Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Iranian Efl Teachers' Attitudes toward Communicative Language Teaching

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

Iranian Efl Teachers' Attitudes toward Communicative Language Teaching

Article excerpt

Introduction

Many researchers believes that the history of formal teaching of English in Iran dates back to 1938-1939 (See for example Foroozandeh 2010). In first English textbook series designed and published by the ministry of culture in academic year of 1938-1939 included six books for six grades of high school education. The Iranian committee of writers of this series and a group of English speaking educators who launched and implemented this joint project under the sponsorship of the ministry of culture had adopted the Direct Method (DM) and Reading Method (RM) and the series course books were not designed based upon any official curriculum. Foroozandeh (2010:68) evaluates that "the 6-book series did not follow the same design and procedure in all the lessons. The 1939 series was not accompanied by any work book or teachers manual, but the "foreword to teachers" provided comprehensive guidelines on classroom managements, student-teacher relationship, the importance and necessity of adopting a humanitarian approach to language teaching and learning, taking account of learner factors, error correction, and dictation."

This series was taught up until 1964 when it was replaced by a very well-known and widely discussed series called "the Graded English series". Graded English which was also a 6-book series was claimed to adopt the main stream approach of its time (situational language teaching) and the textbooks were designed in a way that get the students acquainted with the basic knowledge and information of English necessary for daily life and future academic studies.

The Graded English series stayed in circulation of formal education system up until the Islamic revolution in 1979. English was simultaneously known as the language of enemies (i.e. the United States and the United Kingdom) on the one hand (Borjian, 2013) and as a tool for progress (Riazi, 2005) on the other. Teaching English as a foreign language is a challenging task in developing countries in general and in our country in particular (Razmjoo and Riazi, 2006). However, English teaching underwent some consecutive reforms and early after the revolution and it was completely removed from the schools and replaced by other series; the most wellknown one is "Right path to English" which was based on behavioristic theories and AudioLingual Method.

A brief survey of English textbooks taught in formal k-12 education system of Iran shows that they were mostly and generally developed under the influence of structural and formal camps such as RM, DM, GTM, and Audio-Lingual Method has failed in developing learners' communicative ability in real-life situations in the previous Educational system.

Recently the Iranian Ministry of Education has changed the Educational System from K 12 System to what is known as 6-3-3 System. The six-year primary cycle covers grades 1 to 6 for children 6 to 12 years old. This phase is both free and compulsory. Students take exams at the end of each year on which their promotion to the following grade is based. The first three-year secondary cycle titled "Secondary School Stage One" covers grades 7 to 9 for children 12 to 14 years old. Like the preceding cycle, this cycle also provides students with general education. One of the new subjects in the curriculum of this cycle is Foreign Languages. English language has been included as part of the Iranian school curriculum as a compulsory subject taught from grade 7 in junior high schools (age 12-15).

Most of language teaching experts have noticed the failure of the traditional approaches such as Audio-Lingual method, which came to practice after the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979. At that time, syllabus designers designed a series of course-books, titled "Right Path to English". As this Method has failed in developing learners' communicative ability in real-life situations in the previous Educational system, the syllabus designers have shifted to adopt new English for School series titled "Prospect". …

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