Learner-Centredness in Teachers’ Beliefs: A Qualitative Multiple-Case Study of Chinese Secondary Teachers of English as a Foreign Language

  •  Mingkun Lou    
  •  Greg Restall    


China’s National English Curriculum Standard, launched in 2001, clearly reflects a philosophy and characteristics of learner-centeredness. However, limited evidence is available as to how far the learner-centred philosophy has, through interacting with the local contexts, influenced teachers’ beliefs, which will translate into a core philosophy and culture affecting teacher behaviours and practices at the school and classroom levels. Drawing on semi-structured interview data of a larger project, this study reports on three secondary school teachers’ overall educational beliefs regarding English teaching, the alignment of their beliefs with learner-centredness and factors influencing their beliefs. The analysis uncovers a wide range of English-teaching related beliefs that positions the three teachers variously on a learner-centred continuum. It also unveils the possible factors that influence teacher beliefs and mediate teachers’ application of beliefs. Factors influencing teachers’ beliefs range from schooling to significant others. Teachers’ reflectiveness is identified as an important influence of teachers’ beliefs and uptake of the curriculum reform. Teachers’ perceptions and responses to a range of contextual factors mediate the application of their beliefs. This study sheds light on the current status of curriculum reform and the uptake of the learner-centred philosophy by teachers.

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