Exploring an EFL Teacher’s Beliefs and Practices in Teaching Topical Debates in Mainland China

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

Hong Kong Baptist University

Abstract

Research on EFL teachers’ beliefs and practices is significant for teaching effectiveness. This paper investigated and compared the convergences and discrepancies between an EFL teacher’s stated beliefs and observed classroom practices related to teaching an L2 speaking-oriented Topical Debates course. In mainland China, Topical Debates is a credit-bearing course that focuses on addressing both sides of an issue, as well as the associated different views. It is a compulsory course for English majors and an optional course for non-English majors. A qualitative case study with interviews and classroom observations was applied over two months. The findings indicate that the teacher generally practiced what she believed in the classrooms. Although some discrepancies existed, the reasons are related to the context of the teaching as well as learner factors, including their lack of preparation and their language proficiency level. The findings also demonstrate that this teacher held many common educational beliefs, which are highly crucial for teaching Topical Debates, such as critical thinking and logical thinking. The results suggest that it is necessary for EFL teachers to regularly and systematically examine the relations between their beliefs and practices through reflective practices for a better monitoring of their daily teaching practicums.

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