Tensions between conflicting beliefs of an EFL teacher in teaching practice

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While it has been proposed that language teachers' beliefs could filter the way they perceive their teaching and influence their practice, few studies have investigated how their beliefs interact with their teaching decisions and why some beliefs override others. When EFL teachers adapt the Western-based Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) model to Asian contexts, tensions between beliefs about different traditions of language teaching begin to surface and influence their perceptions and practice of new teaching methodologies. Therefore, exploring how EFL teachers' beliefs interact with their teaching decisions could shed more light on EFL teacher development. This paper reports on the interactions between a pre-service EFL teacher's beliefs about CLT and her teaching practice in a one-year postgraduate teacher education programme in Hong Kong. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews, belief-inventory questionnaires, researcher's field notes, classroom observations and stimulated recall interviews at different times in the programme. It gives an interpretive account of the participant's reactions to conflicting beliefs and the impact on her learning process. This is followed by a discussion on several characteristics of belief development, which facilitated CLT adaptation and/or hindered teacher development. Copyright © 2011 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-67
JournalRELC Journal
Issue number1
Early online dateFeb 2011
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011


Mak, S. H.-Y. (2011). Tensions between conflicting beliefs of an EFL teacher in teaching practice. RELC Journal, 42(1), 53-67. doi: 10.1177/0033688210390266


  • Beliefs
  • Teacher cognition
  • Teacher education
  • Teaching ESL/EFL
  • Reflection
  • Communicative language teaching

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