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Teacher talk
EFL policy
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Teo, P. (2017). Bridging Policy and Practice: A Study of EFL Teacher Talk in China. The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, 21(3), 1-24.
This study focuses on teacher talk in the context of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teaching in China. Framed against China’s current focus on ‘thinking, imagination and innovation’ as stated in the National English Curriculum Standards (NECS), this paper reports the findings of a qualitative study aimed at understanding how the discursive practices of EFL teachers contribute to the learning outcomes and overall goals of the NECS. The study adopts the theoretical lens of Bakhtin’s concept of dialogism, which views dialogue as the principal means for meaning making and learning. It focuses on how teachers encourage dialogic interactions in the classroom through their questions and code-switching practices. The data comprises 30 hours of audio-recordings of lessons taught by eight EFL teachers at the high school level in two Chinese cities. The analysis of this data suggests that EFL teaching is still very much entrenched in the traditional practice based on word recognition and pattern drills and, despite official policy pronouncements, maintains a predominantly monologic thrust. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to how teacher talk can mediate EFL learning and, more broadly, bridge the gap between policy and classroom practice.
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