A Case Study on Two Taiwanese EFL College Writing Teachers’ Beliefs and Teaching Practices: An Activity Theory Perspective
Chen, Benjamin Hung-Wei
|關鍵字:||語言教師信念;教學實施;活動理論;英文寫作;language teachers' beliefs;teaching practices;activity theory;EFL writing|
|摘要:||過去幾十年中，學者在語言教學老師教學信念領域已經在諸多方面皆有所研究探詢。由於許多研究建議將教師所處情境納入考量，影響教師信念的情境因素顯得日益重要。然而在過去的研究中，情境因素仍然是個較為邊緣性的主題。本研究利用Engeström (1987) 活動理論試圖了解語言教學老師的信念、教學實施、信念與實施的關係以及情境對於此關係的影響。
In the research on language teacher education, language teachers’ beliefs have been considerably investigated in the past few decades. Although many studies have recommended that situated contexts should be taken into consideration and contextual factors affecting teachers’ beliefs have become increasingly important, contextual factors still seem relatively peripheral. Therefore, by using Engeström’s (1987) activity theory, this study aims to examine language teachers’ beliefs, teaching practices, the relations between the two and the contextual influences on the relations. This study adopted the case study approach to investigate the beliefs of two Taiwanese college EFL writing teachers at a public university in northern Taiwan. Various data collection techniques, including semi-structured interviews, class observations, and documents were adopted. The collected data were analyzed by activity theoretical framework in order to clearly identify the relations between teachers’ beliefs and practices and the contextual factors existing in the activity systems. Within the activity theoretical framework, the six components, including subject, object, mediational means, rule, community, and division of labor, were applied as the interpretive elements of the writing teachers’ beliefs, practices, and the situated contextual factors. In the within-case analysis, the results of the study showed the beliefs and the teaching practices of the two writing teachers. Moreover, the relations between the beliefs and practices were further discussed within the activity theoretical framework. In the cross-case analysis, the two research questions were respectively answered. In Research Question 1, four themes, the factors to affecting the writing teachers’ beliefs, how their beliefs shaped their practices, the inconsistency between beliefs and practices, and how their teaching practices influenced their beliefs, were examined. In Research Question 2, it was revealed that mediational means contributed greatly to the belief-practice realization. Also, the faculty community, the rules established by the community, and the students’ responses were the most distinctive contextual factors influencing the relations between the writing teachers’ beliefs and practices. In conclusion, this study revealed the interactive relations among teachers’ beliefs, teaching practices, and the embedded contextual factors. Based on the findings of the study, several pedagogical and research implications are proposed, including clear communication between writing teachers and program directors, opinion exchange between experienced teachers and novice teachers in the same communities, and more teacher development activities to upgrade writing teachers’ teaching. Moreover, the limitations of the present study consist of limited data collection time, only investigation of a limited number of the community members, and inclusion of limited number of the teachers’ courses. It is suggested that future research should improve the above limitations in order to elicit more in-depth information resulted from the contextual factors existing in the relations between the teachers’ beliefs and teaching practices.
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