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Relationship Between EFL Teachers’ Attitudes, Teaching Techniques and Classroom (Large and Small)

Authors:
  • Islamic Azad university Toyserkan branch

Abstract

This paper investigates the relationship between EFL teachers, attitudes, teaching techniques and classroom type. To this end, 100 EFL teachers teaching in different contexts have been chosen, then a two-set questionnaire consisting of a five-point scale and Yes/No questions about large and small classes was distributed among them Also, a per-formed interview was done with twenty randomly selected teachers. Results indicate that teachers have different attitudes toward using and applying teaching techniques in different class sizes. The data analysis reveals that: 1) all the teachers tended to work and use more teaching techniques in small classes than large ones. 2) Comparing male and female teachers' attitudes showed that female teachers tended to use more teaching techniques in their teaching, processes than their counter parts. 3) Professional and nonprofessional teachers' attitudes were the same regarding using teaching techniques in both settings. (C) 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.
P r o c e d i a - S o c i a l a n d B e h a v i o r a l S c i e n c e s 9 3 ( 2 0 1 3 ) 1 3 4 1 3 7
1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license.
Selection and peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Ferhan Odabaşı
doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.09.165
ScienceDirect
3rd World Conference on Learning, Teaching and Educational Leadership (WCLTA-2012)
Relationship between EFL teachers’ attitudes, teaching techniques
and classroom (large and small)
Masoud Azizinezhad*, Masoud Hashemi, Sohrab Darvishi
English Department, Toyserkan Branch , Islamic Azad University,Toyserkan, 6581685184, Iran
Abstract
This paper investigates the relationship between EFL teachers, attitudes, teaching techniques and classroom type. To this end,
100 EFL teachers teaching in different contexts have been chosen, then a two-set questionnaire consisting of a five-point scale
and Yes/No questions about large and small classes was distributed among them Also, a per-formed interview was done with
twenty randomly selected teachers. Results indicate that teachers have different attitudes toward using and applying teaching
techniques in different class sizes. The data analysis reveals that: 1) all the teachers tended to work and use more teaching
techniques in small classes than large ones. 2) Comparing male and female teachers’ attitudes showed that female teachers
tended to use more teaching techniques in their teaching, processes than their counter parts. 3) Professional and non-
professional teachers’ attitudes were the same regarding using teaching techniques in both settings.
© 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and peer review under the responsibility of Prof. Dr. Ferhan Odabaşı
Keywords: Attitudes, classroom size, teaching techniques, professional and non- professional teacher;
1. Introduction
1.1. Conception and definitions of attitudes
The most frequently quoted definition of attitude is the one offered many years ago by Allport (1935). He
defined attitude as “a mental and neutral state of readiness, which influences the individual's response to all
objects and situations with which it is related." According to Fraser (2001), the above definition shows that
attitude is not an overt behaviour but a disposition which influences behaviour. Allpot (1935, as cited in Fraser,
2001, p.238) expresses that " attitudes are reality and the reality is inside us . From Triantis (1971) point of view,
an attitude is “an idea charged with emotion which predisposes a class of actions to particular class of social
situations." It is divided into three components (Rosenberg & Hovald, 1960): cognitive ,affective, and
behavioural. Based on their model, an individual's attitude causes an emotional response to be associated which
* asoud Azizinezhad. Tel.: +98-918-351-4101
E-mail address: mazizinezhad@gmail.com
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
© 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license.
Selection and peer review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Ferhan Odabaşı
135
Masoud Azizinezhad et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 93 ( 2013 ) 134 – 137
leads to the predisposition of an action. Krech and Crutchfield (1962) put it in another way as enduring systems
which contain positive or negative evaluation, emotions, and pro or con action tendencies with respect to social
objects professional and non- professional teachers. The present study is then an attempt to answer the following
questions:
1) Do EFL teachers’ teaching techniques differ depending on class type? (Large & small)?
2) Do professional and non-professional EFL teachers’ attitudes or perceptions differ depending on
the class type (large & small)?
1.2. . Teachers’ attitudes and expertise / professional and nonprofessional types
It seems plausible to claim that there should be two kinds of teachers based on their practical knowledge, e.g.
expert and novice teachers. The latter group suffers from lack of expert knowledge of any sort. The teachers'
planning, teaching, and perceiving of the classroom events, then, will be different based on being either novice or
expert teachers. Summary of their characteristics are presented in the following table.
Table 1 Summary characteristics of two groups of teachers
Non-professionals or novices Professionals or experienced
-Just think about the short-term planning and involves themselves just
on the daily objectives
-Mentally script each section of their lessons
- They lack the ability of having alternative to remove the problem
-See the class as a whole in order to alter a lesson
-Are egocentric , and concerned with their own teaching rather than with
students achievement
-Most of them are not aware of management problems
- Just focus on the area of the room
- Spend more energy on their own performance
-Are not able to make links between prior and new knowledge to teach
new materials
-Make a long term relationship between daily objectives
and the overall curriculum or the purpose of the course
-Use more strategies than novice teachers
-Teach the lesson with less prior practice
-Can easily change their teaching activities –Use guided
and monitored practice
- Use variety of activities to remove the problem
- Try to see individuals and adopt their lessons based on the
individual achievements
-Show sensitive behavior in identifying and solving the
management problems in the classroom
-Simultaneously are able to scan the entire classroom
- Show schemata –based teaching
- Are able to link between prior and new knowledge when
teaching new materials
2. Attitudes and methodology
Some speculations have been made concerning the relationship between teachers’ methodology and attitude.
To this end, Gabrielatos (2000) stated that teachers have different attitudes toward methodology selection ; they
may combine any number of these attitudes in varying degrees .Some teachers use the course book and other
published materials .Consequently , teachers need to adapt published materials according to the needs of
particular classes .However , appropriate adaptation requires teachers; attitudes towards the teaching contexts,
e.g., the course and the students . Teachers need to be conscious of their own methodological orientation, e.g.,
their theories and beliefs about the nature of language and teaching/learning (Woods, 1996). Such awareness is
important because teachers' actual practice may contradict their perceived methodological orientation (Karavas-
136 Masoud Azizinezhad et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 93 ( 2013 ) 134 – 137
Doukas, 1996; Scrivener, 1996).Therefore, the effectiveness of course book use is dependent on the level of the
teachers' awareness and knowledge.
3. Attitudes and context
The most crucial factor that affects the teachers' attitudes , and as a result their actions , is the context where
teaching takes place .Teaching English in large classes as a contextual issue is the issue that nowadays many
high school teachers complain about . Size of the class or the number of students accommodated in, affects the
way teachers cope with it. The issues raised by teaching in large classes are rarely addressed and teachers who
have to cope with classes that contain 50 or more learners are often ill prepared to deal with the situation in
which they find themselves in schools (Hayes, 1997). Most English teachers tend to view teaching English in
large classes rather negatively. They often associate large English classes with disorderliness, lack of control,
lack of students' attentiveness, lack of teacher –student interactions, and lack in efficiency and effectiveness (Xu,
2001). There are three problems associated with teaching in large classes (Xu, 2002), though:
a) Physical
b) Psychological
c) Technical
Among the variables pertinent to classroom setting, classroom size in terms of the number of the learners
accommodated in it seems to create different atmosphere. The two significant contexts, to be addressed in this
study, are large and small classrooms. Operationally defined ,classroom with large number of population, more
than twenty students, and classrooms with small number of population ,less than twenty students are called
large and small, respectively.
4. Conclusion
The statistical analyses of the first part on comparing the teachers’ attitudes towards small and large class
types and their teaching techniques showed that those in the small classes use more teaching techniques than
those in the large classes. In other words, regardless of gender, being professional or non- professional teachers
and educational degrees (BA, MA or PhD) all tended to use more teaching techniques in small classes than in
large ones. This indicates that teachers tend to work better and more actively in small classes than in the opposite
type. To investigate the effect of gender on using teaching techniques in different contexts, another data analysis
was done .So, by comparing these two groups, it was proved that female teachers favored to use more techniques
in both large and small classes than their male counterparts . Comparative data analysis showed that there was
not any significant difference between the attitudes of novice or non-professional and experienced or professional
teachers in using teaching techniques in their different class sizes. So both groups of the teachers, regardless of
their gender , held roughly the same perceptions ,feelings and attitudes towards applying teaching techniques in
their large and small class sizes . Further data analyses more specifically those of the interview also showed that
in each context , teachers had interesting attitudes as : female and male teachers’ attitudes were not the same in
small classes in a sense that female teachers tended to use more teaching techniques than their male
counterparts.
5. Pedagogical implications
The results of this investigation can help the teachers to adjust their methods, their teaching techniques, and
themselves with the contexts, where they are to teach. When the contexts, students, courses and needs are
different, it is not reasonable for teachers to resort to just one method for teaching in different environments
where the needs of learners are very different. the teachers have to adopt one of the following ways if they are
137
Masoud Azizinezhad et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 93 ( 2013 ) 134 – 137
going to be more effective and successful in their teaching career . First, teachers have to accept these two
contexts e.g., large and small classes, as two separate contexts with different needs, requirements and features.
Then, they have to try to introduce their teaching methodology, teaching techniques, and their procedures based
on these needs and requirements. Second, teachers should be flexible and adopt themselves to the differences
which exist between the large and small class contexts in order to introduce required method and appropriate
attitudes matching the contextual requirements.
References
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Gabrielatos, C. (2000). The shape of the language teacher. Paper presented at the TESOL Greece 21th Annual convention , Athens, Greece.
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... In addition, it seems that teachers' gender, age, and supports of school systems play a role in their acceptance of LCS as a teaching strategy. The role of gender in the use of teaching strategies has been demonstrated by Azizinezhad et al. (2013) who revealed that there was a tendency among female teachers to use more teaching techniques in their teaching. The respondents of the present study were dominated by female teachers. ...
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Metacognitive strategy use by Iranian EFL learners (Unpublished PhD dissertation)
  • R Abbasian
  • Gh
Abbasian, R. Gh. (2005). Metacognitive strategy use by Iranian EFL learners (Unpublished PhD dissertation). Tehran: Research.
Attitudes”. A handbook of social psychology
  • Gordon Allport
Allport, Gordon, W. (1935). "Attitudes". A handbook of social psychology. New York.
The shape of the language teacher. Paper presented at the TESOL Greece 21th Annual convention Helping teachers to cope with large classes
  • C Gabrielatos
Gabrielatos, C. (2000). The shape of the language teacher. Paper presented at the TESOL Greece 21th Annual convention, Athens, Greece. Hayes, D. (1997). Helping teachers to cope with large classes. ELT Journal, 51(2).
Problems and strategies of teaching English in large classes in the Peoples’ Republic of China. School of Languages and Intercultural Education
  • Z Xu
Xu, Z. (2001). Problems and strategies of teaching English in large classes in the Peoples' Republic of China. School of Languages and Intercultural Education, Curtin University of Technology and Applied Linguistics, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronauts a.