English Australia Journal : English Australia Journal 27.2
English Australia Journal Volume 27 No 2 44 taken to suggest that teachers’ and students’ strong inclination towards grammar and error correction does not seem to be influenced significantly by the teaching context (Bernat, 2004; Burgess & Etherington, 2002; Eisenstein-Ebsworth & Schweers, 1997; Schulz, 1996, 2001; Tomlinson & Bao, 2004). The findings of the study reported give some support to the view that beliefs are socially constructed and distributed (Cross, 2010). Unlike the students in the Eisenstein-Ebsworth and Schweers study (1997) who advocated ‘some use of conscious instruction combined with communicative practice’ (p. 250), students in the study reported in this article appear to believe more strongly in the value of doing discrete-point grammar exercises and explicit instruction of grammar while devaluing communicative tasks. This difference can be related to the students’ learning culture and learning styles which was nurtured by what has been described as a spoon-feeding, grammar-centred approach to language teaching, a pattern long dominant in Vietnamese language classrooms (Canh, 2000, 2007; Oanh & Hien, 2006). The study reported here would also appear to suggest, as have others, that neither the debates on grammar instruction, nor new theories of grammar instruction (Ellis, 2006) have influenced the beliefs held by the teachers and the students. There is further support for the contention by Billig, Condor, Edwards, Gane, Middleton and Radley (1988, p. 46) that: Teachers do not have the luxury of being able to formulate and adhere to some theory or position on education, with only another theorist’s arguments to question its validity. They have to accomplish the practical task of teaching, which requires getting the job done through whatever conceptions and methods work best, under practical constraints that include physical resources, numbers of pupils, nature of pupils, time constraints, set syllabuses and so on. In second language teacher education, teachers tend to ground their teaching in their own epistemological knowledge, which also has an impact on students’ beliefs (Freeman, 1996). However, it is suggested (Hiebert, Gallimore & Stigler, 2002, p. 8) that: There is no guarantee that the knowledge generated at local sites is correct or even useful. Teachers working together or a teacher working with his or her students might generate knowledge that turns out to undermine rather than improve teaching effectiveness. Local knowledge is immediate and concrete but almost always incomplete and sometimes blind and insular.
English Australia Journal 28.1
English Australia Journal 27.1