A new paradigm of teaching English in China: An Eclectic Model

| March 25, 2009
A new paradigm of teaching English in China: An Eclectic Model

Keywords: new approach to ELT, proposed eclectic model, prevalent Chinese methods

Lixin Xiao
Tianjin Polytechnic University, P. R. China

Bio Data
Dr. Lixin XIAO is a professor of English language education and Intercultural Communication at School of Foreign Languages, Tianjin Polytechnic University, P. R. China. He holds a PhD in L2 & EFL Education from the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies, Dublin City University, Ireland.He has been teaching English as a foreign language at university level in China for over 20 years, and has got research and teaching experience in Canada and Ireland.His main research interests include teaching methodology, CLT application in China, critical thinking development in EFL education, and ESP. Dr Xiao has published widely internationally.

This paper presents an eclectic model of teaching English majors the Comprehensive English course at the university level. The new approach to ELT described combines strengths from the traditional teaching, communicative language teaching (CLT) and the context approach (CA) (Bax, 2003) in order to suit the current English as a foreign language (EFL) context in China at the university level. It consists of three interrelated stages in teaching English majors the Comprehensive English course: pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading, and each stage focuses on different and specific dimensions. The new approach treats language teaching and learning as an organic process and includes reading at the syntactical level (bottom-up stage) and reading at the textual and discourse level (top-down stage). The top-down stage is more significant in language teaching because it is this stage that enables the progression of a synthesized approach to take place. The proposed eclectic model is different from traditional teacher-centred practices in which teachers tend to treat new words, phrases and sentence structure patterns as discrete language points and elaborate upon them over-meticulously while the gist of the text is usually overlooked. Furthermore, the proposed approach is aimed at helping teachers to overcome the weakness of teacher-centeredness. In this eclectic approach, the prevalent Chinese methods of teaching comprehensive courses are the starting point and CLT and CA are employed to complement them. The purpose for such a synthesis is to cultivate learners communicative competence as required by the revised curriculum for English majors at the university level.

See page 271-291

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Category: Main Editions, Volume 11 Issue 1