Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs


Huanan Zhang

Publication Date



The government of China requires that the Communicative Language Teaching Approach (CLT) should be applied in primary and secondary school English education by issuing the New Curriculum early in 2001 to develop learners competence of using the language; however, implementation of CLT is still a big challenge confronting pre-service Chinese EFL teachers who experienced the traditional teaching approach over an extensive period of time. I conducted a case study research on the perceptions about CLT of twelve pre-service EFL teachers from Liaoning Province, China, to explore: a) what are pre-service Chinese EFL teachers' perceptions about CLT and its implementation in the Chinese context? b) What are the important factors that affect their perceptions about CLT and its implementation? Vygotsky's sociocultural theory was applied as the framework to examine the process of the participants' perceptions. The study indicates that these pre-service EFL teachers considered CLT as an ineffective teaching approach for transferring linguistic knowledge, but they suggested implementing a small amount of communicative activities to relieve the repressed feelings of learners who learn English under the traditional teaching approach. The examination system, the previous English learning experience, the internalized Chinese culture of learning, and the pre-existing beliefs of teaching are the important factors influencing how these pre-service teachers were aware of, understood, interpreted, and emotionally related to English teaching using a communicative approach. These pre-service EFL teachers developed new beliefs of teaching in the process of training; however, lack of role models in the local educational realities prevented them from applying and creating communicative methods. Therefore, I suggest that teacher educators incorporate reflective discussions and demonstrate various implementations of CLT in EFL teacher-training programs.'


Vygotsky's sociocultural theory, Case study, Beliefs of teaching, Communicative language teaching

Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Meyer, Lois

Second Committee Member

Galvan, Ruth Trinidad

Third Committee Member

Leng, Hui

Fourth Committee Member

Pabisch, Peter