Fundamental Reform Document of Education and ELT Program: The Investigation of Language Teachers’ Perspectives

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Ph.D. Candidate in TEFL, Language Department, Sheikhbahaee University, Isfahan, Iran

2 Assistant Professor Language Department, Sheikhbahaee University, Isfahan, Iran

Abstract

: The purpose of the current attitudinal study is to investigate the attitudes and opinions of language teachers toward the implemented ELT program resulted from the Fundamental Reform Document of Education in the Iranian Ministry of Education. Three items were investigated: Teacher’s Practice, Teacher Training Courses, and Materials. Following the rigorous and systematic procedure, the quantitative approach was applied and the 5-Likert scale with 30 items was used so as to determine the issues mentioned before. First the items were extracted based on the FRDOE and, thereafter, the primary questionnaire was developed and after ensuring of its validity and reliability the final version was obtained. Then, after ensuring its practicality, the questionnaire was distributed among 240 language teachers. The results showed that the ELT based on the new program had inconsistency in a number of respects with policies approved by the policy-makers. The findings showed that the lack of agency of the language teachers is the main reason for the failure of the new program and it is recommended that language teachers’ contribution should be taken into account before-, while- and after administrating and implementing the new program in ELT program in the future.

Keywords

Main Subjects


Introduction

Language planning and policy (henceforth, LPP) is among the fundamental concepts which should be treated and studied discreetly in every educational setting. Constant revision in educational system is inevitable in every society because of the economic, linguistic, cultural, and political conditions and their changes and consequences. Any changes in the educational system can influence on all aspects of the society from local to national level. Therefore, (foreign) language education is among the main concerns of the policy-makers and should be paid much attention. “For language-in-education policy planning making, the policymakers’ problem is to define and facilitate choices that are relevant to individuals’ interests and needs” (Kaplan & Baldauf, 2005, p. 1014). In this case, the term “agency” plays the important role in LPP. To balance the power of policy with empirical understanding of the agency of the policy actors is an essential challenge for the LPP researchers (Johnson, 2018). At macro-level planning, language planning is done by those who are disinterested, and seek to stabilize the political power of the state and are in service of the authority. Moreover, at micro-level, the issue of agency is important. “Rather than focusing on the work of governments and their agencies as the agents in language planning, a micro-level approach needs to consider a range of agents, which exist within greater or lesser formality within their local speech community” (Liddicoat & Baldauf, 2008, p.5). The teachers are central agents in language policy development (Baldauf, 2010a). The implementation of LPP depends on the teachers’ support and involvement (Kaplan & Baldauf, 2003). Teachers’ awareness helps the policy-makers to implement their goals in an appropriate way. As Kumaravadivelu (2012) asserts it is the teacher who plans and conducts the lesson, modifies the materials, and adopts and adapts teaching methods.

The other issue which is worth to study is the role of the materials and the textbooks which are the major factors in conveying the macro-level LPP to the micro level. Developing the materials for the purpose of English as a foreign/second language is a complicated adventure that requires the experts and the experienced teachers to participate collaboratively so as to prepare the proper materials for the ELT. Waters (2009, p. 311) states that ““materials” can … mean any or all of the very wide range of resources capable of adding language learning.” Anyhow, Tomlinson (2008) deliberately uses the term “language learning materials” instead of the usual “language teaching materials” since he believes that the many ELT materials are written for teaching English rather than for learning it.

In Iran, the Fundamental Reform Document of Education (henceforth, FRDOE) was approved in 2011 and later it was implemented at high schools by the Iranian Ministry of Education. The purpose was to revolutionize the educational system in the Ministry of Education. Therefore, according to FRDOE which was approved by the policy-makers, all courses were changed and, consequently, ELT program was undergone the considerable change. “Learning additional languages in educational contexts has always been an integral part of language policy” (Cenoz & Gorter, 2012, p. 301). Then, for achieving this goal, the materials and textbooks were revised and this led the language teachers (agents at the micro-level) to change the way of teaching language and take part in the teacher training courses (henceforth, TTCs) in order to reconcile themselves with the new trend.

In Iran, some researches related to the FRDOE have been conducted. Regarding the paradigmatic approach in FRDOE, Hemmatifar and Ahanchyan (2012) found the serious challenges in the document and they mentioned that these issues should be addressed by the high-stakeholders. Bazrafshan Moqaddam, Shoqi, and Rahmankhah (2014) investigated the educational supervision regarding FRDOE and the result showed that the supervision bases have been neglected in the document and the revision is required. On the other hand, Dehqani, Soleimani Darrebaqi, and Faraji (2016) studied the socio-Islamic components presented in FRDOE and the paper suggests that brotherhood and fellowship have the crucial role in socio-Islamic relationship. The content analysis was also done and all research suggests that the teacher training courses should be held and the contents of the books have to be revised so as to get the desired goals (see: Asadollahi, Qasemizade & Dehqani, 2016; Vafaee, Fazlollahi Qamshi & Taleifard, 2017).

Accordingly, this study attempts to investigate and report the attitudes of those who were engaged directly in implementation and administration of the ELT program based on the new document. The study endeavored to see the role of FRDOE on the trend of teaching English as a foreign language based on the contribution of those who are engaged in English. Here, the aim is to see whether teachers’ practice, TTCs, and materials were affected and/ or affect the ELT program in the Ministry of Education according to the language teachers’ attitudes.

 

Review of the Related Literature

For language planning, a number of frameworks have been proposed. Among these frameworks, an evolving language planning framework have been introduced by Baldauf (2005) and it consists of four parts: status, corpus, language-in-education, and prestige planning. Status planning related to LPP focuses on the external functions of any language. The society is the main external factor which affects the kind of language planning. Kaplan and Baldauf (1997) define the status planning as the social concerns and implementation of language planning. “The status of a language in a particular society is its position or standing relative to other languages” (Ager, 2005, p. 1040). According to Spolsky (2004), this kind of planning refers to the appropriate uses for a named variety of language. Wright (2012) warns that in legal sense, the status planning might never take place. van Els (2005) asserts that regarding the L2 use outside the home country, two functions can be assigned to it: language of lingua franca and language of instruction. Unlike the status planning, the corpus planning in LPP refers to the internal properties of any language and, as Ager (2005) states, it is productive. Spolsky (2004, p. 11) acknowledges that “Corpus planning refers to the choices to be made of specific linguistic elements whenever the language is used.”  Liddicoat (2005) says that “in order for this happen, the language needs to be included in syllabi and materials in which the results of corpus planning are given a pedagogical form” (p. 993). In LPP, teaching foreign language -here, English- should be transmitted by activities to the non-users of that particular language. In other words, for teaching any language there should be a distinct road-map and this road-map is defined in language-in-education planning. Hornberger (2001, p. 216) puts forward that “the core of the challenge in implementing the language-in-education policy shift lies in the choices to be made how to go about teaching and learning subject matter concurrently with the language of learning”. Lo Bianco (2006) says that “Acquisition planning (language in education) typically describes languages teaching policies of state” (p. 742; italics in original). The following goals influence on the success of language-in-education policy: access policy, personnel policy, curriculum policy, methods and materials policy, resourcing policy, community policy, and evaluation policy (Baldauf, 2005; Kaplan & Baldauf, 2005; Baldauf, Li & Zhao, 2008). Language maintenance, language reacquisition, foreign language learning, and language shift are four language-in-education planning goals which are related to the form (Kaplan & Baldauf, 2005). And, finally, “prestige planning is directed at those goals related to the image a language needs to develop to promote and intellectualize that language(s)” (Baldauf, 2005, p. 962).

Lindsay and Knight (2006) argue that an effective teacher understands the language need of the learners and designs lessons to reflect and develop learners’ communicative skills. In other words, the notion that teachers will change as a result of participation is inherent in teacher professional development (Opfer & Pedder, 2013). The success of any LPP in ELT programs partly depends on the qualified teachers of English. So, in order to implement the changes prescribed by the policy-makers, the informed and qualified teachers of English are required. In order to prepare the qualified teachers, the recruitment and retention of high quality teachers are the main issue in educational settings (Siwatu & Chesnut, 2015). “Contrary to popular belief, retaining teachers is a larger problem than preparing ones” (Darling-Hammond & Sykes, 2003; as cited in Siwatu & Chesnut, 2015, p. 214). Teachers’ beliefs and attitudes are among the most influential factors which are crucial in teachers’ career aspirations and language proficiency (Siwatu & Chesnut, 2015). The involvement and contribution of the ELT teachers in course designing is among the main factors in implementing any LPP programs which have been prescribed by the Ministry of education. “Attitudes of individual can have a major impact on the success or failure of LPP or in the adaptation of language change” (Baldauf, 2010 b, p. 446). With respect to the bilingual teachers, Lessow-Hurley (2003, p. 52) argues in this way that, “All teachers of second language learners need in-depth knowledge about how language is structured, how it varies, and how children develop their first language and acquire additional ones”. With respect to the Materials development, Purgason (2014, p. 369) says that “writing down the exact materials and equipment will ensure that what is needed, from handouts to markers to puppets, has been gathered before going to class”. The success or failure of any LPP partly depends on the effectiveness of course materials.

Regarding the ELT program, this research is one the first attempts to study the implementation of ELT through the FRDOE on foreign language planning and policy in Iran, that is to say, English in the framework of language-in-education approach. It aimed to indicate the stance and attitude of the language teachers toward the new trend in ELT program regulated by FRDOE. Furthermore, this attitudinal study compares the viewpoints of the language teachers based on their gender, experience, and degree and it was supposed that there is no significant difference among language teachers regarding the mentioned issues. Hence, the research questions of this study are as follows:

Q1: What is language teachers’ stance toward the Teacher’s Practice (creativity, proficiency, and perception) after administrating the new trend in ELT based on the FRDOE?

Q2: What is language teachers’ stance toward TTCs after administrating the new trend in ELT based on the FRDOE?

Q3: What is language teachers’ stance toward the Materials and textbooks after administrating the new trend in ELT based on the FRDOE?

Q4: Is there any significant difference among the respondents regarding their gender?

Q5: Is there any significant difference among the respondents regarding their experience?

Q6: Is there any significant difference among the respondents regarding their degree?

 

Method

Design and Study

This study was conducted in order to investigate the language teachers’ stance toward the impact of the FRDOE on ELT program regarding the Teacher’s Practice, TTCs, and Materials. By developing the questionnaire (see Appendix) based on the items derived from the FRDOE, the study was conducted among the language teachers.

 

Participants and Instrumentation

For conducting the present study, 240 teachers contributed. The questionnaire was developed in two forms: (1) the paper-based form filled by those who lived in Qom, Iran; and (2) the online-format published in the virtual spaces -Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, Google Doc, and LinkedIn. So, it was mainly accessible for those who taught English in Qom and some parts of the country. Table 1 displays the ethnographic information of the participants according to their gender, degree, and experience.

Table 1. The Ethnographic Information of the Respondents according to their Gender, Experience, and Degree

 

 

Male

Female

Total

 

 

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Number

Percent

Degree

B.A

90

37.50

55

22.91

145

60.41

M.A

48

20

40

16.67

88

36.67

Ph.D

5

2.08

2

0.83

7

2.91

Total

 

143

59.58

97

40.42

240

100

Experience

1-10

8

3.34

5

2.08

13

5.412

11-20

57

23.75

37

15.42

94

39.17

21 & more

78

32.50

55

22.92

133

55.41

Total

 

143

59.5

97

40.42

240

100

The FRDOE is the text which mentions the strategies for implementing the new educational setting in Iran. It consists of eight chapters and each chapter consists of a number of subsections. In each section the different items were introduced and, consequently, the items related to the ELT program were selected according to the document and, thereafter, the questionnaire was developed. The items elaborated on are as follows: Teacher’s Practice (creativity, proficiency, and perception), TTCs, and Materials (content, technology, teaching/ learning issues, and cultural issues).

Before conducting the study, the researcher-made questionnaire, first of all, was given to the experts to see its validity and, then, after piloting it among 30 language teachers, the reliability of the items was confirmed by applying the Cronbach Alpha Coefficient (Table 2) and, finally, it was distributed among the language teachers. Also, the Kolmogorov-Smirnov was run for estimating the normality of the scores measured by the questionnaire. The result proved that the scores were distributed normally.

Table 2. Cronbach Alpha Coefficient of the Questionnaire

Category

Cronbach's Alpha Coefficient

N of Items

Teacher’s Practice

0.95

9

TCCs

0.94

7

Materials

0.88

14

 

Procedure

The 5-Likert Scale questionnaire with 30 items was published in paper and online formats. For the online version, 120 respondents filled the questionnaire, and for the paper version, 120 language teachers were selected. Three main categories and nine subcategories were included in the questionnaire: (a) Teacher’s Practice (3 subcategories) (1-9) (3 for the creativity; 3 for the proficiency; 3 for the perception); (b) TTCs (2 subcategories) (10-16)
(3 for the training courses; 4 for the teacher trainers (henceforth TTs)); and Materials (17-30) (4 subcategories) (5 for the content; 2 for the technology; 4 for the teaching/ learning issues; 3 for the cultural issues).

 

Data Analysis

A quantitative approach was used to analyze the scores. For the research questions 1-3, the descriptive statistics were used so as to determine the language teachers’ stance toward the new ELT program. For the research question 4, the Independent Samples t-Test was run since the difference between two groups (male and female) was calculated and for the research questions 5 and 6, the one-way ANOVA was applied in order to compare the results based on the experience and degree in three states. According to Larson-Hall (2010), one-way ANOVA compares the variances of groups. “An ANOVA compares the variance within the group to the variance between the groups to see whether the differences between groups are “big enough” to say that the groups come from different population” (p. 265) [italics original]. The SPSS 25 was run for all calculations.

 

Findings and Results

After determining the validity and reliability, the questionnaire was distributed and the descriptive statistics of the study have been summarized in Tables 3, 4 and 5. Each table provides the following data: the number of responses, mean, standard error of measurement, median, mode, standard deviation, range, minimum, maximum, and sum for Teacher’s Practice, TTCs, and Materials, respectively.

Table 3. Descriptive Statistics of the 5-Likert Scale Questionnaire for Teacher’s Practice

N

Mean

SEM

Median

Mode

S.D.

Variance

range

Min.

Max

Sum.

Valid

Missing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2160

1214

2.600

0.020

3

3

0.931

0.868

4

1

5

5616

Table 4. Descriptive Statistics of the 5-Likert Scale Questionnaire for TTCs

N

Mean

SEM

Median

Mode

S.D.

Variance

range

Min.

Max

Sum.

Valid

Missing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1680

1694

2.467

0.025

2

3

1.027

10.56

4

1

5

4146

Table 5. Descriptive Statistics of the 5-Likert Scale Questionnaire for Materials

N

Mean

SEM

Median

Mode

S.D.

Variance

range

Min.

Max

Sum.

Valid

Missing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3360

15

2.587

0.016

3

3

0.963

0.928

4

1

5

8693

 

And Table 6 shows the summary of the obtained scores based on the items presented in the questionnaire:

 

 

 

Table 6. Summary of the Main Categories and their Subcategories

Category & Subcategories

Mean

Percent

Teacher

2.59

51.8

  • · Creativity

2.60

52

  • · Proficiency

2.53

50.6

  • · Perception

2.64

52.8

Teacher Training Courses

2.48

49.6

  • · Courses

2.37

47.4

  • · Teacher Trainers

2.58

51.6

Materials

2.65

53

  • · Content

2.39

47.8

  • · Technology

3.02

60.4

  • · Teaching/ learning Issues

2.51

50.2

  • · Cultural Issues

2.69

53.8

Total Score

2.57

51.4

 

Q1: What is language teachers’ stance toward the Teacher’s Practice (creativity, proficiency, and perception) after administrating the new trend in ELT based on the FRDOE?

With respect to the teachers’ practice (creativity, proficiency, and perception), the items of creativity, after administrating the FRDOE, show that the promising goal for establishing creativity in ELT program is approximately near the other scores and the total mean of first three items: 2.59 (51.8%) (creativity: 2.60 (52%); proficiency: 2.53 (50.6%); perception: 2.64 (52.8%)). These scores indicate that the respondents are not completely sure about the point that the FRDOE fostered their creativity in ELT; in other words, they are uncertain about this issue (since the proportion of all responses is less than the mean, i.e., 3 (60%). Regarding the proficiency, the total mean is 2.53 (50.6%) (conducting the classroom in English and mother-tongue: 2.71(54.2%); proficiency: 2.42 (48.4%); basic skills: 2.50 (50%)). Regarding the perception and personal attitudes of the language teachers, the total mean is 2.64 (52.8%) (self-satisfaction: 2.56 (51.2%); motivation: 2.59 (51.8%); self-confidence: 2.79 (55.8%)). The scores demonstrate that the Teacher’s Practice was not at the satisfactory level and it can be related to the absence of the real agents -language teachers- in designing the ELT program. Thus, it can be concluded that the language teachers’ stance toward creativity, proficiency, and perception was not at satisfactory level after administrating the new ELT program.

Q2: What is language teachers’ stance toward TTCs after administrating the new trend in ELT based on the FRDOE?

In the area of TTCs, two subcategories were the main concerns of the study: teacher’s stance toward the TTCs and TTs. Regarding the former, the total mean is 2.37 (47.4%) (TTCs and goals: 2.50 (50%); TTCs and skills: 2.43 (48.6%); electronic TTCs: 1.89 (37.8%); workshops: 2.70 (54%)). Teachers’ experience and proficiency and sharing them with other colleges regarding TTs gained the score 2.58 (51.6%) (professional: 2.94 (58.8%); English department: 1.96 (39.2%); the translating evaluation: 2.86 (57.2%)). The total mean of this category is 2.48 (49.6%). The result of the new reform created by FRDOE in ELT program did not demonstrate the drastic influence upon the language teachers and TTCs did not support them and, consequently, the new trend in ELT program lacked its positive impact on the language teachers. According to the obtained scores, the TTCs did not satisfy the language teachers after administrating the new trend in ELT based on the FRDOE.

Q3: What is language teachers’ stance toward the Materials and textbooks after administrating the new trend in ELT based on the FRDOE?

The importance of the materials and textbooks led the researchers to allocate the main part of the questionnaire to the materials. Four subcategories have been investigated in this main category. Firstly, regarding the content, the total mean is 2.39 (47.8%) (new findings: 2.74 (54.8%); being up-to-date: 2.80 (56%); cohesion: 2.20 (44%); skills: 2.08 (41.6%); grammar: 2.18 (43.6%)). Secondly, by considering the technology, the mean 3.02 (60.4%) shows that the respondents’ answers were higher than the previous ones (technology: 2.98 (59.6%); references: 3.07 (61.4%)). Thirdly, with respect to the teaching/learning issues, the total mean is 2.51(50.2%) (challenging: 2.36 (47.2%); motivating: 2.61(52.2%); interaction: 2.56 (51.2%); individual differences: 2.53 (50.6%)). And at last, regarding the cultural issues the total mean is 2.69 (53.8%) (cultural issues: 2.73 (54.6%); Iranian-Islamic culture: 2.55 (51%); cultural sensitivity: 2.82 (56.4%)). The total mean of this category is 2.65 (53%). The overall results imply that the Materials and textbooks are something different from what the new trend in ELT program had claimed and the scores did not show the profound changes in the materials and textbooks. So, it can be said that the contents of the materials and textbooks are not satisfied the language teachers and, to some extent, it is far from the new findings in ELT.

Q4: Is there any significant difference among the respondents regarding their gender?

For this research question, the Independent Samples t-Test was run. Table 7 below shows that the significant level at each item is less than the p-value in each category -0.000; 0.001;0.000˂0.05- and, therefore, there is a statistically significant difference in responses according to the gender.

Table 7. Independent Samples t-Test for Gender

Levene’s Test for equality of variances

t-test for Equality of Means

 

 

 

 

F

Sig.

t

df

Sig.
(2-tailed)

Mean

Std.

95% Confidence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

differences

Error

Interval of

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Difference

Differences

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lower

Upper

Teacher’s

equal variances assumed

1.27

0.26

-5.89

2158

0.00

-0.23

0.04

-0.31

-0.15

Practice

equal variances not assumed

 

 

-5.87

1853.01

0.00

-0.23

0.04

-0.31

-0.15

TTCs

equal variances assumed

2.24

0.13

-3.21

1678

0.00

-0.16

0.05

-0.26

-0.06

equal variances not assumed

 

 

-3.21

1451.59

0.00

-0.16

0.05

-0.26

-0.06

Materials

equal variances assumed

2.23

0.13

-5.33

3358

0.00

-017

0.03

-0.24

-0.11

equal variances not assumed

 

 

-5.23

2889.07

0.00

-0.17

0.03

-0.24

-0.11

 

Q5: Is there any significant difference among the respondents regarding their experience?

Regarding the experience, three groups were developed: Group A: 1-10 years of experience; Group B: 11-20; and Group C: 21 and more. Table 8 illustrates whether there is statistically significant difference among these three groups. It can be stated that the significant levels are less than the p-value-0.000; 0.002; 0.001˂0.05-and, therefore, there is a statistically significant difference in the experience.

Table 8. One-Way ANOVA for Experience

Item

 

Sum of square

df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

Teacher’s

Between Groups

14.829

2

7.414

8.600

0.000

Practice

Within Groups

1859.571

2157

0.862

 

 

 

Total

1874.400

2159

 

 

 

TTCs

Between Groups

13.531

2

6.765

6.451

0.002

Within Groups

1758.733

1677

1.049

 

 

Total

1772.264

1679

 

 

 

Materials

Between Groups

13.743

2

6.872

7.430

0.001

Within Groups

3104.707

3357

0.925

 

 

Total

3118.450

3359

 

 

 

 

For knowing which of the specific groups differed, the Multiple-Comparisons Table which contains the results of the Tukey post hoc test was used (Table 9).

Table 9. Multiple-Comparisons (Post Hoc tests) Turkey HSD regarding Experience

Item

(I) Experience

(J) Experience

Mean Dif. (I-J

S.E.

Sig.

95% Confidence Interval

Lower Bound-Upper Bound

Teacher’s

(A) 1-10

B

0.049

0.091

0.582

-0.165

0.264

practice

C

0.208

0.089

0.053

-0.002

0.419

(B) 11-20

A

-0.49

0.091

0.852

-0.264

0.165

C

0.159*

0.041

0.000

0.061

0.257

(C) 21-…

A

-0.208

0.089

0.053

-0.419

0.002

B

-0.159*

0.041

0.000

-0.257

-0.061

TTCs

(A) 1-10

B

0.322*

0.114

0.014

0.053

0.591

C

0.395*

0.112

0.001

0.131

0.659

(B)  11-20

A

-0.322*

0.114

0.014

-0.591

-0.053

C

0.073

0.052

0.341

-0.049

0.195

(C) 21-….

A

-0.395*

0.112

0.001

-0.659

-0.131

B

-0.-73

0.52

0.341

-0.195

0.049

Materials

(A)1-10

B

-0.047

0.076

0.803

-0.226

0.130

C

0.084

0.074

0.493

-0.090

0.259

(B)  11-20

A

0.047

0.076

0.803

-0.130

0.226

C

0.132*

0.034

0.000

0.051

0.214

(C) 21-…

A

-0.084

0.074

0.493

-0.259

0.090

B

-0.132*

0.034

0.000

-0214

-0.051

 

In each item there are various conditions and it shows the heterogeneity of the situation. In item Teacher’s Practice, group A and B have the mean difference of 0.049 with the significance value of 0.852. Additionally, by comparing the group A and C, the mean difference is 0.208 with the significance value of 0.053. Therefore, there is no significant difference regarding item Teacher’s Practice in each case. But in the case of B and C, the mean difference and the significance value are 0.159 and 0.000, respectively. Accordingly, it can be said that there is a significant difference between these categories.

On the other hand, in item TTCs, the experience of teaching affects the kind of responses. Group A and B have the mean difference of 0.322 with the significance value of 0.014 and it is less than the p-value of the research, that is, 0.05. Also, this situation is evident in A and C in which the mean difference and the significance value are 0.395 and 0.01, respectively. Thus, there is no significant difference regarding item TTCs in each case. On the contrary, by comparing the group B and C, the mean difference is 0.073 with the significance value of 0.341. Therefore, there is no significant difference regarding item TTCs in each case.

And, finally, in item Materials, Group A and B have the mean difference of 0.047 with the significance value of 0.803 and it is higher than the p-value of the research, that is, 0.05. Also, this situation is evident in A and C in which the mean difference and the significance value are 0.084 and 0.493, respectively. Thus, there is no significant difference regarding item Materials in each case. On the contrary, by comparing the group B and C, the mean difference is 0.132 with the significance value of 0.000. Therefore, there is a significant difference regarding item Material in each case.

Interestingly, there was no difference between group A and B/C regarding the Teacher’s Practice and Materials. The possible reasons for the lack of the difference between them may be attributed to the following issues: (1) the less experienced teachers are influenced by the more experienced ones; and/ or (2) they haven’t reached the complete authority in their career.

Q6: Is there any significant difference among the respondents regarding their degree?

Regarding the degree, three groups were developed: Group A: Ph.D. holders; Group B: M.A. holders; and Group C: B.A. holders. Table 10 illustrates whether there is a statistically significant difference among three groups. It can be seen that the significant levels are less than the p-value -0.000; 0.000; 0.000 ˂0.05- and, therefore, there is a statistically significant difference in the degree.

Table 10. One-Way ANOVA for Degree

Item

 

Sum of square

df

Mean Square

F

Sig.

Teacher’s

Between Groups

100.933

2

50.467

61.845

0.000

Practice

Within Groups

1561.037

1913

0.816

 

 

 

Total

1661.971

1915

 

 

 

TTCs

Between Groups

840.18

2

 

 

 

Within Groups

1456.524

1554

42.009

41.936

0.000

Total

1540.542

1456

1.002

 

 

Materials

Between Groups

126.74

2

63.387

70.643

0.000

Within Groups

2793.237

3113

0.898

 

 

Total

2919.845

3115

 

 

 

 

For knowing which of the specific groups differed, the Multiple-ComparisonsTable which contains the results of the Tukey post hoc test was used (Table 11).

Table 11. Multiple-Comparisons (Post Hoc tests) Turkey HSD regarding Degree

Item

(I) Degree

(J) Degree

Mean Dif. (I-J)

S.E.

Sig.

95% Confidence Interval

Lower Bound-Upper Bound

Teacher’s

Ph.D.

M.A

-1.148*

0.120

0.000

-1.430

-0.866

practice

B.A

-1.281*

0.116

0.000

-1.555

-1.008

M.A

Ph.D.

1.148*

0.120

0.000

0.866

1.430

B.A.

-0.133

0.045

0.010

-0.241

-0.025

B.A.

Ph.D.

1.281*

0.116

0.000

1.00

1.555

M.A.

0.133

0.459

0.010

0.025

0.241

TTCs

Ph.D.

M.A.

-1.238*

0.151

0.000

-1.597

-0.883

B.A.

-1.337*

0.146

0.000

-1.681

-0.994

M.A.

Ph.D.

1.238*

0.151

0.000

0.883

1.594

B.A.

-0.098

0.059

0.221

-0.238

0.040

B.A.

Ph.D.

1.337*

0.146

0.000

0.994

1.681

M.A.

0.098

0.059

0.221

-0.040

0.238

Materials

Ph.D.

M.A.

-1.119*

0.100

0.000

-1.345

-0.884

B.A.

-1.164*

0.097

0.000

-1.394

-0.934

M.A.

Ph.D.

1.119*

0.100

0.000

0.884

1.354

B.A.

-0.044

0.036

0.444

-0.130

0.041

B.A.

Ph.D.

1.164*

0.097

0.000

0.934

1.394

M.A.

0.044

0.036

0.444

-0.041

0.130

In each item there are various conditions and it shows the heterogeneity of the situation. In item Teacher’s Practice, Ph.D. and M.A. holders have a mean difference of 1.148 with the significance value of 0.000. Additionally, by comparing the Ph.D. and B.A. holders, the mean difference is 1.281 with the significance value of 0.000. And, finally, M.A. and B.A. holders have the mean difference of 0.133 with the significance value of 0.000. In all cases, the significance level indicates that the value is less than 0.05 and, therefore, there is a significant difference among the groups and it can be concluded that there is significantly difference among the respondents regarding their degree in relation to item Teacher’s Practice.

On the other hand, in item TTCs, Ph.D. and M.A. holders have the mean difference of 1.238 with the significance value of 0.000. Additionally, by comparing the Ph.D. and B.A. holders, the mean difference is 1.337 with the significance value of 0.000. The significance level indicates that the value is less than 0.05.  In these cases, the degrees affected the kind of responses regarding the TTCs. But, comparison between the M.A. and B.A. holders shows the mean difference of 0.098 with the significance value of 0.221 and therefore, there is no significant difference between these two groups.

And, finally, regarding the Materials, Ph.D. and M.A. holders have a mean difference of 1.119 with the significance value of 0.000. Additionally, by comparing the Ph.D. and B.A. holders, a mean difference is 1.164 with the significance value of 0.000. The significance level indicates that the value is less than 0.05. In these cases, the degrees affected the kind of responses regarding the materials. But, comparison between the M.A. and B.A. holders shows the mean difference of 0.044 with the significance value of 0.444 and therefore, it can be asserted that there is significant difference among the respondents regarding degree.

 

Discussion and Conclusion

In order to see the impacts of FRDOE in ELT program in the Iranian Ministry of Education, in this section, first the Teacher’s Practice and FRDOE are going to be discussed. Regarding the creativity, proficiency and perception, the research shows that the expectations are lower than what set beforehand by the document. This unpromising condition may be rooted in the following reasons. Firstly, there were no definite guidelines for defining the concept of the practice (proficiency and creativity, etc.) and, in a broader sense, what expectations have been prescribed for the language teachers were not expressly articulated in FRDOE. These ill-defined concepts were evident in FRDOE and this fact was deduced according to the results. Secondly, the main agents who practice ELT at high schools, language teachers, were neglected in this reform, therefore, unrealistic goals have been set without paying attention to the language teachers’ contribution. The stance of the language teacher towards the new program was another big challenge regarding the successful implementation of ELT program at high schools. The practice and behavior of language teachers regarding the ELT program are the other issues which have to be studied in another research. It can be claimed that FRDOE has not been implemented and operationalized regarding ELT program since the real agents, i.e., language teachers, are not well informed and qualified regarding the new ELT. Theoretically speaking, there were some discussions around the characteristics of teachers regarding the commitment besides proficiency but, in practice, there were not any discussions regarding the characteristics of a ‘good language teacher’. There were no rewarding and/or punishing mechanisms for the language teachers and these unwanted situations could influence on the success and/or failure of the new program.

With respect to TTCs, the result of the questionnaire showed that the competency of the TTs was lower than what the expectations were and again it creates a big challenge toward the implementation of ELT program. Meanwhile, the electronic courses did not attract the attention of the language teachers and it confirms that these courses are nothing except the wasting of time and energy. Thus, the outcomes of TTCs were unpromising.

Regarding the Materials, it was claimed that they were developed based on the CLT approach. There is unparalleled attention towards different skills. Thereby, some uncertainty is apparent in the content of the materials regarding the grammar and the structure. Accordingly, the materials are not motivating, though the subject were to some extent amusing and new. This could imply that the communication and the ability to read the survival texts were at low level. The positive thing regarding the textbooks is that they open a new window for taking advantage of the technology. It seems that by developing and implementing the electronic textbooks, the use of the technology in the ELT program will become widespread.

The other related issues derived from this study should be examined meticulously. For instance, the regional and cultural sensitivity and Iranian- Islamic identity are among the main issues which are always taken into consideration by the policy-makers, the materials writers, and the language teachers. The protection of Iranian-Islamic identity and cultural sensitivity have been mentioned and discussed by all the agents- the policy-maker, materials writers, TTs, and language teachers. Although we live in the globalized world and the Iranian society is under the influence of spreading English, the term ‘Islamization’ has been introduced (it is against ‘Westernization’) and this triggers some serious arguments among the policy-makers and materials writers. Some believe that ‘Westernization’ means ‘Americanization’ and the Iranian should avoid this cultural invasion. Multiculturalism is the prerequisite for the globalization so when there is less attention towards multiculturalism, it means that globalization has been neglected in the textbooks and materials.

The findings of this study show that the ELT program based on FRDOE is not at the satisfactory level according to the language teachers’ perspectives because of the Teacher’s Practice, TTCs, and Materials presented in the new program. Language policies should place more emphasis on ELT program both at the national and local levels. The rules and regulations should explicitly be stated and clarified in the educational document like FRDOE and these rules must be translated by the EFL professionals for the materials writers and the language teachers. Lack of the precise framework in administrating the ELT program provides opportunities for subjective interpretation and somehow misunderstanding. There was the detachment between the policy-makers and the language teachers; in better words, there is a separation between the national level and local level in relation to ELT program. The agentive role of the language teachers should be taken into consideration so as to foster the positive perceptions among them. Language teachers should be invited to contribute in programming of ELT; otherwise, the desired outcomes can hardly be achievable. The other finding of the study is that changing the materials does not pave the way for improving ELT situation. The textbooks ought to be developed by those who have the comprehensive knowledge in English and the language policies and, thereafter, the materials should be piloted then they can be distributed at the national level. When the textbooks were published without paying attention to the language policies regarding English and the haphazard condition in the ELT program is unavoidable. All in all, language policies disengage themselves from the materials and the materials separate themselves from the TTCs, and TTCs detach themselves from the language teachers and, as a consequence, the unsystematic and disorganized situations may dominate the EFL setting in Iran. So, the logical and rational relationship among the different agents is absent in the case studied in the current research. The tangible outcomes of new reforms and changes should be measured according to those who carry out the implementation. Regarding any reform, the language teachers’ feedback has to be seriously taken into account in estimating the success or failure of the reform in ELT program since the language teachers are involved in the real situation and, actually, they see the strengths and weaknesses of the new trend in ELT program.

Implications and Suggestions

By knowing the merits and demerits of implementation of ELT program, one can diagnose the current situation for improving the new trend in the Ministry of Education and, accordingly, the results of the present study will pave the way for better understanding of ELT program. Also, the findings of the study have implications for the educational policy-makers, English materials writers, language teacher trainers, language teachers, and the EFL learners. The study can help the policy-makers in the field of foreign language planning to broaden their views regarding ELT and treat English as a special subject in the system of education because of the globalization and internationalization besides the need for reading the scientific texts written in English. To this end, the precise and exact wordings are required for the successful implementation of ELT in the Ministry of Education and, in broader sense, in the society (from micro- to macro-level). The materials writers should prepare themselves before developing any materials for the ELT. The dominated discourse and the contents should be distinguished and specified based on the consultation with the experts and the language teachers who are the real-users of the textbooks. TTs should be trained for translating the new reform in ELT. Importantly, language teaches’ agency must be taken into consideration before making decisions and changes in the ELT program.

So, in order to develop ELT programs in any communities, it is recommended that the following three issues be taken into account: TTCs, text authorization, and curriculum. This means that after notifying the educational policy, it should be followed up and, finally, the feedback should be taken into consideration. Additionally, talking about the level of proficiency at each grade helps the materials writers, TTs, and the language teachers to know exactly what the ELT program expects and, accordingly, the agents would try to reach the assigned level of proficiency so as to implement the reform successfully. The criteria should be set for the ELT because of its role in the globalization and international relationships, and, to this end, it requires that English be considered as the L2 by the educational policy-makers. Finally, in communities in which the religious factor plays a crucial role in the society, in order to avoid the ‘identity crisis’ it is recommended that localization occur in both the ‘content’ and the ‘context’. Localization balances the negative effect of the globalization and the main concerns of the educational policy-makers will be decreased and they become satisfied with the ELT program and it helps the EFL program to be operationalized by the professionals.

Ager, D. E. (2005). Prestige planning and image planning. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 1035-1054). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Asadollahi, F., Qasemizade, A., & Dehqani, Y. (2016). Analysis of the sixth grade social studies text book contents on the basis of the components of the fundamental reform document (national identity, moral, life rules and skills. Research in Curriculum Planning, 13 (23), 79-188.

Baldauf, R. B. (2005). Language planning and policy research: An overview. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 957-970). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Baldauf, R. B. (2010a). Rearticulating the case for micro language planning in a language ecology context. Current Issues in Language planning, 7 (2), 147-170. doi: 10.2167/clip092.0

Baldauf, R. B. (2010b). Methodology for policy and planning. In R. H. Kaplan (Ed.), The handbook of applied linguistics (2nd edition) (pp. 437- 451). New York: Oxford University Press.

Baldauf, R. B., Li, M., & Zhao, S. (2008). Language acquisition management inside and outside the school. In B. Spolsky & F. M. Hult (Eds.), The handbook of educational linguistics (pp. 233-250). Malden: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Bazrafshan Moqaddam, M., Shoqi, M., & Rahmankhah, R. (2014). The place of educational supervision in the fundamental reform document of education (FRDE) in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Journal of Foundations of Education 5 (2), 23-43.

Cenoz, J., & Gorter, D. (2012). Language policy in education: Additional languages. In B. Spolsky (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of language policy (pp. 301-319). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Dehqani, M., Soleimani Darrebaqi, F, & Faraji, M. (2016). Studying the Socio-Islamic wealth in FRDOE. Two Quarterly Scientific-Promotional Journal from Islamic Position (5) 9, 5-35.

Hemmatifar, M., & Ahanchyan, M. R. (2012). Presenting the evaluative componential structure in the philosophy of education: Case study of FRDOE. Educational Foundations, 3 (2), 25-48.

Hornberger, N. H. (2001). Ideological paradox and intercultural possibility: Andean language-in-education-policy and practice and its relevance for South Africa. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, 19 (30), 4, 215-230.doi: 10.2989/16073610109486288

Johnson, D. C. (2018). Research methods in language policy and planning. In J. W. Tollefson & M. Perez-Milans (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of language policy and planning. Oxford Handbooks Online. doi: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190458898.013.2

Kaplan, R. B., & Baldauf, R. B. (1997). Language planning: From practice to theory. Clevedon: WBC Book Manufacturers Ltd.

Kaplan, R. B., & Baldauf, R. B. (2003). Language and language-in-education planning in the Pacific basin. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

Kaplan, R. B., & Baldauf, R. B. (2005). Language-in-education policy and planning. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 1013-1034). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2012). Language teacher education for a global society. New York: Routledge.

Larson-Hall, J. (2010). A guide to doing statistics in second language research using SPSS. New York: Routledge.

Lessow-Hurley, J. (2003). Meeting the needs of second language learners: An educator’s guide. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Liddicoat, A. J. (2005). Corpus planning: Syllabus and materials development. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 993-1011). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Liddicoat, A. J., & Baldauf, R. B. (2008). Language planning in local context: Agents, contexts, and interactions. In A. J. Liddicoat & R. B. Baldauf (Eds.), language planning and policy (pp. 3-17). New York: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

Lindsay, C., & Knight, P. (2006). Learning and teaching English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lo Bianco, J. (2006). Language planning as applied linguistics. In A. Davies & C. Elder (Eds.), The handbook of applied linguistics (pp. 738-762). Malden: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Opfer, V. D., & Pedder, D. (2013). Teacher change and changing teachers via professional development. In C. McLaughlin (Ed.), Teachers learning: Professional development and education (pp. 93-118). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Purgason, K. B. (2014). Lesson planning in second/ foreign language teaching. In M. Celce-Murcia, D. M. Brinton & M. A. Snow (Eds.), Teaching English as a second or foreign language (4th edition) (pp. 362-379). Boston: National Geographic Learning.

Siwatu, K. O., & Chesnut, S. R. (2015). The career development of preservice and inservice teachers: Why teachers’ self-efficacy beliefs matter. In H. Fives & M. G. Gill (Eds.), International handbook of research on teachers’ beliefs (pp. 212-229). New York: Routledge.

Spolsky, B. (2004). Language policy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tomlinson, B. (2008). Language acquisition and language learning materials. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), English language learning materials (pp. 3-13). Continuum: London.

Vafaee, R., Fazlollah Qamshi, S., & Taleifard, A. (2017). Surveying the level of attention to the six-part features of the FRDOE in the social textbook in the elementary school. Applied Issues in the Islamic Education Periodical 2 (2), 131-154.

Van Els, T. (2005). Status planning for learning and teaching. In E. Hinkel (Ed.), Handbook of research in second language teaching and learning (pp. 971-991). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Waters, A. (2009). Advances in materials design. In M. H. Long & C. J. Doughty (Eds.), The handbook of language teaching (pp. 311-326). West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.

Wright, S. (2012). Language policy and language planning: From nationalism to globalization. New York: Palgrave & Macmillan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix

5-Likert Scale Questionnaire

Dear Colleague

The following questionnaire will be used for investigating the viewpoints and attitudes of the language teachers regarding the ELT programs based on the FRDOE in the Iranian Ministry of Education. I will appreciate your warm participation in completing the following item in advance. To do so fulfill the required information, please. Your answer will only be used for the purpose of the study and your opinions will remain secret and they will only be used knowing your perceptions regarding the new trends.

Gender:       Male  ¨        Female¨

Degree:        BA ¨     MA  ¨        Ph.D.  ¨

Experience in TEFL (years):    1-10  ¨       11-20  ¨      21 (and above)  ¨

5: VERY HIGH

4: HIGH

3: MODERATELY WELL

2: LOW

1: VERY LOW

 

Thanks for your time and patience in advance.

*

*

*

*

*

Teacher’s Practice (Creativity, Proficiency, and Perception)

A

1

2

3

4

5

After administrating the FRDOE, my creativity and innovation in ELT have been improved.

1

1

2

3

4

5

After administrating the FRDOE, I can creatively manage the classroom.

2

1

2

3

4

5

After administrating the FRDOE, I study more and model the creative experience of the other teachers.

3

1

2

3

4

5

Alternatively, I speak Persian and English for conveying the concepts.

4

1

2

3

4

5

My proficiency in all aspects of English has been increased.

5

1

2

3

4

5

According to ELT, my four basic skills (reading, writing, listening & speaking) have been improved.

6

1

2

3

4

5

Because of the new English LPP, I am self-satisfied with my own teaching.

7

1

2

3

4

5

Regarding this new trend, my motivation in ELT has been increased and the positive attitude has been created in me.

8

1

2

3

4

5

I am able to teach based on the individual differences and, consequently, my self-confidence has been improved.

9

*

*

*

*

*

Teacher Training Courses (Training Courses and Teacher Trainers)

B

1

2

3

4

5

After administrating the FRDOE, TTCs have the undeniable impacts in recognizing the objectives and goals of the new ELT.

10

1

2

3

4

5

Pre- and inservice TTCs have positively improved my own language skills.

11

1

2

3

4

5

The electronic TTC is the appropriate tool for assessing the language teachers.

12

1

2

3

4

5

Conducting the workshops during the educational year has positively influence on administering the new trends in English by myself.

13

1

2

3

4

5

In TTCs, the professional and experienced teachers were invited.

14

1

2

3

4

5

English Departments carefully observe the TTCs and workshops and teachers’ performance.

15

1

2

3

4

5

TTC trainers professionally translated the overall objectives of the new trends.

16

*

*

*

*

*

Materials (Content, Technology, Teaching/ learning Issues and Cultural Issues)

C

1

2

3

4

5

The textbooks have been written based on the newest findings of methodology.

17

1

2

3

4

5

The contents and subjects introduced in textbooks are new and up-to-date.

18

1

2

3

4

5

There is the logical cohesion in presenting the different subjects introduced in the textbooks and materials.

19

1

2

3

4

5

All language skills have been treated equally.

20

1

2

3

4

5

Regarding the grammar, the concepts are presented logically and the examples are goal-oriented and there is not any extra information.

21

1

2

3

4

5

The concepts and subjects are designed in such a way that the technology can be adopted and they can be used interactively.

22

1

2

3

4

5

The textbooks are designed in such a way that the references such as dictionaries became inseparable part of the course.

23

1

2

3

4

5

The concepts presented in textbooks are so challenging that both the teachers and learners are triggered to read extensively.

24

1

2

3

4

5

The textbooks and the subjects introduced in them foster the motivation among teachers and learners.

25

1

2

3

4

5

The communicative skills and the whole- learning have been increased in the form of face-to-face interaction among the teachers and learners.

26

1

2

3

4

5

The volume and the content of the textbooks are compatible with the ability and individual differences of the learners.

27

1

2

3

4

5

The materials and textbooks have paid attention to the local, ethnic, and cultural issues.

28

1

2

3

4

5

The new materials are the appropriate tools for acquiring the Iranian-Islamic culture.

29

1

2

3

4

5

The cultural sensitivity has been paid much attention in compiling the textbooks.

30