Investigating the Degree into which CLT is Implemented in Twenty- three EFL Classes in an East-European Post-communist Country

| July 28, 2010
Investigating the Degree into which CLT is Implemented in Twenty- three EFL Classes in an East-European Post-communist Country

Kristjan Seferaj
Linguistics and TESOL
This dissertation is an investigation into the extent to which CLT (Communicative Language Training) is being used in EFL (English as a Foreign Language) classes in Albania. As shown below, the Albanian education system similar to that of many other East European post-communist countries – was heavily influenced by the Soviet models of education. As a result, Albanian students have been taught their L2 (second language) for more than five decades by memorising grammatical rules and isolated words, as well as by translating sentences from English into Albanian and vice-versa. However, the Western teaching ideology has interfered with that of Albania since the country changed its governing political ideology in 1992 and, thus, the process of (English language) learning/teaching should have changed. This study aims to assess whether and how the teaching practice of twenty-one Albanian EFL teachers is affected by these changes.

Reviewing the beliefs that underlie traditional and modern English language teaching approaches/methodologies, I was able to design a theoretical framework for the study. Indeed, emphasising the link between language teaching philosophies and their respective classroom teaching behaviours helped me to design a Tally Sheet that was used during my observation sessions. Additionally, the literature review provided the foundations by which to clarify observation events that were ambiguous. One-on-one after lesson interviews were also used for this purpose as well as to investigate the cognitive/professional/contextual factors that might have influenced the communicative teaching practice of the twenty-one participating teachers.

Class observations and interviews were the main sources from which empirical information was obtained. The data gathered was organised into patterns and interpreted statistically based on Excel 2007 interpretive techniques.

The results showed that English language teaching is changing in Albania. Indeed, most participants did not approach the teaching of English in a rigid traditional way; the following Western activities quite often took place in the observed classes:
– The use of referential questions
– Prompting self/peer error corrections
– The use of reading/listening for gist activities
Nevertheless, a considerable number of the researched classes were still teacher- centred and, thus, a regular occurrence of certain conventional class activities was observed, e.g.:
– Translating sentences/isolated words in Albanian
– The use of L1 (native language) to perform different communicative actions
– Emphasising conscious learning practices

Interestingly, the study found that the participation in a course that emphasises the use of CLT but does not feature practical teaching elements might have a limited influence over what participants teach in their classes. That is to say, teachers who had attended short teacher training courses held in Tirana by foreign agencies did not teach very differently from the teachers who had never had a Western training experience. Additionally, the data gathered indicated that the teachers who had used a communicative course-book for more than five years in their EFL classes are likely to be more communicative in their teaching than other subjects.


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Category: Thesis