Rural teachers' reaction to communicative language teaching: Oppositions or apprehension?

Kit Shan Dorothy LI, Wai Shing LI, Man Yee Mavis LEUNG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The State Education Development Commission in China introduced the communicative syllabus in 1992. However, evidence indicated that the traditional structured-based approach was still prevalent in the English classroom. The paper is an attempt to examine rural teachers’ concerns regarding the adoption of a communicative language teaching (CLT) approach in their classroom. The data for the investigation came from teachers’ journals written during a two-week training programme organized by a Hong Kong voluntary group in Gansu Province, classroom observations, interviews, as well as written correspondence between the teachers and the mentors. The analysis showed that the teachers were positive about the effectiveness of CLT in motivating students to learn English. However, a number of teachers’ concerns that might hinder the adoption of CLT were revealed. Examples of these included teachers’ low English proficiency, lack of confidence, a misconception of CLT, poor understanding of language teaching and insufficient acquisition of teaching skills. The measures taken to help the teachers during the programme were discussed. It is hoped that the discussion contained in this paper could lead to a more frequent professional exchange between teachers from the mainland and Hong Kong so that CLT can be elevated to a new level for the benefits of both teachers and students.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004



Li, D., Li, W. S., & Leung, M. Y. (2004, December). Rural teachers' reaction to communicative language teaching: Oppositions or apprehension? Paper presented at the International Language in Education Conference 2004: The Way Forward in Language Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.