on what had occurred in the lessons and what decisions led to the events. Smith found that teacher decisions showed an internal consistency between individual beliefs and practices and that the way that they eclectically blended theoretical ideas with practical needs was based on their individual beliefs and experience. Interestingly, even though the teachers used the same communicative task, the underlying purpose of the task differed according to each teacher's belief: some used it for grammar practice, and others used it for authentic communicative practice.

In addition to those three studies, Borg (1998, 1999) conducted a case study in four experienced teachers' grammar classes at an EFL school in Malta. He investigated the teachers' use of grammatical terminology. Data were collected from interviews and 15 hours of classroom observations (field notes and audio-recording) over a period of two weeks. Borg found that "teachers' decisions in teaching grammar were influenced by their often-conflicting cognitions about language, learning in general, L2 learning, grammar teaching, students, and self" (p. 26).

In sum, research on teacher beliefs and cognition has revealed that teachers' behaviours, decision making, and classroom practices are shaped by their underlying thoughts and beliefs. It has also illuminated the complex relationship between beliefs and practices (Smith, 1996) and the complex structure of the networks of beliefs (Burns, 1996) and of teacher cognition (Borg, 1998; 1999). Moreover, those studies have indicated that teaching practices are also influenced by other factors, such as the classroom context (Smith, 1996; Woods, 1996) as well as learning and teaching experiences (Borg, 1998, 1999).

2.11.2 Learning Experience and Teacher Beliefs

Empirical research has revealed that experienced teachers' beliefs underlying instruction are largely generated by their learning experiences (e.g., Borg, 1998, 1999).

Holt-Reynolds (1992), who examined the beliefs of pre-service student teachers at an American university, also found that the student teachers' beliefs about teaching were derived from their learning experiences to a large extent. The participants were three math majors and six English majors who were engaged in a content reading course that was required for teacher certification. Six interviews with each student teacher suggested that "the personal histories of pre-service teachers appear to function as prior knowledge of what 'good' teaching should look, sound, and feel like" (Holt-Reynolds, 1992, p. 343).

The pre-service teachers had spent considerable time as students, and thus, they already had "lay beliefs" (i.e., experience- based beliefs). Holt- Reynolds argued that it might be quite challenging and difficult to change the student teachers' lay beliefs. She suggested that teacher education should first acknowledge the power of experience-based beliefs, and then, they should attempt to foster the professionalization of those existing beliefs.

Beliefs held by in-service training teachers also tend to reflect their learning experiences. Ellis (2006) conducted interview studies with 31 ESL teachers instructing adults in Australian language centres. The participants were categorized into three groups: native English speakers with a second language, native English-speaker monolinguals, and non-native speakers (bilingual). Regarding the bilingual teachers, Ellis found that not only their language learning experience, but also their experience of having faced the challenges of immigration and the identity problems and raising children in bilingual families could "lead to the development of key insights on which teachers appear to draw in framing their approach to learners." Ellis suggested that teachers' various learning experiences influenced the development of their professional knowledge and beliefs.

The impact of learning experience on teachers' beliefs can be related to the pre and in- service teacher training. In the following sections, I discuss the influence of teacher training courses on teachers' beliefs, and connect it to their learning experience.

2.11.3 Pre-service Training and Teacher Beliefs

As mentioned above, student teachers already have personal history-based beliefs about learning and teaching. They may have an inappropriate, unrealistic, or naïve understanding of teaching and learning at the start of teacher education programs (Brookhart& Freeman, 2001). Although research suggests that teacher education has an impact on trainees' beliefs, the impact varies among different studies and different trainees. Bramald, Hardman, and Lear (1995) found that student teachers brought experience-based beliefs with them to a teacher education course and that the older beliefs were changed in various ways through the course. The authors administered a 26-item seven-point Likert scale questionnaire to 162 students enrolled in a Post-Graduate Certification Education (PGCE) at a British university three times: at the start of the course (October), after the first school experience (December), and towards the end of the course (May). The authors interviewed 10 students whose beliefs had changed a great deal and another 10 students whose beliefs had changed little during the course. The results showed that individual student teachers' conceptualization of the teacher training process differed, and thus, their way of making sense of their training experiences tended to vary. That is to say, the impact of the teacher training program differed between the individual students.

Anderson and Bird (1995) investigated three student teachers' learning from a 10-week required training course at a university in the United States and identified some common characteristics of the student teachers. Data were collected from interviews, the participants' essays, and written conversations that the participants wrote after watching three lessons video-recorded in elementary school classrooms. The results showed that the teacher students interpreted each video-recorded lesson through the lens of their initial image of teaching. The first participant admired the ways in which the teachers on the videotape acted as classroom leaders. The second participant expressed a high regard for teachers who indirectly guided students to think for themselves. The third participant was impressed by the fact that teachers created interesting experiences in the class. Their interpretation of the lessons did not change throughout the term. Anderson and Bird concluded that the student teachers' interpretation of their teacher education coursework differed from the one that their instructors had expected because the students' interpretation was influenced by their experienced-based beliefs. Almarza (1996) conducted a nine-month longitudinal study with four pre-service trainees' change in teaching beliefs and practices while they were taking Post-Graduate Certification Education (PGCE) courses at a British university. She collected data from interviews, classroom observations, stimulated recalls, and students' journals. A specific L2 teaching method was taught in the PGCE courses, and the participants implemented the method in their classrooms during practice teaching. However, although their classroom instruction looked similar, the four participants had different views about language and language learning that were influenced by their own language learning experiences. For example, one participant believed that language is a set of structures and phrases, and another participant believed that language could be learned through a natural learning process in the classroom, not through controlled practice. Almarza concluded that "during the teacher education, student teachers progressed differently despite their similar behaviour during teaching practice" (p. 70). She also suggested that teacher educators should legitimatize student teachers' previous knowledge so that the educators can bridge the gap between the student teachers' previous knowledge and the new knowledge that they are expected to acquire.

The three studies reviewed above indicated that pre-service teachers' beliefs were rather stable: the only change that was found concerned the beliefs of half of the participants in the Bramal et al. (1995) study. Interestingly, the participants in Peacock's (2001) study had much more fixed beliefs about language learning. Peacock conducted a longitudinal study and investigated the changes in the beliefs of 146 student teachers over their three-year BA TESL program in Hong Kong. The results of the Beliefs about Language Learning Inventory (Horwitz, 1988) showed that the students' beliefs about L2 learning were significantly different from experienced teachers' beliefs for only the following three items: (a) learning a foreign language is mostly a matter of learning a lot of new vocabulary, (b) learning a foreign language is mostly a matter of learning a lot of grammar rules, and (c) people who speak more than one language well are very intelligent. The results also revealed that there was little change in the students' beliefs with regard to the three items. Peacock concluded that the data did not support the idea that the student teachers' beliefs were shaped by their pre-service TESL courses.

In summary, the pre-service teacher education research suggests that student teachers' prior beliefs are often stable, and these beliefs tend to limit what they can learn from teacher education courses. In addition, what students learn from teacher education courses and how their prior beliefs change often differs individually. It can be implied that learning experience is more influential than experience in pre-service teacher training in the process of shaping teacher beliefs.

2.11.4 In-service Training and Teacher Beliefs

As noted above, the pre-service education research has suggested that student teachers' experience- based beliefs tend to limit what they can learn from teacher education courses. In contrast, the research on in-service teacher education has shown that experienced teachers' beliefs and practices can be changed through their own teaching experiences including practice teaching.

Richards, Ho, and Giblin (1996) attempted to examine how five teacher trainees responded to the practice teaching experiences provided in a TESOL teacher training program in Hong Kong. The researchers analyzed audio-recorded discussion sessions and interviews and found that the beliefs of the five trainees changed, but not in a homogeneous way. That is, the model of teaching (CLT) that the program employed was interpreted in different ways by individual trainees. The authors concluded that the trainees deconstructed the CLT method "in the light of their teaching experiences and reconstruct it, drawing on their own beliefs and assumptions about themselves, about teachers, about teaching and about learners" (p. 258).

Freeman (1996) viewed in-service trainees' reconstruction of their pedagogical knowledge as joining a new "Discourse [with a capital D]" (Gee, 1990). According to Gee, Discourse is not just a way of using language, but a way of acting, believing, and doing in the world. Freeman conducted longitudinal research on changes in the practices of four FL teachers studying in a TESOL Master's program in the United States. Through interviews, observations, and document analysis, Freeman found that joining the new Discourse (i.e., the Master's program) enabled the four teachers to speak about their teaching practice using professional language. By doing so, the teachers could rename their prior teaching experience. The Master's program allowed the teachers to reshape their prior teaching experience and to construct new practices. Freeman suggested that teacher education had potentially powerful effects on reshaping in-service teachers' beliefs in that it socialized them into the new Discourse.

Cabaroglu and Roberts (2000) reported on the strong impact of in-service training on teacher beliefs. The participants in their study were 20 teachers who attended a course in Post-Graduate Certification Education (PGCE) at a British university. The results showed that the beliefs of only one out of 20 experienced teachers remained unchanged during the 36-week course. The interviews revealed that the beliefs of the other 19 participants changed cumulatively and gradually during the course. The process of change involved realizing that a new belief may conflict with or be coherent with prior beliefs, confirming existing beliefs, reconstructing or re-naming existing beliefs, and integrating new beliefs with prior beliefs. Cabaroglu and Roberts concluded that (a) trainees' beliefs seem to be flexible, (b) their pre-existing beliefs can be reshaped, and (c) belief development varies greatly between individuals.

In addition to the teachers' learning in the formal in-service training, informal learning also plays an important role in the reconstruction of their beliefs and practices. Crookes and Araraki (1999) interviewed 19 ESL teachers who taught students from Asia or Europe in the United States. They found that the teachers preferred listening to their colleagues' opinions to consulting non-teaching researchers. In this regard, several teachers commented that informal talks between colleagues provided a convenient and useful way to get good teaching ideas. They also seemed to have the understanding that experienced teachers are willing to help newcomers. It may be that many teachers learn from their colleagues' teaching, find ways to improve their own teaching practice, and reshape their ideas and beliefs based on the success or failure of the new practice.

The above studies suggest that teachers can have both formal and informal opportunities to learn about pedagogy and that experienced teachers' beliefs may be more flexible than student teachers' beliefs. One of the differences between pre-service education and in-service education is whether trainees have prior teaching experience or not. Also, in addition to the formal in-service training, teachers learn from their colleagues. It appears that both informal and formal training exert impacts on the reconstruction of the teachers' beliefs about teaching and learning.

2.11.5 Contextual Factors and Teacher Beliefs and Practices

Educational researchers have found that contextual factors influence classroom practices both directly and indirectly. Borg (2003), in a review of 64 studies on teacher cognition, reported that teachers' practices are shaped by the social, psychological, and environmental conditions of the school and classroom. These factors include parents, principals, colleagues, classroom, school, society, curriculum, and examinations. Borg also mentioned that such factors may hinder language teachers' ability to adopt practices that reflect their beliefs.

Crookes and Araraki (1999) found that difficult working conditions affected classroom practices. Twenty participants in their study, who were ESL teachers in an intensive English program in the western United States, had to work approximately 50 hours a week. They had little time to prepare lessons, and consequently, they could not provide more effective pedagogical activities even though they knew that they were available. The heavy workloads might have exerted a powerful impact on the teachers' pedagogical choices.

Learners' beliefs also impact teachers' practices. Schulz (2001) administered a questionnaire to 122 Colombian FL teachers, 607 Colombian FL students, 92 American FL teachers, and 824 American FL students. The results showed that both groups of students believed that explicit grammar study and corrective feedback are important in FL learning. Also, the majority of the teachers in both cultures agreed that grammar teaching helps language learning. Schulz pointed out that "if teacher behaviours do not mesh with students' expectations, learners' motivation and a teacher's credibility may be diminished" (p. 256). Teachers, thus, may have to modify their teaching practices so that they are generally compatible with students' expectations. Likewise, Burgess and Etherington (2002) reported that students' characteristics, needs, and wishes influenced teachers' classroom actions. They administered a questionnaire to EAP (English for Academic Purpose) teachers working in British university language centres and received 48 responses. Qualitative data gained from the responses to an open-ended question suggested that students' preference for grammar instruction influenced the teachers' pedagogic decisions.

In addition to working conditions and students' characteristics, various other factors influence teacher beliefs and practices. Richards and Pennington (1998) investigated five novice EFL teachers' instruction through classroom observations, interviews, and questionnaires. The teachers had graduated from BA TESOL courses at City University in Hong Kong and taught at secondary schools. The results showed that the teachers followed their textbooks and rarely provided authentic communicative activities. Richards and Pennington reported that the constraints of their teaching context, large class sizes, the students' low English proficiency, a general lack of discipline, examination pressure, a prescribed syllabus, and the students' resistance to new ways of learning hindered the use of communicative activities. As Smith (1996) pointed out, the classroom context, which includes factors such as learners' learning styles and preferences, tends to have a strong influence on teachers' decisions.

In sum, classroom conditions (e.g., class size and students), school conditions (e.g., syllabus and workload), and broader educational conditions (e.g., examination pressure and educational policy) exert impacts on teachers' beliefs and practices.

2.11.6 Summary

Previous studies on teacher beliefs and practices are presented in Table 2. To summarize, the review of the previous research on teacher beliefs and practices indicates several gaps in the field. First, although not shown in the table, no comprehensive research on the relationships among the seven variables (i.e., teacher beliefs, classroom practices, learning experience, pre- and in-service training, and contextual factors) was found. Second, a subset of the previous studies showed incompatible results; Peacock (2001) reported that beliefs are extremely difficult to change whereas Bramald, et al. (1995) reported that the beliefs of half of their participants changed a great deal. Third, we have minimal insight into non-native speakers of English language teaching required English language courses in classes with a large number of students (Borg, 2003).

In the next section, I will review the worldwide challenges encountering the implementation of CLT. Then I will discuss the studies on the problems of the CLT implementation in EFL contexts. Then contextual Factors, including classroom conditions (class size, the number of class hours, students' expectations, and students' English proficiency) and school conditions (vocational vs. academic schools, teachers' workloads, and equipment) can affect the teachers' use of CLT. According to Nishino (2008) and Taguchi (2005), secondary school teachers have suggested that class size and class hours should be changed so that CLT can be more widely implemented. When Browne and Wada's (1998) study was conducted, three Oral Communication courses were available, and one or two of the courses were chosen by each high school.

Concerning the influence of Contextual Factors on teachers' approval of CLT, Gorsuch (2000b) tested a hypothesized structural equation model based on empirical data from 876 Japanese high school teachers, and examined the influence of school and classroom conditions on their approval of CLT activities in English I and English II. She identified four latent variables from the items on a questionnaire related to school, classroom, examinations, and CLT approval. The results showed that there were strong to moderate relationships between the examination latent variable, and the school and classroom latent variables. The school and classroom variables had positive, though moderate to weak effects on teachers' approval of CLT. However, there was a weak negative relationship between the examination and CLT approval variables. Thus, these findings support the longstanding view of the strong effects of university entrance examinations on secondary school education in Japan. However, they do not show that teachers' attitudes toward the examinations directly influence their approval of CLT.

In her analysis, Gorsuch (2000b) inferred that if university entrance examinations were to include questions that tested students' communicative ability, teachers would think that individual school conditions (e.g., school curriculum) could change (for a discussion of the effect that entrance examinations have on school curricula see also Browne & Wada, 1998). Changes in school conditions might in turn moderately influence the approval of CLT among teachers who work at those institutions.

Gorsuch (2000b) also indicated that teacher beliefs and students' expectations might affect the teachers' use of CLT. She suggested that Japanese teachers might resist CLT in the classroom because they believe in strong teacher control, memorization, and translation in foreign language learning. Related to this, she wrote that "the influence of students' expectations concerning teachers' instruction is potentially powerful" (2000b, p. 685). She argued that high school students expect to prepare for entrance examinations in English courses and that they might not see the value of communicative instruction. It might be difficult for teachers to effectively use CLT without student cooperation.

In addition to student cooperation, colleague cooperation might be also needed when teachers use the novel teaching method. McKay (2002) conducted a case study of five Japanese graduate students studying in a TESOL program in the United States who taught ESL classes as trainees. Through interviews and observations, McKay found that although novice teachers learned about CLT practices in the program and practiced using them in the ESL classes, they were reluctant to use them after returning to Japan because of the concern that more experienced teachers using the traditional method might not agree or collaborate with their use of CLT.

2.12 Studies on the problems of the CLT implementation in EFL contexts

Although a range of EFL countries have adopted CLT, this turns out to be problematic. In the following I discuss research that shows the problems of the implementation of the CLT approach and the challenges that hinder its implementation worldwide.

Despite these different views about the CLT shown in table 2.4 its popularity has led policy makers to reform the educational institutions and curriculum development systems from teacher-centred to be learner-centred. However, the research about these reforms indicates that their results were not promising as most of the schools in these contexts were resistant to change. Table (2.4) shows the development of research on the CLT in different countries.

Table.2.4: Review of Research on CLT.


Methods of Research

Main Results

Ghaill (1992) UK

Observation/ discussions

with teachers, students and a

head teacher

Major limitations in implementing student centred

Pedagogy. Teachers' had different perspectives towards curriculum change.

Powell (1992) UK

Case study- 6 teachers and

their director

Many challenges limited teachers' implementation of the LCA in ELT


(1993) USA

Questionnaires, interviews,

observations , documents

Prevalence of teacher-centred instruction in most of the schools involved


(1996) Greece

Questionnaires, interviews, and observation.

Discrepancy between teachers' practices and their expressed attitudes towards the CLCA

Harrison (1996)


Reports, interviews and


Problems in implementing a new English learner-centred communicative curriculum.

Carless (1998)

Hong Kong

Observation, focused in

reviews , attitude scale

Challenges for curriculum innovation/ positive attitude towards the change

Richards et al

(2001) Singapore

A questionnaire

Direct grammar teaching for EFL/ESL students. / Positive beliefs towards the CLCA

Li (1998)

South Korea

Questionnaires and interviews

Teachers' interest in traditional teaching approaches/Difficulties in implementing CLT

Waeytens et al

(2002) Belgium

Interviewing 53 teachers

The majority of teachers had a narrow sense of 'learning to learn'

Gao & Watkins

(2002) China

Questionnaire & interview

Differences in conceptions of teaching held by Chinese teachers and Western teacher

Schuh (2004)


Case study: questionnaire,

interviews / observation

Learner-centred principles were embodied in teacher-centred classroom practices

O'Sullivan (2004)


Interviews & observations

Teachers' implementation of different modes of the LCA

Kasanda et al

(2005) Namibi

Analysing teacher-learner

interactions & nonparticipant

field notes

Success of learner-centred teaching in bringing students' experiences into classrooms

Nonkukhetkhong et

al (2006) Thailand

Interviews, observation,

self- reporting

Teachers' implementation of different models of LCA.

Yilmaz (2007)



Lack of implementation of the LCA

Kalin & Zuljan

(2007) Slovenia

A single questionnaire

Lack of teachers' understanding of their new


Matsau (2007)


Questionnaire, observation,


Successful implementation of some learner centred strategies and activities.

Heip (2007)


Conversation & observation

Difficulties in implementing CLT into Practice.

Eslami & Fatahi

(2008) Iran

Informal interviews, a


Weak language proficiency & lack of self efficacy for using communicative strategies.



classroom observation and


Positive Impact of teachers' understanding of an innovation on their implementation

Al-Nouh 2008.



EFL Teachers' failure to implement CLT based learner-centred methods.

Yilmaz 2009


E-mail Questionnaire

Challenges encountered the implementation of the LCA in Turkish Secondary schools

Segovia &

Hardison 2009Thai

Observation& semistructured


No evidence for communicative language use inside classrooms.

Brown (2009) USA


EFL students' preference of a grammar-based approach/ EFL teachers' preference of CA

Orafi & Borg

(2009) Libya

Observation and semi structured interviews

Teachers' failure to implement changes embodied in English curriculum innovation

Embark 2011 Libya

A survey

questionnaire and semi-structure interview

The Libyan teachers used a weak version of CLT approach but not a strong one.

Most of the studies, shown in table 2.3, result in the lack of CLT implementation. Both earlier and recent studies reveal evidence for the existence of this problem. The researchers attributed the failure of implementing the CLT in these contexts to many impediments. For example, Ghaill (1992: 221) attributed the failure of a curriculum change innovation towards learner-centred pedagogy in an English secondary school to its failure "to acknowledge the cultural specificity of pedagogic social relations". Waetynes et al. (2002: 319) believed that the minimal impact of introducing the concept of 'learning to learn' on teachers' behaviour was related to the lack of clarity of this concept. Brown (2009: 46-60) attributed EFL teachers' failure in implementing this approach for language teaching to the difference between teachers' and students' perceptions about effective teaching. Yilmaz (2009) reported that the education system, teachers and students have all contributed to the failure of this approach in Turkish secondary schools. Overall, researchers trend the failure of implementing this approach in non-Western contexts to the rejection of the Western ideas embodied within it or to the lack of teaching and learning facilities in some of these contexts (Burnaby & Sun, 1989; Holliday, 1994; Simpson, 2008; Jansen, 2009; Yilmaz, 2009; Orafi& Borg, 2009). These arguments seem to be based on the differences identified between Western and non-Western teachers' conceptions of teaching and learning (Holliday 1994; Gao& Watkins, 2002).

Regarding the implementation of this approach in developing countries, Jansen (2009: 240) rejected transferring the Western ideas of learner centeredness to developing countries claiming that it would end with major problems for developing countries such as "large- scale wastage of resources and disastrous effects on students' learning achievements". Guthrie (1990: 223) strongly argues that these contexts are not "right places for native experimentation with the effects of different Western values".

Other studies show there are several challenges that hinder the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) implementation some concerned to teachers, students, and their instructional contexts (Ahn, 2011). In Japan, for instance, English teachers found it difficult to switch from the traditional methods such as GTM and ALM towards a CLT approach (Hiramatsu, 2010). In South Korea, a study remarked that "teachers' limited English proficiency and low confidence in using English as the medium of instruction were major barriers to enacting CLT" (Ahn, 2011, p. 239). And in another study, teachers were wary of implementing CLT curriculum when students were still expected to take standardized tests based heavily on the previous grammar-translation methods (Johnson & Golombek, 2010).

A significant conclusion can be marked: the implementation of this approach has encountered various challenges and difficulties in both western and non western contexts.

Considering the CLT as an appropriate approach for western contexts has been challenged by the results of many researches which revealed many impediments against implementing this approach in these contexts (Ghaill, 1992 in the uk; Cuban, 1993 in USA; Karavas- Doukas, 1996 in Greece; Hawkey 2006 in Italy; Pizaro 2007 in Spain; Kalin& Zuljan 2007 in Slovenia). All of them refer to the lack of implementation of the CLT approach in EFL contexts.

Li (1998) conducted a qualitative study of South Korean teachers and their perceived difficulties in using CLT in EFL contexts. The study occurred in a Canadian university, and surveyed 18 South Korean secondary English teachers, who undertook a training program in Canada. The eighteenth participants answered a written questionnaire, and 10 of them were interviewed. Li resulted that teachers encounter difficulties when attempting to implement CLT caused by four reasons, "those caused (a) by the teacher, (b) by the students, (c) by the educational system, and (d) by CLT itself" (Li, 1998).

1- Difficulties Caused by Teachers

a. Deficiency in spoken English

b. Deficiency in strategic and sociolinguistic competence

c. Lack of training in CLT

d. Few opportunities for retraining in CLT

e. Misconceptions about CLT

f. Little time for and expertise in material development

2. Difficulties Caused by Students

a. Low English proficiency

b. Little motivation for communicative competence

c. Resistance to class participation

3. Difficulties Caused by the Educational System

a. Large classes

b. Grammar-based examinations

c. Insufficient funding

d. Lack of support

4. Difficulties Caused by CLT Itself

a. CLT's inadequate account of EFL teaching

b. Lack of effective and efficient assessment instruments

Li (1998) argues that these numerous problems discourage teachers from trying CLT. Li also explains that many changes must take place before teachers are prepared to use CLT in EFL environments. "A conflict apparently exists between what CLT demands and what the EFL situation in many countries, such as South Korea, allows. This conflict must be resolved before EFL teaching in these countries can benefit from CLT" (Li, 1998: 696). Some of the conflicts that need attention, according to Li, are related to (1) educational values and attitudes, (2) reading, (3) oral skills, (4) grammar, (5) students' attitudes, (6) teachers' attitudes, (7) pre-service teacher education, and (8) local educational growth. Overall, teachers identified more problems than benefits of CLT use in South Korea, thus indicating problems with CLT adaptation in, at least, one EFL environment.

There are important findings in Li's study correspond to the results of this study. Li (1998) reported under the category of difficulties caused by the educational system that teachers consider class size as an obstacle in implementing CLT. According to him; "all 18 respondents referred to large classes as one of the principal constraints on their attempts to use the CLT" (p. 691). In addition, one teacher explained that class size makes it almost impossible to use CLT because of problems with class management, noise, giving individualized attention to students, keeping students on task, and lack of space for teachers and students to move around or get into groups.

Another important finding in Li's study, under the category of difficulties caused by teachers, is the teacher's lack of adequate training to implement the CLT approach. Again, "all 18 participants named; lack of training as one of the main obstacles they faced in applying CLT" (p. 688).

The majority of the teachers made it clear that they understand CLT in theory, but when come to practice; they lack the appropriate CLT methodology.

Finally, still under the category of difficulties caused by teachers, Li's findings state that "fourteen teachers reported that lack of time for and expertise in developing communicative materials had been constraints for them to implement the CLT approach" (p. 689). As a consequence, teachers gave up using CLT because they were unable to develop materials due to their lack of training in CLT, or because they didn't have enough time to create communicative activities on their own.

Another study conducted by Burnaby & Sun (1989) looked at Chinese teachers' use of western language teaching in China. By western language teaching, Burnaby and Sun mean teaching that has as its objective the development of communicative competence among students. The study focused on "teachers' views about using western methods of teaching English as a second or foreign language in their own pedagogical contexts" (Burnaby & Sun, 1989: 220). Data were collected from a Canadian/Chinese cooperative program in English and French language training and cultural orientation in Canada, and "an informal study done by Sun on the views on western teaching methods of Chinese teachers at the tertiary level" (Burnaby & Sun, 1989, p. 224). The findings of this study give some insight into how western teaching is used by teachers in China. The participants declared that communicative methods are good for students who are planning to go abroad, but it is not good for other students, mainly ones that are English majors. The findings revealed that communicative methods as useful for students who will live in English-speaking contexts, thus this method is best for ESL and not EFL environments. Burnaby and Sun (1989) divided participants' views into seven categories: Chinese students who would benefit from communicative language teaching, non-native speakers as communicative language teachers, context of the wider curriculum, traditional teaching methods, class size and schedule, resources and equipment and teachers' professional status. All of these categories seemed to present problems for the implementation of the CLT approach in China. According to Burnaby and Sun (1989), teachers viewed class size as an obstacle for using CLT. Teachers in Burnaby and Sun's study indicated that "using communicative methods with large groups was difficult, especially given the pressures to cover the curriculum effectively in the time allowed" (p. 229). In addition, the participants declared that the CLT approach is not suitable and does not meet the requirements of learners in China. Burnaby and Sun (1989) concluded that, the CLT approach is appropriate for ESL environments, but it is not true for all EFL environments, especially China.

A study conducted by Gorsuch looked at Japanese teachers' approval of communicative activities using a 5-point Likert scale, with a sample of 884 Japanese senior high school EFL teachers who answered the questionnaire. The questionnaire covers a series of questions on teaching activities. Gorsuch resulted in that teachers were highly influenced by the needs of the university entrance exam. The university entrance exam is the most important and competitive exam in the academic career of students. This is why the institution and the students make pressure on teachers to let them prepare materials needed in this exam. A communicative competence doesn't meet the needs of students as the main focus is on grammar instruction. He also noted that the majority of teachers preferred to use a traditional way of teaching, and resisted to switch to the new teaching approach, CLT. Gorsuch also reported that the teachers didn't use the target language in their teaching in the classroom, reasoning that students were unable to use and produce it. In addition, since communicative competence require language use, it is not appropriate in English teaching in Japanese high schools.

Finally, in his study of 300 Turkish teachers, Altan (1995) reported on the culture of English teaching in the EFL environments of Turkey. The data were collected through a questionnaire, which included open-ended questions, direct questions, and items on a Likert scale. Altan (1995) classified teachers' view of English teaching in Turkey into five categories: 1) the teachers' view of the EFL curriculum; 2); teachers' view of language; 3) language teaching, teachers' view of classroom practices; 4) teachers' view of their role; 5) teachers' view of their profession. All the categories were explained in detail in the study, and giving reasons for some factors such as why students learn English in Turkey, the aim of the English curriculum, and problems with present language teaching in Turkey.

Altan (1995) also added that teachers' experience determines their answers to the questionnaire. Teachers with more years of experience viewed that student's aims are mostly to pass examinations. Inexperienced teachers noted that grammatical instruction of language is useful in teaching; they also required students to do more reading and writing exercises. Even though teachers differed in opinions because of their years of experience, Altan noted that they shared common ground in many areas, such as "thinking and acting responsibly to help develop their students' learning of English" (p. 21). Altan's (1995) results are extremely useful when comparing them to other projects presented in this study. Most of the topics teachers in Turkey discussed and the problems they faced with English teaching are similar to the ones in the other EFL environments reported in this review.

There have been countless other studies and articles that look into CLT implementation and its problems (Sano, Takahashi & Yoneyama, 1984; White, 1987; Ellis, 1996; Abbott, 1987; Deckert, 1987; Liao, 2000; Kang, 1999). However, to the best of my knowledge this is the first study conducted that takes into consideration teachers' beliefs of CLT use in Libya. There have been other studies that looked into the use of specific aspects of CLT, such as target language use in the classroom (Oliveira, 2002).

An empirical study conducted in Libyan secondary schools by Orafi and Borg (2009) who used classroom observation to collect date and reported the failure of three Libyan EFL secondary school teachers in implementing an English language learner-centred curriculum innovation. Another empirical study conducted by Al-Nouh (2008) used interview and classroom observation to investigate the implementation of 23 Kuwaiti EFL primary school teachers of a CLT-based learner-centred method. She concluded in the teachers were not implementing a student-centred method despite the learner-centred training courses they had taken at university education. He attributed this as for these teachers teach to the examinations. The results of her study showed a mismatch between the teachers' practice with their actual practice inside classrooms. The more experienced teachers had better knowledge and skills for implementing the CLT-based student-centred method than the less experienced ones (Al-Nouh, 2008).

Nevertheless, none of these studies observed specifically secondary teachers' beliefs and attitudes towards the CLT and the challenges encounter its implementation. Despite the significance of accounting for non-native EFL teachers' understanding of the CLT approach, little research on investigating secondary teachers' beliefs and attitudes towards the implementation of this approach in developing countries has been conducted to investigate this matter. Also it gives a good opportunity to reveal the challenges that hinder the implementation of the CLT approach. This study also is unique in applying triangulation methods, i.e. questionnaire, class observations and interviews. It means that this study is not relied on just questionnaire, but goes beyond it, and attempts to reveal the teachers' beliefs towards the implementation of the CLT and the challenges that hinder its implementation. Therefore, this study aims to fill in a gap of existing research in the area of CLT use in EFL contexts. It attempts to shed light on EFL situation in Libya. In addition, this study hopes to provide useful information to teachers and educationalists who focus on foreign language teaching.

Regarding the contribution of the research, this adds useful insights to the literature for non-Western EFL teachers of the CLT approach. Curriculum designers and policy makers for EFL contexts can consult these insights to develop suitable curriculum. In addition, it gives a clear identification about the most important reasons behind the failure of the CLT implementation in EFL context in non-western countries. This offers the initial step in the research for feasible and practical solutions to overcome these challenges. Hence, appropriate actions can be taken to revise the policies adopted in these contexts to fit their contextual conditions and particularities.

2.13 Teacher's Roles in the CLT Classroom in an EFL context

Successful implementation of CLT activities depends on the teacher as a major part for controlling this method. It is emphasized that teachers with high fluency and oral ability can encourage and develop learners' interests to participate in communicative activities. Successful implementation of CLT activities required a high fluent teacher with oral ability. In EFL countries, like Libya, where there is no English input outside the classroom. The main attention is directed towards the teacher's role as a knowledge provider. According to Bree & Candlin (19980; 1999), the teacher's roles is defined as follows:

The teacher has two main roles: The first role is to facilitate the communication process between all learners, and between these participants and the various activities and texts. The second role is to act as an independent participant among the learning- teaching group. The latter role is closely related to the objectives of the first role and arises from it. These roles imply a set of secondary roles for the teacher: first, as an organizer of resources and as a resource himself, second as a guide within the classroom procedures and activities … A third role for the teacher is that of researcher and learner, with much to contribute in terms of appropriate knowledge and abilities, actual and observed experience of the nature of learning and organizational capacities (Breen & Candlin, 1980; 1999).

Richards & Rodgers (2001) also specify the teacher's roles in the CLT classroom: 1) need analyst - teachers in the CLT classroom need to analyze learners' learning styles, assets, goals, etc, and to provide CLT instructions such as group/ individual work depending on the analysis results; 2) counselor: teachers should be effective counselors and communicators in CLT activities such as paraphrase, confirmation, and feedback during CLT activities to encourage the learners to learn the language effectively; 3) group process manager: teachers are responsible for guiding, controlling and creating the appropriate conditions for better communication activities, Richards & Rodgers (200: 167- 168).

To sum up, following the researchers' suggestion, the successful implementation of CLT in real teaching contexts depends heavily on teacher-related factors, especially in EFL countries (Liming, 2001; Yian, 2001; Choi, 2000).

2.14 Libya as an example of the CLT implementation in EFL context

2.14.1 Challenges encountering the implementation of CLT in Libya

Despite the popularity and acclaim of the communicative approach, not all countries have embraced and successfully implemented it. The question here is not the effectiveness of the approach itself but that there are existing factors in these countries that have deterred or constrained any substantial implementation of the approach, making assessment of its success inconclusive. There have been many attempts made by researchers to study about these constraints. Many countries, but generally the third world ones, have been known to carry these inherent constraints against Communicative Language Teaching. Libya is one of these many countries that have marked constraints to the implementation of the communicative approach in classrooms. There are existing factors that have in one way or another, led to the constraints against the communicative approach (see Embark 2011& Orafi & Borg 2009).

Libyan communication style is such that there are many things are often left unsaid; they leave it up to their culture to explain. Even a few but well selected words can already communicate vast and complex messages very effectively. Libyans are not too used to explicit forms of communication or complex reasoning. Libyans tend to employ high context communication styles and prefer routine interaction. Because of these, it is said that Libyan students tend to learn more by repetition rather than by reasoning. This is why many Libyan teachers have become over reliant on textbooks. They have also held on to practices more parallel with the audio-lingual method that uses drilling, repetition and habit formation, instead of venturing into the communicative approach. Their school curriculum and the teaching methodologies have remained traditional, sticking to the structures that they are familiar with. And because of the characteristics of the structured based approach, they have continued to likewise employ the grammar translation method. Their curriculum has remained limited because there is no need under this method to create new things. Another constraint would be the fact that Libyan students only begin English learning by seventh level (see Embark 2011 & Orafi and Borg 2009 & Ahmad et al). Since teaching English is structured, there is no need to consider the student's needs and interests, which according to Nunan, is important in the communicative approach, further deterring its implementation because customization of learning is not done. Learning English in Libya is completely based on teacher-centred method and students usually do not have no opportunity to control their own learning (Embark 2011 & Orafi and Borg 2009). There is also very little chance for Libyan students to exercise such since they need to abide by the structure, they have little or no opportunity to speak another language in society they live in close circuit groups and are very family focused. They also lack the necessary motivation because they have yet to fully realize the utter importance learning language (Libya Education, N. D.) given that there is very limited opportunity to speak or use other languages since Libyans have remained a closely knit people and their political history is such that it left no room in Libya except for Libyans. The number of students per class may also be a deterrent to the communicative approach where interaction is highly necessary and may be impossible with such large classes and given the limited amount of time. "The Libyan education system is suffering from a shortage of qualified English teachers at present. Learners are taught collectively in large classes and they are experiencing a lack of English language interaction in the classroom" (Sawani, F. M.). The communicative approach requires extensive interactions through role plays and other interactive means. Given this limitation in the class settings, it might be difficult to do. The number of teachers is just slowly picking up and their competency levels need to be scrutinized. The forms of teaching assessments have likewise remained traditional. Tests are grammar-based. The manner of acquiring of an educational innovation such as the communicative approach can be limited. It must match and take into consideration the cognitive and contextual realities of teachers' work (see Embark 2011 & Orafi and Borg 2009).

Most classes in Libya are taught in Arab. Instead of being able to practice the language, they learn it by using their own language. So the acquisition is very technical instead of practical. In the end, they might still not be able to communicate in the target language, which according to Nunan is necessary for the communicative approach.

Technological support is lacking and could likewise be a factor constraining the communicative approach; like the lack of computers and internet access. Mostly, technological development is driven by higher educational institutions only. But having good internet access available to more people even outside educational institutions could pave the way for global interaction, creating opportunities to speak other languages.

Libyan culture itself could be a constraint against the communicative approach. Since Libyans prefer in-groups, they will not have that urgent need to learn another language. Likewise, since they are selective of their words, this is also a limitation in the practice of communicative approach where it is encouraged to communicate according to the context - that if it requires low context or more explicit communication, then that is what should be done. Libyans must go past their high context thinking or culture related communication in order to embrace the communicative approach. [2743].

Although there are more and more communicative language materials as well as a new series of text books published for the communicative curricula in 2000, the teachers felt pressure to write their own materials and to design their own activities in order for the materials and activities to be appropriate or effective for their students. They reported that there were already so many tasks they had to do that any kind of additional work was a burden. Teachers were reluctant to use CLT because it was too time-consuming to design their own communicative materials and activities. Most teachers did not even try using and developing CLT activities.

Teachers' low proficiency in oral English was a big obstacle in implementing CLT in Libyan EFL classrooms. Since the reason why the Ministry of Education in Libya decided to implement CLT is that Libyan students do not have enough oral proficiency in English even after several years in studying English, the educators hoped that CLT would play a significant role in developing students' oral English. However, the Libyan teachers, although they were highly proficient in grammar, reading and writing in English, they were not competent enough to conduct the communicative classes that required the teachers to have high levels of speaking and listening ability in English. It indicates that the teachers' oral skills, which are low, challenged the Libyan EFL teachers in implementing CLT.

2.14.2 The new curriculum

In Libya, learning English has been a struggle. During the 1980s, the focus of English learning has been on grammar and reading comprehension. This was accompanied by oral drills in order to practice proper enunciation and increasing the vocabulary of the students. However, the political tension between Libya and the West became a hindrance to English learning. "The teaching of English was banned from schools and universities across the country" (Orafi & Borg, 2009). As such, the quality of teaching of English as a second language declined. The younger generation of students then had limited knowledge of the English language.

As a response to this growing problem, the Libyan government decided to overhaul the English curriculum as well as the manner of teaching English in 2000. This new curriculum was implemented in Libya's secondary education (Embark 2011 & Orafi & Borg, 2009). However, despite the new curriculum, there are still a number of problems that should be addressed. The English language was taught in a structured manner that focused on reading comprehension, vocabulary, and grammar. The new curriculum uses reading activities and a recommendation on a discovery approach to grammar is introduced. The course book on English meanwhile promotes the "meaningful and purposeful language use, receptive and productive, in oral and written contexts." The curriculum also aimed to teach the students to use English in their everyday form of communication. There is also a policy which encourages the students to speak in English inside their own classrooms. The teachers meanwhile were instructed to be more tolerant for errors and to encourage students to work in pairs. The teachers were also made to attend a week long seminars on how to implement the new curriculum (Orafi & Borg, 2009).

Unfortunately, the actual implementation of the new curriculum is not as near to the aim of the new curriculum. There is more focus on written exams of grammar and readings instead of vocal communication. Also, the teachers could not encourage the students to work in pairs. This is because they are aware of the students' limited vocabulary. The teachers also disclosed that they are the one performing all the work. Instead of a pair work between the students, the discussion of the English language became a question and answer manner between the teacher and the student. It is the teacher who speaks more in English rather than the students. The students merely repeat the English words (Orafi & Borg, 2009).

The new curriculum of Libya on the English language has potential. However, there is a need to change how it is implemented in order to achieve its vision. One of the issues is the limited vocabulary of the students. Vocabulary building should not merely start during one's secondary education. The new curriculum on vocabulary building should have started during elementary. This would enable the students to build up a certain amount of vocabulary that would enable them to converse in English with one another. Another issue is the manner the teachers educate the children. Instead of continuous repetition of the words and phrases in the textbook, the teachers should also find topics that would interest the students more. An example of this is listening to appropriate English songs. The students would be interested more on the topic and at the same time easily remember the topic. Another example is to use English words in a more conversational and practical setting. Simple phrases and questions such as "Where is the bathroom?" or "How much is this?" would be easily remembered more. The teacher also should not rely on written exams more. Instead, the teachers should also test the student's ability to speak the language. Oral exams between the teacher and students would also encourage the students to think outside the box and practice speaking the language.

The new curriculum aims to focus more on the students. As such, the teachers should give extra effort and patience in educating them. The teachers should find a way to innovate in teaching the language. They should not be limited to what the text offers or with the implementing guidelines of the new curriculum. Instead, the teachers should reach out to their students in order for proper communication to ensue.

Almost all educational innovations need teachers to change their practices in class and take up new modes of teaching methodologies. Adequate training of the teachers is an important factor for implementing CLT approach. Lack of training for the teachers makes it difficult for teachers to implement CLT in Libya, Richards (2001). Giving teachers short briefs intermittently about a new innovation is also wrong. This is because it will not sufficiently equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills for successful implementation of CLT. According to Angelides, Stylianou and Gibbs (2006), real alteration in practice cannot be born of short programs teachings. Most teachers in Libya have not undertaken adequate training and therefore, the implementation of CLT becomes a challenge.

The teacher may lack adequate training of teaching methodology and enough proficiency in all communicative areas. This is because in almost all classes, successful learning depends greatly on the teacher. Lack of good preparation, lack of good planning, lack of enough materials and lack of class organization will surely lead to poor communicative language teaching.

The collective weight of these factors helps to understand the disparity, as shown by the classroom observations, between what the teachers do and what the curriculum asks them to do. Recognizing this disparity and the reasons for it is a significant preliminary step in considering how it might be tackled.

2.15 The present study

The literature review above has viewed the difficulties and problems encountered the EFL teachers towards the implementation of the CLT approach in their classrooms worldwide, especially in secondary school levels (e. g. Crawford, 2001). Those difficulties are concerned with the textbook and material, teacher training, assessment, teacher and student proficiency, etc. The literature review has stated that empirical studies done on secondary schools occurred in the 1980s, but in Libya, it started almost in 2000s. So, it is a fact that more research is needed to investigate the CLT approach and the difficulties facing its implementation.

The literature review has shown that the curriculum focus on the CLT activities, where while the data obtained from the questionnaire, interviews and classroom observations has emphasized that teachers are implementing the traditional methods, such as GTM.

Moreover, the tools used to collect data in the studies shows in the literature review are not enough to investigate the implementation of CLT and the difficulties facing its implementation. For instance, Englezakis (1998); Yang (2000) and AI-Mutawa (2003) have applied only questionnaires and concluded with a list of constraints. Questionnaire is not enough, but more tools are required to obtain enough data to analyze the teachers' practices. In other words, observing what teachers are doing in their classrooms is a vital tool to find out what they are actually doing. It is true that some researchers used questionnaire, interview and classroom observation such as (Ackers & Hardman, 2001; Al-Khwaiter, 2001; Crawford, 2001; Al-Haji 2004; Kirkgoz, 2006) but they did not look at teachers beliefs and attitudes. Therefore, there is a need to investigate such matters more by applying more methodology tools.

The next chapters aim to investigate whether the CLT approach is implemented in the Libyan secondary schools and what are the challenges that encounter its implementation?

Therefore, the present study focus to answer the following questions

1. Are Libyan secondary school EFL teachers implemented the CLT approach in their classrooms or not?

2. What are the constraints, if any, that encountered them to implement the CLT approach?

Teachers are divided according to their Educational background and according to their experience (see Chapter 3). The literature above shows that the majority of the Libyan secondary school teachers are not engaged in pre-service and in-service training. Based on what the literature suggests, I can hypothesize:

1. The CLT approach is not probably implemented in Libyan secondary schools.

2. Several constraints are encountering the implementation of the CLT approach.

Libyan secondary school teachers' beliefs will be investigated, analyzed and discussed in the coming chapters to find out whether secondary teach