Native and Nonnative English-speaking EFL Teachers’ Beliefs about Teaching Grammar and their Classroom Practices in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi Government High Schools
The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The main purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate the native English-speaking (NESTs) and the nonnative English-speaking (NNESTs) EFL teachers’ self-reported beliefs towards grammar teaching and their classroom practices. The study aimed to examine the relationship between NESTs and NNESTs’ beliefs and their actual instructional practices. Furthermore, it attempted to stand on the contextual factors that may hinder the transformation of their thoughts into real actions. All the teachers participated in this study are in-service expatriates, teaching English language in six government high schools in the two cities of Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. In the first stage of the study, 60 native and nonnative English-speaking EFL teachers (30 NESTs and 30 NNESTs) were invited to fill in a self-report questionnaire to elicit their beliefs and classroom practices regarding grammar teaching. In the second stage, a semi-structured interview was conducted with four (2 NESTs and 2 NNESTs) of those teachers to gain deeper understanding of their personal opinions, beliefs and perspectives. In the third stage, the same four participant NESTs and NNESTs’ grammar instructional behaviour was observed, field-noted and then selectively transcribed and described. The findings revealed that the participant NESTs and NNESTs undeniably have a set of multifaceted beliefs regarding the role of grammar in language learning, grammar teaching approaches, error treatment, and finally the use of grammatical terminology and students’ first language. The quantitative data revealed that participants’ self-reported beliefs are, to a large extent, reflected in their classroom practices. These findings thus add support to previous research findings that teachers’ beliefs are powerful and can greatly shape and guide their professional practices. However, the qualitative data showed a different picture: the beliefs and practices were partially different. This inconsistency between beliefs and practices are related to various contextual factors, including class density, time constrains, incompatibility of the assigned text-books, huge work load, in addition to students’ needs, expectations and proficiency levels.
non-native English-speaking, native English-speaking, EFL teachers, teaching grammar, teachers’ beliefs, classroom practices, Abu Dhabi, high schools