Language Teachers at Work: Linking Materials with Classroom Teaching [1st ed.] 9789811555145, 9789811555152

This book examines a ubiquitous, yet under-researched, area of language education, i.e., language teachers' use of

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Language Teachers at Work: Linking Materials with Classroom Teaching [1st ed.]
 9789811555145, 9789811555152

Table of contents :
Front Matter ....Pages i-xv
Introduction (Zhan Li)....Pages 1-8
Materials Use: A Socio-Cultural Perspective (Zhan Li)....Pages 9-29
The Design of the Study (Zhan Li)....Pages 31-53
Materials Use Inside Language Classrooms: Processes of Materials Use (Zhan Li)....Pages 55-81
Materials Use Outside Language Classrooms: Influencing Factors of Materials Use (Zhan Li)....Pages 83-100
Conceptualizing Materials Use (Zhan Li)....Pages 101-122
Implications and Conclusion (Zhan Li)....Pages 123-131
Back Matter ....Pages 133-141

Citation preview

Zhan Li

Language Teachers at Work Linking Materials with Classroom Teaching

Language Teachers at Work

Zhan Li

Language Teachers at Work Linking Materials with Classroom Teaching

123

Zhan Li School of Foreign Languages Zhongnan University of Economics and Law Wuhan, China

ISBN 978-981-15-5514-5 ISBN 978-981-15-5515-2 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5515-2

(eBook)

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 This work is subject to copyright. All rights are reserved by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed. The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use. The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, express or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. The registered company address is: 152 Beach Road, #21-01/04 Gateway East, Singapore 189721, Singapore

Preface

This book examines a ubiquitous yet under-researched area of language education, i.e. teachers’ use of curriculum materials to design and enact instruction. It explores how and why English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) teachers used the prescribed textbooks in higher education in China at both empirical and theoretical levels. A qualitative multi-case study involving four Chinese EFL teachers and their eight students was designed to represent the study. Drawing on data from interviews with the teachers and students, lesson observations and instructional materials in three consecutive semesters at the target university, the book delineated five interactive processes of materials use in and out of language classrooms along with four domains of influencing factors. By deploying four sets of theoretical ideas, namely, Vygotsky’s (1978) mediation theory, Rabardel and Bourmaud’s (2003) instrument approach, Wartofsky’s (1979) triple classification of artifacts and Remillard’s (2005) participatory perspective, the book proposed the curriculum instrument mediation model to conceptualize the underlying relations among teachers, learners, curriculum materials and the context. The book concludes with practical implications for teachers, teacher educators, materials developers, meso-level administrators and macro-level policymakers. Recommendations for future research and limitations of the current study are also addressed. Xinyang, China

Zhan Li

References Rabardel, P., & Bourmaud, G. (2003). From computer to instrument system: A developmental perspective. Interacting with Computers, 15(5), 665–691. Remillard, J. T. (2005). Examining key concepts in research on teachers’ use of mathematics curricula. Review of Educational Research, 75(2), 211–216.

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Preface

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wartofsky, M. (1979). Models: Representation and the scientific understanding. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: D. Reidel.

Acknowledgements

The book was completed at the outbreak of COVID-19 in China, the unprecedented pandemic of the world. The target university is located in Wuhan, the epicentre of the pandemic in China, where I have been working for 15 years. It is my second hometown. My sincere gratitude goes to my teacher and student participants, who allowed me to track and trace their use of materials in and out of classrooms. Without their participation, the study could never be conducted. I am grateful to the University of Hong Kong, where granted me a doctorate in philosophy and endowed me with a research mindset. I would also like to thank my parents who supported me during the trying time, even when both of them were in poor health. The book is dedicated to them. The book is supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grants no. 2722020JCG037, 2722018XT018), and the 9th China Foreign Language Education Fund granted by the Center of China Foreign Language and Education, Beijing Foreign Studies University.

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Contents

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1 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.1 A Global View on the Role of Textbooks in English Language Teaching (ELT) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.2 Why Is There the Paradoxical View on Language Materials? 1.3 The Research Gap in Materials Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.4 The Impetus of the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.5 The Context of the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.6 Aims of the Study and Research Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.7 The Structure of the Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Materials Use: A Socio-Cultural Perspective . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1 Defining Key Terms in the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.1 ‘Curriculum Materials’, ‘Materials’ Versus ‘Textbooks’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.1.2 ‘Materials Use’ Versus ‘Enactment of Curriculum’ 2.2 ELT in Higher Education in China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2.1 The Evolution of CE Curriculum in China . . . . . . 2.2.2 Five Generations of CE Textbooks . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3 Materials Use Research in ELT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.1 The Role of Materials in Language Teaching and Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.2 Teachers’ Approaches to Using Materials . . . . . . . 2.3.3 Influencing Factors of Materials Use . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4 Materials Use Research in Mainstream Education . . . . . . . 2.4.1 The Processes of Materials Use in Mainstream Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.2 Teachers’ Influence on Materials Use . . . . . . . . . .

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2.4.3 The Role of Curriculum Materials in Teacher Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5 The Theoretical Underpinnings of the Study . . . . . . . . . 2.5.1 The Socio-Cultural Perspective of Materials Use . 2.5.2 Human Cognition in Tool Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.5.3 Materials Use as a Tool-Mediated Activity . . . . . 2.5.4 The Socio-Material Perspective of Materials Use . 2.5.5 The Theoretical Framework of the Study . . . . . . 2.6 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 The Design of the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.1 Qualitative Multi-case Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2 Selection of Setting, Participants and Materials . 3.2.1 The Target University . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2.2 Participants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.2.3 The Target Textbook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.3 Data Collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.3.1 Data Collection Schedule . . . . . . . . . . . 3.3.2 Data Collection Strategies . . . . . . . . . . 3.4 Data Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.4.1 Analysis of Interview Data . . . . . . . . . . 3.4.2 Analysis of Observational Data . . . . . . 3.4.3 Documentary Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.5 Trustworthiness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.5.1 Triangulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.5.2 Thick Description . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.5.3 Member Checking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.5.4 Management of Subjectivity . . . . . . . . . 3.5.5 Ethical Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.6 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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4 Materials Use Inside Language Classrooms: Processes of Materials Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.1 Key Features of Each Teacher Participant’s Teaching . . . 4.2 The Processes of Materials Use Inside Classrooms . . . . . 4.3 Transforming . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.1 Transforming Sentence Completion Exercises into IRF Exchanges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.3.2 Transforming Reading Comprehension Questions into Scaffolding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.4 Evaluating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.4.1 Perceiving Students’ Competencies . . . . . . . . . . .

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Contents

4.4.2 Catering to Students’ Needs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.5 Appropriating . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.6 Adapting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.6.1 Adapting the Instructions in Line with the Design Intentions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.6.2 Adapting Interactional Modes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.6.3 Adapting the Design Intentions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.7 Improvising . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.7.1 Inserting Extra Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.7.2 Improvising Instructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.7.3 Improvising Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4.8 Understanding Materials Use Inside Language Classrooms 4.9 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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5 Materials Use Outside Language Classrooms: Influencing Factors of Materials Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.1 The Features of the Curriculum Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.2 Student Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.3 Teacher Agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.4 Teacher Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.5 Contextual Factors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.5.1 Meso-Level Institution Agency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.5.2 In-Service Professional Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5.5.3 Inflexibility of the Meso-Level CE Curriculum . . . . . . . 5.6 Understanding Materials Use Outside Language Classrooms . . . 5.7 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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6 Conceptualizing Materials Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.1 Main Findings of the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.2 Theoretical Underpinnings of the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.3 Instrumentation: Curriculum Materials Shaping Curriculum Enactment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.3.1 Formation of the Curriculum Instruments . . . . . . . . . . . 6.3.2 Multilayered Affordances of Curriculum Materials . . . . . 6.3.3 The Ostensible Authority of Curriculum Materials in ELT in China . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.3.4 The Educative Role of Curriculum Materials . . . . . . . . . 6.4 Instrumentalization: Teachers’ Roles in Shaping the Curriculum Materials . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.4.1 Teachers’ Cognitive Processes in Materials Use . . . . . . . 6.4.2 Teacher Knowledge in Materials Use (TKMU) . . . . . . . 6.4.3 Authenticating the Curriculum Materials . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Contents

6.5 The Participatory Relations Among Teachers, Learners, Curriculum Materials and the Context . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.5.1 Teacher Voice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.5.2 Student Voice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.6 Mediated Relations in Enacting Curriculum Materials . . 6.6.1 Mediation Between Subject and Object . . . . . . . 6.6.2 Interpersonal Mediation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.6.3 Self-reflexive Mediation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6.7 Curriculum Instrument Mediation Model . . . . . . . . . . . 6.8 Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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7 Implications and Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.1 Significance of the Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.2 What Should We Do to Use the Materials More Productively? 7.2.1 Effective Ways of Materials Use . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.2.2 Implications for Professional Development . . . . . . . . . 7.2.3 Implications for Materials Development . . . . . . . . . . . 7.2.4 Implications for Meso-level Administrators and Macro-level Policymakers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7.3 Why Should We Conceptualize Teachers’ Use of Materials? . . 7.4 Limitations of the Study and Recommendations for Future Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Appendix A: Baseline Teacher Interview Protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 Appendix B: Pre- and Post-observation Teacher Interviews . . . . . . . . . . 135 Appendix C: Baseline Student Interview Protocol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137 Appendix D: Observation Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139 Appendix E: Transcription Conventions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141

List of Figures

Fig. 2.1 Fig. 2.2 Fig. 3.1 Fig. 3.2 Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig.

4.1 4.2 5.1 6.1

Overview of the three arenas and the relationship among them Remillard (1999) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Model of instrument-mediated activity (Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Unit overview in the NSCE Student’s book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Flowchart of the data collection procedures in the main study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Five interactive processes of materials use inside classrooms . . Mediated relations in materials use inside classrooms . . . . . . . . Mediation in materials use outside classrooms . . . . . . . . . . . . . Curriculum instrument mediation model . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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List of Tables

Table 2.1 Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table Table

3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6

Table 4.7 Table 4.8 Table 4.9 Table 4.10 Table 4.11 Table 5.1

A brief summary of the CE curricula features (Xu & Fan, 2017b) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Demographics of teacher and student participants . . . . . . . . The outline of one unit in the target textbook . . . . . . . . . . . Sections in the Teacher’s Guide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Schedule of data collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Overview of the research instruments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Durations of the teacher interviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Durations of the student interviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Summary of lesson observations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Data analysis procedures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Comparison of teachers’ enacted vocabulary activities . . . . . A lead-in exercise in Unit 7 of Book 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Teachers’ enactment of a sentence completion exercise . . . . Reading comprehension questions raised by Penny . . . . . . . A vocabulary exercise in Unit 7 of Book 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . Comparison of teachers’ warm-up activities in Unit 7 of Book 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Enacted reading comprehension activities in Fiona’s and Winy’s classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Exercise 1 in Unit 7 of Book 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Two exercises dealing with unfamiliar words in Unit 7 of Book 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Penny’s supplementary sample sentences of the word ‘glide’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A fill-in-the-blank exercise in the curriculum materials . . . . Summary of teachers’ professional development . . . . . . . . .

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Chapter 1

Introduction

Abstract This chapter starts by examining the perennial debate over the role of English textbooks across the world. I then attempt to explicate the possible reasons for the paradoxical views on language materials by comparing and contrasting Eastern and Western cultures. A gap in ELT materials use research is pinpointed based on the analysis of the debate. The context of the study is introduced by unfolding my personal experiences of English Language Teaching (ELT) in higher education in China. Against the unique backdrop of ELT in China, the study aims to tackle two research questions. The chapter concludes with the outline of the book.

1.1 A Global View on the Role of Textbooks in English Language Teaching (ELT) Over the past 40 years, there has been vigorous debate about whether or not the textbook is the best tool for delivering language learning materials and about the desirability of using them in language learning programmes. The debate started in the 1980s and has been polarised between those who object to textbooks in principle and those who advocate using them in classrooms (Tomlinson, 2012; Bell & Gower, 2011). Harwood (2005) identified two positions by terming them ‘anti-textbook’ and ‘pro-textbook’ based on his review of the literature on textbook research. The anti-textbook view was further categorized into ‘strong anti-textbook’ and ‘weak anti-textbook’ (Harwood, 2005). The primary divergence lies in four aspects, i.e. the accuracy of content, the appropriacy of the syllabus, the sufficiency of applied linguistic theories and the soundness of pedagogy embedded in the textbooks. The strong view advocates the abandonment of all commercial materials (Thornbury & Meddings, 2001), while the weak view finds materials in their current state to be unsatisfactory in various ways (Allwright, 1981) but has no problem with the textbook in principle (e.g. Swales, 1980). Regardless of the views of experts who have criticized the use of textbooks in language teaching and learning, the textbook is still ubiquitous and plays a fundamental role in ELT around the world (Littlejohn, 2011; Garton & Graves, 2014; Tomlinson & Masuhara, 2018). This situation prevails in most of the Southeast © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 Z. Li, Language Teachers at Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5515-2_1

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Asian countries and regions where language curriculum is nationalized or centralized, and textbooks are prescribed and mandatory, for instance, China (Li & Harfitt, 2017, 2018), Hong Kong (Lee, 2005; McGrath, 2006), Taiwan (Ke, 2012), Japan (Underwood, 2010), to name a few.

1.2 Why Is There the Paradoxical View on Language Materials? One possible reason why language learning materials, particularly English textbooks, have received this contradictory attention may be the influence of contexts. For instance, in Chinese culture, as in most Asian countries, books—and particularly textbooks—are regarded as the embodiment of knowledge and truth (Wang, 1999). Knowledge, we are told, is ‘in’ the book, imparted by the teacher and the textbook, and can be taken directly from the book and transferred to the students’ heads. In addition, English is regarded as a second or foreign language in China, where the target language inside ELT classrooms is different from the language used outside of class. Graves (2008) defined this context as the ‘target language-removed’ context. In this context, English is the subject itself, like science, mathematics or history (Graves, 2008). As English is a text-driven subject in China, English textbooks are inevitably treated with extreme reverence and assigned a great value in ELT. English textbooks also play essential roles in facilitating curriculum reform, particularly in higher education in China (Wang, 1999). Therefore, the role of English textbooks in the Chinese context is prominent and has been largely unchallenged. In Western countries, however, particularly in the ‘inner circle’ countries, where English is the first or dominant language (i.e. Australia, Britain, New Zealand, Canada and the U.S.), English language learning is set in ‘target language-embedded’ contexts (Kachru, 1986). In these contexts, authentic materials are sufficient and can be easily accessed outside of class. Therefore, whether or not English textbooks should be used in language classrooms is still a controversial issue.

1.3 The Research Gap in Materials Use The polarised positioning of English textbooks in these two contrasting contexts has led to a paucity of research in the field of materials use both globally and locally (Guerrettaz & Johnston, 2013; Tomlison & Masuhara, 2018; Li & Harfitt, 2018). After critically reviewing the paradoxical views on textbooks use in language learning programmes, Tomlinson (2012) argued that more localized textbooks, which are designed to be flexible and to offer teachers and students opportunities for contextualization and personalization, are needed in the future.

1.3 The Research Gap in Materials Use

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My own view is consonant with Tomlinson in that we need materials in language education to provide the basis of teachers’ daily teaching. The question is not whether we should use materials, but how to use materials more effectively and productively, particularly in centralized curriculum contexts where the prescribed textbook is the designated curriculum (Remillard & Heck, 2014). In other words, more emphases should be placed on delineating teachers’ and students’ ways of using the materials in a naturalistic educational environment, so that the measures to ensure the effective utilization of these resources can be taken. For instance, since textbooks cannot be designed in a one-size-fits-all style, the capacity to authenticate materials to engage learners with materials is increasingly crucial for all the users (Tomlinson, 2016). Publishers and material writers should design and modify their textbooks accordingly to ensure teachers’ divergent adaptations and improvisations (Li & Harfitt, 2018). More opportunities to promote teacher and learner autonomy in producing appropriate materials should be offered in textbook design. The practical implications of materials use research will be further elaborated in the final chapter of the book. More recently, the previously neglected research subject of language learning materials, particularly English textbooks, has gained more serious attention (Garton & Graves, 2014; Tomlinson & Masuhara, 2018). This increased interest has stimulated me to conduct the under-researched area of materials use (Guerrettaz & Johnston, 2013; Li & Harfitt, 2018) in the unique context of ELT.

1.4 The Impetus of the Study The impetus for this study stems from my 15 years of experience as a College English (CE) teacher at a university in China. Every time I went to the classroom and started a new lesson, the first thing I did was to open my textbook. This phenomenon still prevails in ELT classrooms from elementary to tertiary-level education in China. It is a fact that textbooks have become indispensable companions in my own teaching and learning, and this is true for my colleagues as well. During my 15 years of teaching CE, I experienced three rounds of the CE textbook changes, which were introduced in response to the curriculum reforms introduced in 2004, 2007 and 2015 respectively. Clearly, the initial purpose of adopting new textbooks at the institutional level was to add new substance to the current teaching and learning. However, followup evaluations of how teachers and learners use the curriculum materials in and outside classrooms have not been conducted. This became a neglected area in ELT research, both locally and globally (Tomlinson, 2012; Tomlinson & Masuhara, 2018; Larson-Freeman, 2014; Garton & Graves, 2014). Through informal after-class discussions with my colleagues, I discovered that each time the newly published textbooks were prescribed and disseminated to the faculty, teachers had a strong resistance to incorporating the new textbook in their daily teaching. Some teachers complained about the wide range of topics in the new textbook, which increased the workload of their lesson planning. Others pointed out

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the lack of teaching guidance in the curriculum materials. The professional development based on the textbook use was only conducted at the very beginning of the adoption of the materials, which was a week-long intensive training organized by the publishing house in Beijing. Only a handful of teachers had the chance to participate in this training, and their feedback on it was unsatisfactory in terms of its impact on their daily use of the materials. Consequently, many teachers followed familiar instructional strategies in using the new textbooks without implementing the innovations suggested by the designers or compilers. Millions of textbooks are bought by Chinese ELT learners every year, and similar textbooks are designated as the only curriculum materials for language teaching courses at different institutions across the country. However, the effects of a new textbook on teaching and learning are not yet known. Reflecting on my previous teaching and learning experiences, I realized that the role of the textbook in ELT in China equates the designated curriculum (Remillard & Heck, 2014). Teachers have no freedom to abandon textbooks because of the top-down policy for adopting curriculum materials in most Chinese universities and schools (Liu & Wu, 2015; Tomlinson & Masuhara, 2018). Ironically, in most cases, teachers’ actual implementation of mandatory curriculum materials has been laissezfaire (Humphries, 2014). Teachers were assumed to use the prescribed curriculum materials in line with the updated teaching beliefs or models suggested in the new textbooks. Whether teachers’ agentive power to use curriculum materials is restricted or not is under-examined; this encouraged me to take a closer look at the holistic picture of this teaching practice and to examine how and why teachers made their curricular and pedagogical decisions to use curriculum materials under the top-down policy of curriculum reform. In her review of the literature on teachers’ use of mathematics curriculum materials, Remillard (2005) raised some concerns. The insight from her work provided me with another impetus for this study: A number of scholars over the last 25 years have studied how teachers use curriculum materials and the role that textbooks and curriculum materials have played in mathematics classrooms. Findings from these studies, however, have not been consolidated to produce reliable, theoretically grounded knowledge of teachers’ interactions with curriculum materials that might guide future research or the design or implementation of curricula. (p. 212)

An in-depth comparison of the contexts of Remillard’s (1999, 2000) research and my study suggested that Remillard’s conceptual model of teacher–curriculum relationships could shed light on my study. The use of ELT curriculum materials in higher education in China corresponds to that of mathematics materials at elementary and secondary levels in the U.S. in three major aspects. First, there is one important similarity in curriculum policy between the two countries. Both of the countries issued top-down standardized and centralized curricula, namely, the Common Core State Standards for mathematics in the U.S. and Guidelines on College English Teaching in China. Second, the role of curriculum materials in both subjects is equally prominent. In accordance with the curriculum reforms, curriculum and instructional materials are often mandatory in local contexts in both countries

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(Remillard & Heck, 2014; Wang, 2007; Cheng, 2011). Third, despite the disciplinary differences between the two subjects, their roles in education correspond to each other. English, as the target language, is a subject in itself, like mathematics or science, in language-removed contexts such as China (Graves, 2008). Thus, the framework and theoretical knowledge already developed in mathematics and science in the U.S. (e.g. Brown, 2009; Remillard, 2005; Remillard & Heck, 2014) is potentially transferrable to Chinese ELT context. This underpins the current study and allows me to extend and adapt the existing framework of teacher–curriculum relationship generated in mainstream education to English education in China (Harwood, 2017; Li & Harfitt, 2018).

1.5 The Context of the Study ELT in China is held from primary to tertiary levels. More than 26 million students are now receiving higher education in China (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2016). All non-English major students, which constitute the majority of students in higher education, have to receive ELT in at least one academic year (Wang, 1999) and the course is termed the College English (CE) Course. The formidable number of language learners and teachers with one prescribed national curriculum and one prescribed set of textbooks make China a unique context for ELT (Wang, 2007). Traditionally, to support newly implemented national curriculum reform, new CE textbooks are compiled by a government-appointed panel of experts for all universities and colleges (Wang, 1999). With the adoption of new CE textbooks by local institutions, the textbooks become the designated written curriculum (Remillard and Heck, 2014). With the promulgation of National Medium and Long-term Educational Reform and Development Program (2010–2020) (Ministry of Education, 2010) and Guidelines on College English Teaching (GCET) (MOE, 2017), CE is designated as the primary component of ELT for all Chinese college learners and new CE textbooks are disseminated accordingly. Currently, more than 200 universities are adopting the target textbook series (New Standard College English Series) for CE course. In other words, nearly two million students are currently using the same course book in Mainland China (Huang, 2011). Detailed introductions to the evolution of the CE curriculum and textbooks in China will be presented in Chap. 2.

1.6 Aims of the Study and Research Questions This study has three key aims. First, it seeks an in-depth understanding of the ubiquitous yet under-researched area of language pedagogy, namely, materials use, from the teachers’ perspective. Tomlinson’s (2012) extensive literature review in this field confirmed the inadequacy of empirical investigations of material development and the limited knowledge about what teachers and learners actually do with materials

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in the classrooms. Until now, only one quantitative (Guo & Zhan, 2011) and three qualitative studies (Xu & Fan, 2017a; Li & Harfitt, 2017, 2018) in China have examined the use of CE textbooks from the teachers’ perspective. There is a dearth of classroom-based qualitative studies in this area both globally and locally. To fill the gap, this study is designed and conducted. Second, it seeks to examine materials use from a socio-cultural perspective. Curriculum materials are often regarded as major static inputs for language teaching and learning; however, some notable studies have asserted that the process of teachers’ materials use is dynamic, interactive and participatory (e.g. Clandinin & Connelly, 1992; Ben-Peterz, 1990; Remillard, 1999, 2009; Brown, 2009; Remillard & Heck, 2014). Socio-cultural theories (e.g. Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1998; Keller & Keller, 1996) could shed a great deal of light on the theoretical underpinnings of the study. Third, this study attempts to conceptualize materials use to disentangle the relationships among teachers, learners, materials and the context. As mentioned earlier, classroom-based studies in the field of language material development are hard to find even though they are the key to advancing this area of applied linguistics research (Harwood, 2010). Most importantly, these studies have not been able to generate theoretically grounded knowledge (Remillard, 2005; Garton & Graves, 2014). Therefore, there is an urgent need to conceptualize the teachers’ enactment of curriculum materials in ELT to fill the void of curriculum development literature. By deploying Rabardel and Bourmaud’s (2003) instrument-meditated activity model, Keller & Keller’s (1996) social learning theory, Wartofsky’s (1979) classification of artefacts and Remillard’s (2005) participatory perspective, a qualitative multiple case study was designed to address two overarching research questions: (1) How are the prescribed College English textbooks being used by Chinese EFL teachers at a university in China? (2) What are the underlying relationships among teachers, students, curriculum materials and the context in higher education in China?

1.7 The Structure of the Book In the chapters that follow, I present the justification for and design of the study, and then its findings and implications. In Chap. 2, I provide a thorough review of the existing literature that informs this study. Then, the theoretical and analytical framework in which the study is based and the philosophical origins of the framework are elaborated upon. It also introduces the context of the study with a particular focus on the development of the College English curriculum in China. In Chap. 3, I describe the nature and design of the study itself. In Chaps. 4 and 5, I present the results of teachers’ interactions with the curriculum materials both inside and outside classrooms. In Chap. 5, I discuss these findings at both practical and theoretical levels and reconstruct the theoretical framework. Finally, in Chap. 6, conclusions are drawn, and the implications are recommended.

References

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References Allwright, R. L. (1981). What do we want teaching materials for? ELT Journal, 36(1), 5–18. Bell, J., & Gower, R. (2011). Writing course materials for the world: A great compromise. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), Materials development in language teaching (2nd ed., pp. 135–150). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ben-Peretz, M. (1990). The teacher-curriculum encounter: Freeing teachers from the tyranny of texts. Albany: State University of New York Press. Brown, M. (2009). The teacher-tool relationship: Theorizing the design and use of curriculum materials. In J. Remillard, B. A. Herbel-Eisenmann, & G. M. Lloyd (Eds.), Mathematics teachers at work: Connecting curriculum materials and classroom instruction (pp. 17–36). New York: Routledge. Cheng, X. T. (2011). The ‘English Curriculum Standards’ in China: Rationales and issues. In A. W. Feng (Ed.), English Language across Greater China (pp. 133–150). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1992). Teacher as curriculum maker. Handbook of Research on Curriculum, 363–401. Garton, S., & Graves, K. (2014). Identifying a research agenda for language teaching materials. The Modern Language Journal, 98(2), 654–657. Graves, K. (2008). The language curriculum: A social contextual perspective. Language Teaching, 41(02), 147–181. Guerrettaz, A. M., & Johnston, B. (2013). Materials in the classroom ecology. The Modern Language Journal, 97(3), 779–796. Guo, H., & Zhan, C. (2011). An investigation into the impact of college English textbooks on teachers’ professional development. Foreign Language World, 4, 67–74. Harwood, N. (2005). What do we want EAP teaching materials for? Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 4(2), 149–161. Harwood, N. (Ed.). (2010). English language teaching materials: Theory and practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Harwood, N. (2017). What can we learn from mainstream education textbook research? RELC Journal, 48(2), 264–277. Huang, J. (2011). A comparative study of textbook evaluation between New Horizon College English and New Standard College English. Unpublished Master’s Dissertation, Xi’an Technological University, China. Humphries, S. (2014). Factors influencing Japanese teachers’ adoption of communication-oriented textbooks. In K. Garton & S. Graves (Eds.), International perspectives on materials in ELT (pp. 253–269). England: Palgrave Macmillan. Kachru, B. B. (1986). The alchemy of English: The spread, functions and models of non-native Englishes. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Ke, I. (2012). From EFL to English as an international and scientific language: analyzing Taiwan’s high-school English textbooks in the period 1952-2009. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 25(2), 173–187. Keller, C. M., & Keller, J. D. (1996). Cognition and tool use: The blacksmith at work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Larsen-Freeman, D. (2014). It’s about time. The Modern Language Journal, 98(2), 665–666. Lee, I. (2005). English language teaching in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR): A continuous challenge. In G. Braine (Ed.), Teaching English to the world: History, curriculum and practice (pp. 35–45). New York: Routledge. Li, Z., & Harfitt, G. J. (2017). An examination of language teachers’ enactment of curriculum materials in the context of a centralized curriculum. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 25(3), 403– 416. Li, Z., & Harfitt, G. (2018). Understanding language teachers’ enactment of content through the use of curriculum materials. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 46(5), 461–477.

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Liu, D., & Wu, Z. (2015). English language education in China: Past and present. Beijing, China: People’s Education Press. Littlejohn, A. (2011). The analysis of language teaching materials: Inside the Trojan horse. In B. Tomlinson (Ed.), Material development in language teaching (pp. 179–211). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. McGrath, I. (2006). Teachers’ and learners’ images for coursebooks. ELT Journal, 60(2), 171–180. Ministry of Education (MOE). (2010). Outline of China’s national plan for medium and long-term education reform and development (2010-2020). Beijing: People’s Publishing House. Ministry of Education (MOE). (2017). Daxue Yingyu Jiaoxue Zhinan (Guidelines on College English Teaching). Beijing: Higher Education Press. National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBSC). (2016). China Statistical Yearbook 2016. Beijing: China Statistics Press. Rabardel, P., & Bourmaud, G. (2003). From computer to instrument system: A developmental perspective. Interacting with Computers, 15(5), 665–691. Remillard, J. T. (1999). Curriculum materials in mathematics education reform: A framework for examining teachers’ curriculum development. Curriculum Inquiry, 29(3), 315–342. Remillard, J. T. (2000). Can curriculum materials support teachers’ learning? Two fourth-grade teachers’ use of a new mathematics text. The Elementary School Journal, 100(4), 331–350. Remillard, J. T. (2005). Examining key concepts in research on teachers’ use of mathematics curricula. Review of Educational Research, 75(2), 211–216. Remillard, J. (2009). Considering what we know about the relationship between teachers and curriculum materials. In J. Remillard, B. A. Herbel-Eisenmann, & G. M. Lloyd (Eds.), Mathematics teachers at work: Connecting curriculum materials and classroom instruction (pp. 85–92). New York: Routledge. Remillard, J. T., & Heck, D. J. (2014). Conceptualizing the curriculum enactment process in mathematics education. ZDM Mathematics Education, 46(5), 705–718. Swales, J. (1980). ESP: The textbook problem. The ESP Journal, 1(1), 11–23. Thornbury, S., & Meddings, L. (2001). Coursebooks: The roaring in the chimney. Modern English Teacher, 10(3), 11–13. Tomlinson, B. (2012). Materials development for language learning and teaching. Language Teaching, 45(02), 143–179. Tomlinson, B. (2016, June). What should be authentic and why? Paper Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Materials Development Association, Liverpool, U.K. Tomlinson, B., & Masuhara, H. (2018). The complete guide to the theory and practice of materials development for language learning. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell. Underwood, P. (2010). A comparative analysis of MEXT English reading textbooks and Japan’s National Center Test. RELC Journal, 41(2), 165–182. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wang, Q. (2007). The national curriculum changes and their effects on English language teaching in the People’s Republic of China. In J. Cummins & C. Davison (Eds.), International handbook of English language teaching (pp. 87–105). New York: Springer. Wang, Y. (1999). ‘College English’ in China. English Today, 15(01), 45–51. Wartofsky, M. (1979). Models: Representation and the scientific understanding. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: D. Reidel. Wertsch, J. V. (1998). Mind as action. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Xu, J., & Fan, Y. (2017a). Exploring the strategies and motives of using textbook-based tasks by college English teachers. Modern Foreign Languages, 40(1), 91–101.

Chapter 2

Materials Use: A Socio-Cultural Perspective

Abstract In this chapter, four key terms and concepts in materials use and curriculum studies are first defined. I then introduce the unique context of Chinese ELT by tracing the evolving process of the College English (CE) course and mandatory textbooks in the past five decades. An extensive review of the literature on materials use in both ELT and mainstream education is provided to position the current study in terms of the research settings and theoretical perspectives. At the end of the chapter, I draw on Rabardel and Bourmaud’s (2003) instrument-mediated activity model as the overarching theoretical lens to unpack the complex relations among teachers, students, curriculum materials and the context in materials use.

2.1 Defining Key Terms in the Study 2.1.1 ‘Curriculum Materials’, ‘Materials’ Versus ‘Textbooks’ The terms ‘curriculum materials’, ‘textbooks’ and ‘materials’ often appear in mainstream and language educational studies. ‘Curriculum materials’ sometimes refer to textbooks, but textbooks are usually considered one component of curriculum materials (Shawer, 2010). In the U.S.A, curriculum materials can take a wide variety of forms, including curriculum frameworks or state standards (which generally specify what students should be learning) and curricular programmes focusing either on a yearly instruction or on a single unit. In ELT, terms like ‘materials’, ‘textbooks’ or ‘coursebooks’ are more frequently used. Hutchinson and Torres (1994) defined ‘textbook’ in a rather traditional way as an organized and pre-packaged set of teaching or learning materials that may be bound in one book or distributed in a package based on the socio-economic status of teaching materials in the twentieth century. With the fast development of technology in the twenty-first century, Harwood (2010) encompassed all forms of texts and language learning tasks into ‘materials’. Tomlinson’s (2011) definition of ‘materials’ is the broadest, including ‘anything which is used by teachers or learners to facilitate the learning of a language’, such as videos, emails, YouTube, grammar books, food packages and teachers’ instructions. In language education,

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‘textbooks’ or ‘coursebooks’ mean trade books and class sets of books, teachercreated materials and other resources such as professional publications focusing on curriculum and instruction (Grossman & Thompson, 2008). Therefore, ‘coursebooks’ and ‘textbooks’ are often used interchangeably with ‘materials’ in language education (Cheng, 2002). In this study, owing to the legitimate role of teaching materials as curriculum in the centralized curriculum context like China (Li & Harfitt, 2017), I preferred to employing ‘curriculum materials’ to explicitly refer to the prescribed textbook series (including the Student’s Book, Teacher’s Guide, and auxiliary PPT slides), syllabus and any teaching materials provided by the institution that represent the institution’s formal curriculum.

2.1.2 ‘Materials Use’ Versus ‘Enactment of Curriculum’ ‘Materials use’ is a critical yet under-specified domain of teaching across jurisdictions and educational contexts. As a burgeoning area in Applied Linguistics (Graves, 2019), materials use is currently defined as ‘the ways that participants in language learning environments actually employ and interact with materials’ (Guerrettaz et al., 2018, p. 38). Materials use research will look at what actually happens inside language classrooms among teachers, learners and materials (Tomlinson, 2011). Similarly, the idea of ‘enactment’ emphasizes the agentive power of teachers, learners and all parties who are involved in curriculum design and implementation processes and capable of mobilizing their own resources to translate the ‘intended’ curriculum into ‘implemented’ or ‘attained’ curriculum (van den Akker, 2004). This view resonates with socio-material (e.g. Fenwick, Edwards & Sawchuk, 2011), socio-cultural (e.g. Vygotsky, 1978) and participatory perspectives of teacher–curriculum relationship (Remillard, 2009) in that all things emerge as effects of connections and activities and the world is full of agency. The socio-material theory underscores that not only humans act, but non-humans act on and with humans (Fenwick et al. 2011). From socio-cultural perspectives, all human activities are mediated actions or the use of tools by human agents to interact in order to accomplish their goals (Vygotsky, 1978; Cole, 1996; Wertsch, 1991, 1998). The active agents of teachers in the process of utilizing textbooks, notwithstanding, textbooks also play dynamic roles with regard to constraining and affording to teach. In the participatory view, teachers and curriculum materials are engaged in a dynamic interrelationship that involves participation in both parts of teachers and the text (Remillard, 2005). Similar to McLaughlin’s (1976) concept of mutual adaptation, the most effective implementation of innovation was when teachers, learners, materials and administrators engaged in the process of adapting the curriculum to cater to the needs of specific contexts. These theories are inextricably intertwined, which will be employed as the theoretical underpinnings of the current study.

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2.2 ELT in Higher Education in China 2.2.1 The Evolution of CE Curriculum in China China boasts 2,879 universities and colleges until 2016 (Ministry of Education, 2016). University students in China now constitute the largest number of English learners in the world (Markee, 2015). More than 26 million students are now receiving higher education in China (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2017). ELT at the tertiary level in China is divided into two strands: one is for English major students; the other is for non-English majors (the majority of students) and is officially called College English. CE is a 2-year compulsory course for all non-English majors, including undergraduates and postgraduates across China (Wang, 1999). Since the early 1980s, China’s educational authorities have made consistent efforts to update ELT. As a result, the past three decades have witnessed a number of significant changes in CE teaching and learning. The growth of CE is accompanied by the curriculum reforms guided by six national curricula documents disseminated in 1985, 1985, 1999, 2004, 2007 and 2015, respectively. The major features of each syllabus/curriculum/guidelines are listed in Table 2.1. Xu and Fan (2017b) pointed out three prominent trends of the evolution of CE curricula documents in terms of teaching objectives, teaching requirements and arrangements, and testing systems. First, the CE curricula are becoming more individualized, flexible and open, given the uneven development of higher education in China. The guidelines issued in 2015 are, in fact, the general recommendations for administrators and teachers at the institutional level in terms of CE course structure and contents. Each higher education institution should construct their specified CE Table 2.1 A brief summary of the CE curricula features (Xu & Fan, 2017b) Syllabus/curriculum/guidelines Features 1985/1986 Syllabus

1. Stressed graded teaching 2. Stressed reading competence

1999 Syllabus

1. Combined with the former two 2. Continued to stress reading competence 3. Prescribed Band four as the basic requirement for all students 4. Introduced subject-based English as a compulsory course

2004/2007 Requirement

1. Stressed speaking and listening abilities 2. Adopted modern information technology to promote teaching mode innovation 3. Integrated formative with summative assessment

2015 Guidelines

1. Stressed the practical use of English 2. Established a three-level teaching objective and the corresponding three-level teaching requirements 3. Stressed diversified evaluation and testing system 4. Stressed teacher development

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course system based on the characteristics of their contexts. The second trend is the shift of emphasis on the language foundation of English learning to the practical use of the language. According to the 2015 guidelines, CE should cultivate students’ ability to use English for academic, vocational and cross-cultural communication purposes instead of solely developing students’ general English competencies. In the end, more diversified evaluation systems were promoted compared with the single summative assessment stipulated in 1985 and 1999 reforms. Albeit with the great endeavour of Chinese ELT specialists and authorities to revamp the CE curriculum in order to meet the demands of a fast-changing society, the nature of CE curriculum is still hard to define when positioned in the global ELT curriculum context. In other words, due to the controversial views on the role of English language and orientations of CE teaching (Xu & Fan, 2017b; Cai, 2012), no single ELT curriculum type can fit in CE course systems in China. In fact, it is the hybrid of two curriculum styles, i.e. Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) and genre-pedagogy (Graves & Garton, 2017). CLT and its latest realization of TaskBased Teaching (TBL) curriculum view language as an instrument or tool used to make meanings in certain socio-cultural contexts. This view of language underpins one of CE curriculum objectives in the newly issued curriculum guidelines in China, i.e. to cultivate students’ ability to use English to communicate, that is, English for General Purposes (EGP). At the same time, the importance of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) is particularly emphasized in the new round of CE curriculum reform. Students’ needs to learn more professional and academic English could only be met through delivering ESP courses. The ESP curriculum style is akin to genrepedagogy in that teachers facilitate learners’ development of increasingly complex literacy through unpacking the knowledge of the genre in certain professions and lexico-grammatical features of the texts. In doing so, students’ abilities to interpret and construct meaning from profession-related texts could be enhanced.

2.2.2 Five Generations of CE Textbooks In countries with Confucius Heritage Culture, such as China, Singapore, Japan and Korea, textbooks are the embodiment of knowledge and truth which are treated with excessive reverence in teaching and learning. The design of state-approved English textbooks in China generally consists of three steps, i.e. making a plan for material development, deciding on an approach and framework, and designing student’s books and supplementary materials. Compared with other countries, the standardized processes of designing textbooks in China have been followed for only a few decades (Liu & Wu, 2015). In the past, the design of teaching materials was conducted by only a few specialists. The early twenty-first century saw a substantial transformation in the field of English teaching materials, moving from unification to diversification. However, teachers are demanded to use prescribed textbooks from elementary to tertiary institutions across the country, although they have more autonomy in adapting and supplementing materials in their daily teaching now than before.

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According to Dong (2003), Chen (2007) and Cai (2011), CE textbooks in China have experienced five generations of development since 1961. (1) The first-generation textbooks, from 1961 to the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, focused on the analysis of text and grammar. They aimed to cultivate students’ English reading skills by adapting the traditional teaching model. (2) The second-generation textbooks, from 1979 to 1985, followed the previous teaching mode with many breakthroughs in teaching methods. (3) The third-generation textbooks, from 1986 to the mid-1990s, were based on the College English Curriculum (CEC) and consisted of six volumes for six different grades which were subdivided into five series, including an intensive reading coursebook, an extensive reading coursebook, a fast reading coursebook, a grammar coursebook and a students’ workbook. The textbooks in this generation were trying to achieve the following goals: (a) emphasize core English teaching, (b) maintain a balance between language and communicative competence, (c) cultivate students’ reading skills and (d) make use of the strong points of all other textbooks. During this period, the College English series, edited by Dong Yafen and published by Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press in 1986, were some of the most influential textbooks. This series consisted of three sub-volumes— Intensive Reading, Extensive Reading and Fast Reading—and were used in more than 800 universities and colleges at that time. (4) The fourth-generation textbooks began to appear in the late 1990s. With the help of modern information technology, this generation of textbooks (a) uses the traditional teaching model, emphasizing reading skills, (b) contains subvolumes such as reading, listening, writing and speaking volumes and (c) is compiled by experts or professors from key universities. Since this time, multimedia technology has changed the way textbooks are produced. A set of textbooks now typically includes not only student’s books but also workbooks, teachers’ reference books, extracurricular reading materials, class cassettes, audiovisual tapes, CD-ROMs and online resources. (5) The fifth-generation textbooks refer to the variety of CE textbook series published after the promulgation of 2004 College English Curriculum Requirements (CECR). Cai (2012) and Chen (2007) raised the compiling philosophy of this new generation of textbooks. The new generation of textbooks should encompass four types of materials. The first type is the traditional structured textbooks with the main purpose of building a solid language foundation for learners. The second type is task-based materials to cultivate students’ communicative skills. The third type is content-based materials divided into two major domains, i.e. the science and arts. The fourth type is ESP textbooks. In addition, the integrated coursebook with multimodal medium, including CD-ROMs, auxiliary teaching plans and e-materials in online platforms, become the trendy format of this generation of textbooks. However, these are only envisaged principles for compiling the fifth generation of textbooks. In fact, very few published textbooks could meet those criteria (Cai, 2011).

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2.3 Materials Use Research in ELT Compared with the large number of textbooks published worldwide, it is only recently that researchers have begun exploring how materials are used inside language classrooms (Jakonen, 2015; Tomlinson & Masuhara, 2018). The slim body of research falls into three foci: (a) the role of materials in language teaching and learning; (b) teachers’ approaches to using materials; and (c) influencing factors of materials use. In the next section, the studies on materials use in ELT will be reviewed in these three subcategories.

2.3.1 The Role of Materials in Language Teaching and Learning Richards and Mahoney (1996) investigated the role of textbooks in ELT at secondary schools in Hong Kong by surveying English teachers’ beliefs and practices with respect to textbooks. The researchers conducted follow-up observations of seven teachers based on the responses. The findings confirmed that textbooks were used pervasively and played a major role in Hong Kong language classrooms. Teachers did not slavishly follow what the textbook dictated but instead made their own decisions about recording, deleting or modifying the content of the textbooks. In other words, teachers in Hong Kong language classrooms were not deskilled by the textbook, but rather active agents of materials use. In a similar vein, Grossman and Thompson (2008) explored how three beginning English teachers used and learned from literacy curriculum materials in the U.S.A. They tracked teachers’ use of materials over time in order to identify how these materials shaped the teaching practice. Again, curriculum materials played an essential role in beginning teachers in terms of providing tools for designing instructions. The content of curriculum materials shaped teachers’ ideas and classroom practices. Based on their findings, the researchers proposed a learning trajectory in materials use. New teachers began by sticking close to the materials they had at hand. Then, over time, as they learned more about both their students and the curriculum, they adapted and adjusted their use of the materials (Grossman & Thompson, 2008). Theoretically, this study drew on socio-cultural theory (Cole, 1996; Wertsch, 1998) to account for teachers’ various ways of utilizing and learning from the curriculum materials. A more recent study is from Guerrettaz and Johnston (2013). They examined the use of an English grammar textbook at a large public university in the U.S. and confirmed the powerful role of materials in the ecology of the language classroom. Three salient points were made in this study in terms of the role of materials in language education. First, the materials alone constituted the legitimate curriculum of the class. Second, classroom discourse was strongly influenced by the materials in terms of topic, type and organization of discourse. Third, language learning occurred when connections between the content of the materials and the students’ lives were made. It was witnessed that materials

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came alive through teachers’ and learners’ real engagement via classroom discourse, which afforded opportunities for language learning. This study provides valuable insights into materials use research by highlighting the complex relationship in the language classroom ecology. It also interpretes this teaching practice from a sociocultural perspective, which sheds light on the current study in terms of the theoretical lens.

2.3.2 Teachers’ Approaches to Using Materials Since there are no one-size-fits-all textbooks, it is inevitable that teachers will adapt the materials in their teaching (Edge & Garton, 2009). The definition of adaptation is rather broad. Madsen and Bowen (1978, p. 3) believed that effective adaptation is to reach ‘congruence’with teaching contexts. To accomplish this goal, teachers may use a variety of techniques to adapt their materials, including supplementing, editing, expanding, personalizing, simplifying, modernizing, localizing or modifying cultural or situational content (Madsen & Bowen, 1978). Tomlinson (2011) regarded the process of adapting as ‘reducing, adding, omitting, modifying and supplementing’. According to McGrath (2016), there are two categories of adaptation: adaptation as addition and adaptation as change. In the addition approach, teachers adopt what the textbook contains and supplement materials from other resources (Bosompem, 2014). The four subtypes of this approach are extemporization, supplementation, exploitation and extension (McGrath, 2016). McDonough, Shaw & Masuhara (2013) emphasized the purposes of adaptation: ‘to maximize the appropriacy of teaching materials in context, by changing some of the internal characteristics of a coursebook to better suit our particular circumstances’. They pointed out two processes involved in adaptation: to first evaluate the materials against contextual criteria and then to customize the materials to cater to these standards by means of adding, deleting, modifying, simplifying and reordering (McDonough et al. 2013). Although these approaches are pertinent to teachers’ daily use of textbooks, what teachers actually do with the textbook and how they adapt the materials in practice is still under-researched. Until now, only a handful of studies examined the ubiquitous teaching phenomenon at the classroom level. Shawer (2010) investigated teacher curriculum approaches and the strategies attached to each approach by working with 10 EFL teachers and mixed-nationality college students. The study developed a teacher curriculum approach classification comprising curriculumtransmission, curriculum-development and curriculum-making. The classification is based on a critical survey of the literature related to curriculum fidelity (curriculumtransmission), adaptation (curriculum-development) and enactment (curriculummaking). According to Shawer (2010), previous studies examining how teachers use textbooks classified teachers into two categories: those who depend heavily on textbooks (textbook-bound) and those who tend to depart from textbooks (basics coverage). He argued that the curriculum-development approach differed

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from covering the basics in involving curriculum decisions, including materialwriting and the development of curriculum themes, because covering the basics involved only refining textbook content (Shawer, 2010). Further, the results of this study revealed that classroom-based curriculum-development involves curriculumdevelopment and curriculum-making. In China, Li & Harfitt (2018) examined four Chinese EFL teachers’ use of curriculum materials in HE. They unveiled four processes that teachers used the materials when planning the lessons, namely, reading, evaluating, appropriating and adapting. This study theorized the mediated relations via these processes and indicated that materials use in language education is an ostensibly straightforward, yet complex phenomenon in which multiple players were involved.

2.3.3 Influencing Factors of Materials Use Some studies attempt to explain the underlying rationale for teachers’ doing what they do. The influencing factors of teachers’ materials use in ELT contexts are subsumed under four domains: teachers’ factors (e.g. teachers’ beliefs, knowledge base, pedagogical goals, attitudes, perceptions, teaching styles), students’ factors (e.g. students’ language proficiency, background knowledge, interests, majors and needs), contextual factors (e.g. institutional regulations on materials use, curriculum, syllabus, textbook stipulation) and the features of textbooks (e.g. the content, the look and voice of the textbook). These factors were identified across contexts, such as China (Li & Harfitt, 2017), Japan (Humphries, 2014), the U.K. (Shawer, 2017) and Ghana (Bosompem, 2014). The following review identifies the factors that have figured prominently in these studies. Teachers’ beliefs, pedagogical needs and goals, attitudes and perceptions were noted in previous literature to influence teachers’ decisions of materials use. For instance, Katz (1996) delineated the complexity of four teachers’ use of the same writing text in language classrooms in a university in the U.S.A. She compared and contrasted four teachers’ teaching styles and beliefs. Katz (1996) found that teachers’ interpretation of their roles in language classroom teaching had some effect on their use of the materials. Teachers’ pedagogical needs and goals could also determine how they actually use the materials in the classroom. Katz’s study is valuable both methodologically and empirically because it provides an innovative approach to capturing the dynamic nature of language classrooms and making sense of the teachers’ role in materials use. Most importantly, teachers’ central role in engaging students with the content of materials was highlighted by Guerrettaz & Johnston (2013). In a similar vein, Li & Harfitt (2017, 2018) claimed the decisive role of EFL teachers in mediating students’ learning through the use of materials in higher education in China, a centralized curriculum context. Shawer (2017) categorized teacher-related factors behind their divergent curriculum approaches into personal, social and institutional levels. In

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this sense, teachers’ curriculum-development was a multilayered social issue, which could be better understood through a socio-cultural lens. In addition, contextual factors, students’ issues and features of textbooks all exert great influences on teachers’ materials use. Using a semi-structured questionnaire, Lee and Bathmaker (2007) explored teachers’ belief in using textbooks to teach English to Normal Technical (NT) students in Singapore. Their study revealed that teachers adapted the materials following local institutional and classroom requirements. How teachers used their textbooks was influenced by contextual factors, such as the demands of examinations. Moreover, teachers’ perceptions of NT pupils’ cognitive weakness in English and behavioural problems constituted another influencing factor of materials use. This study argued that teachers’ use of textbooks was not isolated from the context, but profoundly affected by it, which is in line with the theoretical underpinning of the current study. Humphries (2014) identified a range of factors that promoted or inhibited the ways that teachers used coursebooks in a rural technical college in Japan. He attributed teachers’ traditional ways of materials use to issues relevant to the institutions, students and features of the materials. The contextual factors included limited teacher training regarding the use of the new textbooks, pressure from both the institution and society on the teachers’ teaching and the reluctancy of teachers to try different teaching approaches, all of which discouraged the teachers from changing the ways they used the new textbooks. Students’ unmotivated behaviour hindered the implementation of communicative activities. The unsuitable features of the textbooks also prevented teachers’ effective use, which entails the large amount of socio-cultural knowledge represented in the textbooks, the high demand for the listening and speaking skills of students, and topics irrelevant to students’ daily lives. Humphries (2014) claimed that without the development of teachers’ pedagogical approaches, the power of the new textbook was restricted as agents of educational change. Once again, the findings of this study confirmed the active roles of teachers in using new textbooks. Grammatosi and Harwood (2014) delineated an experienced teachers’ use of an academic English coursebook at a university in the U.K. and validated the influencing factors proposed in Hutchinson’s (1996) framework, namely, the textbook, the learners, the classroom and the school. They called for more textbook consumption studies in ELT to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers’ use of textbooks across contexts. It is worth mentioning that most of the studies were conducted in English-asa-second-language contexts like the U.S.A, the U.K., Singapore and Ghana (see, for example, Guerrettaz & Johnston, 2013; Shawer, 2010, 2017; Grammatosi & Harwood, 2014; Bosompem, 2014; Loh & Renandya, 2016) and the materials were mainly grammar textbooks (see, for example, Tasseron, 2017; Guerrettaz & Johnston, 2013; Abdel Latif, 2017). Very few studies were carried out in English-asa-foreign-language contexts, such as China (Li & Harfitt, 2017, 2018) and Japan (Humphries, 2014), focusing on the integrated skills teaching materials (except for Li & Harfitt, 2017, 2018; Humphries, 2014; Grossman & Thompson, 2008; Grammatosi & Harwood, 2014).

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In sum, the current literature indicates the complex and multifaceted nature of materials use. In the following section, the studies on materials use conducted in mainstream education will be reviewed by particularly emphasizing the theoretical perspectives and the critical constructs to shed light on my study.

2.4 Materials Use Research in Mainstream Education Apart from the limited materials use research in ELT, there have been detailed descriptions and explications of how and why schoolteachers use curriculum materials to follow curriculum reform requirements in mathematics and science in the U.S.A. (Remillard & Heck, 2014). It is not surprising that in mathematics education, a traditionally textbook-driven discipline, many studies have endeavoured to identify the interactions between teachers and curriculum materials (Remillard & Heck, 2014).

2.4.1 The Processes of Materials Use in Mainstream Education Remillard (2005) defined four types of relationships between mathematics teachers and curriculum materials based on her extensive literature review of more than 70 studies on materials use in mathematics education, namely, following or subverting, drawing on, interpreting and participating with. The ‘following or subverting’ perspective assumes that curricula are static and that the teacher–text interaction is linear. Holders of the ‘drawing on’ perspective also believe in the close fidelity between the written and enacted curricula but focus more on the teachers’ practice in the classroom settings, regarding curriculum materials as influencing factors. Researchers having the ‘interpreting’ view see teachers as interpreters of the written curriculum with no fidelity to it. The ‘participating with’ perspective regards both teachers and curriculum materials as actors in materials use and assumes the enabling power of curriculum materials as a cultural tool. The participatory conception of curriculum use is heavily influenced by socio-cultural theories (e.g. Vygotsky, 1978; Cole, 1996; Wertsch, 1991, 1998) and contributes most to the construction of theoretical grounds in materials use research. In the following section, three prominent studies that hold the participatory perspective and are fundamental in building the theoretical underpinnings of materials use research in mainstream education are reviewed. Based on her observation of two elementary teachers’ use of the same reformoriented mathematics textbook, Remillard (1999) constructed a model of teachers’ role in curriculum-development. The model includes three separate arenas: the design arena, the construction arena and the mapping arena. The design arena involves selecting and designing tasks for students. The construction arena includes enacting

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Fig. 2.1 Overview of the three arenas and the relationship among them Remillard (1999)

these tasks in the classroom and responding to students’ reactions in an improvised and responsive way. The mapping arena entails making choices that determine the organization and content of the curriculum, which encompasses the preceding two arenas and is affected by them (Remillard, 1999). Figure 2.1 shows an overview of the three arenas. This model illustrates that teachers’ curriculum-development is an ongoing process that continues in and out of the classroom. The findings also help to explain inconsistencies in the textbook use literature resulting from researchers focusing on different phases or arenas (Remillard, 2005). The second study contributes to the theorization of teachers’ use of textbooks. Sherin and Drake (2009) analyzed ten elementary school teachers’ use of a noncommercially published curriculum and examined how they engage with the materials at different phases of teaching: before, during and after the lesson. In each phase, they examined three key processes in which teachers engage as they use curriculum materials: reading, evaluating and adapting. This study shows that teachers’ use of curriculum materials is complex and multidimensional. Moreover, the demonstration of each teacher’s unique curriculum strategy confirms the active and agentive power of teachers in the process of enacting curriculum materials. In the third study, Brown (2009) proposed a framework of teachers’ design capacity and identified three ways of materials use: offloading, adapting and improvising. He examined three middle school teachers’ use of the curriculum materials for a 10-week inquiry-based science unit. The major contribution of Brown’s (2009) study was theoretical in that curriculum materials were regarded as artefacts or tools (Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1998) with the potential to enable or constrain human activity. The framework proposed in this study highlighted the interactive and dynamic relationship between teachers and curriculum materials. It offered an

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analytical tool for examining the teacher–curriculum relationship at the classroom level. Most importantly, it elucidated the potential for teacher learning in the process of enacting curriculum materials.

2.4.2 Teachers’ Influence on Materials Use Teachers’ factors, such as knowledge, capacities, beliefs, perceptions and experiences, are all documented in the literature to explicate the variations in curriculum use, especially when teachers are working with the same curriculum (Remillard, 2005). Other factors, such as teachers’ orientation towards curriculum (Remillard & Bryans, 2004) and professional identity (Smagorinsky, Lakly & Johnson, 2002), are also witnessed to affect materials use. It is assumed that teachers can mobilize their own resources to accomplish their pedagogical and curricular goals (Brown, 2009). For instance, by examining three middle school teachers’ interactions with an inquiry-based science unit, Brown (2009) found that teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), subject matter knowledge, beliefs and goals affected teachers’ use of materials. In addition, teachers’ belief about and stance towards curriculum materials are significant influencing factors. For instance, Remillard and Bryans (2004) noted that teachers’ stances on the content of curriculum materials influenced teachers’ ways of using the materials. Moreover, a teacher’s professional identity was shown to contribute to materials use (Smagorinsky et al. 2002). Teachers’ understanding of their students’ needs and competence also have an impact on their use of curriculum (e.g. Sherin & Drake, 2009). From the participatory perspective, teachers only depict one side of the story. The role of curriculum materials in extending and enabling teachers’ teaching and learning demonstrates the other side of the story.

2.4.3 The Role of Curriculum Materials in Teacher Learning Traditional curriculum materials are designed to promote student learning. In the U.S.A., curriculum developers and researchers have begun to consider the potential of curriculum materials as a vehicle for teacher learning in terms of improving PCK, subject matter knowledge and instruction (Ball & Cohen, 1996; Remillard, 1999, 2000; Schneider & Krajcik 2002). Davis and Krajcik (2005) suggested that curriculum materials could be compiled as educative resources for teacher learning because teachers will accumulate and experience PCK while using curriculum materials to prepare lessons. This is not a single case. Curriculum materials of mathematics in Japan and China are commonly designed with significant content for teachers (Collopy, 2003). However, the effectiveness of educative curriculum materials is still underexplored (Schneider & Krajcik, 2002). The few identified studies are from science, mathematics and English curriculum designers (see, for example, Ball & Cohen,

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1996; Collopy, 2003; Grossman & Thompson, 2008; Remillard, 1999, 2000; Schneider & Krajcik, 2002). Remillard and Bryans (2004) defined learning opportunities as ‘events or activities that are likely to unsettle or expand teachers’ existing ideas and practices by presenting them with new insights or experiences’ (p. 379). They found that teachers who had more interactive (rather than antagonistic) relationships with the curriculum were more likely to learn from the materials. Teachers’ different ways of using the curriculum led to divergent chances of learning. This study unveiled the possibility of developing educative curriculum materials for teacher learning using reform-oriented curriculum resources. Since teachers actively read, selected and considered various materials and made conscious decisions according to their individual learning needs, Remillard (1999, 2000) claimed that teacher learning occurred when teachers had to make decisions regarding the specific activities they were to enact with students. She suggests that curriculum materials intended to be educative should provide explicit opportunities for teachers to make pedagogical decisions regarding the design of classroom events for their students. Another example is from Colloy (2003). Her year-long case study of two elementary mathematics teachers’ use of reform materials without additional professional development proved that curriculum materials had the potential to become a competent professional tool. This study indicated the dynamic and divergent nature of teachers’ opportunities to learn through reading materials and enacting lessons. In sum, all these studies confirm the viability of fostering teacher learning through materials use. This implied that as cultural tools, curriculum materials had the potential to mediate both teaching and learning (Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1998).

2.5 The Theoretical Underpinnings of the Study 2.5.1 The Socio-Cultural Perspective of Materials Use From the socio-cultural perspective, tools, artefacts and instruments are acknowledged widely in the literature (see, for example, Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1998; Wartofsky, 1979). Tools can be understood as historically accumulated artefacts, and the most important of all tools is language (Vygotsky, 1978). Tools include the full range of cultural means for use, such as language, mathematics and computers. Artefacts are materialized in the forms of objects, words, rituals and other cultural practices that mediate human life. The distinction between tool and artefact lies in the precise relation between cultural and material tools. Wartofsky (1979) defined artefacts, tools and instruments more broadly from a representational viewpoint: The two fundamental forms of our activity are the making of things and social interaction. These activities, especially in their integral relation to each other, are the requisites for our existence, day-to-day, and from one generation to the next. The making of things is primarily related to the production and use of tools, as social interaction is substantially related to the production and use of language. Tools and language, then, become the basic artifacts by means of which the human species differentiates itself from its animal forebears; and it is

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2 Materials Use: A Sociocultural Perspective therefore in analysis of these basic artifacts that a theory on the genesis of representation needs to be developed. (p. xvi)

In a similar vein, Vygotsky (1978) proposed that our relationship with the world is indirect or mediated and that it is established through the use of symbolic tools such as language. Almost all human action is mediated action. Material and mental tools are connected through their mediating functions (Vygotsky, 1978). In other words, all manner of things can be considered as tools if their function or consequence is mediation (McDonald, Le, Higgins & Podmore, 2005). As a central concept in socio-cultural theory (van Lier, 2004), mediation through artefacts has been interpreted differently in the literature. According to Moll (2014), human beings interact with their world primarily through mediational means—for example, through the use of cultural artefacts, tools and symbols, including language, which plays a crucial role in the formation of human intellectual capacities. Moll (2000) argued that we have to seek culture in practice without detaching human beings from socio-cultural dynamics, whether in classrooms, households or other settings: Human beings and their social and cultural worlds are inseparable; they are embedded in each other. Thus, human thinking is not reducible to individual properties or traits. Instead, it is always mediated, distributed among persons, artifacts, activities, and settings. People think in conjunction with the artifacts of the culture, including, most prominently, the verbal and written interactions with other human beings. (2000, p. 265)

Cole (1996) emphasized the means of connection between subject and object in Vygotsky’s famous mediational triangle: The basic mediational triangle in which subject and object are seen is not only as “directly” connected but also simultaneously as “indirectly” connected through a medium constituted of artifacts (culture). (Cole, 1996, p. 119)

Williams and Burden (1997) simplified the definition of mediation as the use of tools. Anything that is used to help solve a problem or achieve a goal can be regarded as tools (Williams & Burden, 1997), and the activity is goal-oriented and tool-mediated.

2.5.2 Human Cognition in Tool Use Although Engeström (1999, p. 29) issued an ‘invitation to a serious study of artefacts as integral and inseparable components of human functioning’ two decades ago, tools and artefacts have been generally referred to rather than described or seriously studied (McDonald, Le, Higgins & Podmore, 2005). As mentioned earlier, mediated human activity reflects the operation of human mentality, which consists of the use of artefacts and humans’ mental schemes. In this light, the study of mediated activity— that is, the formation of instruments—facilitates the understanding of the mental mechanisms of human beings.

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The social learning theory of human cognition in tool use (Keller & Keller, 1996) unpacked the human cognitive process in using tools with a series of constructs, such as the stock of knowledge, umbrella plans and constellations. It is assumed that practice and knowledge are co-present in human behaviour in a dialectic relationship. ‘The observed practices emerge from the mental, material, and social structures in which they are situated and, in turn, reproduce or lead to transformations of those same structures’ (Keller & Keller, 1996, p. 16), which aligns with the socio-cultural views on tool-mediated human activity (e.g. Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1998). According to Keller and Keller (1996), the stock of knowledge is a conceptual structure to facilitate the goal orientation of work and the accomplishment of desired ends. An umbrella plan is a conceptual framework with procedural steps for accomplishing a specified goal; it is a combination of a mental representation of the overarching goal and a rough procedural sequence for its attainment. A constellation, an enabling unit of each step of human schemes to accomplish a goal, consists of both mental and material components, which include human ideas, implements and materials. Human ideas are hypothetical and are formulated to accomplish certain goals. Implements are any given tools, and their usage is defined by the goal and logic of each step of the task. When a human produces a creative product, he/she will draw on the stock of knowledge, follow an umbrella plan and formulate a constellation, which enables the accomplishment of each goal of the umbrella plan. This process evolves until the anticipated goal is accomplished. In the process of producing original products, human activity has the feature of emergence. The behaviour of a situated agent is seen to emerge from the agent– environment interaction, which might lead to a shift in designers’ approaches to planning and representation when agents respond to unexpected events and interactions by modifying their plans opportunistically (Sawyer, 2002). In other words, the emergent behaviour is a result of interactions between agents and the specific context. van Lier (2004) believed that at the core of emergence is a non-reductive change from a lower level phenomenon to a higher level phenomenon. ‘The idea of emergence is that the result of events or activities may be dramatically different from the initial inputs to those events or activities, and may not be reducible to them’ (van Lier, 2004, p. 82). In this sense, emergence is a qualitative change, although it is not caused only by the aggregate of lower level events or activities. In sum, all of the above theories attempt to conceptualize human cognitive processes in utilizing artefacts in mediated activities. They tie to the current study theoretically as materials use is a goal-oriented activity mediated by both actors and artefacts.

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2.5.3 Materials Use as a Tool-Mediated Activity If materials are regarded as tools or artefacts, materials use is deemed to be a toolmediated activity with teachers and learners regarded as actors. Materials are transformed from artefacts into instruments during this activity of materials use. Rabardel and Bourmaud (2003) distinguished the instrument from the material artefacts on a theoretical basis. They claimed that the notion of the instrument is ‘a mixed functional unit made up of components born of the artefact and the subject’ (Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003, 670). There are two major components of one instrument: the artefact and the scheme of utilization. These two components are associated with each other but are also in the relation of relative independence (Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003). They proposed the instrument-mediated activity model which connects the subject with other subjects, the subject with the object, and the subject with itself in the goal-oriented activity. Figure 2.2 shows Rabardel and Bourmaud’s model of instrument-mediated activity. In this framework, the dotted arrows represent the three orientations of mediation formulated in goal-oriented activities. The linear arrows represent non-mediated relations (Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003).

Fig. 2.2 Model of instrument-mediated activity (Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003)

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2.5.4 The Socio-Material Perspective of Materials Use Since this study is particularly focusing on the use of materials in a unique educational context, the ‘socio-material’ turn in the educational research is worth mentioning. Researchers of the socio-material perspective challenge the assumption that a subject is separable from an object. They emphasize the material practices of education and tackle the problem of how everyday educational activity and knowing are critically shaped through the material (Fenwick et al. 2011; Sørensen, 2009). In this view, the world is doing things, full of agency. Not only humans act, non-humans act on and with humans. ‘Non-human materiality is interpenetrated with human intensities in these assemblages in ways that must be treated symmetrically. Human agency is simply the effect of particular distributions and accumulations enacted through such assemblages’ (Fenwick et al. 2011). In other words, material things matter. They act together with other types of things and forces in the participation of enactments. In the case of teaching materials, the socio-material perspective multiplies the potentially relevant actors and forces in materials use by taking materials’ forces into account. Depending on their forms, materials can enact certain pedagogical activities and sequences, align or contradict curricula across space and time, afford or constrain teachers’ academic autonomy and thereby affect our student’s learning. In this light, the socio-material perspective echoes the theoretical foundation of Rabardel and Bourmaud’s (2003) instrument-mediation model, which will facilitate to interpret materials use by considering materials as an assemblage of forces and meanings (Canagarajah, 2018).

2.5.5 The Theoretical Framework of the Study Drawing on the pertinent theoretical and empirical literature, this study is grounded in the theoretical perspective that teachers, students and materials engage in together in a participatory relationship (Brown, 2009; Remillard, 2005, 2009). Materials are both artefacts and tools. As artefacts, they represent the physical tools—such as the paper-based materials—used to accomplish teachers’ goals in classroom settings. As tools, they represent and transmit the modes of action represented by the compilers and designers’ intentions. Furthermore, materials are transformed into instruments through their use by teachers and learners in classroom settings. In this participatory relationship, teachers, students and materials are active agents in co-constructing the real classroom teaching and learning. Rabardel and Bourmaud’s (2003) model of instrument-mediated activity was adopted as the theoretical framework of this study to interpret the underlying relations among teachers, learners, materials in the practice of materials use.

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2.6 Summary In this chapter, some key concepts in the field of materials use research were first introduced. Then, the evolution of the CE curriculum and the five generations of CE textbooks were synthesized to illuminate the context of the current study. This was followed by the studies on materials use from both ELT and mainstream education. In the end, the theoretical perspective of the current study was presented. In the following chapter, the details of the design of the research will be elaborated.

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Fenwick, T., Edwards, R., & Sawchuk, P. (2011). Emerging approaches to educational research: Tracing the sociomaterial. Oxford: Routledge. Grammatosi, F., & Harwood, N. (2014). An experienced teacher’s use of the textbook on an academic English course: A case study. In N. Harwood (Ed.), English language teaching textbooks: Content, Consumption, Production (pp. 178–204). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Graves, K., & Garton, S. (2017). An analysis of three curriculum approaches to teaching English in public-sector schools. Language Teaching, 50(4), 441–482. Graves, K. (2019). Recent books on language materials development and analysis. ELT Journal, 73(3), 337–354. Grossman, P., & Thompson, C. (2008). Learning from curriculum materials: Scaffolds for new teachers? Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(8), 2014–2026. Guerrettaz, A. M., Grandon, M., Lee, S., Mathieu, C., Berwick, A., Murray, A., et al. (2018). Materials use and development: Synergetic processes and research prospects. Filio, 18, 37–44. Guerrettaz, A. M., & Johnston, B. (2013). Materials in the classroom ecology. The Modern Language Journal, 97(3), 779–796. Gueudet, G., Pepin, B., & Trouche, L. (Eds.). (2012). From text to ‘lived’ resources: Mathematics curriculum materials and teacher development. Netherlands: Springer. Harwood, N. (Ed.). (2010). English language teaching materials: Theory and practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Humphries, S. (2014). Factors influencing Japanese teachers’ adoption of communication-oriented textbooks. In K. Garton & S. Graves (Eds.), International Perspectives on Materials in ELT (pp. 253–269). England: Palgrave Macmillan. Hutchinson, E. G. (1996). What do teachers and learners actually do with textbooks? Teacher and learner use of a fisheries-based ELT textbook in the Philippines. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Lancaster University. Hutchinson, T., & Torres, E. (1994). The textbook as agent of change. ELT Journal, 48(4), 315–328. Jakonen, T. (2015). Handling knowledge: Using classroom materials to construct and interpret information requests. Journal of Pragmatics, 89, 100–112. Katz, A. (1996). Teaching style: A way to understand instruction in language classrooms. In K. M. Bailey & D. Nunan (Eds.), Voices from the language classroom: Qualitative research on language education (pp. 57–87). New York: Cambridge University Press. Keller, C. M., & Keller, J. D. (1996). Cognition and tool use: The blacksmith at work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lee, R., & Bathmaker, A. (2007). The use of English textbooks for teaching English to ‘vocational’ students in Singapore secondary schools: A survey of teachers’ beliefs. RELC Journal, 38(3), 350–374. Li, Z., & Harfitt, G. J. (2017). An examination of language teachers’ enactment of curriculum materials in the context of a centralized curriculum. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 25(3), 403– 416. Li, Z., & Harfitt, G. (2018). Understanding language teachers’ enactment of content through the use of curriculum materials. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 46(5), 461–477. Liu, D., & Wu, Z. (2015). English language education in China: Past and present. Beijing, China: People’s Education Press. Loh, J., & Renandya, W. A. (2016). Exploring adaptations of materials and methods: A case from Singapore. The European Journal of Applied Linguistics and TEFL, 4(2), 93–111. Madsen, H. S., & Bowen, J. D. (1978). Adaptation in language teaching. Massachusetts: Newbury House Publishers. Markee, N. (2015). The handbook of classroom discourse and interaction. England: Wiley Blackwell. McDonald, G., Le, H., Higgins, J., & Podmore, V. (2005). Artifacts, tools, and classrooms. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 12(2), 113–127. McDonough, J., Shaw, C., & Masuhara, H. (2013). Materials and methods in ELT: A teacher’s guide (3rd ed.). Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

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2 Materials Use: A Sociocultural Perspective

McGrath, I. (2016). Materials evaluation and design for language teaching (2nd ed.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Ministry of Education. (2016). Daxue Yingyu Jiaoxue Zhinan (Curriculum requirements for college English). Beijing: Higher Education Press. Ministry of Education (MOE). (2017). Daxue Yingyu Jiaoxue Zhinan (Guidelines on College English Teaching). Beijing: Higher Education Press. Moll, L. C. (2000). Inspired by Vygotsky: Ethnographic experiments in education. In C. Lee & P. Smagorinsky (Eds.), Vygotsky perspectives on literacy research (pp. 256–268). New York: Cambridge University Press. Moll, L. C. (2014). L. S. Vygotsky and education. New York: Routledge. National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBSC). (2017). China Statistical Yearbook 2017. Beijing: China Statistics Press. Rabardel, P., & Bourmaud, G. (2003). From computer to instrument system: A developmental perspective. Interacting with Computers, 15(5), 665–691. Remillard, J. T. (1999). Curriculum materials in mathematics education reform: A framework for examining teachers’ curriculum development. Curriculum Inquiry, 29(3), 315–342. Remillard, J. T. (2005). Examining key concepts in research on teachers’ use of mathematics curricula. Review of Educational Research, 75(2), 211–216. Remillard, J. (2009). Considering what we know about the relationship between teachers and curriculum materials. In J. Remillard, B. A. Herbel-Eisenmann, & G. M. Lloyd (Eds.), Mathematics teachers at work: Connecting curriculum materials and classroom instruction (pp. 85–92). New York: Routledge. Remillard, J. T., & Bryans, M. B. (2004). Teachers’ orientations toward mathematics curriculum materials: Implications for teacher learning. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 35(5), 352–388. Remillard, J. T., & Heck, D. J. (2014). Conceptualizing the curriculum enactment process in mathematics education. ZDM Mathematics Education, 46(5), 705–718. Richards, J. C., & Mahoney, D. (1996). Teachers and textbooks: A survey of beliefs and practice. Perspectives, 8(1), 40–63. Sawyer, R. K. (2002). Emergence in psychology: Lessons from the history of non-reductionist science. Human Development, 45(1), 2–28. Schneider, R. M., & Krajcik, J. (2002). Supporting science teacher learning: The role of educative curriculum materials. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 13(3), 221–245. Shawer, S. F. (2010). Classroom-level curriculum development: EFL teachers as curriculumdevelopers, curriculum-makers and curriculum-transmitters. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(2), 173–184. Shawer, S. F. (2017). Teacher-driven curriculum development at the classroom level: Implications for curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher training. Teaching and Teacher Education, 63, 296–313. Sherin, M. G., & Drake, C. (2009). Curriculum strategy framework: Investigating patterns in teachers’ use of a reform-based elementary mathematics curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41(4), 467–500. Smagorinsky, P., Lakly, A., & Johnson, T. S. (2002). Acquiescence, accommodation, and resistance in learning to teach within a prescribed curriculum. English Education, 34, 187–213. Sørensen, E. (2009). The materiality of learning: Technology and knowledge in educational practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tasseron, M. (2017). How teachers use the global ELT coursebook. In H. Masuhara, F. Mishan, & B. Tomlinson (Eds.), Practice and theory of materials development in L2 learning (pp. 290–311). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars. Tomlinson, B. (2011). Materials development in language teaching (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tomlinson, B., & Masuhara, H. (2018). The complete guide to the theory and practice of materials development for language learning. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.

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Chapter 3

The Design of the Study

Abstract This chapter is mainly about the nature and design of the study. It starts with the justification for using a qualitative multi-case study approach in this study. It then introduces the selection of the research setting, target curriculum materials and teacher and student participants. Data collection procedures and the methods of data analysis are presented. In the end, the strategies for trustworthiness and the ethical concerns of the study are illustrated.

3.1 Qualitative Multi-case Study This study adopts a qualitative multi-case approach to examine two overarching questions owing to the nature of the research questions and the context of the study: (1) How are the prescribed College English textbooks being used by Chinese EFL teachers at a university in China? (2) What are the underlying relationships among teachers, students, curriculum materials and the context in higher education in China? As outlined in Chap. 1, this study aims to explore an under-explored and undertheorized area of teaching, namely materials use. A qualitative approach is generally used when researchers endeavour to explore and understand a central phenomenon where there is little existing research and where there are multiple context-bound realities (Creswell, 2014; Merriam, 2016). Therefore, the character of this study fits the objective of a case study. Moreover, a case study can provide precious insight and reveal a high degree of completeness and in-depth analysis when describing a complex social issue in a cultural context (Merriam, 2016; Stake, 1995; Yin, 2018). The research questions in this study focus mainly on ‘how’ and ‘what’ questions, which are typically qualitative in nature and appropriate in the case study methodology (Yin, 2018). A multitude of existing studies also supports the selection of the case study methodology . Remillard’s (2005) extensive review of over 70 empirical studies on teachers’ use of curriculum materials shows that in the past three decades, case study methodology has been frequently used to examine the teacher–text relationship in mainstream education (e.g. Brown, 2002; Remillard, 1999; 2000; Sherin & Drake, © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 Z. Li, Language Teachers at Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5515-2_3

31

32

3 The Design of the Study

2009). In the most recent research collections of teaching and learning with the help of artefacts, almost all the studies are case studies (e.g. Fan, Trouche, Qi, Rezat, Visnovska, 2018; Gueudet, Pepin & Trouche, 2012; Remillard, Herbel-Eisenmann & Lloyd, 2009). In the field of ELT, among the slim body of empirical studies of teachers’ use of textbooks, Guerrettaz and Johnston (2013) and Grammatosi and Harwood (2014) deployed case study approaches, while Shawer (2010, 2017) and Humphries (2014) conducted qualitative research. In this sense, qualitative case study methodology is valid in examining materials use across disciplines and contexts. In this study, each teacher and a pair of students (n = 2) from one class is treated as a case or an entity of analysis, and in total, four teacher participants and eight student participants were selected. Four teachers plus their eight students constitute four cases. As each teacher is unique in terms of their background and experiences, it aligns with Yin’s (2018) definition of multiple case study concerning emphasizing the individual difference in each case. The selections of the settings, participants and materials will be introduced in the following sections.

3.2 Selection of Setting, Participants and Materials 3.2.1 The Target University As mentioned in Chap. 1, this study was set in China, where there are currently more than 26 million university students (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2018). Set against the background of Chinese CE curriculum reform, this target university was regarded as a typical institution of Chinese higher education concerning its social status (i.e. it is one of the key universities in China) and its endeavour to promote CE reform (i.e. its participation in the showcase of CE reform). The target university can represent an average instance of the phenomenon of interest (Patton, 2015; Merriam, 2016). This university is affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China and located in the central part of China. The target university was a ‘world-class’ institution under the government’s ‘Double FirstClass’ project1 operated since 2015. Additionally, in early 2011, the School of Foreign Languages at the target university was chosen along with the other 34 universities in China by the Ministry of Education to showcase the CE teaching reform. This is a 2-year project co-funded by the Ministry of Education and the target university and designed to shift the CE teaching modality from teacher-centred to computerand classroom-based.

1 The

“Double First-class” project is a tertiary education development initiative conceived by the People’s Republic of China government in 2015, which aimed at comprehensively developing elite Chinese universities and their individual faculty departments into world-class institutions by the end of 2050.

3.2 Selection of Setting, Participants and Materials

33

The other reason for recruiting the target university is due to the feasibility of conducting the research, as I used to be a CE teacher and taught the CE course from 2005 to 2012 at the target university. This insider’s role might affect the findings of the study; measures to weaken this bad effect will be illustrated in the section on trustworthiness.

3.2.2 Participants The teacher participants (Cheri, Penny, Windy and Fiona, all pseudonyms) were all female non-native English speakers with a master’s degree in TESOL or relevant discipline. They were selected due in part to practical considerations (i.e. the teachers’ willingness and interest to discuss and reflect on their schemes of using curriculum materials), and in part to the criterion of being information-rich cases in terms of educational background and teaching experiences. The diversity of teacher participants’ domains of expertise ensured a wide range of disciplinary knowledge. All the teachers were teaching the same course to students at the intermediate language proficiency level, using the same curriculum materials and all working at the target university. I chose two students, one male and one female (n = 8), from each of the four teachers’ classes and from those who volunteered to participate. The major criterion is their English proficiency level. All students are in different majors other than English and at the intermediate language proficiency level. Table 3.1 lists the demographic information of the teacher and student participants. Table 3.1 Demographics of teacher and student participants Cheri

Windy

Fiona

Penny

Year (s) of teaching

5

9

23

2

Educational background

MA in Translation

MA in Applied Linguistics

MA in English and MA in law

MA in TESOL obtained from abroad

Students (n = 8)

Non-English majors at the intermediate level

Teaching Course

College English course

Textbook

New Standard College English

34

3 The Design of the Study

3.2.3 The Target Textbook At the beginning of the twenty-first century, five new textbooks were widely used in higher education in China to cope with the newly issued CE curricula in 2004 and 2007 by the Ministry of Education: namely, New Era Interactive English published by Tsinghua University Press, New Perspective English Learning System by Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, New Horizon College English and New Standard College English by the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press and Experiencing English by Higher Education Press. Among them, New Standard College English (NSCE) was chosen as the target textbook in this study because it was the prescribed textbook in the target university. NSCE was designed and published collaboratively and cooperatively by Chinese and British writers in 2008. Although this is not the only set of CE textbooks used in Chinese colleges and universities, according to a publishing house report, it has been adopted by more than 200 universities and colleges in China, nearly 10% of the tertiary institutions. A brief introduction to the features and compiling principles of the textbook is as follows. The salient features of NSCE The NSCE series contains two sets of coursebooks, namely, reading & writing, and listening & speaking coursebooks. The publishing house provides vocabulary books and CDs (containing recordings of the passages and new vocabulary in each unit) for each reading and writing coursebook. Teacher’s guides, teaching course wares designed by CE teachers from two other universities (i.e. auxiliary PPT slides), a testing platform and an online teaching and research forum are available for each user. As for the compiling philosophy of the textbook, Wen Qiufang, one of the chief editors of the textbook series, stated that this set of textbooks was to encourage students to learn English by using it in authentic situations, to raise students’ intercultural awareness and to cultivate learning autonomy. The salient features of the textbook series are threefold. The first salient feature of NSCE comes from its exercises. All the exercises are designed to broaden students’ viewpoints and cultivate their critical thinking skills, which is quite rare in other CE textbooks. The second feature is that the set of textbooks is part of systematic English teaching materials designed from elementary schools through to tertiary institutions, which is the first attempt in ELT in China. The Ministry of Education issued the Secondary School English curricula in 2001 and 2003, respectively (MOE, 2001, 2003). Since 2007, new high school graduates’ English proficiency has been much improved due to the governments’ constant efforts of implementing ELT reform at primary and secondary levels in China. NSCE is the first set of CE textbooks designed to cater to the emerging undergraduates’ needs and higher requirements for CE learning. The third feature of the series is the distinction of the Teacher’s Guide. It entails more teacher develop-

3.2 Selection of Setting, Participants and Materials

35

ment sessions in terms of providing pedagogical suggestions on conducting activities or tasks instead of only giving answers to exercises and explanations of language points. It also offers the latest applied linguistics knowledge and teaching strategies in photocopiable worksheets. It intended to create English teachers in China an opportunity to improve their teaching skills, enhance their English competence and develop a better understanding of applied linguistics (Fig. 3.1). The structure of the Student’s Book Each Student’s Book comprises ten teaching units. Each unit consists of nine major sections: Starting point, Active reading (1), Active reading (2), Talking point, Language in use, Reading across cultures, Guided writing, Unit task and Unit file. Figure 3.1 and Table 3.2 provide an overview of one unit along with the designer’s pedagogical intentions of each section of the Student’s Book. Structure of the Teacher’s Guide An outline of each unit of the Teacher’s Guide is listed in Table 3.3 in terms of the content and the designer’s intentions of each section. The outline of the auxiliary PowerPoint slides To further facilitate teachers’ use of the target textbook, two sets of teaching courseware (i.e. the auxiliary PPT slides) are available online. The PPT slides were designed by two teams from two universities in China. The content of the PPT slides is closely related to the target textbook. Five sections are designed to facilitate the teaching of passages (i.e. active reading 1 and 2) in each unit, namely, mapping (i.e. teaching objectives), embarkation (i.e. lead-in activities), navigation (i.e. text structure, exploration and evaluation), destination (i.e. a summary of the text, oral and written

Fig. 3.1 Unit overview in the NSCE Student’s book

This section includes one or more activities to raise the topic in students’ mind and develops a focus on the theme of the unit. They may involve a short discussion about a photo, a common experience, some questions or perhaps a questionnaire. Students are encouraged to share ideas, interpretations and opinions. Later units encourage students to give reasons for their opinions Two main reading passages with pre-reading activities which, through prediction and discussion, will lead students to reading the main passages This section helps students to understand the main ideas and details of the passage through multiple choice questions, true or false questions or other comprehension questions, and activities that ask students to identify the best summary or functions of sections of the passage. These activities are for learning, not testing The activities in this section ask students to match words with given definitions based on the word meaning in the passage, to complete sentences by using words in their correct form or to replace underlined words in sentences or paragraphs with some target words. New words should not be given before students read the passage. Thus they encounter and learn about the words in context. The vocabulary activities also feature the words in context, so students develop skills in handling unfamiliar words and expressions In this section, students develop and apply their understanding of the passage in activities that go beyond literal meanings to explore features of the passage style or genre or to consider the writer’s purpose and attitude This section uses questions to help students to develop the ideas presented in the passage and to encourage them to think independently. The key to handling this activity in class is to encourage students to go beyond short answers so that they think through what they are saying and give more extended or elaborated responses

Starting point

Active reading (1) (AC1) and Active reading (2) (AC2) (followed by four activities)

1. Reading and understanding

2. Dealing with unfamiliar words

3. Reading and interpretation

4. Developing critical thinking

(continued)

Content and designer’s pedagogical intentions

Sections of each unit

Table 3.2 The outline of one unit in the target textbook

36 3 The Design of the Study

Content and designer’s pedagogical intentions This section provides students with an opportunity for less intensive discussion and interaction to express opinions. The activities are related to the theme and students’ life. They are more open-ended activities than the ones in Developing critical thinking This section explores aspects of grammar and complex sentence patterns in the two main reading passages. There are information boxes that give extra information about words or expressions, sentence patterns or common collocations. The section finishes with translation from and into Chinese. The translation activities are designed to develop students’ translation skills using language they have encountered in the passages Here students read a passage extending the theme of the two main reading passages to show aspects of cultural life, traditions or customs in different counties or cultures. There are comprehension questions to develop students’ understanding of the passage. There are also questions asking students to compare the culture(s) shown in the passage with the Chinese culture This section takes the unit theme further into writing practice. Aspects of language which are commonly found in written English, especially academic writing, are explored. The section finishes with an activity designed to help the students write a piece of writing which practices the aspects of language explanation earlier

Sections of each unit

Talking point

Language in use

Reading across cultures

Guided writing

Table 3.2 (continued)

3.2 Selection of Setting, Participants and Materials 37

Content and designer’s intentions

A brief note on the unit organization to help teachers identify the nature of the passages. It also highlights the primary language and cognitive skills identified in the unit. Suggestions are given to help teachers organize their teaching by considering timing and prioritization in class

Background information on the passage, e.g. information on the writers and their writing styles

Explain some proper names, terms and cultural concepts that arise in the passages

Detailed notes on the new words, expressions and complicated sentences in the passages

For some speaking activities, useful vocabulary and expressions are provided to help students express themselves

Additional notes about how to use a particular activity are given in clear steps

Offers specific guidance on how to conduct activities in class

Practical techniques for teaching are introduced in relation to specific contexts

Offers teachers an alternative way of conducting an activity from the one given in the Student’s Book

Offers teachers additional activities not mentioned in the Student’s Book

Provides answers to the closed exercises

Helps teachers think in more detail about the aspect of teaching

Sections of each unit

Overview

Background information

Cultural points

Language points

Language support

Teaching steps

Teaching tips

Teaching techniques

Alternative activities

Additional activities

Answers

Further teacher development

Table 3.3 Sections in the Teacher’s Guide

38 3 The Design of the Study

3.2 Selection of Setting, Participants and Materials

39

output) and resources (i.e. explanations of new words, expressions and complicated sentences). Reading across culture consists of three subsections in the PPT slides: text understanding (i.e. reading comprehension exercises), cultural awareness (i.e. comparisons among different cultures) and talking points (i.e. oral activities). Guided writing section resonates the same section in the Student’s Book, but provides more samples. Unit task offers more opportunities for students to reflect on their learning of the whole unit by explicating keys to the exercises of the Student’s Book and supplementing cognitive practices.

3.3 Data Collection The data sources for this study are composed of semi-structured individual interviews with teachers and students, classroom observations and documents. In the following sections, the procedures of data collection will be demonstrated in detail.

3.3.1 Data Collection Schedule The current study includes three rounds of data collection. The schedule of data collection and purposes of each round of study are listed in Table 3.4. The first and second rounds of data collection constituted the pilot study that was designed to evaluate the research design and refine the research instruments. During the first phase, the preliminary design, I went back to the target university and talked to two teacher participants, Windy and Cheri, about their perceptions of the newly adopted textbook and how they used it in their daily teaching. This phase of study reminded me of the vital role of students in teachers’ enactment of curriculum. Thus, I decided to recruit student participants in the current study. In the second phase of the pilot study, I tested the revised teachers’ baseline interview protocols and the newly designed students’ baseline interview protocols. When conducting the interviews, I changed the medium of language from English to Chinese. It was evident that teachers were more willing to elaborate on the ways they used the textbook in Chinese than in English, although they were fluent English speakers. Most importantly, their articulations were more explicit and authentic. The final round of data collection constituted the main phase of the study. First, the four teacher participants were interviewed at the beginning and at the end of the semester, and in total, 235 min of teachers’ baseline interviews were audio-recorded. Then student participants were interviewed in groups or individually about their use of the textbook inside and outside of the classroom, and in total, 126 min of student interviews were audio-recorded. After that, the teachers’ lessons were video-recorded, and in total, forty-two 45-minute periods were observed. Before each lesson observation, each teacher participant was briefly interviewed about her lesson plans. During the 5minute breaks between teaching periods, post-lesson interviews were conducted to

1. Design the semi-structured interview protocol with teachers 2. Evaluate and refine the interview questions 3. Generate research questions

1. Design semi-structured interview protocol with students 2. Evaluate the data collection processes and methods 3. Refine teacher interview questions

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Preliminary design

Pilot study

Main study

Enlarge the population of teacher participants to four teachers and conduct the study at the target university Conduct recursive data analysis and interpretations Theorize teachers’ use of curriculum materials Compare and contrast findings in previous research with the current study Determine and present implications for good practice in using curriculum materials in ELT

Purposes

Phases of inquiry

Table 3.4 Schedule of data collection

40 3 The Design of the Study

3.3 Data Collection

41

Stage One

Stage Two

Stage Three

Stage Four

• Teacher's baseline interviews • Student's baseline interviews

• Teacher's preobservation teacher interviews

• Lesson observation

• Teacher's postobservation teacher interviews

Fig. 3.2 Flowchart of the data collection procedures in the main study

elicit teachers’ reflections on their use of the curriculum materials in the prior class. In addition, teachers’ teaching materials and notes on their textbooks were collected for further documentary analysis. Figure 3.2 presents the major stages of data collection in the main study phase.

3.3.2 Data Collection Strategies Since education research is itself a process of knowledge construction, a range of data sources was drawn on to delineate how and explicate why teachers used the prescribed curriculum materials in this study. Table 3.5 provides a summary of the research instruments used in this study. In the following sections, the rationales for employing each research instrument in this study will be explained together with data collection approaches. Interviews In this study, four types of interviews were designed: teacher’s baseline interviews, student’s baseline interviews, pre-observation and post-observation interviews with teachers (see Appendixes A, B). 1. Teacher interview In this research, semi-structured teacher interviews served as one of the major means of data collection to understand how and why teachers used the curriculum materials. Semi-structured interviews were chosen owing to the nature of the study and the background of the researcher. First, the semi-structured interview is the most popular form of interview and is used in a great deal of applied linguistic research (Drever, 2003; Yang, 2015), which aligns with the character of the current study. Second,

Content

Teachers’ perceptions of the CE curriculum, CE course and curriculum materials The ways in which teachers used the textbook to design and enact instruction The ways in which students used the textbook in and out of class

Teachers’ planning decisions and rationales in terms of materials use

Teachers’ reflections on the use of textbooks and the rationales for their pedagogical decisions

Students’ perceptions of the CE curriculum, CE course and curriculum materials How they used the textbook in and out of class How their teachers used the textbook during the lesson

Observations of teachers’ enacted instruction

The content analysis of the Student’s Book, Teacher’s Guide, PPT slides, supplementary materials and teachers’ notes on the textbook

Research instruments

Baseline interviews with teachers

Pre-observation interviews with teachers

Post-observation interviews with teachers

Baseline interviews with students

Classroom observation

Documents

Table 3.5 Overview of the research instruments

To provide readers with a thorough picture of what the teachers were working with and uncover the designer’s pedagogical intentions of compiling the materials

To unveil the on-the-spot materials use and demonstrate the role of the textbook in instructions

To capture students’ perceptions of the textbook and the ways of using it To capture students’ views of their teachers’ teaching and use of the textbook

To explicitly link curriculum enactment decisions to their underlying rationales

To explicitly link curriculum design decisions to their underlying rationales

To capture teachers’ understanding of the CE course and the CE curriculum To unveil teachers’ use of the new textbook in their lesson planning and delivery phases To capture teachers’ perceptions of students’ use of the textbooks

Purposes

42 3 The Design of the Study

3.3 Data Collection

43

since I taught CE for 15 years and had rich experiences with the use of curriculum materials, I knew the circumstances well to ensure informed conversations with the interviewees (Brinkmann & Kvale, 2015). Three types of semi-structured interviews, namely, baseline, pre-observation and post-observation teacher interviews, were designed to uncover teachers’ perceptions of the curriculum materials, how they use them to design and enact instruction, and why they made particular curricular and pedagogical decisions in the lesson planning and delivery phases. The protocols are included in Appendices A and B. The baseline teacher interview consisted of three sections. Section 1 gathered teacher participants’ teaching and learning experiences both as teachers and students. Section 2 captured teacher participants’ perceptions of the CE curriculum and the CE course. Section 3 collected teacher participants’ attitudes towards the prescribed textbook and how they used these materials in and outside of the classroom. The pre-observation teacher interview focused on how teacher participants planned the lessons with the assistance of the curriculum materials. The post-observation teacher interview elicited teacher participants’ thoughts and decisions regarding their actual use of the curriculum materials for planning and delivery of lessons. Moreover, the post-observation interview followed the notion of stimulated recall, as the teacher participants were allowed to watch the recorded lesson during the interview. The questions in the teacher interviews were compared with the interview instruments designed by Remillard (1996), Shawer (2010) and Mesa and Griffiths (2012) to ensure convergent validity (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2011). All interviews were carried out in Mandarin Chinese to ensure the authenticity and accuracy of the data. Table 3.6 lists the durations of all teacher interviews. (2) Student interviews Two students from each teacher’s class were interviewed in groups or individually based on feasibility. The student baseline interviews were designed to solicit their perceptions of the textbook, their ways of using it and their teachers’ ways of using it. The data from the students’ interviews were collected to confirm some of their teachers’ data. Student interviews were held in Mandarin Chinese on and offcampus after they finished learning a whole unit. The interview protocol is provided in Appendix C. Table 3.7 lists the duration of all students’ interviews. (3) Classroom observation In this study, classroom lessons were video-recorded and detailed field notes were taken. As the primary weakness of observation is that it cannot provide any evidence as to why events in the classroom unfold as they do, post-observation teacher interviews were designed and conducted in this study to elicit teachers’ explications of pedagogical and curricular decisions concerning materials use.

41 m 5 × 2 m = 10 m 3 × 5 m = 15 m

1 h 23 m

6 × 2 m = 12 m

3 × 5 m = 15 m

Pre-observation interviews

Post-observation interviews

Fiona

Baseline interviews

Penny

Type of teacher interview

Table 3.6 Durations of the teacher interviews 32 m + 24 m

2 × 3 m + 2 × 5 m = 16 m

2 × 3 m + 2 × 5 m = 16 m

4×2m=8m

38 m + 16 m 6 × 2 m = 12 m

Windy

Cheri

44 3 The Design of the Study

3.3 Data Collection

45

Table 3.7 Durations of the student interviews Types of students’ interviews

Penny’s class

Fiona’s class

Windy’s class

Cheri’s class

Group interview

36 m

36 m

10 m

9 + 10 m

Individual student interview

Table 3.8 Summary of lesson observations

7 m (male student) 29 m (female student)

Teachers

Teaching content (Books/Units)

45-minute classes

Fiona

Book II

Units 3, 4, 7

2 + 4 + 4 = 10

Penny

Book II

Units 3, 4, 7

4 + 4 + 4 = 12

Windy

Book I Book II Book IV

Unit 1 Units 4, 7 Unit 6

2 2+2=4 2

Cheri

Book I Book II Book IV

Unit 1 Units 4, 7 Unit 3

4 2+2=4 4

Four teachers’ classes were observed in three successive semesters. In the first two semesters, two participants’ (i.e. Windy and Cheri) classes were videotaped in a cycle of one unit each to pilot the research instruments. In the third semester, four teachers’ classes were observed in a cycle of three units. Each teacher’s teaching periods varied concerning covering a whole unit, ranging from two (Windy) to four classes (Penny and Fiona), and a total of 42 periods of classes were observed from March 2014 to July 2014. Table 3.8 provides a summary of each teacher’s lesson observations in terms of teaching content and the number of classroom observations. (4) Documentary evidence In this study, all the curriculum materials, including the Student’s Book, Teacher’s Guide and auxiliary PPT slides, and all the teacher-designed materials, were collected to form the documentary base. Since the Student’s Book defines the scope of the daily teaching, particularly in ELT in China, the content analysis of the Student’s Book will show a picture of what teachers and students are working with. The analysis of the PPT slides will demonstrate teachers’ plans for the lesson. The analysis of the Teacher’s Guide will uncover the pedagogical and curricular intentions of the designers and compilers, which could be used to compare and contrast teachers’ interpretations of the pedagogy embedded in the textbooks.

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3 The Design of the Study

3.4 Data Analysis Qualitative analysis is broadly characterized by an iterative process of coding, reduction, displaying and verification of data (Marshall & Rossman, 2016; Miles & Huberman, 2014; Corbin & Strauss, 2015). In this study, I followed a stepwise process of data representation and reduction, the goal of which was to provide empirical evidence of the claims made regarding the research questions: (1) to delineate the holistic picture of how Chinese EFL teachers use curriculum materials in language classrooms in higher education in China, (2) to unveil the underlying rationales for teachers’ curricular and pedagogical decisions through using the curriculum materials and (3) to theorize the teaching phenomenon from a socio-cultural perspective through unpacking the underlying relationships among teachers, students and curriculum materials. The first step in the analysis was primarily managerial, but this allowed me to become more familiar with the data. The second step involved deeper and more deliberate analysis: (1) responses from both teachers’ and students’ interviews were first transcribed verbatim and then coded according to the open, axial and selective coding procedures (Corbin & Strauss, 2015), (2) visual data from the lesson observations were analysed through writing up the teaching segments. Observational data were also transcribed verbatim to present teachers’ enacted instruction via classroom discourse, (3) textbooks and other instructional artefacts were analysed according to their content and structures and (4) a cross-case analysis among teachers was conducted to compare and contrast teachers’ schemes of utilizing the same curriculum materials. Table 3.9 illustrates the overall stages of the data analysis with the corresponding analytical frameworks.

3.4.1 Analysis of Interview Data As mentioned earlier, I adopted Corbin and Strauss’ (2015) coding scheme to analyse all the interview data by following the open, axial and selective coding procedures. There are three major steps in fulfilling this task. The first step was to familiarize myself with the data. I transcribed all the interview data verbatim and translated them from Chinese into English. The second step involved the open coding of the raw data and categorizing codes according to the themes that emerged from the data (Corbin & Strauss, 2015). Although Remillard (1999, 2005) pointed out that at the core of the teacher–curriculum relationship was teachers’ interactions with curriculum materials, the series of interactional activities were not delineated exclusively. Therefore, coding was guided by my interest in capturing how teachers described and understood their use of curriculum materials in the form of activities and tasks, particularly for the purposes of designing and enacting instruction. By looking for commonalities and discrepancies in the ways in which teachers used the curriculum materials, the interview data were grouped into three general categories: teachers’ interaction with

Instrument-mediated activity model (Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003)

Teacher’s baseline interviews, pre-observation interviews and post-observation interviews; students’ interviews; curriculum materials

2. What are the underlying relationships among teachers, students, curriculum materials and the context in higher education in China?

Data analysis and analytical frameworks Open coding, axial coding and selective coding of the raw data (Corbin & Strauss, 2015) Writing up lesson segments Documentary content analysis

Data resources

1. How are the prescribed College English Teacher’s baseline interviews; student’s textbooks being used by Chinese EFL teachers at baseline interviews; lesson observations; a university in China? curriculum materials

Research questions

Table 3.9 Data analysis procedures

3.4 Data Analysis 47

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3 The Design of the Study

curriculum materials during class, teachers’ interaction with curriculum materials after class and the relationships among teachers, learners and curriculum materials. In the third step, Rabardel and Bourmaud’s (2003) instrument activity model was used to interpret the mediated relations between teachers and their goals, between teachers and other subjects, including students, other faculty members, designers and administrators, and between teachers and themselves. A holistic view of teachers’ use of curriculum materials was generally portrayed to conceptualize the teaching phenomenon.

3.4.2 Analysis of Observational Data The observational data were analysed by adopting Remillard’s (1999) strategy of writing up lesson segments to demonstrate teachers’ materials use inside classrooms. According to Remillard (1996), the observational write-up is itself an analytic process. First, each teacher’s lesson was broken down into lesson segments according to the boundaries of the activities and tasks. Then, each teacher’s lesson was categorized in terms of teaching steps and procedures. The origins of materials that teachers used in classrooms were labelled accordingly. By comparing and contrasting the write-ups of the four case teachers’ lesson observations, six themes, namely, pedagogical goals, instructional strategies, intended learning skills, students’ responses or reactions, the origin of materials and duration of the lesson, emerged to categorize each teacher’s lesson. The emphasis of the observational data analysis was on capturing teachers’ adaptations and improvisations during the class. This involved looking for and describing patterns and changes in teachers’ designed and enacted instruction. Additionally, the observation data would be triangulated with the interview data to verify what actually happened in the classroom among teachers, students and curriculum materials. In the end, processes of materials use were generalized. In addition, all the observational data were transcribed verbatim to uncover teachers’ enacted instruction via classroom discourse. The employment of classroom discourse analysis was inspired by Guerrettaz and Johnston’s (2013) study about one L1 teacher’s use of a grammar textbook in a university in the USA. They broke the boundaries between classroom activity and classroom discourse and demonstrated the dynamics among the teacher, students and materials in language classroom ecology. This study showed the legitimate role of teaching materials at the discourse level and shed light on the current study in terms of data analysis. The classroom discourse was analysed using Sinclair and Coulthard’s (1975) initiation– response–follow-up model. As the purpose of analysing the classroom discourse was to capture teachers’ modes of enacting instruction, patterns of teachers’ enactment of curriculum materials also emerged through comparing and contrasting four teachers’ classroom discourse through using the same materials.

3.4 Data Analysis

49

3.4.3 Documentary Analysis The purposes of presenting and analysing these documents are twofold: (1) to provide readers with a picture of what the teachers and students are working with and talking about, (2) to compare and contrast the given materials with teachers’ designed and enacted instruction. In this study, documentary data mainly involve the Student’s Book, Teacher’s Guide, auxiliary PPT slides, syllabus, all the materials disseminated by the institution and all the teacher-designed materials. The analysis of the Student’s Book and Teacher’s Guide entailed the original structure of the textbook with detailed illustrations of the pedagogical functions of each section. The content analysis involved writing a detailed description of the text’s content, its means of communicating with teachers, and what it communicated about. Teachers’ adapted PPT slides and supplementary materials were also collected. The analysis of these teacher-designed resources was mainly concerned with identifying changes from the prescribed textbooks, including deleting, replacing, supplementing and revising of the slides.

3.5 Trustworthiness A number of measures were deployed in this study to address the issue of trustworthiness (Guba, Lincoln & Lynham, 2018): namely, triangulation, thick description, member checking and self-reflexivity. These strategies will be further discussed in the following sections along with the ethical considerations of the study.

3.5.1 Triangulation The current research used methodological triangulation to collect a chain of data resources. The rationale for methodological triangulation is that the flaws of one method are often the strengths of another, and by combining methods, researchers can achieve the best of each while overcoming their unique deficiencies (Denzin, 1997). As mentioned earlier, audio-recorded interviews, video-recorded lesson observations and documents constituted the main instruments of the study. Each of them gave different sources of interpersonal and intrapersonal information pertaining to the research questions. No single method could elicit complete data; as a result, a combination was used. The data collection methods could capture what participants said (interviews and observations), what participants wrote (revised PPT slides and notes), what participants thought (interviews) and how participants used artefacts that could not be captured by the audio transcriptions (observations). The data gathered through these triangulated means were then cross-analysed to obtain an indepth understanding of materials use. Triangulation allows me to interpret findings in

50

3 The Design of the Study

order to test alternative ideas, identify negative cases and point the analysis towards a definite conclusion based on the data collected (Braud & Anderson, 1998).

3.5.2 Thick Description Detailed and thorough descriptions of the participants, settings, research instruments, research design and the findings allow me to provide a more holistic picture of the teaching phenomenon. Additionally, thick description can help transfer the research findings to contexts outside the study setting (Firestone, 1993). As language textbooks are ubiquitous in language classrooms around the world, the design and findings of this study are externally valid in different contexts due to the utilization of thick descriptions (Merriam, 2016; Guba et al. 2018).

3.5.3 Member Checking To enhance the credibility or dependability of this study, interpretations and tentative findings of this study were continuously presented to all the teacher participants throughout the research. Three domains of questions were formulated and sent to the teacher participants in the midst and at the end of the study through emails or online social media for the verification of results: teachers’ ways of using textbooks to plan lessons, teachers’ ways of using textbooks to enact instruction and their rationales for so doing. Teachers’ responses to these questions were proved coherent and consistent with the findings of the interview and observational data.

3.5.4 Management of Subjectivity As the researcher acts as the key research instrument for both data collection and analysis in qualitative studies, the researcher’s theories, beliefs and perceptual lens may cause researcher bias and reactivity (Maxwell, 2013). The key concept of managing subjectivity in a qualitative study is to acknowledge the threats to validity and to maintain integrity (Maxwell, 2013). In this study, two measures were adopted to mitigate subjectivity. First, I continuously and critically reflected on my role in the research and my stance on the study to make the researcher’s perspective, biases and assumptions clear to readers. Second, the relationship between the participants and I was clearly elucidated, and the possibly extraneous effects of the study on the participants were explained at the beginning of the study to rule out reactivity. Finally, the above strategies of triangulation, thick description and member checking were all effective in reducing the negative effect of chance associations and systematic biases (Maxwell, 2013).

3.5 Trustworthiness

51

3.5.5 Ethical Considerations Before collecting the data, I followed the ethical guidelines recommended by the University of Hong Kong and obtained approval for this study. When conducting this research, four ethical issues concerning participants were taken into consideration. First, the purpose, significance and procedures of this study were explained explicitly to the participants to make sure that they could make decisions based on a clear understanding of what the research was and why it was being conducted. Second, during the data collection, all interviewees were anonymous. The transcriptions of the interviews and lesson observations were given to participants for member checking. Third, all information collected in this study was treated with high confidentiality. No participants were identified by name, and pseudonyms were used in all reports of this study.

3.6 Summary In this chapter, the methodological processes followed throughout the study were outlined. The chapter illustrated why a qualitative case study approach was adopted and how the data was collected. Data analysis approaches were introduced to address the research questions. The chapter concludes with measures undertaken to ensure the trustworthiness and the ethical consideration of the study. The findings of the study will be delineated in Chaps. 4 and 5. Chapter 4 shows teachers’ interactions with the curriculum materials inside classrooms. Chapter 5 describes teachers’ use of curriculum materials outside classrooms.

References Braud, W., & Anderson, R. (1998). Transpersonal research methods for the social sciences: Honoring human experience. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Brinkmann, S., & Kvale, S. (2015). Interviews: An introduction to qualitative research interviewing (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Brown, M. W. (2002). Teaching by design: Understanding the interactions between teacher practice and the design of curricular innovation. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL. Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011). Research methods in education (7th ed.). New York: Routledge. Corbin, J., & Strauss, A. (2015). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Denzin, N. K. (1997). Triangulation in educational research. In J. P. Keeves (Ed.), Educational research, methodology and measurement: An international handbook (2nd ed.), (pp. 92–102). Emerald.

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Drever, E. (2003). Using semi-structured interviews in small-scale research: A teacher’s guide. The SCRE Centre. Fan, L., Trouche, L., Qi, C., Rezat, S., & Visnovska, J. (Eds). (2018). Research on mathematics textbooks and teachers’ resources: Advances and issues. Springer. Firestone, W. A. (1993). Alternative arguments for generalizing from data as applied to qualitative research. Educational Researcher, 22(4), 16–23. Grammatosi, F., & Harwood, N. (2014). An experienced teacher’s use of the textbook on an academic English course: A case study. In N. Harwood (Ed.), English language teaching textbooks: Content, consumption, production (pp. 178–204). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Guba, E., Lincoln, Y. S., & Lynham, S. (2018). Paradigmatic controversies, contradictions, and emerging confluences. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Guerrettaz, A. M., & Johnston, B. (2013). Materials in the classroom ecology. The Modern Language Journal, 97(3), 779–796. Gueudet, G., Pepin, B., & Trouche, L. (Eds.). (2012). From text to ‘lived’ resources: Mathematics curriculum materials and teacher development. Netherlands: Springer. Humphries, S. (2014). Factors influencing Japanese teachers’ adoption of communication-oriented textbooks. In K. Garton & S. Graves (Eds.), International perspectives on materials in ELT (pp. 253–269). England: Palgrave Macmillan. Marshall, C., & Rossman, G. B. (2016). Designing qualitative research (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Maxwell, J. A. (2013). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Merriam, S. (2016). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation (4th ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Mesa, V., & Griffiths, B. (2012). Textbook mediation of teaching: An example from tertiary mathematics instructors. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 79(1), 85–107. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (2014). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Ministry of Education (2001). Quanrizhi Yiwu Jiaoyu Putong Gaoji Zhongxue Yingyu Kecheng Biaozhun. Beijing: People’s Education Press. Ministry of Education (2003). Quanrizhi Yiwu Jiaoyu Putong Gaoji Zhongxue Yingyu Kecheng Biaozhun. Beijing: People’s Education Press. National Bureau of Statistics of China (NBSC). (2018). China statistical yearbook 2018. Beijing: China Statistics Press. Patton, M. Q. (2015). Qualitative research and evaluation methods: Integrating theory and practice (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Rabardel, P., & Bourmaud, G. (2003). From computer to instrument system: A developmental perspective. Interacting with Computers, 15(5), 665–691. Remillard, J. T. (1996). Changing texts, teachers, and teaching: The role of curriculum materials in mathematics education reform. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Michigan State University. Remillard, J. T. (1999). Curriculum materials in mathematics education reform: A framework for examining teachers’ curriculum development. Curriculum Inquiry, 29(3), 315–342. Remillard, J. T. (2000). Can curriculum materials support teachers’ learning? Two fourth-grade teachers’ use of a new mathematics text. The Elementary School Journal, 100(4), 331–350. Remillard, J. T. (2005). Examining key concepts in research on teachers’ use of mathematics curricula. Review of Educational Research, 75(2), 211–216. Remillard, J. T., Herbel-Eisenmann, B. A., & Lloyd, G. M. (Eds.). (2009). Mathematics teachers at work: Connecting curriculum materials and classroom instruction. New York: Routledge. Shawer, S. F. (2010). Classroom-level curriculum development: EFL teachers as curriculumdevelopers, curriculum-makers and curriculum-transmitters. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(2), 173–184.

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Shawer, S. F. (2017). Teacher-driven curriculum development at the classroom level: Implications for curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher training. Teaching and Teacher Education, 63, 296–313. Sherin, M. G., & Drake, C. (2009). Curriculum strategy framework: Investigating patterns in teachers’ use of a reform-based elementary mathematics curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41(4), 467–500. Sinclair, J., & Coulthard, M. (1975). Towards an analysis of discourse: The English used by teachers and pupils. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Yang, H. (2015). Teacher mediated agency in educational reform in China. Cham: Springer. Yin, R. (2018). Case study research: Design and methods (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Chapter 4

Materials Use Inside Language Classrooms: Processes of Materials Use

Abstract This chapter intends to reveal the processes in which teachers enacted the curriculum materials in classroom settings. Data collected from teachers’ and students’ interviews, lesson observations and documents will be analysed and triangulated to support teachers’ various ways of materials use. I first depict the key features of each teacher participant’s teaching to offer a holistic view of their utilization of curriculum materials during class. I then delineate five salient decisionmaking processes of materials use, namely, transforming, evaluating, appropriating, adapting and improvising, with the support of concrete evidence. In the end, a map of the interactive processes is portrayed to unveil the mediated relations in teachers’ materials use inside classrooms.

4.1 Key Features of Each Teacher Participant’s Teaching Penny was the most versatile and had the broadest intercultural knowledge among the four teacher participants, and her use of the materials was distinct from the other participants in four significant aspects. First, she supplemented with the most online materials to facilitate her teaching and students’ learning. Her supplementary materials were related to the given topics of the textbook and were multi-modal, including movie clips, video and audio recordings and paper-based handouts. Second, she created opportunities for students to understand the meaning of the text by contextualizing with scenarios relevant to students’ daily lives. Third, she frequently improvised during class to cater to students’ reactions rather than adhering rigidly to her teaching plans. Fourth, she was the only teacher who was willing to tap into the embodied linguistic knowledge in the textbook and interpret the pedagogical knowledge from the materials. In other words, she was oriented towards learning from the text. Fiona was the most experienced teacher and had the most fixed routines of materials use. She usually followed four successive procedures in enacting each unit: (1) explicating RAC in the Reading and Writing textbook, (2) conducting warm-up activities to lead in the new topic, (3) carrying out listening tasks selected from the Listening & Speaking textbook and (4) explicating the AC1 passage. She preferred © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 Z. Li, Language Teachers at Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5515-2_4

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4 Materials Use Inside Language Classrooms: Processes …

breaking the boundaries of courses and units and sifting out all kinds of resources related to the given topic from the prescribed curriculum materials, including the Reading & Writing and Listening & Speaking textbooks, rather than following the mandatory syllabus of dividing the teaching periods into Reading & Writing and Listening & Speaking sections. In other words, she actively adapted the written curriculum by adjusting the teaching schedules. Her planned curriculum was determined mainly by the materials and resources available. In addition, she incorporated the mastery of new vocabulary into her daily teaching in the form of a regular dictation quiz. Her use of the curriculum materials was rather rigid, particularly when presenting the materials in the given PowerPoint slides and the exercises in the Student’s Book. Of the four teacher participants, she adapted the given PowerPoint slides least. Her interactional mode was mainly direct lecturing with little real communication with students. In addition, she rarely improvised during class. Windy was positioned between the above two teachers in terms of age and teaching years. She had the most rigid coverage of curriculum materials; that is, she only covered AC1 and AC2 in the Reading and Writing textbook in enacting each unit. Moreover, she spent the most time on the warm-up sections, searching for supplementary materials and using diverse instructional strategies. However, she allocated the least time to reading comprehension among the teacher participants. Her enactment of passages was mainly in the mode of teacher-dominant one-way explication. Real communication between her and the students was also rare in her teaching of reading comprehension. Although she articulated to cultivate students’ autonomous learning, her real teaching practice created little chance of them developing learning autonomy. It is worth noting that Windy’s teaching performances varied widely during the whole data collection period: the unit topic profoundly influenced her teaching. When teaching literature, a discipline that she was keen on, she supplemented and improvised more frequently and created more communicative opportunities for her students. While teaching unfamiliar topics, her interaction mode was rather rigid and mainly manifesting in direct lecturing. Cheri’s uniqueness of teaching lied in her redesign of the auxiliary PPT slides. She would generate her PPT slides in enacting each unit, and her teaching adhered strictly to her lesson plans. She had strong confidence in her pedagogical design capacity among the teacher participants, as she rarely referred to the Teacher’s Guide. Her teaching was affected by the topics of the materials, as her teaching varied according to topics. As a whole, her teaching was still teacher-dominant, with a great deal of effort to bridge the wide gap between the students and the text.

4.2 The Processes of Materials Use Inside Classrooms Teachers had a series of interactions with the curriculum materials to design and enact instruction. The planned lessons were fleshed out and transformed into real teaching practice inside classrooms. The actions were mainly demonstrated in five successive decision-making processes: transforming, evaluating, appropriating, adapting

4.2 The Processes of Materials Use Inside Classrooms

57

Appropriate

Transform

Evaluate

Adapt

Improvise

Fig. 4.1 Five interactive processes of materials use inside classrooms

and improvising. Figure 4.1 shows the ways of teacher participants’ enactment of materials during class. In the remainder of this chapter, each process in the above map will be elucidated, respectively, with concrete supporting evidence.

4.3 Transforming The most prominent process of materials use was to translate the ‘dead’ written/digital materials into ‘living’ instruction (Gueudet, Pepin & Trouche, 2012). In other words, teachers transformed the modality of materials. For instance, analysis of all the documents indicated that the given materials were woven into lesson plans, which were presented in three formats. The first format was the PowerPoint slide, which constituted the large proportion of teachers’ lesson plans, covering warm-up activities, vocabulary explanations, text organization, sentence structure and after-reading activities. The second format was in the teachers’ minds; this included teachers’ mental procedures of the activities and even the outline of the whole lesson, which was somewhat tacit. It represented the blueprint for the whole lesson. For instance, Penny described the main steps in enacting each unit as follows: 上课, 你肯定要 warm up, warm up 之后 global reading, 然后你就做一下练习, 然后 再detailed reading, 然后你就会critical thinking 一下, 然后最后就布置个写作作业。 In delivering the lessons, you must warm up (students). After warming up, you will have a global reading (of the passage). Then you can do some exercises. After that, you may have a detailed reading (of the passage). Then you (let students) do critical thinking. At last, you can assign a writing homework. (Penny’s baseline interview).

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4 Materials Use Inside Language Classrooms: Processes …

Similarly, both Windy and Cheri elaborated on their procedures of teaching reading passages in their interviews: 主要的方式, 是让学生读, 把一些稍微晦涩难懂的, 不太能够好理解的给学生挑出来, 我们上课会去做的, 问学生一些问题, 这是第一点; 然后就是可能一些 vocabulary, 给他 们解释一下。 The primary approach (of enacting my lesson) was to let students read (the passage). Point out some obscure and challenging (sentences) for my students. In class, I will ask them some questions (based on the passage). Then I will explicate some vocabulary for them (Cheri’s baseline interview) 这两篇文章的话, 我通常会选择一篇详细讲解。…会让学生了解篇章结构, 文章中难 以理解的词汇和句子, 再就是课后思考题目; 第二篇文章, 我主要强调掌握几个阅读的 技巧, 比如 predicting, reading between the lines, 这样的一些技巧, 然后着重让学生了 解篇章大意就可以了, 有些词汇我会点出来, 让学生课后通过自我学习去查找一下这 个词怎么样使用; 还有句子的话, 比较难以理解, 我会可能把这个句子的结构给他们讲 解; …再就是篇章的理解, 通过问一些问题来检验学生有没有做好课前预习, 以及检测 学生是否真正理解课文的内容。 I will select on passage to teach in details. …I will introduce the structure of the passage to my students, facilitate them to understand the obscure vocabulary and sentences, and then let them think about the exercises. When teaching the second passage, I will emphasize some reading skills, for instance, predicting, reading between the lines, such kinds of strategies. Then mainly let them know the general idea of the passage. I will point out some words and let them search for the usage of them through autonomous learning. As for some sentences, particularly those complex ones, I will explicate for them. As for reading comprehension, I will assess their understanding by means of raising reading comprehension questions. Also, it may help me to check whether they previewed the lesson or not. (Windy’s baseline interview).

The third format was the notes on the textbook that teachers made in preparing for a lesson. These notes included the Chinese equivalents of new words and expressions, answers to the exercises and sentences highlighted in the passages. In addition, teachers were also observed to transform the given materials into a range of activities and tasks. Table 4.1 provides a brief comparison of teachers by their enacted vocabulary instruction, with the length and the origins of the activities in brackets. As shown in Table 4.1, Penny conducted the most activities and tasks to develop students’ vocabulary. She provided the most supplementary materials to execute her vocabulary teaching agendas (e.g., Penny’s activity 5). One distinct character of Penny’s vocabulary instruction was that she contextualized the given new words and expressions. In Penny’s activities 2, 4, 6, she introduced new words in the midst of analysing the passage by referring to the context of the vocabulary. Dictation (Fiona’s activity 1) was one of Fiona’s teaching routines, as described in Table 4.1. Teachers’ transformation of materials manifested itself not only at the macro-level of activities or tasks but also at the micro-level of classroom discourse.

4.3 Transforming

59

Table 4.1 Comparison of teachers’ enacted vocabulary activities Sequences Penny of activities or tasks

Fiona

Windy

1

Introduce three proper names Dictate new words in of AC1 (Student’s Book in AC1 (vocabulary book 2’) and teacher’s design in 5’)

Broadcast recordings of new words in AC1 (Auxiliary radio recording in 3’)

2

Explain new vocabulary in the context of a reading comprehension exercise (Student’s Book and teacher’s design in 3’)

Broadcast recordings of the new words and expressions in AC1 (Auxiliary radio recording in 3’)

Elaborate on new words and phrases in AC1 (PPT slides in 12’)

3

Explain new vocabulary in the context of students’ group work (Student’s Book, PPT slides and teacher’s design in 5’)

Elaborate on selected new words and phrases in AC1 (PPT slides in 5’)

4

Explain new vocabulary in the context of the passage in aid of vocabulary exercise (Student’s Book, adapted PPT slides and teachers’ design in 5’)

Conduct vocabulary exercises 4 and 5 (Student’s Book in 3’)

5

Introduce English expressions of animal body parts (supplementary materials and teachers’ design in 10’)

6

Explain new words and expressions in the context of different paragraphs (Student’s Book, adapted PPT slides and teacher’s design in 35’)

4.3.1 Transforming Sentence Completion Exercises into IRF Exchanges It was seen that in most cases, teachers enacted sentence completion exercises via IRF or IRE exchanges (i.e. teacher initiation, student response and teacher feedback or evaluation Sinclair & Coulthard, 1975). Table 4.2 lists the lead-in task in Unit 7 of Book 2 and Table 4.3 shows how three teacher participants enacted this same exercise. As shown above, all teachers adopted the same interactional mode, i.e. IRF/E, to enact this sentence completion exercise. The differences lied in students’ reactions and teachers’ responses. For instance, in Fiona’s class, noticing that her students didn’t

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4 Materials Use Inside Language Classrooms: Processes …

Table 4.2 A lead-in exercise in Unit 7 of Book 2 Now complete the phrases with the name of an animal bat, fox, lamb, lion, peacock (a) as proud as a ___; (b) as blind as a ____; (c) as gentle as a ___; (d) as cunning as a ___; (e) as brave as a ___ Table 4.3 Teachers’ enactment of a sentence completion exercise Classes

Classroom discourse

Penny’s class

1

Penny:

Let us do this together. As proud as a what?

I

2

Ss:

Peacock

R

3

Penny:

Yes, as proud as a peacock. As blind as a?

E/I

4

Ss:

Bat

R

5

Penny:

Yes, as a bat. 蝙蝠. Very good. As gentle as a?

F/give word in L1/E/I

6

Ss:

Dog

R

7 8 9

Penny:

Lamb, yes, and some F/E/extend/I/give word in dogs, some kind of L1/I dogs. As cunning as? Cunning means tricky but in a nice way. 狡 猾的, as cunning as a?

10

Ss:

Fox

R

11

Penny:

Fox. 聪明的. As brave as a…

F/give word in L1/I R

Fiona’s class

12

Ss:

Lion

13 14 15

Fiona:

Let’s finish the second I/E/I part of the exercise. It’s not very hard for us. Right? Bat, fox, lamb, lion, peacock. As proud as a?

16

Ss:

((silent))

R

17

Fiona:

Peacock. As blind as a?

E/I

18

Ss:

Bat

R

19

Fiona:

Bbat. As gentle as a?

E/I

20

Ss:

Lamb

R (continued)

4.3 Transforming

61

Table 4.3 (continued) Classes

Windy’s class

Classroom discourse 21

Fiona:

Lamb. As cunning as a…?

E/I

22

Ss:

Fox

R

23

Fiona:

Fox. As brave as a?

E/I

24

Ss:

Lion

R

25

Fiona:

As brave as a lion.

F

26 27 28

Windy:

And then let’s try to complete the phrases with the name of the animal in the box. First one, as proud as a?

I

29

Ss:

Peacock

R

30

Windy:

Peacock, good. And next one, as blind as a?

E/I

31

Ss:

Bat

R

32

Windy:

Bat. Good. And as gentle as…?

E/I

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Ss:

Lamb

R

34

Windy:

Lamb. And as cunning as a…?

E/I

35

Ss:

Fox

R

36

Windy:

Fox, as brave as a?

E/I

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Ss:

Lion

R

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Windy:

lion

E

know the answer to as proud as (line 16), she answered directly (line 17). In contrast, when attending to students’ error (line 6), Penny validated her students’ contribution (line 7) and expanded the pedagogical goal of the exercise as merely steering students’ interest in animals to a vocabulary building opportunity (lines 5, 9).

4.3.2 Transforming Reading Comprehension Questions into Scaffolding Reading comprehension questions, whether designed by teachers or given in the curriculum materials, played crucial roles in contributing to the reading comprehension instruction. Teacher participants raised open-ended reading comprehension questions to assess students’ understanding of the passages in the Student’s Book. For instance, Windy mentioned that she liked to use reading comprehension questions

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Table 4.4 Reading comprehension questions raised by Penny 1. Who is Hogan? 2. Why does Hogan come to live with the writer? 3. What is the possible relationship between the writer and Soren? 4. Why does the writer need protection? 5. What do we know about Hogan’s characters?

to check whether her students fully understood the meaning of a passage. Similarly, Cheri relied on reading comprehension questions to teach reading (Windy’s and Cheri’s baseline interviews). When students had trouble answering questions, teachers used various ways of revising the open-ended questions into yes–no questions in an attempt to scaffold students’ reading comprehension. Take AC1 in Unit 7 as an example. This reading passage tells a story about a dog called Hogan and the narrator Soren’s mother. Penny raised several reading comprehension questions based on the content of the passage to guide her teaching (see Table 4.4). Three of the questions (i.e. questions 1, 2 and 4) were drawn from the Student’s Book, and the other two were designed by Penny (i.e. questions 3 and 5). The original instruction of this pre-reading activity in the Student’s Book was, ‘work in pairs, look at the title and the first paragraph of the passage and answer the questions’ (NSCE Book 2, p. 86). Penny changed the instruction into letting her students read both paragraphs 1 and 2. Extract 1 shows how Penny turned one reading comprehension question into a scaffolding. Extract 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Penny: And what is the possible relationship between the writer and Soren? Ss: Friends Penny: Yes, they are friends. Are they just acquaintance? 他们只是很熟吗? No, they are friends. They are good friends Ss: Cose friends Penny: Close friends. Are there any other possibilities? Are they friends? Maybe they’re neighbours? Yes, neighbours? Friends? All right. By reading paragraph one and two, do we know is the writer woman or a man? Ss: No Penny: No, we don’t know. Let’s find it out. Please keep reading and try to find more evidence to show the relationship between the writer and Soren. First of all, let’s find out, is it a woman or a man? The writer. Is the writer a woman or a man? Ss: ((murmuring)) woman Penny: Ok, the writer is a woman. Very good. In which paragraph? Ss: Three (continued)

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17 Penny: Three, very good. She said, as a woman. 作为一个女人。So she is a 18 woman. Please keep reading. Don’t read word by word; just read for 19 the relationship between the writer and Soren. Can you find more 20 information about the relationship? She is a woman. As we know, 21 she is a woman. And they are close. How close? Do not read word by 22 word. Just read for answers. Are they friends? Neighbours? Relatives? Classmates? It is a bit tricky. It is not easy to find the term 23 Ss: Grandchild 24 Penny: Very good. Just the first one, grandchild. In paragraph 8, grandchild. 25 Let’s look at paragraph 8. Soren has given me this child to watch 26 over. What did Soren give to the writer? The dog, right? Hogan. And 27 Hogan is the child; it is Soren’s child. And also the writer’s 28 grandchild. So what is the relation between Soren and the writer? Who is she? 29 Ss: ((murmuring)) mother 30 Penny: Very good, the writer is Soren’s mother. That is what we call read 31 between the lines. 我们在字里行间读出来的信息。Read between 32 the lines. The relationship between the writer and Soren is mother and son. Good, well done In Extract 1, Penny modified the original open-ended question, ‘what is the possible relationship between the writer and Soren?’ (line 1), into several yes–no questions (lines 3, 6, 7, 9, 21, 22). Through revising the original questions, she guided her students’ reasoning of reading. Although students still could not provide satisfactory answers in the first place, after answering her revised questions one by one, their answers became closer to correct. As the series of yes–no questions could not be found in Penny’s PPT slides or textbook notes, it was evident that she made on-the-spot decisions responsive to students’ reactions. In sum, teachers transformed the activities represented in the textbook into real classroom communication; this constituted the largest portion of teachers’ enactment of curriculum materials inside classrooms. During the process of transforming, teachers made on-the-spot pedagogical decisions based on their evaluation of students’ responses.

4.4 Evaluating The second process in teachers’ enactment of curriculum materials was evaluation. Whether teachers’ original plans could be implemented smoothly depended on their evaluation of students’ responses.

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4.4.1 Perceiving Students’ Competencies It was revealed that knowledge of students’ competencies influenced teachers’ decisions on how to use materials during class. For instance, Windy assumed that her students’ language proficiency level was high enough to comprehend the passage. Therefore, she spent no effort on scaffolding even when her students had difficulty in answering one reading comprehension question (see line 7), as Extract 2 demonstrates: Extract 2 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Windy: And I’d like you to continue to read this, the following paragraphs. And try to identify the relationship between Soren and the writer. And also I have another task for you to do. Ok, later I’ll tell you what the task is. Ok, just read this. You have 3 mins. Ss: ((reading silently)) Windy: Ok, this text is not so difficult for us to understand. And now can you identify the relationship between Soren and the writer? What is their relationship? Ss: ((silence)) Windy: Let’s focus on the sentence. That is in paragraph 8. I thought Soren has given me this child to watch over. He is my first grandchild. So this you can guess, Soren is the writer’s (.)? Ss: Son Windy: son, right? The writer’s son. So the relationship is the writer is Soren’s mother, and Soren is the son of the writer. This is the relationship

Windy’s evaluation of the difficulty level of the passage and her knowledge of students’ reading literacy (line 6) caused her to give a clue directly without providing any scaffolding (lines 9). As she expected, all her students inferred the meaning in the target sentence and got the correct answer (line 12). Teachers’ entrenched perceptions of students’ competencies will also hinder their facilitation of students’ learning in class. For instance, Windy’s students had great difficulty in completing an exercise of chronologically reordering events that happened in the passage. Although noticing the students’ failure to finish the task, Windy refused to elaborate on the teaching point further in class, as this excerpt shows: 如果大家觉得时间的次序还有些问题的话, 课后要再花点时间再看下这个文章。这篇 文章不是很难理解, 但是这个次序, 它的这个 flashback 里面还有 flashback, 还嵌入有 flashback, 所以非常难以理清次序。时间这个次序啊, 大家课下还是要花点时间。 If you think you still have trouble understanding the time sequence in the passage, you’d better spend more time reading the passage. It is not difficult to comprehend the passage, but the time sequence of it, particularly the use of flashback. Flashback is embedded with a flashback. So it is tough to sort out the exact time sequence. You’d better spend more time on the time sequence of the passage after class. (Windy’s lesson observation)

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Apparently, Windy was not responsive to her students’ needs in this case. She shirked the responsibility for scaffolding and claimed to cultivate students’ autonomous learning, as this excerpt illustrates: 我觉得这个也是一个很重要的学习, 就是要教导学生去培养一种自我学习这种习惯, 有一种这样的意识。 I think it is also a valuable learning process, that is, to cultivate their autonomous learning and to raise their awareness of learning autonomously. (Windy’s post-lesson interview)

Although she covered the teaching point, students’ learning didn’t occur due to the limited interactions between Windy and students.

4.4.2 Catering to Students’ Needs By contrast, some teachers were more responsive to students’ needs during class. For instance, students’ failure to achieve teachers’ pedagogical goals could lead teachers to adapt or improvise instructions. When enacting the same exercise, i.e. the chronological ordering of events in the passage, Penny inserted the grammatical knowledge of tense to facilitate students’ learning, as this excerpt demonstrates: 大家记住啊, 英文是有时态的一个语言。(be aware, English is the language with tense) Right? 英文有时态。(the English language has tense.) Had done indicates things that happened in the past of the past. 过去的过去。(past of the past) So there are robberies in the neighbourhood of Soren’s mother’s house that is the first event in paragraph 1, 2, 3. (Penny’s classroom observation)

In her post-lesson interview, she explained that her on-the-spot decision to add the new knowledge was based on her account for students’ misunderstanding of the instruction, as this excerpt shows: At first, I didn’t expect my students to meet such great troubles in reordering the happenings. I didn’t expect the exercise was that difficult for them. I then attributed it to the cause of tense. They didn’t catch the tense, so they ordered in a mess. They had thought that they should order the events according to the original passage. (Penny’s post-lesson interview)

In addition, teachers would adapt instructional strategies when encountering students’ unsatisfactory responses. For instance, Fiona initially enacted a vocabulary exercise (see Table 4.5) by means of IRF exchanges to elicit students’ answers, but changed the mode of interaction while receiving rare students’ responses, as Extract 3 shows:

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Table 4.5 A vocabulary exercise in Unit 7 of Book 2 Match the words in the box with their definitions Approximate giant layer leap lick magnificent motion paw penetrate 1 very impressive and beautiful, good or skilful 2 a long, high jump 3 to get inside an object or body by getting through something 4 not exact or accurate, but good enough to be useful 5 a movement that someone or something makes 6 to move your tongue across something 7 extremely large 8 the foot of some animals such as cats, dogs 9 an amount or sheet of a substance that covers a surface

Extract 3 1 2

Fiona: Look at the first one, so what it the word? Which means be very impressive and beautiful, good and skilful. What is the word? 3 Ss: ((silent)) 4 Fiona: Magnificent, right? Please write down the 5 word magnificent. Number two, a long, high jump 6 Ss: Leap 7 Fiona: Leap. Number three, to get inside an object 8 or body by getting through something (.) 9 penetrate. Number four, not exact of 10 accurate, but good enough to be useful (.) 11 approximate. Number five, a movement that someone or something makes (.) motion. Number six, to move your tongue across. Something (.) lick

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R F

R Direct Lecture (DL)

When the students did not answer in line 3, Fiona adjusted her instructional mode from IRF to informing (see lines 4, 7, 8, 9,10, 11) to maintain the fluidity of the classroom discourse. In sum, students’ unsatisfactory responses were closely related to teachers’ change of instruction. Teachers’ decisions on maintaining or revising instructional strategies occurred concurrently in the process of conducting activities. These decisions drove the processes of materials use forward to appropriating, adapting and improvising.

4.5 Appropriating Appropriation, according to Wertsch (1998), is the process by which one takes something that belongs to others and makes it one’s own. In this study, it refers to the fact that teachers’ enacted instruction was in line with the designers’ pedagogical intentions of compiling the materials. For instance, when enacting the sentence completion exercise (see Table 4.2), although teachers transformed the format of the exercise in

4.5 Appropriating

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Table 4.6 Comparison of teachers’ warm-up activities in Unit 7 of Book 2 Sequence Penny Fiona Windy of Activities A psychological game to Let students say what A game of guessing the 1 solicit students’ two characteristics the given names of animals from favourite animals and animals have (Student’s descriptions of pictures their characteristics Book in 5’) (supplementary (supplementary materials and teacher’s design in 14’) materials and teacher’s design in 5’) Brainstorm on the Let students complete Let students describe 2 characteristics of a dog the phrases using the what characteristics the (teacher’s design in 1’) name of the animal given animals have (Student’s Book in 3’) (Student’s Book in 4’) 3

Let students complete the phrases with the name of an animal (Student’s Book in 1’)

Comparison of western and eastern perceptions of animals (PPT Slides in 5’)

Comparison of western and eastern perceptions of animals (PPT Slides in 10’)

4

Introduce western perceptions of dogs (PPT Slides and teacher’s adaptation in 1’)

Introduce three idioms about dogs through video recordings (supplementary materials and teacher’s design in 7’)

Let students complete the phrases with the name of an animal (Student’s Book in 2’)

5

Introduce six proverbs about dogs (PPT slides in 5’)

the IRF mode, the pedagogical intent of the exercise was fully appropriated by all the teacher participants. They all regarded the exercise as a warm-up activity and conducted it to focus students’ attention on the topic of the unit. Table 4.6 provides a comparison of the warm-up activities in Unit 7 based on my observational data, with the origins and length of each activity in brackets. As shown in above, the identical activities (e.g. Penny’s activity 3, Fiona’s activity 2 and Windy’ activity 4; Fiona’s activity 1 and Windy’s activity 2) were all drawn from the Starting point section in Unit 7 of Book 2, which were compiled, according to the Teacher’s Guide, to raise the topic in students’ minds and develop a focus on the theme of the unit. In this sense, the teacher participants were staying true to the design of the exercises while enacting them in class. Similar examples occurred in the teachers’ enactment of reading comprehension exercises. For instance, both Fiona and Windy appropriated the reading comprehension exercises as the basis of their reading comprehension instruction. Table 4.7 shows the enacted reading comprehension activities in Fiona’s and Windy’s classes. As shown in Table 4.7, both the teachers selected exercises 3, 6 and 7 (i.e. Fiona’s activities 3 and 5; Windy’s activities 5 and 6), which were all devised to enhance students’ comprehension of AC1. Although the teachers used different interaction

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Table 4.7 Enacted reading comprehension activities in Fiona’s and Winy’s classes Sequences of Activities 1 2

3 4 5 6 7

Fiona

Windy

Let students translate five sentences in AC1 into Chinese (PPT slides in 20’)

Read paragraph 1 of AC1 aloud and ask students six reading comprehension questions (Student’s Book in 5’) Let students read the rest of the passage and focus on one reading comprehension question (Student’s Book in 5’)

Introduce the text organization of AC1 and introduce the main ideas of the passage (PPT slides and teacher’s interpretation in 5’) Introduce the use of flashbacks and let students do exercise 3 (Student’s Book and PPT slides in 5’) Let students do exercise 2 in the Student’s Book and check the answers (Student’s Book in 5’) Let students do exercises 6 & 7 in the Student’s Book and check the answers (Student’s Book in 7’)

Let students fill in the table of happenings in AC1 individually (PPT slides in 6’) Introduce the writing structure of the passage (supplementary materials in 7’) Introduce the use of flashbacks and let students do exercise 3 (Student’s Book and PPT slides in 8’) Ask students reading comprehension questions and let them do exercises 6 & 7 (Student’s Book and PPT slides in 6’) Let students fill in the summary of AC1 (PPT slides in 3’)

modes to enact the same exercise (e.g. Exercise 7 in Unit 7 of Book 2), their goals matched the intent of this exercise, as Extracts 4 and 5 show: Extract 4 Windy: Let’s continue to look at exercise 7; look at the sentences from the I passage and answer the questions. The first question, if a burglar came, he would probably lick him. So what does this tell us about the dog’s personality? The dog is (2)? Ss: Friendly R Windy: And gentle. Friendly and gentle F Extract 5 Fiona: Now, look at exercise 7. We have already answered question 1, now DL look at question 2. As a woman, I faced dangers that Soren and Hogan did not have to know about. What kind of dangers do you think the writer is referring to? What kind of danger? Of course, you can refer to paragraph one. What kind of danger? Robbery, right?

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Table 4.8 Exercise 1 in Unit 7 of Book 2 Work in pairs. Say what characteristics the following animals have ox, dog, cat, snake, peacock, bat, lamb, fox, lion

4.6 Adapting It was seen that teacher participants not only appropriated the curriculum materials but also adapted them in most cases while enacting the materials. Their adaptations mainly manifested in three activities, namely, adapting the original instruction of the materials without veering from the design intentions, adjusting the interaction mode and deviating from the design intentions.

4.6.1 Adapting the Instructions in Line with the Design Intentions Even if teacher participants had similar pedagogical goals in enacting the same exercises, their instructions varied due to the adaptation of the original instructions. For instance, when enacting one lead-in activity in Unit 7 of Book 2 (see Table 4.8), Windy’s adapted instruction differed slightly from the given one, although her interpretation of the exercise was congruent with its original design. Initially, Windy refined the instruction of the given exercise by making the requirements more explicit. She asked her students to use some adjectives to describe the characteristics of these animals (see lines 1, 2, 3 and 4), as Extract 6 illustrates: Extract 6 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Windy: Can you just use some adjectives, some words to describe those animals? When do you mention those animals, which word will come to your brain? What association can you think of related to the animals? So when we say ox, can you think of some words? Ox, what words do you think of? S1? Ox? S1: Horn Windy: Horn? S1: Hardworking Windy: Hardworking, ox, that’s all? Ok, S2? S2: Strong Windy: Strong, good. That’s all? Ok. Thank you. Next one, dog. When you talk about the dog, can you use some words? S3? S3: ((??)) Windy: Ok, loyalty, friends to human, and very cute. Thank you. And the cat. S4? (continued)

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14 S4: 15 Windy: 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

S5: Windy: S5: Windy: S5: Windy: S6: Windy: S7: Windy: S7: Windy: S8: Windy: S9: Windy: S10: Windy:

the cat is also smart. Smart, so I think of the difference between the dog and the cat. So the dog usually can protect the owners. Protective. And the cat, they are quite dependent. They are dependent on their owners. I think this is the very obvious difference between dog and cat. Thank you. And snake? When we talk about snake. S5? Slippery Slippery, good. Crafty Craft? 狡猾的 Ok, snake. Next one, peacock. S6? Beautiful and graceful Beautiful and graceful, ok, very good. Bat, S7? Horrible Horrible Scary Scary and horrible. Yes, bat. And the lamb, next one lamb. Can you think of some words? Lamb? S8? They are very soft Soft, gentle, right? That’s all, right? And fox. S9? Smart and cute Smart and cute, fox. And a lion? S10? Courageous Courageous, powerful and strong. Ok, thank you

However, the meaning conveyed by Windy was that she expected any words associated with the target animals (see lines 1, 2, 3 and 4), which departed from the original purpose of eliciting the descriptive characteristics of the animals from students. It was observed that S1 was confused by the adapted instruction. S1’s answer of ‘horn’ was not a characteristic of an ox but a body part. S1’s answer matched Windy’s adapted requirement; however, it was not an answer that the exercise was designed for. Upon receiving S1’s wrong answer, Windy did not give any feedback but only echoed S1’s answer (line 6). In the rest of the task, she validated other students’ answers according to the original requirement of the task with an explicit positive assessment, such as ‘good’ in line 10. This indicated that she intended to elicit characteristic features of these animals instead of any word about them. Interestingly, she did not change her instruction but continued to deliver it until the end of the activity (see lines 10, 11, 30). In contrast, Fiona adapted the original instruction in a more concrete and accurate way, when enacting the same lead-in exercise (see Table 4.8), as the following excerpt shows:

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…Please, look at page 86, starting point, look at Starting point. In this exercise, there are two parts. Let’s look at the first part of it. Say what characteristics the following animals have. Do the first part of the exercise. The second part is not very hard. What is the image of the following animal? How can you describe the characteristics of an ox? The characteristics of a dog, etc. Let’s finish this part of the exercise. You can talk something with your partner to describe the characteristics of the following animals. After that, I will want some student to show anything with us. Now it’s time for you to talk with your partner. To describe the characteristic of the animals. (Fiona’s lesson observation)

Students in Fiona’s class showed no confusion in answering the question, as Extract 7 illustrates: Extract 7 Fiona:

So what is the image of the following animal? What are the images of the following animals? I’ll ask you to describe the characteristics of the following animals? How can you describe ox? S1, how about an ox? S1: I think ox is very strong and… are very easy to get angry, especially when they see something red Fiona: Angry, become very angry right S1: Especially Spain ox Fiona: Ok, now the second one is a dog. Nancy, how about a dog? The characteristic of a dog Nancy: Loyal Fiona: The dog’s loyal to a human being. Nancy: It is very kind and cute Fiona: Very cute, maybe the keyword is loyal to the human being.

4.6.2 Adapting Interactional Modes Teachers also adjusted their interaction modes based on students’ responses. For instance, Windy enacted the warm-up activity (see Table 4.2) initially through the IRF mode. After finishing this exercise, she supplemented some phrases with similar structures as offered in the given exercise. At first, she continued to use the old strategy of eliciting students’ answers. However, after seeing students’ failure to complete three phrases (lines 2, 4 and 6), she changed her instructional strategy into one-way instruction (lines 7–12), as Extract 8 shows: Extract 8 1 2 3

Windy: In English, we have a lot of animal idioms. For example, we can say as strong as a? Ss: ((??)) ((murmuring))

I R (continued)

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Windy: Ss: Windy: Ss: Windy:

Horse. As strong as a horse. As stupid as a? Pig As stupid as a goose. 鹅。As stubborn as? ((silence)) A mule, or donkey. 骡子。As busy as? (.) Bees. As timid as a? In China, we’ll say as timid as a rat. 胆小如鼠的。Whereas in Western culture, we’ll say as timid as a hare. 野兔, 兔子。

F/I R F/give word in L1/I R F/give word in L1/initiate/informing

Although Windy’s revised interaction mode was caused by her students’ unsatisfactory responses, it also indicated that her supplementary materials were above her students’ language proficiency level and outside the scope of their intercultural knowledge. Therefore, the content of materials also had a say in the teachers’ adaptation process.

4.6.3 Adapting the Design Intentions It was seen that teacher participants would deviate from the original designs of the curriculum materials while enacting them. For instance, Fiona departed from the designer’s intention at the beginning of the vocabulary exercise (see Table 4.9). The vocabulary exercises in the Student’s Book feature words in context to develop students’ skills in handling unfamiliar words and expressions; that is, to promote contextualized vocabulary learning among students.

Table 4.9 Two exercises dealing with unfamiliar words in Unit 7 of Book 2 IV. Match the words in the box with their definitions. Approximate giant layer leap lick magnificent motion paw penetrate 1. Very impressive and beautiful, good or skilful 2. A long, high jump 3. To get inside an object or body by getting through something 4. Not exact or accurate, but good enough to be useful 5. A movement that someone or something makes 6. To move your tongue across something 7. Extremely large 8. The foot of some animals such as cats, dogs 9. An amount or sheet of a substance that covers a surface

4.6 Adapting

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Extract 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Fiona: Dealing with unfamiliar words, Exercise Four. While doing this exercise, we can refer to the vocabulary book; if you don’t know the exact meaning, you can refer to the vocabulary book. The words are approximate, giant, layer, leap, lick, magnificent, motion, paw, penetrate. Look at the first one, so what is the word, which means be very impressive and beautiful, good and skilful. What is the word? Ss: ((silence)) Fiona: Magnificent, right. Please write down the word magnificent. Number two, a long, high jump Ss: Leap Fiona: Leap. Number three, to get inside an object or body by getting through something (.) penetrate. Number four, not exact of accurate but good enough to be useful (.) approximate. Number five, a movement that someone or something makes (.) motion. Number six, to move your tongue across something (.) lick. Number seven, extremely large? 16 Ss: Giant

In Extract 9, Fiona veered from the designers’ intention (see lines 2, 3, 4). She initially enacted this exercise using the IRF mode, but the students’ responses were rare (see line 7). She then changed her instructional strategy into direct informing (see lines 8, 12, 13, 14). It was indicated that Fiona regarded the exercise as a means of reinforcing students’ rote memorization of new words with the reference of meanings. She attempted to get her students to learn these words and required them to write the words down (line 8). However, the designer’s intention of creating a contextualized vocabulary learning opportunity was not reached.

4.7 Improvising While enacting materials, teachers frequently made on-the-spot pedagogical decisions in terms of inserting questions, improvising instructions or scaffolding and inventing activities, which belong to the process of improvising.

4.7.1 Inserting Extra Questions It was revealed that in the process of delivering vocabulary instruction, teacher participants inserted questions to assess students’ intercultural and subject matter knowledge. For instance, when teaching the word ‘glide’, Penny supplemented three sample sentences with the aid of illustrations (see Table 4.10). Her partial enactment of this section is shown in Extract 10.

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Table 4.10 Penny’s supplementary sample sentences of the word ‘glide’

4.7 Improvising

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Extract 10 1 Penny: We can use glide when we describe a movement on the sea as 2 well. Under the sea, 在海里面 (under the sea). For instance, 3 you can say, you’ll glide over beautiful reefs and stunning sea 4 animals with included instruction, gear, and one supervised 5 dive. 这个地方是什么意思? (What does it mean here?) glide 6 over, reef 指的是暗礁 (it refers to reef). 澳大利亚有一个很 有名的景点叫? (What is the famous resort in Australia?) 7 Ss: 大堡礁 (Great Barrier Reef) 8 Penny: Yes, 大堡礁 (Great Barrier Reef). How to say 大堡礁? (Great 9 Barrier Reef) (.) Great Barrier Reef

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Penny endeavoured to exemplify the usage of the target word ‘glide’ by analysing sample sentences. After showing the second sentence, ‘You’ll glide over beautiful reefs and stunning sea animals with included instruction, gear, and one supervised dive’, she improvised three questions in lines 4, 5, 6, 8. The first question was to assess students’ vocabulary base (line 4). The second question was to assess students’ intercultural knowledge, which was raised in L1 (lines 5, 6). The third question was a translation task (line 8). The last two questions had nothing to do with the target word ‘glide’ but were related to the word ‘reef’ that appeared in her second sample sentence. They were all from Penny’s knowledge base and were created promptly based on her sample sentence. Her students easily answered the second question in L1 (line 7). However, the last question, i.e. the translation task, received no student responses. Penny then adjusted her interaction mode from IRF to direct telling (line 9).

4.7.2 Improvising Instructions Except for inserting new questions to enlarge the students’ knowledge base, teacher participants also extended their instruction by supplementing extra examples. For instance, when enacting a fill-in-the-blank exercise (Table 4.11), Penny immediately prompted one example of the target phrase in Extract 11. Extract 11 1 Penny: … But the stick went further than I expected and fell into the pond. So 2 did Hogan, who raced to catch the stick. I was? 3 Ss: Penetratingly aware of 4 Penny: Penetratingly aware of 我深深地知道 (I am penetratingly aware of), 5 有点像鼓励烈士说的话 (it is a little bit like the words by martyrs), I 6 am penetratingly aware of the pain and of the death, but I am still 7 willing to sacrifice myself for my country. 深深地知道 (penetratingly aware of)

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Table 4.11 A fill-in-the-blank exercise in the curriculum materials

The improvised sample sentence (lines 5, 6) was not drawn from the passage or any other curriculum materials but was from Penny’s own knowledge base. Her intention was to reinforce the usage of the phrase, i.e. penetratingly aware of , among her students, as this phrase newly appeared in this passage. Teacher participants not only improvised sample sentences but also brought personal understanding and experiences into the enacted instructions. For instance, when asking for students’ descriptions of dogs and cats in one warm-up activity, Windy expressed her views on the two animals, as Extract 12 shows: Extract 12 1 Windy: Next one, dog. When you talk about the dog, can you use some words? S3? 2 S3: Loyalty 3 Windy: Ok, loyalty, friends to human, and very cute. Thank you. And the cat (.) S4? 4 S4: The cat is also smart 5 Windy: Smart. So I think of the difference between the dog and the cats. So 6 the dog usually can protect the owners. Protective. And the cat, they 7 are entirely dependent. They depend on their owners. I think this is the 8 very obvious difference between dog and cats. Thank you This improvised instruction (lines 5–8) was stimulated by S3’s and S4’s answers and also stemmed from Windy’s knowledge base; it was not in her lesson plans. Similarly, when talking about dogs, Penny made new examples to show the characteristics of the animals, as Extract 13 illustrates:

4.7 Improvising

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Extract 13 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Penny: A dog is loyal to (.)? Ss: Owner Penny: Its master or owner, right? Its owners. Yes. And what else? Loyal? Is the dog loyal? It is what? Ss: Smart Penny: Smart, very good! Intelligent. You can train dogs to do many things. For instance, dogs can help the policemen to check if someone carries dangerous products, like a bomber, oh, like a bomb or like the drugs, yes at the airport

In lines 6–8, Penny improvised an example to show students how smart dogs can be. Her natural language used in this example indicated that this example was prompted simultaneously during class.

4.7.3 Improvising Activity It was witnessed that teacher participants improvised assignments and activities when enacting the curriculum materials in class. For instance, when doing one vocabulary exercise, Windy conducted a new activity in which she let her students make a story by using the new words provided in these two exercises. Her requirements were as follows: …So I’d like you to choose from these fifteen, altogether fifteen words. To choose at least ten words to make up a story that you think it can hit the headline on the next day. You understand? Make up your own story. Use your imagination, any kind of stories that can hit the headline. Choose at least ten words from these fifteen words. From these two boxes. 十 五个单词 (fifteen words), together 15 words. Choose at least ten words. 从中选出十个, 至 少十个单词, 当然越多越好。十个词语 (choose ten words from the work bank; of course, the more, the better. Ten words), to make up a story. In your group, every group, or just create one story, and this story. If you make that satisfy one of the elements of three elements? It is quite possible to hit the headline of tomorrow’s newspaper. 用这些单词编一个故事出 来, 那么这样一个新闻, 它很有可能成为明天的头条新闻 (use these words to make up a story. Maybe the story you composed will become a headline tomorrow). So you have 10 min for this story, use your imagination. (Windy’ lesson observation of Unit 4 Book 2)

During the break, Windy told me that she borrowed this idea from her colleague, as she explained in this post-lesson interview: I asked her why her students were so joyous during the class because I overheard it as our classrooms were close to each other. She told me that she asked her students to make a story in the use of new vocabulary in unit 4. I asked for details on how to conduct the activity. (Windy’s post-lesson interview)

Furthermore, Penny inserted an assignment at the end of the class to let students practice new vocabulary appeared in a passage, as Extract 14 shows:

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Extract 14 1 Penny: And paw, 爪子 (paw) paw. Are there any parts of animals that you know? 2 Ss: Tail 3 Penny: Tail, yes. 尾巴 (tail). What else? Animal parts? Any others we know? 4 All right, this is today’s homework. Today’s homework, look up 5 online, search for information of animal parts, animal body parts. 动物 6 身体的部分 (animal body parts). For instance, 牙 (teeth), for instance, 7 毛 (fur), yes, 蹄子 (hoof), try to find as many words as possible. This 8 is your homework. Ok. See you tomorrow Based on the analysis of the documents, this assignment was not in her lesson plans or drawn from any curriculum materials. The first activity in her succeeding lesson showed her intention in designing this task for building her students’ vocabulary. She supplemented a large amount of vocabulary describing the different parts of the animals, e.g. fins, scales, claws and so on. It was indicated that her assignment and the supplementary vocabulary activity were inspired by the word ‘paw’ in the Student’s Book.

4.8 Understanding Materials Use Inside Language Classrooms The processes of materials use at the classroom level connect the planned curriculum with the experienced curriculum. These processes are mediated by elements from teachers, students, curriculum materials and the context. Only through the processes of materials use do teachers’ plans in all formats become ‘living’ teaching practice (Gueudet, Pepin & Trouche, 2012). Therefore, the classroom-based materials use can be regarded as the legitimized language teaching by merging teachers’ schemes and the materials through the act of classroom interaction. To recapitulate, the constructs of the stock of knowledge, umbrella plans and constellations generated in human cognition in tool use (Keller & Keller, 1996) are helpful for understanding the enactment of curriculum materials. This social learning theory perhaps best reflects teachers’ cognitive processes of leveraging material tools to design and enact instruction. For instance, when enacting the sentence completion exercises, all teacher participants utilized the IRF interactional mode by drawing on PCK and language knowledge (i.e. what language teachers know about teaching (Freeman, Katz, Gomez & Burns, 2015)). Teachers’ ideas on selecting IRF exchanges and the sentence completion exercises were constellated to actualize the pedagogical goal. This idea echoes the instrumental perspective in that artefacts are transformed into instruments by human beings to accomplish goals, and this will, in turn, mediate human activity. Instruments are composed of artefacts and schemes of utilization (Rabardel & Bourmaund, 2003). Artefacts refer to the tangible curriculum materials

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and the schemes of utilization stand for teachers’ mental procedures of materials use. The formation of instruments is not dependent on either artefacts or humans alone but on the combination of elements from both parties. The process of curriculum enactment is mediated by a myriad of mediational means. First, as the content presented in the curriculum materials is only a representation of didactic activities or tasks (Brown, 2009), the form of materials will mediate teachers’ engagement with them. In the case of enacting sentence completion exercises, the fact that all teachers utilized the same interactional mode proved the constraint of this mediational means in terms of limiting potential pedagogies and students’ engagement with the materials. Second, students’ responses and reactions mediated the teachers’ materials use. For instance, students’ language proficiency and knowledge base could influence the teaching pace. Fiona acknowledged that she needed to adjust her teaching speed according to her students’ language proficiency levels. Windy adapted her interactional mode from IRF to direct lecturing due to students’ lack of knowledge in certain areas. Third, the teachers’ resources, for instance, language knowledge, content knowledge, improvisational expertise and knowledge of students, mediate the enactment of curriculum materials. For instance, teachers’ knowledge base could facilitate or hinder their improvisation. Penny’s broad intercultural knowledge enabled her to continually insert new intercultural knowledge in her improvisation. Windy’s unawareness of students’ difficulty in grasping the usage of flashback and her lack of language knowledge concerning unpacking the problem led to the failure of this activity in class. The mediated relations in materials use inside classrooms is depicted in Fig. 4.2.

Fig. 4.2 Mediated relations in materials use inside classrooms

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As shown above, the processes of materials use inside classrooms are dynamic and interactive, and are mediated by teachers’ resources, students’ factors, features of the curriculum materials. As Ball (2012) stated, the use of a textbook or any curriculum resource is an interpretive and dynamic process. The discrepancy between the written text and the enacted one is essential and deserves special attention (Ball, 2012). The enactment of curriculum materials at the classroom level is informed by the designed curriculum but differs from it owing to the participation of teachers and students. Each step of teachers’ plans is built on one of the numerous constellations, which consists of teachers’ notions of anticipated means, appropriate instructional strategies and suitable materials. Understanding teachers’ situated use of materials helps to identify the discrepancy between the written and enacted curricula and has the potential to unravel the underlying rationale for teachers’ so doing. Moreover, the accomplishment of one pedagogical goal could enrich teachers’ current stock of knowledge, which will, in turn, influence teaching designs and the current and future constellations (Keller & Keller, 1996). Teachers’ enactment of current curriculum materials thus has the potential for promoting teachers’ growth (Tomlinson, 2018).

4.9 Summary In sum, this chapter illuminated teachers’ materials use inside language classrooms. Teachers’ ways of materials use differ because of the divergent personal resources, such as interpretation of the materials, content knowledge, improvising expertise, knowledge of students, language knowledge, language awareness and instructional strategies. Materials use is also mediated by students in terms of language proficiency levels and knowledge base. In addition, the features of the exercises afforded and constrained teachers’ enactment of curriculum materials. Teachers’ agentive power of mobilizing multiple resources is particularly prominent in their on-the-spot materials use, such as in the processes of improvisation, adaptation and evaluation. Thus, the relationship among teachers, students and curriculum materials is dynamic and complex in nature. The next chapter will demonstrate teachers’ interactions with the curriculum materials by mainly focusing on their reflections outside classrooms.

References Ball, D. L. (2012). Afterword: Using and designing resources for practice. In G. Gueudet, B. Pepin, & L. Trouche (Eds.), From Text to ‘lived’ resources (pp. 349–352). Netherlands: Springer. Brown, M. (2009). The teacher-tool relationship: Theorizing the design and use of curriculum materials. In J. Remillard, B. A. Herbel-Eisenmann, & G. M. Lloyd (Eds.), Mathematics teachers at work: Connecting curriculum materials and classroom instruction (pp. 17–36). New York: Routledge. Freeman, D., Katz, A., Gomez, P. G., & Burns, A. (2015). English-for-teaching: Rethinking teacher proficiency in the classroom. ELT Journal, 69(2), 129–137.

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Gueudet, G., Pepin, B., & Trouche, L. (Eds.). (2012). From text to ‘lived’ resources: Mathematics curriculum materials and teacher development. Netherlands: Springer. Keller, C. M., & Keller, J. D. (1996). Cognition and tool use: The blacksmith at work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rabardel, P., & Bourmaud, G. (2003). From computer to instrument system: A developmental perspective. Interacting with Computers, 15(5), 665–691. Sinclair, J., & Coulthard, M. (1975). Towards an analysis of discourse: The English used by teachers and pupils. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Wertsch, J. V. (1998). Mind as action. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Tomlinson, B. (2018, June). Teacher development through materials development. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Materials Development Association, Shanghai, China.

Chapter 5

Materials Use Outside Language Classrooms: Influencing Factors of Materials Use

Abstract Materials use does not merely occur inside classrooms, but in the continuum, even outside classrooms. Through reflecting on their practices of materials use, teachers made further decisions on either repeating or modifying their schemes of materials use in the following classes. According to the analysis of the teachers’ pre-lesson and post-lesson interviews, teachers interacted with their curriculum materials in relation to four issues: (1) features of curriculum materials, (2) students’ interests, needs and responses during and after classes, (3) teachers’ factors, including teacher agency of more effective use of the curriculum materials, and teacher knowledge in materials use and (4) the contextual factors. In this chapter, these factors influencing teachers’ further pedagogical decisions on materials use will be delineated with concrete evidence. At the end of the chapter, a conceptual map will be portrayed to present the mediated relations in materials use outside classrooms.

5.1 The Features of the Curriculum Materials Even though all the teacher participants acknowledged the indispensability of using textbooks in the language classrooms, they all pointed out the shortcomings of the prescribed textbook. Moreover, both success and failure in implementing the designated curriculum triggered teachers’ reflections on how they would use the same materials the second time. In a way, the curriculum materials framed the teachers’ daily teaching; in another, they constrained teachers’ autonomy to use more feasible materials. The four teacher participants criticized four specific features of the curriculum materials. First, the possible students’ responses to the activities and tasks in the Student’s Book were not provided in the Teacher’s Guide. Teachers had to conjecture on the effectiveness of the activities through real teaching practice. For example, Windy regarded some questions in the Starting point activity of the Student’s Book as ‘impractical’ or ‘silly’ because of her students’ unsatisfactory performances and the implicitness of designer’s intentions, as her interview illustrates: But actually, in my opinion, some of these questions not so practical. The students will find it is quite silly. And sometimes they don’t think that it is necessary to answer this question. When you meet such kind of exercise, you will think about what the purpose of © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 Z. Li, Language Teachers at Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5515-2_5

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Based on her experiences of asking these lead-in questions in the classroom, Windy decided to omit them and develop more suitable activities to warm students up the second time, as this excerpt shows: So usually in class, I will just omit this part, and I’ll find some other exercises for students to do. (Windy’s baseline interview 08/04/2013)

In this sense, Windy’s self-reflection fostered a search for better materials to replace the prescribed ones. Second, teachers had no access to the designer’s intention in terms of why the passages were selected. Penny pointed out the lack of an explicit rationale for the selection of passages in the Student’s Book. She believed that there must be a standard for sifting out appropriate passages for each specific topic in the textbook. Having access to such a criterion could facilitate her to use those materials more effectively, as her reflection reveals: 我觉得编者放这篇文章, 应该是有他的意义的, 他肯定是经过很多的思考才会选这篇 文章。那么我就希望能找出他到底想要说的是什么(编者的意图), 我希望… 但是我没 有发现, 《教师用书》 也没有告诉我。那么编教材的人的目的是什么, 他希望你做到什 么, 你是否用到了他精心挑选出来的意图。我就经常想我要是没有用到, 他不就白挑了 吗这篇文章? I believe designers have good reasons for selecting these passages. They must select the passages after deep thinking. Then I’d like to find out their intentions. But I didn’t find them out from anywhere, including the teachers’ manual. What are the intentions of the compilers of the textbooks? What do they want you to do when using the textbook? Do you correctly perceive their intentions of selecting the passages? Sometimes I am wondering if my teaching mismatches the designers’ intention, then what a pity! (Penny’s baseline interview 25/4/2014)

In this case, the blocked communication between the teachers and designers in terms of the embedded intentions of the materials hindered the productive use of the materials. The analysis of the passage was mainly based on teachers’ own interpretation and understanding of the text. Third, support measures for the effective use of the curriculum materials were seen as insufficient in the curriculum materials. Teachers desired two major supports: knowledge of English language and PCK. For instance, Fiona insisted that language obstacles did exist in the target textbook, as she saw herself as a non-native speaker of English. 有些语言, 对于我来说, 一个外国人, 我感觉把握不到。 Some expressions are challenging for me, a non-native speaker. I feel I couldn’t catch them. (Fiona’s baseline interviews)

Windy thought this problem should have been resolved with the assistance of the Teacher’s Guide. However, after using the textbook for a whole semester, Windy

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concluded that the Teacher’s Guide did not facilitate her teaching in terms of eliminating language barriers. Therefore, in most cases, teachers had to tackle the language problems on their own, as this excerpt illustrates: 就算最基本的, 解释这个字, 解释这个词语, 解释句子方面, 我觉得它和以前的那 个 《新视野大学英语》 比较的话, 它(这个方面)是不行的。就是它解释的不到位。有时候 挑的句子是没有任何难度的, 但是有难度的句子没有放进去, 即便是解释了的句子也 觉得看不懂, 不知道想要解释什么, 更复杂了我觉得。这应该是教学辅助里面最基本的 功能, 但是却没有做好, 所以让人很失望。 Even for the most basic (function of the teachers’ manual), that is, explanations of the vocabulary, phrases, and sentences, I don’t think it did well compare with the previous teachers’ manual in the series of New Horizon College English. They were not accurately explicated (in the target teachers’ manual). Sometimes the sentences selected to explain were not difficult at all, but difficult sentences were not selected. Even if they were explained, the explanations were hard to follow. I don’t know what they were trying to explain there. I think they made the sentences more complicated. This should be the most basic function of the teachers’ manual. But (the teacher’s guide) didn’t do it well. So it is very disappointing. (Windy’s baseline interview 19/10/2013)

Furthermore, all teacher participants cited the lack of pedagogical support when using the curriculum materials. They were eager to know how to expand the given topics in the textbook (Fiona and Penny), how to identify the instructive information from the passages (Penny), how to engage students with the curriculum materials (Penny and Cheri) and how to lead in the given topics in the Student’s Book (Windy and Fiona). However, they did not find any support in the curriculum materials. Thus, they had to search for supplementary materials or consult more experienced colleagues (e.g. Penny voluntarily observed expert teachers’ classes in her spare time). The inadequacy of pedagogical support stimulated self-initiated teacher learning at the institutional level. Fourth, the scope of teaching content in the Student’s Book was somewhat limited. Cheri believed that the most efficient way to improve students’ reading skills was to let them read more. However, the number of passages in the textbook was much smaller than she expected. Thus, she supplemented extra reading materials for her students at the beginning of each semester, which was also confirmed by her students: 因为教材毕竟是太有限了, 比如说, 它每一个单元只有两篇文章...内容其实是很少的 嘛, 更多是要配套更多的阅读, 比如说, 各个 topic, 更多、 更量化的一些东西, 让他们 多读, 其实这个是最重要的。 Because the number of materials in the textbook is too limited, for instance, there are two passages in each unit… The amount of content is small. It is better to provide more reading materials. For example, each topic, more, more quantified materials. Let them (students) read more. Actually, this is the most important. (Cheri’s baseline interview 08/10/2013) I have downloaded many passages for them to read after class. (Cheri’s baseline interview 04/04/2013) 老师提供给我们一些课外材料, 供我们自主学习。 (our) teacher provided us with some extracurricular materials for our autonomous learning. (Cheri’s students’ baseline interview 15/10/2013)

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Although the teachers did not reach agreement on the adequacy of the exercises in the Student’s Book (Cheri claimed the textbook was too ‘chatty’ with more than half of the content being exercises, while Fiona stated that students needed more exercises), all the teachers had doubts regarding the real function and the effectiveness of the exercises. For instance, Fiona did not think the exercise could meet the needs of Chinese EFL learners because students were more exam-oriented, as she explains: 它的练习的话, 针对中国的学生, 不太适合。比如, 词汇练习, 我们的学生会认为没有太 多的针对性。我们需要的是考试类型的练习。这些题目, 比如说词汇表一看, 这些题目 很简单就做了。但是我并不知道, 它这个词与别的词有什么区别。所以练习的设计, 一 个是形式比较单一, 跟学生的需求不一致。再就是题量比较小, 就是在教材上的题量比 较小。 The exercise is not suitable for Chinese students. For example, my students may feel the exercise for vocabulary is without a clear aim. What we need is exam-oriented exercise. The exercise could not let students distinguish the different usage of the words. The format of exercise is monotonous, which is not aligned with students’ needs. Moreover, the amount of exercise is a little bit small. (Fiona’s baseline interview 04/04/2014)

Penny doubted whether the questions in the Developing critical thinking section could really cultivate students’ critical thinking skills, particularly after she compared the presented questions in the textbook with those developed by her colleague, as this comment illustrates: Developing critical thinking 里面的问题不是很 critical。比如说, 它问你这个文章是 real 的还是不是 real 的, 我觉得这个就不太像 critical thinking。有的时候是老师自己想到比 较好的 critical thinking, 比如, 上次有一个老师讲到 creativity, 讲人的创造力, 讲到爱因 斯坦那一课, 当时他想的一个 critical thinking 就是, 为什么中国人很少有获得诺贝尔 奖?这个我就觉得很有趣, 可是教材上给的都不是这一类的。 The questions in developing critical thinking are not really critical. For example, asking students to decide whether the statements are real or not. I don’t think these questions are like critical thinking questions. Sometimes it is the teachers themselves who could generate more critical questions than those in the textbook. For example, last time when one teacher was teaching creativity in the unit of Einstein, he/she thought of a critical question: why did only a few Chinese win Nobel Prize? I think the question is fascinating, but the textbook didn’t provide such kind of questions. (Penny’s baseline interview 25/04/2014)

In this sense, the unsatisfactory features of the curriculum materials caused teachers to pursue more suitable materials to substitute, thus to drive the processes of contextualizing and personalizing the curriculum materials.

5.2 Student Factors All the teacher participants acknowledged that students were the most important factor in fostering their adaptation of materials use. Student factors consisted of students’ interests, needs and performances. Student factors were evaluated by teachers in and after class and exerted impacts on teachers’ further decisions of materials use.

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First, students’ interests influenced the teachers’ selection of materials. For example, Cheri tended to choose more attractive topics in the Student’s Book. Her decision was based on students’ positive performances through the use of the preferred materials in class: And after I have used the four books, we’ll know which topics are interesting to the student. In the second time, I’ll change that. I’ll avoid using those passages or topics. So in the second time, I’ll prepare more. I’ll use the good topics, the good passages and with more interesting extra material. You can see that from their reaction. If we talk about fashion or talk about college life, we talk about music, and they are interested. So their attitudes influenced my attitude toward textbook. (Cheri’s baseline interview 09/04/2013)

Windy also emphasized the importance of students’ interest in her selection of materials. Students’ negative response to the materials was the principal reason for her to replace the materials, as this interview excerpt elucidates: 如果说这个问题引不起学生的兴趣, 而且学生反应说明这个问题没有什么好回答的, 那么在下一个班的话, 我就会把这一部分去掉了, 我会调节下子。或者我自己会换一些 自己觉得比较合适的问题去问学生。 If the questions couldn’t arouse students’ interest, and students’ reactions confirmed that they could not answer anything meaningful, then in the second class, I would delete this section, I would adjust to it. Alternatively, I will substitute for some more suitable questions for my students. (Windy’s baseline interview 19/10/2013)

Second, students’ performances, particularly unexpected or unsatisfactory reactions to the activities, led teachers to adapt instructions. For example, noticing that students were completely wrong in doing the chronological ordering exercise, Penny attributed the fault to her neglect of emphasizing the usage of tense. She then developed a better practice for using the same material in the next class, as she explains: 比如说 tense 在 unit 7里面… 当时我上课的时候, 我没有想到让学生排序竟然会那么 难(课后练习题), 我真没想到那道题会那么难。我后来仔细想了想就是 tense 的原因。 他(们)不太明白, 他(们)整个就是排错了。他(们)以为文章怎么写, 就应该是照着怎么排 序, 但是其实英语的时态很重要, 体现出中英的一个差别。像这种东西, 如果老师能给 他提炼出来, 给他们讲一讲, 然后再去应用到其他的, 比如说再给他们一个类似的文章 读, 或者告诉他写作中要注意 tense, 或者让他们读小说的时候啊也要注意这些, 就会 比较好。 For example, the usage of tense in unit 7… When I was teaching in class, I didn’t expect that my students met significant troubles in reordering the happenings. I never thought that its level of difficulty was that high. Afterwards, I considered thoroughly that the usage of tense must cause it. They were not aware of the usage of tense, so they ordered them completely wrong. They had thought that they should order the happenings according to the written chronological sequences of the passage. But the tense is of great importance in English, which represents the difference from Chinese. The knowledge like this, if teachers could extract it from the passage, explain this to them, and apply this into other similar scenarios, for instance, let them read a similar passage and ask them to pay special attention to tense in their writing or in reading novels, then the teaching must be more productive. (Penny’s baseline interview 25/04/2014)

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In this sense, students’ poor performance stimulated her reflection on the coverage of instructive information and led to her discovery of the embedded pedagogical knowledge of the exercise. Windy’s awareness of the significance of her articulated instruction stemmed from the dramatic difference in students’ responses before and after her deliberate change of the instruction when carrying out the same activity. Her pedagogical goal was to cultivate students’ prediction skills. In her first class, Windy asked her students to read the introduction to a passage and answer some questions about the experiences of the author. To her great surprise, most of the students referred to the passage directly and read the sentences from the passage in response to her questions. As the students’ performances were unexpected and not aligned with her pedagogical goal, she changed her instruction by explicitly elaborating on the pedagogical goal of the task; that is, relating to students’ personal experiences to predict what the author might experience when going abroad. Her students followed her instructions in the second class and completing the task, which matched her original goal of designing it, as this excerpt elucidates: 我刚刚做 predicting, 看第二篇文章这个小说(节选)的简介, 我就跟他说前面有一个 blur, 小说的一个推介, 你先看这个推介, 然后有一些问题, 比如说, 作者当他初到美国 后会遇到怎样的困难?结果我们这个班的学生, 他就跟我说, 他遇到了在大学里面, 可 能他有口音, 怎么怎么样...他就把文章里面的(直接拿过来说了)。他就跳不出这个课文 出来, 我就说你把这个抛开一边, 先不要看这个课文, 先想一想。所以他们, 对这一批学 生来说, 他们就特别依赖教材, 他觉得什么。 。老师问的所以问题, 答案都可以在这个教 材里面可以找得到。实际这个是我需要他去进行一个推测, 进行一个猜测的, 这样一个 。凭他自己的一个生活经历经验, 然后他就这样就理解了。所以到第二个班, 我就不得 不强调, 请你们不要, 一定不要去看这个课文, 先把课文放在一边, 这就好多了。 I just taught predicting and let them read the blurb of AC2. I told them there was a blur, which is the brief introduction of the novel. I asked them to read the blurb and answer the following questions, for example, when the author first came to the U.S., what kind of problems he might meet? The result is my student answered that when the author entered the university, he had a strong accent and so on so forth. He borrowed his answer from the passage directly. He couldn’t jump out of the scope of the passage. I told them to throw the passage away, not to read the passage first, and think about the questions. So they, these students, they rely heavily on their textbooks. I need them to predict and speculate (what happened in the textbook) based on their own learning experiences. He finally caught my intention. So in the second class, I had to point out emphatically that not to read the passage and put it away. In this way, the effect was much better. (Windy’s baseline interview 19/10/2013)

Third, teachers had to tailor their use of the curriculum materials to students’ requests and needs. For example, although Cheri would like to advocate innovative vocabulary acquisition strategies, she decided to compromise and adjust her instructional strategy, when she found students’ old habits of relying on teachers’ inculcation for vocabulary learning could not be changed, as she reveals here: 他们以前就太依赖, 老师说那个词重要, 老师就会在黑板上板书出来; 其实现在我更希 望的是学生有一种学习方法, 但是学生还没有真正地去采用这种学习方法, 还没有意 识到这样的。我很想改变现状, 但是学生的这种学习方法, 又没法让你去改变这个现状 。

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In the past, they relied heavily on their teachers’ instructions. Their previous teachers would write down the new words on the blackboard if they think the words were important. Actually, now I expect my students to acquire a learning strategy. However, my students didn’t adopt this learning strategy, and they were not aware of this. I was eager to change the current teaching situation, but due to my students’ learning strategy, there is no way to change it. (Cheri’s baseline interview 08/10/2013)

Fiona noted that students’ language proficiency and comprehensive competence had substantial effects on her teaching pace, as this excerpt illustrates: 比如说, 我用的材料是一样的, 但是有些班的同学对相同的问题理解更到位一些, 那我 就相应地讲得少一些。根据学生的具体情况, 还是有一些变通。 For example, I use the same materials in different classes. But some students in some classes may understand the same question more accurately; in this case, I will teach less. I will adjust according to real situations in class. (Fiona’s baseline interview 04/04/2014)

Students’ language proficiency also influenced the teaching emphasis. For example, when discovering that some students were rather poor at English listening and speaking, Penny decided to shift her teaching focus accordingly, as this excerpt illustrates: 还有一个点是我希望他们能在听说方面更加强, 因为我发现高中学生特别是来自较 偏远的地区, 或者他们以前高考不考听力的话, 有的地方, 山东吧, 他们的听说能力非 常的差。我觉得这些孩子出去求职, 他最重要的就是听说, 所以我会在听说方面再加 重一点。 Another point is that I hope their English listening and speaking competency could be enhanced because I found that students’ listening competency is really low, particularly those from remote and rural areas of China or areas where there is no listening comprehension test in college entrance exams, for example, Shandong province. I am thinking that the most important competency needed in their future job hunting is listening and speaking. So I will enhance their listening and speaking practices in my future teaching. (Penny’s baseline interview 25/04/2014)

Moreover, students could raise teachers’ awareness of the neglected teaching points. Windy pointed out that her inserted grammatical knowledge while analysing a passage hinged from her students’ puzzlement and requests after class: 他(们)会经常有一些问题过来问我, 比如说, 这篇文章 (unit one active reading one) 里面 有一句是没有主语, 有个学生就特意跑过来问我, 他说: 老师, 为什么会出现这样一个 状况?我就跟他解释, 我说在非正式的文体里面, 口语化的, 可能把这个主语给省略掉 了。 They often come and ask me some questions (after class). For instance, there is a sentence in this passage (AC1 in unit 1 book 1) without a subject. A student went and asked me particularly about this. He asked, “Teacher, why did this kind of sentence appear?” I explained to him that because the subject was omitted in this sentence, which could occur in an informal or colloquial style of writing. But the students in this class are different from my previous students. (Windy’s baseline interview 19/10/2013)

Penny would adjust her teaching schedule at the approach of the CET4, the nationalized English language test for all non-English majors, by adding more exam-oriented teaching materials:

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5 Materials Use Outside Language Classrooms: Influencing Factors … 还有一个, 我觉得, 比如说以后要是临近考四级了, 我可能就要调整一下, 就会让他们 做一做四级方面的强化练习。 In addition, I think in the further if CET4 is approaching, I may adjust my teaching a little bit and have some intensive training to cope with the exam in class. (Penny’s baseline interview 25/04/2014)

5.3 Teacher Agency Socio-cultural perspectives view the agency as a complex, relational process that emerges within a social context (Kinsella, Putwain & Kaye, 2019). Agency is attached to phenomena such as the skill to collaborate, as well as provide and receive help from others (Edwards & D’Arcy, 2004), and the capacity to break away from traditional, ‘taken-for-granted’ pattern of activities by challenging and initiating new, alternative practices (Engerstrom, 1987, 2001). In this study, teacher agency emerged in the interactions between teachers and curriculum materials. Teachers’ desire for more effective use of the curriculum materials demonstrated their agency of creativity and change. First, teacher agency was exerted through their willingness and orientation towards learning from others with respect to the effective use of the same curriculum materials. For example, Penny was impressed by her peer’s instructional strategy, particularly disseminating handouts to students, at an exchange meeting among novice teachers. She then adopted this strategy in her own class when asking students to do a reading comprehension exercise; this was witnessed in her lesson observation (Penny’s classroom observation) and confirmed by her baseline interview: 就比如, 上课老师要准备一些 handout, 这个我以前没想到过, 你可以适当地准备一点 handout, 准备一点纸质的材料, 然后给学生, 这样学生就比只听你讲要好一点。 我有时候实施了… 像发一些 handouts 给学生啊, 这个我倒是用起来了。 For example, I found that teachers should prepare some handouts, which I have never thought of before. You can prepare some paper-based handouts and then disseminate to students. In this case, it is more efficient for students to be facilitated with the handouts than solely rely on teachers’ oral instructions. In some occasions I implemented it… for example, disseminating handouts to students, I adopted it already. (Penny’s baseline interview 25/04/2014)

Similarly, Windy repeated her colleague’s approaches to creatively using a vocabulary exercise in her own class. As Windy and Penny were teaching on the same floor and their classrooms were very close to each other, Windy overheard the laughter and applause in Penny’s classroom. She was curious and asked Penny what had happened and was informed that Penny had conducted an interesting activity. After obtaining detailed information about Penny’s initiated activity, Windy borrowed her colleague’s idea and conducted the same activity in her class afterwards. In other words, Windy’s curiosity and willingness to learn from her colleagues stimulated her agency of creativity.

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Second, teacher agency of change stemmed from their desire for curriculum reform. For example, both Windy and Fiona were willing to adopt the Listening & Speaking book from the prescribed textbook series, as these interview excerpts show: 还有就是我不知道为什么不把教材配齐, 听力教材跟读写不是一个系列的, 如果配套 使用的话, 会不会有很多问题会解决。比如 warming up 的时候, 可能就会用一下听力 的东西, 这个它两个(听说跟读写)是同一个 topic, 可能就会好一些。就更好一些, 然后 我觉得现在的话, 就听力跟它(读写)就脱节了, 没有什么关系。 In addition, I don’t know why we didn’t adopt the same series of textbooks, including reading and writing book and listening and speaking book. The current reading and writing book is not from the same series of the listening and speaking book. If we could have the same series of books, many problems might be resolved. For example, in warming up section, I might use the materials in the listening and speaking book, because the same unit in two books would be the same. This would be much better. However, now I feel listening, and speaking book is disconnected with reading and writing book, and they have nothing to do with each other. (Fiona’s baseline interview 01/04/2014) Yes, they are quite different. You can find different units…for example… (turning these two textbooks together) unit one is enjoying your feelings (in the listening book) and for integrated coursebook…unit one is about night to five…it is about job…looking for a job after university. They are not…how to say… cannot match with each other, right? … So I hope that maybe in the future we can use another… another set of the listening textbook. (Windy’s baseline interview 08/04/2014)

Since the prescribed textbook, more specifically, the compulsory units in each textbook constituted the de facto curriculum. Penny anticipated a more systematic and learning objective-oriented CE curriculum, as this comment reveals: 而且我觉得有点散, 我希望有一个系统出来, 就比如说:第一学期我的重点是在语音上; 第二学期重点在句子上; 第三学期, 我还不确定教不教第三个学期, 如果我教第三个学 期, 就是从文章的整个 discourse 上面去; 第四学期是综合应用。… 然后我希望我每个 学期的重点不太一样… 觉得系统性偏差, 它完全是根据 topic 来的。所有说大学英语课 程就是根据教材来的, 而不是你要有个 objective, 你要让学生知道什么, 就算是让学生 知道什么, 也很散, 今天讲一个倒装, 明天讲一个… In addition, I think the course is a little bit scattered. I hope we can have a more systematic course. For instance, in the first semester, we can focus on pronunciation; in the second semester, we can focus on sentence structures; in the third semester… I am not sure whether I can continue to teach my current students. If I can still teach them, I will focus on discourse analysis; the fourth semester may focus on the integrated skills. Then I hope my teaching focuses are different in each semester. I think the instructional periods are limited when planning my lessons. …I think the content in the textbook lacks systematic nature, which is selected based on topics. In other words, the college English classes are based on themes in the textbooks. Rather, you, teachers, have an objective of teaching and decide what students should learn. Even if you decide what students should learn, the contents are loose. Today, you may teach inverted sentences, the other day, you may teach something else… (Penny’s baseline interview 25/04/2014)

Cheri made curricular decisions on changing the teaching coverage of the curriculum materials the second time, as the excerpt reveals:

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5 Materials Use Outside Language Classrooms: Influencing Factors … 可能我会根据年级不同, 有一些变化和调整吧。因为这是第二次, 第一次接触这个书也 比较陌生嘛。第二轮就准备进一步调整, 比如第一年级吧, 就是过渡阶段, 帮助他们更 深一步的理解, 通过有些词汇啊, 之类的。然后到第二年级的时候, 第二学期第三学期 注重让他们用自己的语言来 paraphrase, 用自己的话来描述, 更多得去描述这里面作 者的观点, 然后有一些论证论据论点, 然后学生自己去找, 自己去理解, 然后就少一 点 focus 在词汇上面; 然后再到最后一学期, 就更多地让他们这种写和阅读这两个方 面。第二个学期就是他的 input 稍微多点, 说和读会多一点; 到最后一个学期要多一些 writing, reading 也要加量。 I may adjust my teaching following students’ grades. Because it will be the second time of using the textbook, I feel unfamiliar with the content of the textbook when first using it. In the second round, I decide to adjust to my teaching further. For example, in the first semester, that is the transitional stage, I would enlarge their vocabulary and something like that. Then in the second and the third semesters, I would ask them to paraphrase the passage in their own words, particularly the author’s opinions. Let students search for evidence in the passage to support the author’s views on their own and comprehend the passage by themselves. And pay less attention to the vocabulary. In the last semester, I would emphasize more on their reading and writing skills. In the second semester, I would provide more input, that is more reading and speaking. In the last semester, more writing and reading should be incorporated (Cheri’s post-lesson interview).

5.4 Teacher Knowledge It was indicated that teachers’ content knowledge affected materials use in terms of the width and depth of expanding the materials. For instance, Windy was assured that her content knowledge base had a profound impact on the coverage of her teaching. When teaching Unit 5 of Book 1, which was about English literature, Windy covered all the reading materials offered in the textbook. In contrast, her colleagues complained about no teachable points in the same unit, as revealed by the following excerpt: 比如说, 我讲第一册的 Wuthering Heights, 讲那个 poems 其实我个人觉得很喜欢, 我 喜欢跟学生讲文学方面的东西。但是有的老师就说, 没什么好讲的, 不知道要讲什么。 所以这个单元两篇文章我都给学生讲了。但是对于有的老师的话, 她就会选择其中的 一个。对, 个人喜好。 For instance, when I was teaching Wuthering Heights in Book 1, I taught the poems. I am interested in them. I love to teach students something about literature. But some other teachers said there was nothing to teach and they didn’t know what to teach in that unit. So in that unit, I taught students two active reading passages. But for other teachers, they only chose one of them (as stipulated by the syllabus). Yes, personal interest. (Windy’s baseline interview 19/10/2013)

Her rich knowledge of literature and movies was confirmed by another lesson observation of Unit 1 of Book 1. In this class, Windy designed an activity to let students guess the types of movies just based on their English titles. Amid the activity, she provided the background information of each movie concerning the plots, directors and actors. It was seen that students’ interest was immediately aroused. Penny also acknowledged the importance of the content knowledge in lesson planning, as this excerpt illustrates:

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所以我会根据我能懂多少, 我了解多少, 我当然备的内容会更多一些。 So I may plan my teaching contents based on my knowledge and understanding in that area. (Penny’s baseline interview)

Penny took an example from her colleague, who had abundant knowledge of psychology. When he was teaching psychology topics, he could quickly expand the topic by means of designing various activities to engage students, as this excerpt shows: 我觉得你的专业以及你对某个方面的理解很大程度上影响你使用教材。比如说, 我们 有一个老师, 他对心理学很感兴趣, 然后他讲到跟心理学有关的那篇课文, 他可以发散 非常多; 还有他经常把他心理学的 workshop 上的内容拿到课堂上给学生。 I think teachers’ majors and their understandings in specific fields to a large extent could have an impact on their use of the curriculum materials. For instance, I have a colleague who is really good at psychology. So when he is teaching the passage related to psychology, he could expand a lot based on the topic. In addition, he often transmits what he learned in his psychological workshop to his class. (Penny’s baseline interview)

In contrast, knowledge limitation can constrain the use of the materials to some degree. For instance, Penny was not good at teaching masculine topics or social issues due to her lack of knowledge in those areas, as this excerpt shows: 男性类的话题的话, 我就真的不是很会讲。这样子我就会先去问问男老师的意见, 或者 是跟其他人商量一下。 For instance, I really don’t know how to teach the masculine topics. In this case, I will consult male colleagues. (Penny’s baseline interview).

In addition, the knowledge of students also exerted a strong influence on how teachers used the materials. The knowledge of students’ language proficiency level was crucial in teachers’ selection of supplementary materials. In most cases, the failure to select appropriate materials was due to teachers’ misconceptions about students’ language proficiency level and the difficulty level of the materials.

5.5 Contextual Factors The effects of the context on teachers’ pedagogical decisions in terms of utilizing the curriculum materials were evident in this study. Three domains of contextual factors emerged from the teachers’ interviews and lesson observations: (1) mesolevel institution agency, including departmental and institutional cultures, (2) the in-service professional development and (3) the meso-level CE curriculum. In the following sections, these factors will be illuminated with supporting evidence.

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5.5.1 Meso-Level Institution Agency The most prominent contextual factor that affected teachers’ interactions with the curriculum materials was the procedure of prescribing the mandatory textbooks at the institutional level. In China, researchers have long neglected the fact that university administrators have a significant impact on the stipulation of the local CE curriculum. At the beginning of each semester, a syllabus was disseminated to every CE teacher at the target university. This syllabus consisted of three major components: (a) the coverage of units in the Students’ Book (usually, 6 of the 10 units per book were selected by the head of the department); (b) the allocation of time for each unit (4–6 successive teaching periods for each reading and writing course) and (c) the arrangement of formative and summative assessments. Each teacher participant acknowledged that they had no autonomy but followed the syllabus in the whole semester, as shown by these interview excerpts: 那我必须要按照那个做, 就是六个单元, 我就是按照上面来做的 I must conform to the syllabus, that is, (covering) six units, I did follow it (Fiona’s baseline interview) 但是前提是你把教材规定那几个单元要上完 but the prerequisite is to finish teaching the required units in our syllabus. (Penny’s baseline interview) 教学进度表, 这个肯定要完成这个教学进度, 它规定你这个学期上几个单元, 哪几个单 元, 那你肯定要按照这个来。 Syllabus, we must fulfil the (requirements) in the syllabus. It stipulated how many units you should cover in this semester and which units; you must comply with the requirements. (Windy’s baseline interview) It is compulsory. We have a syllabus. And in the syllabus, it tells us which units need to be covered, so we need to … (Cheri’s baseline interview)

Although teachers are the frontline users of the textbook and CE curriculum, the local CE curriculum and syllabus were stipulated by the department head of the faculty at the target university. The decision on adopting the textbooks was made collectively by the Dean, the Associate Dean and the Department Head of the faculty. Teachers had no role in selecting either the mandatory textbooks or the compulsory units, as these interview excerpts reveal: 这个更改教材的话, 对于老师的话, 是没有任何主动权的。 For the changing of textbooks, as teachers, we don’t have any initiatives. (Fiona’s baseline interview) 要求用什么教材就用什么教材, 老师通常不会问这个。 Whatever textbooks are required to use, (we) would use them. Teachers usually don’t ask (why the textbook are adopted). (Penny’s baseline interview)

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不太了解。上面的领导决定使用这个教材, 我们就使用这个教材了。 Not clear. The leaders made the decisions of using the textbook, and then we would use the textbook accordingly. (Windy’s baseline interview)

5.5.2 In-Service Professional Development The second contextual factor is the in-service professional development in terms of utilizing the prescribed textbooks. All teacher participants confirmed that they had participated in teacher training organized by either the department or the publishing house with respect to the utilization of the target textbook. Interestingly, the four teacher participants took part in three different kinds of professional development with regard to utilizing the target textbook. Table 5.1 summarizes the four teacher participants’ professional development experiences. Although Penny was the only participant who did not attend the teacher training on how to use the textbooks at the university, she took part in the pedagogical exchange meetings among novice teachers organized by the department. Through this inservice professional development programme, she learned some useful instructional strategies and implemented them in her class, as this excerpt illuminates: 我觉得那个活动很好…. 然后可以改进他们的不足, 学习他们的一些优点。就比如, 上 课老师要准备一些 handout, 这个我以前没想到过, 你可以适当地准备一点 handout, 准 备一点纸质的材料, 然后给学生, 这样学生就比只听你讲要好一点。还有要多问学生问 题, 我以前属于比较 teacher-centered 的那种; 然后后来在看了之后就觉得应再多互动 一下。 I think this activity is instructive… then I could learn from their shortcomings and identify their useful teaching tips of theirs. For example, I found that teachers should prepare some handouts, which I have never thought of before. You can provide students with some paperbased handouts, which is better than solely giving oral instructions in some cases. Also, we should ask students more questions. In the past, I preferred teacher-centred instruction. But after watching their demonstrative teaching, I realized we should create more interactions among them. (Penny’s baseline interview 25/04/2014)

Furthermore, this professional development raised her awareness of students’ needs in learning CE: 然后通过观察他们, 我就能够想到, 我作为学生坐在底下会有什么样的感觉

Table 5.1 Summary of teachers’ professional development Cheri

Windy

Fiona

Penny

Professional development

Training on using Training on using Training on using the target textbook the target textbook preceding textbooks

Pedagogical exchange meeting among novice teachers

Organizers

College English Department

College English Department

The publishing house

The publishing house

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5 Materials Use Outside Language Classrooms: Influencing Factors … Then after observing their classes, I could think of if I were a student sitting in the classroom what kind of feelings I might have. (Penny’s baseline interview 25/04/2014)

Among the four teacher participants, Windy was the only one who participated in the textbook training programme organized by the publishing house in the summer of 2011 in Beijing before using the textbook at the target university. She felt that this programme’s benefit to her teaching was rather limited. The briefing of the training was superficial and did not solve her practical problems in using the textbook, as this excerpt reveals: 有一些帮助, 至少你可以了解这个教材的话大概的设计理念是什么, 意图是什么, 然后 就是着重培养学生哪个方面的能力, 对教材的布局有个大概的了解。 Did provide me with some help. At least you could know the conceptions of compiling the textbook and the intentions of the compilers. Then you could know what kind of students’ competence we should cultivate. And I knew the structure of the textbook in general. (Windy’s baseline interview 19/10/2013)

In this sense, the intensive and short-term professional development was not effective in terms of facilitating teachers’ daily use of the materials. Fiona had a similar experience in attending the teacher training conducted by the publishing house for the previous series of prescribed textbooks. Although she did not take part in any professional development on the use of the target textbook, the previous training sessions had made an impression on her. She suggested multilateral communication among new teacher users, the designers of the textbook and demonstrative teachers, as her reflection shows: 我觉得认真的培训还是有必要的, 特别是针对一些新的教材… 如何使用的话, 有一些 面对面的, 这种像示范课性质的。并且是选择有代表性的… 对教材剖析的比较好… 做 一个示范。告诉没有使用过的老师, 这个教材怎么用啊, 或者重点在哪里啊, 选材主要 的目的是什么。就是编者啊, 参与示范课的老师跟参加培训的老师有一个很好的沟通 的话, 那么教材的使用效果会比较好一点。教材培训还是有必要。 I think serious training is necessary, especially those targeting to new textbooks. If we use the textbook, the face-to-face… kind of… similar to the demonstrative teaching. Particularly selecting representative sections… or the profound analysis of textbooks…and demonstrating. Inform the teachers who are green hands how to use the textbook…or where the teaching emphases are and what the intentions of selecting the materials are. In other words, if there is good communication among designers of the textbook, demonstrative teachers and the trainees, then it will promote the effect of using the textbook forward. It is necessary to hold the training in the use of textbooks. (Fiona’s baseline interview)

In her view, the showcase teaching on the basis of using the textbook could enhance teachers’ understanding of the potential pedagogy and the rationale for selecting the materials, which will, in turn, foster teachers’ effective use of the materials in the long run. Cheri only took part in the department briefing, which was introduced by teachers who were trained in Beijing. This briefing consisted of an introduction to the structure of the textbook and the sections required to be covered in class, as this excerpt illustrates: 新教材都有培训, 在学校里面, 就是这个书的大致结构, 还有怎么使用, 就是有哪些章 节, 每一个章节里有哪些 sections, 就是这些, 比较简短的。

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There is training for every new textbook, which is organized in our school. It is mainly about the introduction to the general structure of the textbook, how to use it, what units in it, which sections in each unit. That is it; it is rather brief. (Cheri’s baseline interview)

Thus, this type of introductory briefing didn’t play the role of teacher development. In this comparison of the effects of three different kinds of professional development on teachers’ use of the textbook, it should be noted that Penny was the only teacher who demonstrated teacher learning. Fiona benefited from the showcase teaching with regard to using the textbook. However, Windy and Cheri didn’t seem to gain any knowledge from their respective training programs. Although it is too soon to draw the conclusion that the intensively decontextualized professional development was not useful, the findings did indicate that teachers need more institution-based and information-rich and long-term training with an emphasis on explicating the underlying rationales of textbook compilation, unveiling the implicit pedagogical potential of the materials and exemplifying the use of the materials in real educational environments.

5.5.3 Inflexibility of the Meso-Level CE Curriculum It was stipulated in the CE curriculum that four teaching periods per week were allocated to CE teaching in the three successive semesters at the target university. In the last semester, only two teaching periods were allotted to the course per week due to the newly issued CE reform. All the teacher participants, except Fiona, complained about the shortage of time in covering all the teaching content in the target textbook within one semester. In addition, the teacher participants did not think they could teach students CE substantively because of the diversity of the themes in the textbook and the lack of teaching periods, as three teachers clarify: 这个教材呢, 我在备课的时候, 我还是觉得时间上不够。因为我觉得大学英语的课很 少, 一个星期就见学生两次, 一共4节课。所以我感觉不是说我在课上教到他什么很实 在的东西。 整个topic太多, 然后时间又不是很多。 For this textbook, when I am preparing for the lessons, I don’t think teaching time is enough. Because I think CE classes are so few, that is, see students twice a week, and totally four classes. So I feel I couldn’t teach them something substantive in class. The topics are too diverse, and the time to cover them is limited. (Penny’s baseline interview) We don’t have enough time. In the first three semesters, we only cover half of the book, that is, five units of the book, because the book totally has ten units. For the rest of the five units, they need to finish it after class. And for this semester, that is, the second semester of the sophomore, I only cover the reading book in class because the class time was limited to only two periods each week. (Cheri’s baseline interview) So I can only cover for these four class periods…I can only cover just one passage and have some limited time to cover Active Reading Two. Writing, I don’t have time to cover and Unit task. (Winy’s baseline interview)

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In this sense, the shortage of time allocation in CE course constrained teachers’ further interactions with the curriculum materials and thus had direct effects on their students’ learning. As for the teaching time, Fiona suggested shortening the time for general English teaching and extending the time for academic English teaching or English for specific purposes: 大学英语只是作为一个过渡, 这个时间我觉得不一定非要长… .如果跟他的专业方向 结合起来话, 把前面的基础稍微缩短一些, 然后后面有一些涉及到他专业… CE should be regarded as a transitional period (for non-English majors). I don’t think the period should be long… If we combine their majors into English teaching and shorten the period of general English teaching, then in the following semesters concerned more about their majors. (Fiona’s baseline interview)

In this light, without the autonomy of time control, teachers’ further interaction with curriculum materials is deemed to be hindered. Thus, the meso-level CE curriculum surely influences teachers’ materials use at the classroom level.

5.6 Understanding Materials Use Outside Language Classrooms Teachers’ use of curriculum materials outside classrooms manifests the reflective nature of this teaching practice. For instance, Penny reflected on her failure to successfully enact one exercise based on students’ understanding of the passage after class and attributed it to the lack of input on tense. She decided to include this grammatical knowledge when implementing the same exercise in the next class. This ‘reflectionon-action’ (Schon, 1983) fed back into Penny’s current knowledge base, as she revised her procedural plan for implementing the exercise. The cognitive process had the potential to formulate a new constellation to enable her decision. Another example comes from Windy, whose failure to implement a reading activity in the previous class triggered her decision on revising instructions the second time. Her reflection also enriched her instructional strategy of interpreting instruction represented in the textbook, and this self-learning was reinforced by her success in carrying out the same activity in the second class. In this sense, both teachers had reflexive conversations (Prawat, 1991) with themselves in the process of using curriculum materials outside classrooms. It is worth mentioning that teachers’ reflexive dialogue between knowledge and practice of materials use occurred both individually and collectively (Bolton, 2010). For instance, Windy’s improvisation of an oral activity was the result of her exchange with Penny about the design of the vocabulary activities. Penny’s endeavour to unearth the curriculum’s potential was a reflexive result of her participation in the collegial exchange with regard to pedagogies. In this sense, the relationships between teachers and their colleagues were mediated through their use of the same curriculum materials, which helped develop a community of practice (Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003; Wenger, 1998).

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The power of reflexive mediation was shown in shaping teachers’ enactment of curriculum materials in the next class. The mediational means entail resources from teachers, such as teacher agency, language awareness; content knowledge, knowledge of students; pedagogical knowledge, and contextual knowledge. The reflective process demonstrates great potential for developing teachers’ schemes of utilization, which echoes the theoretical assumption that knowledge and practice are dialectical in that the enactment of a task, whether a success or failure, will form part of teachers’ stock of knowledge, which will be reviewed or revised as necessary for future work. Furthermore, if we regard the teachers’ reflections as the internal mediational means, then the features of curriculum material, students’ factors and the mesolevel curriculum are all external means to afford or constrain teachers’ materials use. Mediated relations of materials use outside classrooms are presented in Fig. 5.1.

Fig. 5.1 Mediation in materials use outside classrooms

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5.7 Summary In this chapter, teachers’ use of materials outside classrooms was demonstrated by focusing on the four domains of influencing factors. Teachers’ self-reflections were the internal driving force behind their further interactions with the curriculum materials. As teachers’ reflections could trigger teacher learning, material use has great potential for fostering teacher development. Moreover, the features of curriculum materials, students’ factors and the contextual factors exerted external impacts on materials use, which could not be neglected in examining the classroom-level curriculum development. In the next chapter, the theoretical interpretations of this teaching phenomenon of materials use will be illuminated.

References Bolton, G. (2010). Reflective practice: Writing and professional development. Sage Publications. Edwards, A., & D’Arcy, C. (2004). Relational agency and disposition in sociocultural accounts of learning to teach. Educational Review, 56(2), 147–155. Engestrom, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: An activity-theoretical approach to developmental research. Orienta-Konsultit: Helsinki, Finland. Engestrom, Y. (2001). Expansive learning at work: Toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work, 14(1), 133–156. Kinsella, C., Putwain, D., & Kaye, L. (2019). “You heard me swear but you never heard me!” Negotiating agency in the Pupil Referral Unit Classroom. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 26(1), 41–60. Rabardel, P., & Bourmaud, G. (2003). From computer to instrument system: A developmental perspective. Interacting with Computers, 15(5), 665–691. Schon, D. A. (1983). The reflective practitioner: How professionals think in action. London: Temple Smith. Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chapter 6

Conceptualizing Materials Use

Abstract This chapter consists of three major parts. The first part connects the main findings of the study. It starts with a brief recapitulation of teachers’ utilization of the curriculum materials and the corresponding influencing factors to address the first research question. The second part interprets the process of enacting the curriculum materials from the socio-cultural perspective, including the genesis of instrumentation (i.e. artefacts shaping subjects) and instrumentalization (i.e. subjects shaping artefacts) (Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003). Drawing on Rabardel and Bourmaud’s (2003) instrument-mediated activity model, three types of mediated relations among teachers, students and other subjects will be elaborated to address the second research question. In the end, the original theoretical framework will be adapted to conceptualize the enactment of the curriculum materials.

6.1 Main Findings of the Study In this study, teachers’ use of the curriculum materials demonstrates a series of actions that are participated in by teachers, learners and the curriculum materials oriented towards teachers’ pedagogical and curricular goals in a unique educational context, namely, transforming, evaluating, appropriating, adapting and improvising. Four domains of factors were identified that influenced teachers’ decisions on materials use outside classrooms, namely, features of the curriculum materials, student factors, teacher agency and knowledge, and the contextual factors. In other words, the teachers formulated distinct schemes of utilization in attending to curriculum materials through mobilizing various resources from themselves, students and curriculum materials (Brown, 2009; Remillard, 2005; Tomlinson, 2012). The findings confirmed that the teachers’ use of the curriculum materials is by no means straightforward or linear but dynamic and multidimensional (Remillard, 2005; Brown, 2009; Ball, 2012; Li & Harfitt, 2017). In the following sections, the process of enacting curriculum materials will be interpreted through the lens of socio-cultural theories (Vygotsky, 1978; Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003; Keller & Keller, 1996; van Lier, 2004; Wartofsky, 1979). First, I will reiterate the theoretical underpinnings of this study, followed by the theoretical © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 Z. Li, Language Teachers at Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5515-2_6

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interpretations of two processes of materials use, i.e. instrumentation and instrumentalization. In the process of instrumentation, the formation of instruments, both material and mental components, will be considered to explore teachers’ cognition in materials use. Then the multilayered affordances of curriculum materials will be clarified in terms of their pragmatic, epistemic and heuristic values to help explain teachers’ divergent interactions with the same material. Two roles of the curriculum materials, i.e. the authoritative and educative roles, will be further discussed to shed light on the practical implications of the study. In the process of instrumentalization, teachers’ cognitive processes in materials use will be delineated to disentangle the driving force behind all materials use activities. The concept of teachers’ knowledge in materials use will be raised to shed light on the potential of teacher learning through enacting curriculum materials. In the end, the idea of ‘authenticating’ (Tomlinson, 2016) will be introduced to generalize the various approaches to adapting materials.

6.2 Theoretical Underpinnings of the Study This study is grounded in the theoretical perspective that teachers, learners, curriculum materials and the context participate together in a dynamic and complex manner (Remillard, 2005; Brown, 2009). From this perspective, curriculum materials serve as both artefacts and tools, reified across communities of practice (Barab & Luehmann, 2003; Brown, 2009; Remillard, 2012). Teachers are subjects who actively engage with curriculum materials and environmental contexts to accomplish their pedagogic and curricular goals. Drawing on the concepts of artefacts, tools and instruments raised by Wartofsky (1979) and mediational means constructed by Wertsch (1998), Rabardel and Bourmaud (2003) defined the instrument as a mixed functional unit formulated by both the subject and the object. In other words, there are two components of an instrument, the materials artefact and human mental schemes. The artefact develops into an instrument only in combination with the development of human mental schemes (Gueudet & Trouche, 2009). Therefore, in accomplishing goal-oriented activities, curriculum materials, as artefacts, are transformed into instruments through their use by teachers and learners in and out of classroom settings. Moreover, as ‘products of socio-cultural evolution’ (Wertsch, 1998), artefacts such as curriculum materials have not only material dimensions but also social and cultural meanings, which are both shaped by and have the power to shape human activity through their affordances and constraints. Teachers develop different schemes of utilization that constitute the other component of an instrument. Teachers’ agentive power is also seen in shaping the enactment of curriculum materials. Given the distinction between artefacts and instruments, the instrument as the mediational means allows both the artefact and schemes to mediate activities. This complex process is called instrumental genesis (Rabardel, 1995), which is a bidirectional process. On the one hand, the artefact shapes the thinking of the user; this is called instrumentation. On the other hand,

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the conceptions and preferences of the user change how he or she uses the artefact and may even lead to changing or customizing it (Drijvers and Trouche, 2008). Therefore, theoretically, the materials use activity consists of two subprocesses, i.e. instrumentation and instrumentalization.

6.3 Instrumentation: Curriculum Materials Shaping Curriculum Enactment In this section, the multiple roles of curriculum materials in shaping the enactment of curriculum will be discussed to shed light on the possibility of teacher learning through materials use.

6.3.1 Formation of the Curriculum Instruments As Rabardel and Bourmaud (2003) explained, artefacts are transformed by humans into instruments, which consist of both material (i.e. artefacts) and mental (i.e. teachers’ schemes of utilization) components and which would mediate human activities (Drijvers & Trouche, 2008). In this light, the instruments are de facto mediational means. By drawing on the developmental perspective (Vygotsky, 1978) and the instrumental approach theory (Rabardel, 1995), I argue that the enactment of curriculum materials corresponds with the formation of new inventory instruments, which is a goal-oriented activity accomplished by both humans and artefacts. Many scholars have pointed out the design nature of enacting curriculum materials. For instance, Brown and Edelson (2003) asserted that teaching through the use of curriculum materials is design work in which teachers actively shape the instructional context by mobilizing the available resources to accomplish their goals (Brown & Edelson, 2003; Brown, 2009; Remillard, 2005, 2009). Therefore, the use of curriculum materials will mediate teachers’ designed and enacted instruction (Mesa & Griffiths, 2012). Materials use in the language classroom is composed of a series of interactive activities or tasks entailing teachers’ instructions, students’ responses, interactions among teachers and students via classroom discourse. From a socio-cultural perspective (Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1991), the teachers’ materials use is a higher form of human mental activity mediated by a myriad of mediational means. Theorizing the process of materials use creates opportunities to understand teachers’ cognition in the process of formulating instruments. The constructs, such as a stock of knowledge, umbrella plans and constellations in Keller and Keller’s (1996) social learning theory of human cognition in tool use, help conceptualize the enactment process and the formation of instruments. To produce the ‘lived’ instructions, teachers need to draw on their stock of knowledge, which include knowledge about language, knowledge of students, content knowledge, PCK,

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and teaching and learning strategies, communication competence, and knowledge of the text, to interpret and perceive the affordances of the curriculum materials. Then they generate rough plans, that is, the conceptual frameworks of how to conduct the activities and tasks. These conceptual frameworks constitute the umbrella plans that are detailed during the process of materials use. Finally, they formulate constellations to enable the steps of the plans to reach teachers’ pedagogical goals. As the process of materials use equates to the formation of instruments, the components of instruments are curriculum materials, teachers’ stock of knowledge, conceptual procedures for enacting the materials towards specified goals, constellations entailing teaching ideas, appropriate teaching approaches and certain parts of the curriculum materials. The formation of a curriculum instrument is clarified in the following formula: Curriculum instrument = curriculum materials + teachers’ stock of knowledge + procedural plans + constellations The formation of instruments is an evolving process with the old instruments feeding back to teachers’ stock of knowledge and new inventory instruments revised and produced (Gueudet, Pepin & Trouche, 2012). Moreover, the enactment of curriculum materials is not solely dependent on teachers’ actions but also on the participation of students and curriculum resources with curriculum instruments being the nexus of mediated relations between teachers and their pedagogic goals, between teachers and other subjects, and between teachers and themselves.

6.3.2 Multilayered Affordances of Curriculum Materials According to Norman (2013), humans commonly design artefacts with the capability of cueing activity through constraints and affordances. van Lier’s (2004) definition of affordances emphasized the interpretive nature of humans and artefacts in that affordances are perceived by humans to identify the possible meaning and action embedded in the artefact. In this study, the curriculum materials demonstrated three levels of affordances, namely, pragmatic, epistemic and heuristic levels. The pragmatic affordances of an artefact are congruent with its physical features. The pragmatic value of the curriculum materials was reflected in how they facilitated teaching in terms of how they provided resources and auxiliary tools for teachers’ daily teaching and how they were tailored to students’ needs in the exam-oriented and centralized curriculum context of China. In a similar vein, Remillard’s (2012) construct of the form of address entails the pragmatic affordances of curriculum materials, which constitute the physical, visual and substantive forms. Since teachers and students had divergent perceptions of the pragmatic affordances of the materials, a variety of usage of the same materials were understandable. For instance, Fiona regarded the colourful layout of the Student’s Book as unprofessional, which devalued the authoritative role of the textbook in her mind. In contrast, Penny was

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in favour of the look (Remillard, 2012) of the textbook. She even sought out extra visual resources to facilitate her teaching. The epistemic affordances of an artefact entail the underlying intentions of design, the potential meaning and the potential action (van Lier, 2004), which give clues to human beings to interpret and perceive. The epistemic value of curriculum materials was exemplified in teachers’ and students’ interpretation and perception of the representations and intentions embedded in the materials. For instance, when preparing for their lesson plans, all teacher participants need to comprehend the passage and developed corresponding activities or tasks. In this sense, the epistemic value of the passage was appreciated by the teachers and thereby afforded them the basis or ‘frame’ for designing their instruction. Similarly, when students were previewing and reviewing their lessons, they also need to perceive the representations of the curriculum materials, for instance, the requirements of the exercises, the meanings of the diagrams and illustrations, and the themes of the passages. In the same way, the epistemic value of the curriculum materials enabled and benefited students’ learning in and out of class. Most importantly, the designer’s intention is the reification of the epistemic value of the curriculum materials. Because of the opacity of these epistemic affordances, teachers’ enactment of curriculum materials was often hindered. For instance, Windy deliberately omitted activities whose meanings she could not identify. Penny was uncertain of her interpretation of the potential curriculum due to a lack of information from the designers. Therefore, epistemic affordances are likely to hinder teachers’ implementation if it is not explicit. This issue has also been discussed by Norman (2013) in terms of the designer’s concern for future users’ perceived affordances of an artefact. Designers cannot ensure that the intended or imagined affordances will be correctly interpreted by the users of the artefact. This also helps to explain the inconsistencies in textbook use by different teachers that may result from their divergent interpretations of the epistemic affordances of the curriculum materials. In this study, the power and authority of the prescribed curriculum materials embodied the heuristic affordances of the artefacts. The power of textbooks in the language classroom has been well documented in the literature (Littlejohn, 2011; Brown, 2014). In most parts of Asia where centralized or national curricula are prevalent, including China (Cheng, 2011; Li & Harfitt, 2017, 2018), Hong Kong (McGrath, 2006; Lee, 2005; Carless, 1999), Taiwan (Ke, 2012) and Japan (Underwood, 2010), English curriculum materials, particularly textbooks, are arguably the de facto curriculum (Tomlinson & Masuhara, 2018). In this study, teachers and students acknowledged their reliance on the textbook in teaching and learning English in higher education in China. The textbook was particularly authoritative for novice teachers. For instance, Penny assumed that prescribed curriculum materials were compiled systematically and scientifically by experts. Using such books empowered her teaching. Students place more heuristic value on their textbooks than teachers. A finding that emerged from the student baseline interviews revealed the irreplaceable role of English textbooks in the CE class in China.

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The multilayered affordances of curriculum materials echoed Wartofsky’s (1979) triple classification of artefacts and further illuminated the complexity of interpreting and using the materials in classroom settings. With teachers and learners interpreting and perceiving different layers of the same material, divergent actions will be conducted, leading to various teaching and learning outcomes. Therefore, understanding how teachers and learners used the curriculum materials facilitates to identify the discrepancy between the written curriculum and the enacted one, which is especially important and deserves attention (Ball, 2012).

6.3.3 The Ostensible Authority of Curriculum Materials in ELT in China This study has indicated that even in a highly centralized system with a rigid curriculum allowing little flexibility, teachers still play a central role in implementing the classroom-level curriculum. The top-down policy of curriculum reform, the stipulation of the syllabus and the adoption of prescribed curriculum materials empowered the curriculum materials; however, the laissez-faire evaluation system regarding teachers’ use of the curriculum materials at the meso institutional level weakened the authoritative role of the curriculum materials in teachers’ minds. Furthermore, the limited role of the curriculum materials in nationalized standard exams, such as CET 4 and 6, diminished their power in students’ minds. Different from Guerrettaz and Johnston’s (2013) claim that language materials are the ‘organiser of planned content’ and constitute the legitimate curriculum in the case teacher’s class, this study unveiled a more autonomous teaching environment where teacher participants were still the centrality of materials use at the classroom level. This study also showed that language learning opportunities were not merely influenced by the format or content of the given materials but also by teachers’ ability to interpret and perceive the materials. In other words, the same type of exercise could be used in different ways based on teachers’ competence in generating curriculum instruments. For instance, Windy invented a new open-ended activity based on two close-ended vocabulary exercises to promote students’ language learning. In contrast, Fiona’s enactment of the same vocabulary exercise did not offer any opportunity for students’ negotiation of meanings, and thus no language learning occurred. Although curriculum materials are indispensable in language classrooms in China, without the participation of teachers and students, textbooks are simply pages of dead written symbols (O’Neil, 1982). More importantly, because of the influence of local culture and the development of technology, the paper-based ELT curriculum materials in China are becoming less powerful, particularly in higher education where students have diverse needs for language learning. Teachers’ indifferent attitudes towards the change of the curriculum materials reflect the marginalized role of curriculum materials in educational changes in China. Students’ anticipation of knowledge beyond the prescribed curriculum materials indicates the deficiency of adopting one series

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of curriculum materials at the target university to fit all needs. Therefore, compared with the powerful roles of textbooks in the South Asian countries, the ostensible authority of the ELT curriculum materials in higher education in China is becoming increasingly prominent. Compared with the decreasing power of curriculum materials in language classrooms, the centrality of teachers has endured. Therefore, uncovering how teachers do and learn through enacting curriculum materials will provide a new avenue for the continuous professional development.

6.3.4 The Educative Role of Curriculum Materials According to Brown (2009), how a teacher engages in the teacher–curriculum relationship is influenced both by the design of the materials and by the teacher’s own knowledge, skills, beliefs and goals. Moreover, the development of teaching expertise and the artefacts of practice that represent this expertise are fundamentally tied to the contexts in which a teacher engages in teaching practices (Forbes, 2009). Drawing on the critical dimension of teachers’ learning, that is, teachers’ ability to mobilize and use their knowledge effectively in practice (Forbes, 2009), this study has demonstrated that the prescribed curriculum materials not only provide the important input in language classrooms but also have the potential to foster teacher learning through constant use of the materials (Choppin, 2009). Teacher learning is witnessed in the processes of interpreting the text, seeking appropriate materials, and searching for teachable content and relevant pedagogical knowledge. For instance, Cheri believed she gained some content knowledge from reading newly published passages. Penny’s in-depth study of the texts brought her the potential teaching content of each passage. In addition, all teachers supplemented extra materials in their lesson plans. The selection of materials provided opportunities for teachers to make evaluative judgements, which were shaped by a range of teacher knowledge, including knowledge about language, knowledge of students (e.g. interests, language proficiency levels and learning needs) and knowledge of the context. Referring to the Teacher’s Guide also created opportunities for teacher learning, as teachers sifted out certain knowledge from the Teacher’s Guide, including subject matter knowledge, pedagogical knowledge and knowledge of the text. Teacher learning will also happen owing to teachers’ self-reflections and collegial influence. For instance, students’ questions triggered Windy’s reflection on her enactment of a reading comprehension activity in terms of phrasing the instruction. She then changed the ways in which she articulated the instruction and fostered students’ further engagement with the material. This reflection was shaped by the teacher’s evaluative knowledge of students, which stimulated teacher learning. The most prominent opportunities for teacher learning were created in the inservice professional development organized by the faculty among novice teachers. Penny acquired pedagogical knowledge from her colleague’s demonstration of lessons in such a training session. Windy borrowed an idea for creatively using

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the curriculum materials from her colleague in their after-class casual conversation, which indicated that materials use activity has the potential to help construct the collegial learning and build a community of practice in the long run. Different from studies in mathematics and science conducted in elementary and secondary schools in the U.S. (Remillard, 1999; Collopy, 2003; Forbes & Davis, 2010), the educative role of the newly published curriculum materials in this study was limited. On the one hand, the scarce learning opportunities might be caused by teachers’ unawareness of learning from the materials in higher education. For instance, although all teachers admitted challenges in using the materials for the first time, they rarely attributed it to a lack of their teaching competence or inadequacy of teacher knowledge and, more importantly, pedagogical design capacity. Teachers often blamed the ‘abstractness’ of topics in the materials, the impracticality of the activities devised by the designers and the insufficiency of supporting materials rather than their inadequacy of professional competencies and knowledge. On the other hand, the deficiency of the curriculum materials’ design impeded teachers’ further engagement with them, which might also have led to less learning from the materials. For instance, the potential pedagogy embedded in the materials was barely understood by teacher participants in some cases of Windy, Penny and Cheri. If the designers desire their pedagogical intentions to be implemented, then the communication with teachers is necessary. This echoes Remillard’s finding that most of the curriculum materials were compiled to ‘speak through’ teachers rather than ‘speak to’ them (Remillard, 2012). Transferring the mode of interaction of the textbook has the potential to ensure the consistency and coherence of curriculum enactment between teachers and compilers (Davis, Beyer, Forbes & Stevens, 2011).

6.4 Instrumentalization: Teachers’ Roles in Shaping the Curriculum Materials In this section, through the theoretical lens of human cognition in tool use (Keller & Keller, 1996), I will interpret teachers’ roles in shaping the curriculum materials. The concept of teacher knowledge concerning materials use is raised to highlight the driving force beneath the whole process of materials use. Finally, the idea of authentication (Tomlinson, 2016) will be used to explicate teachers’ various adaptation approaches in materials use.

6.4.1 Teachers’ Cognitive Processes in Materials Use According to Keller and Keller (1996), observed practices emerge from the mental, material and social structures in the situated context. When a human produces a creative product, he or she will draw on knowledge, formulate a rough plan of design

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towards the goal of the task and generate a constellation enabling each step of accomplishing the rough plan (Keller & Keller, 1996). This process evolves and develops until the anticipated goals are reached. Teachers’ use of curriculum materials is no exception. As mentioned earlier, the process of enacting curriculum materials equates to the production of inventory instruments. In this sense, the human cognitive process in inventing artefacts helps theorize teachers’ cognitive process in using curriculum materials. In this study, the enactment of the curriculum materials is manifested in a series of interactional activities, namely, transforming, evaluating, appropriating adapting and improvising. The observable behaviours originated from teachers’ cognitive processes, as teachers’ enactment of curriculum materials is triggered by the higher form of their mental activity (Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1991). Teachers’ use of curriculum materials undergoes a series of cognitive procedures. First, teachers draw on their funds of knowledge and skills, including knowledge about language, knowledge of students, content knowledge, PCK, and teaching and learning strategies, classroom management skills, communication competence and pedagogical design capacity, to interpret and perceive the affordances of the curriculum materials. They then generate rough plans, that is, conceptual frameworks of how to conduct the activities and tasks. These plans will become detailed during the process of materials use. Finally, they formulate constellations to enable the steps of their detailed plans in the whole process of materials use. The constellation entails teachers’ procedural knowledge of conducting the activities and tasks, appropriate teaching approaches and certain parts of the curriculum materials. For instance, teachers deployed funds of knowledge to unlock the teaching potential of the passage in terms of language features and text organizations. They started to think about what instructional strategies should be used to teach the materials; this was mental and in a rough framework. Then, during class, when conducting the activities, they formulated a series of constellations to enable each step of their plans. It is worth mentioning that an old constellation would feed back to teachers’ current knowledge base and help reify prior rough plans. New constellations would be formulated until teachers’ pedagogic goals were reached. The cognitive process constituted the invisible component of curriculum instruments; that is, the schemes of utilization, and drove the whole process of materials use. In sum, the process of enacting curriculum materials entails teachers’ behavioural and mental activities. When designing lesson plans and enacting them in the classroom, teachers developed various kinds of schemes of utilisation concerning what to emphasize and what to omit, how to modify and where to adhere to the material and how to engage the students (Ball, 2012). Teachers demonstrated great flexibility in modifying the materials to meet students’ needs under different circumstances. In other words, teachers are not conduits of curriculum materials but crucial agents of enacting curriculum in and outside of classrooms.

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6.4.2 Teacher Knowledge in Materials Use (TKMU) Among the teacher resources enumerated in the enactment of curriculum materials, TKMU became an emerging and significant construct (Guerrettaz and Johnston, 2014; Li, 2019). The construct of TKMU consists of a myriad of knowledge components, namely, subject matter knowledge, content knowledge, PCK, knowledge about language, knowledge of students, instructional strategies, improvisational expertise, communication competence and knowledge of context. TKMU was accumulated from prior teaching experiences and influenced by teachers’ characteristics, professional judgement, the competence of design and ability to have access to materials. For instance, Fiona’s experiences in teaching an integrated course stimulated her adjustment of the teaching schedule by incorporating the Listening and Speaking course into the Reading and Writing course. Penny’s and Cheri’s competence in finding more appropriate supplementary materials enabled them to unlock the pedagogical and curricular potential of the materials (Ben-Peretz, 1975, 1990; Connelly, 1988) to promote more in-depth students’ engagement with the materials. Cheri’s invention of PPT slides with a new look and content demanded her design competence and the agency of creativity. According to van Lier (2004), the affordances chosen to serve the agent are highly dependent on the agent’s abilities to promote further action and will lead to higher and more successful levels of interaction. In this sense, it is teachers’ competence of unearthing the pedagogical and curricular potential, seeking out appropriate resources and contextualizing the given materials to cater to students’ needs that allow them to appropriate the affordances of the given curriculum materials more effectively. This competence is akin to Brown’s (2009) pedagogical design capacity, which belongs to the personal practical knowledge that is developed through teachers’ daily practice of using curriculum materials (Clandinin & Connelly, 1992). In this light, TKMU exits in the context of ELT teaching and plays a significant role in teaching and learning. Following the concept of personal practical knowledge, teachers’ process of materials use evolves concomitantly with the development of TKMU. TKMU is inextricably intertwined with the practice of materials use, which reflects past accomplishments in anticipation of future work while attending to the current situation (Clandinin, 1985; Keller & Keller, 1996). The refinement of past practices enriches the old knowledge and allows the growth of new knowledge. This again proved the existence of teachers’ invisible cognitive processes that are driving their activity of materials use. Since materials development is the most effective way of teacher growth (Tomlinson & Masuhara, 2018), continual learning becomes a vital part of materials use.

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6.4.3 Authenticating the Curriculum Materials Scholars of ELT materials development have identified many ways in which teachers can adapt materials, including addition, modification, replacement and deletion (Bosompem, 2014). This study also unveiled a variety of approaches that teachers used toadapt the curriculum materials, such as supplementing and inventing. They are consistent with addition as defined by McDonough, Shaw and Masuhara (2013) in that teachers retain what the textbook contains and add materials from other resources to it. The approach of substituting for some portions of the book deemed unsuitable for learners, the learning context or learning objectives (Bosompem, 2014) is also witnessed in this study. Teachers’ replacement is mainly manifested in producing more personalized and contextualized materials for students’ learning. Teachers’ alteration of the form, use or order of different features of materials (McDonough et al., 2013) is evident in this study when teachers adjusted the sequences of teaching content and simplified the requirements of the given exercises. Furthermore, teachers adjusted teaching schedules, deleted or omitted certain portions of the textbook based on their own needs and teaching pace, which are all mentioned in the how-to books published for ELT materials development (e.g. McGrath, 2016; McDonough et al., 2013; Tomlinson, 2011). All in all, teachers are authenticating materials in the daily practice of materials use in a range of ways. The idea of authenticating materials, which was first raised by Tomlinson (2016), emphasized the adaptive nature of materials use in ELT across contexts. He called for more classroom-based research, like this study, to uncover the real use of materials and to provide teachers more food for thought and terrain to explore in terms of how to authenticate materials in the natural educational environment. Moreover, it is important to note that teachers’ adaptation of curriculum materials did not stop outside classrooms. In Chap. 5, teachers’ post-lesson reflections indicated that most of the teacher participants were engaged in reflective teaching (Zeichner & Liston, 2014) with respect to further adapting the materials. For instance, Windy revised her instruction on one reading comprehension activity in her second class due to her students’ unanticipated performances. Penny’s post-lesson reflection on her enacted instruction exemplified her intention to adapt her instruction when using the same materials for the second time. These were all signs of teacher learning through the use of curriculum materials.

6.5 The Participatory Relations Among Teachers, Learners, Curriculum Materials and the Context Now greater understanding has been provided of the complexity of materials use, which is by no means straightforward or linear, as the entire process is mediated by human beings, artefacts and the context. Without the participation of any party,

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the enactment of curriculum materials could never be realized. In fact, teachers and curriculum materials should never be competitors with one party more authoritative than the other, but partners in the process of formulating comprehensible and accessible instruction for students (Remillard & Taton, 2015). The dynamic and interactive relationship among teachers, learners, curriculum materials and the context will be discussed to foreground the construction of the theoretical framework of this study. In this study, four domains of influencing factors were explored, including features of curriculum materials, students’ issues, teachers’ factors and contextual factors. These factors affect the whole process of materials use, with teachers’ factors playing prominent roles. Teachers’ beliefs and competence are the two most studied factors that influence teachers’ use of curriculum materials (Remillard, 2005). This study has considered more teachers’ influencing factors: teacher agency and knowledge in materials use. Compared with external factors, teachers’ internal traits, particularly TKMU, contributed more to their effective use of the materials. The affordances of the curriculum materials in terms of providing concrete planning and a reliable compiling system are consistent with pro-textbook views (Harwood, 2005; Garton & Graves, 2014). However, the ostensible authority of the curriculum materials in higher education in China diverges from the pivotal role of ELT textbooks in most Asian countries. Furthermore, the affordances of using curriculum materials were concomitant with its constraints. The text-based instruction was ineffective due to the limited teaching content, inadequacy of teachers’ support and blocked communication between teachers and compilers. The institutional culture also affected the whole process of enacting curriculum materials. In this study, one of the contextual factors that had a direct effect on teachers’ use of curriculum materials was the mandated syllabus, which was disseminated at the beginning of each semester with compulsory units for each textbook. Accordingly, teachers were obliged to cover these units within certain teaching periods, and this determined their daily teaching content. In this light, the discrete units framed the teachers’ daily teaching. This constraint stemmed from the unique socio-cultural context of China, which was elucidated at the backdrop of the study in Chap. 3. Moreover, it supported the weak anti-textbook view that the syllabus should be flexible enough to allow the local teacher to contextualize and personalize the materials (Harwood, 2005). Moreover, with regard to generating localized and contextualized curriculum materials, the inadequacy of teachers’ support was acknowledged by most of the teacher participants. Teacher participants were in great need of facilitation in terms of pedagogy, content knowledge and PCK (e.g. Penny’s difficulty in selecting extra materials, Windy’s eagerness to learn pedagogy, Cheri’s confusion in teaching vocabulary and Fiona’s struggle to deal with new topics). Teachers’ voices about making effective use of the prescribed curriculum materials were not heard at the institutional level. Instead, teachers were regarded as professionals who already had the competence to use curriculum materials effectively in the eyes of administrators at the meso-level. In fact, the enactment of curriculum materials was not under constant and stringent review. The only evaluation of teachers’

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use of curriculum materials was implicitly represented in an online student evaluation of teaching conducted at the end of each semester. The results of this evaluation were not consolidated enough to influence teachers’ promotion and thereby did not affect teachers’ awareness or cause them to modify their use of curriculum materials. In this sense, teachers’ use of the curriculum materials was generally laissez-faire (Humphries, 2014). This implementation policy impeded teachers’ motivation to use curriculum materials more productively and creatively. Further, the communication between the teachers and the compilers was insufficient, which in turn restricted teachers’ use of the curriculum materials. For instance, when finding that the activities printed in the textbook were impractical or unviable, teachers would substitute the materials without taking the compilers’ goals into consideration. It is also noteworthy that teachers were eager to know the intentions of the designers to ascertain the potential pedagogical content. This inconsistency also occurred in pre-service teachers’ teaching practice in science when their perceived learning goals were not aligned with those embodied in the curriculum materials (Davis et al., 2011).

6.5.1 Teacher Voice The study illuminated the agentive power of teachers in interpreting and adapting the curriculum materials in the process of utilizing them (Brown, 2009). Teachers are not mere conduits or implementers of the curriculum but active agents of co-constructing the enacted curriculum together with the learners and designers (Clandinin & Connelly, 1992; Ben-Peretz, 1990; Stein, Grover & Heningsen, 1996). It also raised a similar issue of seeking the voices of the designers or compilers of the curriculum materials, which was highlighted by Remillard (2012) when illustrating the modes of engagement with mathematics teachers through the use of curriculum materials. As introduced in Chap. 3 concerning the academic rationale for adopting the curriculum materials in China, it was clear that teachers did not have a say in selecting the prescribed curriculum materials. The top-down policy, which treated teachers as passive receivers of the textbooks, might cause negative or indifferent attitudes towards the mandatory textbooks, thus impeding teachers’ agency of change and creativity. Without the change of the institutional and departmental cultures, teachers’ voices with respect to curriculum development could not be heard, and thus the more effective and productive use of the prescribed textbooks will be significantly hindered. Furthermore, all the teachers advocated in-service teacher development in terms of the effective use of the curriculum materials. They asked for hands-on practice and an interpretation-based approach to professional development, which were also recommended by other scholars (e.g. Humphries, 2014) to promote the change of teachers’ instruction from transmission-based to learner-centred.

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6.5.2 Student Voice Student voice concerning the use of curriculum materials was heard in this study. Discrepancies were found between teachers’ and students’ views on the necessity of using curriculum materials in ELT, teachers’ pedagogy and the learning outcomes. First, the authoritative role and power of the textbook were more prominent to students, particularly at the beginning of their college life, than in the teachers’ minds. Students cited the irreplaceable role of ELT curriculum materials in their language learning. Although teachers provided supplementary materials to enlarge students’ knowledge, students still believed the prescribed textbook was essential in language classrooms. In contrast, many teachers, particularly the experienced ones, held negative attitudes towards the prescribed textbook in terms of the necessity of using it for daily teaching. Students’ strong ownership of the textbook might become an external impetus for teachers’ adherence to the content of the textbook. To some extent, this will cause tension between teachers’ autonomy and students’ satisfaction in terms of teaching content. Second, there is a disparity between students’ learning needs and teachers’ teaching emphasis. For instance, although most of the students talked of the need for detailed elaborations on the language features, teachers did not feel this need. They played great emphasis on fostering students’ meaning-making and cultivating their reading comprehension skills through introducing the background and intercultural knowledge, rather than explicating every language point embedded in the passage. Therefore, most of the students complained that they did not feel that they learned anything in the CE course, particularly in contrast to the learning outcomes at high schools. CE teachers were more concerned with providing opportunities for English learning in the course, while some students were more worried about getting higher grades in exams. Students were result-oriented, while teachers were process-oriented. In addition, students did not always follow teachers’ requirements on using the curriculum materials during and after class, which again raised the issue of seriously considering student voice in the design and enactment of the curriculum materials.

6.6 Mediated Relations in Enacting Curriculum Materials As artefacts have the power to mediate human activities by either facilitating or hampering goal-oriented activities, curriculum materials, as artefacts and tools, have the same potential to enhance or inhibit teachers’ teaching and students’ learning. The mediational role of curriculum materials was acted out through teachers’ and students’ use, which was oriented in three directions, namely, towards the object of the activity, towards other subjects and towards oneself (cf. Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003). In the following sections, mediated relations among teachers, students and other subjects will be explicated based on the findings of the study to address the

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second research question, i.e. what are the underlying relationships among teachers, students, curriculum materials and the context in higher education in China?

6.6.1 Mediation Between Subject and Object Building on Vygotsky’s mediation theory, Rabardel and Bourmaud (2003) identified that the primary mediation comes from the subject’s activity being oriented towards the object of the activity. They further distinguished two forms of mediation: epistemic and pragmatic. Epistemic mediation refers to the mediation that aims mainly at getting to know the object (e.g. its properties, its evolution in line with the subject’s actions, etc.). Pragmatic mediation concerns action on the object (e.g. transformation, regulation management, etc.) (Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003). In this study, both forms of mediation were manifested. Teachers were the subjects of materials use activity, which was oriented towards reaching two major objects: the planned and enacted curriculum. The epistemic mediation demonstrated when the teachers attempted to understand the pedagogy embedded in the materials to design instruction. For instance, teachers would perceive the potential teaching content or extract the salient points from the textbook for the planned curriculum. Teachers’ cognitive process of comprehending the materials was mediated by both teachers and materials. The epistemic mediation also manifested when the teachers attempted to learn from their use of materials during class. For instance, teachers reflected on the unsatisfactory students’ performances and developed a deeper understanding of the pedagogical intentions of the materials. They paid particular attention to the appropriateness of these teaching points and reflected on their teaching performances during class. The pragmatic mediation was oriented between teachers and the planned and enacted curriculum when teachers transformed the content and format of materials before and during class. For instance, although the content of the textbooks framed their daily teaching, the teachers had their ways to use materials by modifying the materials to cater to students’ needs. Therefore, the mediation is pragmatic since teachers took actions to change the materials in terms of content and format.

6.6.2 Interpersonal Mediation The second type of mediation is ‘interpersonal mediation’, in which the subject’s activity is oriented towards other subjects. Interpersonal mediation may also be epistemic or pragmatic, depending on whether it is a question of knowing others or acting upon them (Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003). Four types of interpersonal-mediated relations were identified in this study through teachers’ use of the curriculum materials, namely, between teachers and students, teachers and colleagues, teachers and designers, and teachers and administrators.

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The interpersonal-mediated relation between teachers and students is primary and explicit, as teachers are the subjects who select potential teaching content from the textbook to build students’ vocabulary base, enlarge students’ background knowledge and facilitate students’ reading comprehension. The mediation was pragmatic, as teachers were acting on to teach students through using the curriculum materials. Moreover, the teacher–studentmediated relation could also be epistemic, as teachers adapted activities or tasks while taking students’ language proficiency, learning needs, interest and competencies into consideration. In addition, teachers omitted or modified some parts of the textbook because of inadequate understanding of the designer’s intentions, which in turn represented the second interpersonal relation between the teachers and the designers or compilers of the curriculum materials. In this sense, this teacher–designermediated relation was epistemic in nature, as teachers were attempting to understand the designer’s intentions in their use of the curriculum materials. The third relation was between teachers and colleagues, particularly when they exchanged pedagogical strategies, as they were using the same curriculum materials in the same teaching context. This mediation was pragmatic in nature. The fourth interpersonal relation was between teachers and administrators. The teacher–administratormediated relationship was pragmatic as the administrators acted on to regulate teaching and learning through the use of curriculum materials. As mentioned in Chap. 5, the set syllabus was solely stipulated by the administrators based on the textbook without the participation of teachers. In this sense, the teacher–administratormediated relation was also epistemic, because teachers had to consider the set syllabus while planning the lessons, even if they had the autonomy to adjust the syllabus based on their teaching context.

6.6.3 Self-reflexive Mediation The third mediation is reflexive mediation, through which the subject’s relation to him/herself is mediated by the instrument (Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003). The reflexive mediation often occurred when teachers were reflecting on their previous teaching and anticipating their next class. It mainly manifested in this study when teachers made mental or physical teaching notes about effective or ineffective materials, found activities or tasks that they needed to modify or remove, and identified topics they would not cover or would cover next the time they taught. For instance, noticing that the activities or sample sentences in the curriculum materials were not viable or suitable for their students, the teachers would omit or replace them. Upon seeing that the students’ responses did not reach her expectations in one task, Windy reflected on her instruction and changed the way she asked the question a second time, which in turn improved students’ performances. If the materials did not work with their students, teachers would not choose them.

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Most of the reflexive mediation was pragmatic, as teachers revised their use of curriculum materials after self-reflections. Interestingly, there was still some epistemic self-reflexive mediation. For instance, Penny realized that students’ unsatisfactory performance in doing a reading comprehension exercise might be attributed to their unawareness of tense in the passage. She told me that if she could emphasize the importance of tense in English language and offer relevant examples, the learning results might have been better. In other words, the mediated activity was only happening in her mind without being carried out in reality. In sum, the relations among teachers, learners, and other stakeholders are all mediated through the use of curriculum materials. Therefore, the instrument-mediated activity model built by Rabardel and Bourmaud (2003) in the field of human– computer interaction is transferrable to the area of materials use. This classroombased research reminds us that on the one hand, curriculum materials are playing a crucial role in language classrooms; on the other hand, teachers are still the centrality of mobilizing multiple resources in the classroom ecology, and they are the primary driving force behind the activity of materials use.

6.7 Curriculum Instrument Mediation Model The curriculum instrument mediation model hybridizes the participatory perspective (Remillard, 2005), the mediation theory (Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1998), triple classifications of artefacts (Wartofsky, 1979) and the instrument-mediated activity model (Rabardel & Bourmaud, 2003). It aims to conceptualize teachers’ use of curriculum materials at the classroom level. The dotted arrows in Fig. 6.1 represent the four orientations of mediation in an instrument-mediated activity. The findings represent four orientations of mediated relations: between teachers and objects (i.e. planned and enacted curriculum), between teachers and other subjects (i.e. students, colleagues, designers and administrators), between teachers and themselves and between other subjects and objects. The mediational means is the curriculum instrument, which is at the core of the framework and has three-level affordances, i.e. pragmatic, epistemic and heuristic. As illustrated in Sect. 6.3.1, the curriculum instrument is composed of teachers’ stock of knowledge, conceptual procedures for enacting the materials towards specified goals, constellations entailing teachers’ ideas, appropriate teaching approaches and the appropriate teaching materials. The formation of the curriculum instrument is, arguably, the situated and developmental process of enacting the curriculum materials in a specific context by teachers and students (Gueudet & Trouche, 2012; Pepin, 2014). This framework not only portrays the mediated relations in the activity of materials use, but also explores the formation of the mediational means; that is, curriculum instruments. As artefacts, the curriculum materials are designed with the potential to mediate human activity. Only through humans’ utilization can these affordances be interpreted and perceived (van Lier, 2004) and then transformed into real mediational means. The teachers developed unique and distinct schemes of utilization,

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Fig. 6.1 Curriculum instrument mediation model

which could shape their planned and enacted curriculum. Dialectically, the planned and enacted curriculum would, in turn, affect teachers’ schemes of utilization for future activities. Therefore, the relationship among teachers, learners and curriculum materials is deemed to be dynamic, participatory and developmental. The most distinct adaptation in the curriculum instrument mediation model lies in the supplement of context, which influences any element in the classroom ecology. The adding of context in this framework is consistent with the situated nature of teaching, which is dependent on the participation of teachers, students and curriculum materials in a specific context (Remillard, 2005). Most importantly, the context in the curriculum instrument mediation model encompasses macro-level, (i.e. the design process of curriculum materials at the national level), the meso-level, (i.e. the institutional implementation of the national CE curriculum), and the micro-level, (i.e. teachers’ and students’ use of curriculum materials in classroom settings). Further, the curriculum instrument mediation model is not discipline-specific. It drew on a range of social learning, socio-cultural and curriculum theories, for instance, Rabardel and Bourmaud’s (2003) instrument-mediated activity model, Remillard’s (2009) conceptual model of teacher–curriculum relationships,

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Wartofsky’s (1979) classification of artefacts, and Vygotsky’s (1978) mediation theory. Therefore, this theoretical framework has a great potential to be transferred and adapted to studies of different disciplines across contexts, since materials use is ubiquitous in every classroom, and the mediated relations prevail in any actor-artefact activity.

6.8 Summary This chapter has summarized the key findings of the study and has thoroughly discussed these findings at the empirical and theoretical levels. At the empirical level, the relationship among teachers, students and curriculum materials has been illustrated by a comparison with the existing literature. At the theoretical level, the multilayered affordances of curriculum materials, the formation of curriculum instruments, the relations mediated through the use of curriculum materials have been illuminated. The dynamic, interactive and multidimensional character of materials use has been unveiled, and the teaching phenomenon is conceptualized into the curriculum instrument mediation model. A much fuller picture of this ostensibly straightforward yet complex phenomenon is depicted. In the next chapter, I will draw the conclusion of the study together with practical and theoretical implications.

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van Lier, L. (2004). The ecology and semiotics of language learning: A sociocultural perspective. Boston: Kluwer Academic. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wartofsky, M. (1979). Models: Representation and the scientific understanding. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: D. Reidel. Wertsch, J. V. (1991). Voices of the mind: A sociocultural approach to mediated action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wertsch, J. V. (1998). Mind as action. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Zeichner, K. M., & Liston, D. P. (2014). Reflective teaching: An introduction (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Chapter 7

Implications and Conclusion

Abstract This study sheds light on the complexity of the enactment of curriculum materials in higher education in China. The findings revealed that at the mesoinstitutional level, the adoption and dissemination of innovative curriculum materials are only the first steps for the educational change; at the micro classroom level, materials use manifested in a series of interactive actions. The whole enactment process was by no means linear but dynamic, situated and complex, which must be deliberatively scrutinized by all parties in the educational system to ensure the success of the curriculum reform. In this chapter, the significance of the study will be elucidated to show the extent to which the study has been successful. After that, both the practical and theoretical implications of the study will be illustrated. In the end, I will acknowledge the limitations of this research and make recommendations for future research.

7.1 Significance of the Study The significance of this study is multifarious. First, the study helps to bridge a gap in the research in the ubiquitous yet under-developed area of materials use (Li & Harfitt, 2017, 2018). As mentioned in Chap. 1, studies of the materials use have been conducted mainly in mainstream education (e.g. Remillard, 1999, 2005; Brown, 2009). In contrast, in the field of ELT, although vast numbers of commercial course books are produced each year globally (Garton & Graves, 2014), there is a paucity of studies on the use of these language materials (Larson-Freeman, 2014; Harwood, 2017). Thus, this classroom-based research is a timely response to the call for a more in-depth understanding of what happened inside language classrooms (Tomlinson, 2012; Graves, 2019). Second, the study contributes to the theory building in the field of materials use. It delineates how language teachers used the prescribed curriculum materials at two levels: the behavioural level (processes of materials use) and the cognitive level (the formation of instruments, particularly teachers’ schemes of utilization). The findings help to inform the field’s theoretical understanding of the relationship between teachers and curriculum materials. To some degree, the study bridges the written © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 Z. Li, Language Teachers at Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5515-2_7

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and enacted curricula at the classroom level because language materials serve as the legitimate curriculum in most language classrooms (Tomlinson & Masuhara, 2018). The examination of how teachers used the prescribed curriculum materials links the written curriculum with teachers’ daily work. Moreover, it extends Remillard’s (2005) theory of teacher–curriculum relationship to ELT in China and adapted Rabardel and Bourmand’s (2003) instrument activity model to unpack the complex relations among teachers, students and materials, which is particularly acute in ELT research. Since this study draws on theoretical perspectives and frameworks from social learning, socio-cultural and curriculum studies, the theoretical understanding gleaned in this study could also be transferred to materials use research in other disciplines across contexts, which will thereby benefit the construction of theories. Third, the study is innovative in terms of the methodological design, particularly in the field of language materials research (Harwood, 2017). The research employs a bottom-up approach to delineate the ecology of materials use. Distinct from the textbased analysis of curriculum materials and the suggestions on adapting materials in the how-to books, this study is a classroom-based empirical research and deploys a range of research instruments, including teachers’ and students’ interviews, observations and documentary data. More importantly, the methodological approach and research instruments adopted in the present study could also be transferred to a wider context owing to the nature of the qualitative case study.

7.2 What Should We Do to Use the Materials More Productively? This study indicates that without an improved understanding of the process of teachers’ real use of language materials, effective and efficient utilization of materials might never be achieved. Regarding the practical implications of this study, a series of measures are suggested being undertaken to ensure teachers’ efficient and effective use of curriculum materials.

7.2.1 Effective Ways of Materials Use This study tells us that teachers are still the nexus of implementing the designated curriculum at the classroom level. There are several suggestions for teachers to use materials more effectively and creatively by particularly engaging students with the materials through authentication. First, both the content and format of the materials could be tailored to the unique teaching context. The interface between the content of the materials and students’ needs could provide teachers room to contextualize the materials creatively. For instance, the selection of materials could be deliberative by taking students’ interests,

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majors and language competence into consideration. For instance, it was revealed that students majoring in journalism in Penny’s class were more involved in the topics on mass media that were supplemented by Penny. Since students were more concerned with the exam-oriented knowledge, teachers could revise the format of the given exercises according to the popular language exams, especially at the approach of the exams. Second, due to the significance of teacher knowledge in materials use, teachers could develop TKMU through constantly adapting materials in real teaching practice. CE teachers should exert a new form of agency to learn from using materials. For instance, teachers have the chance to acquire and accumulate language knowledge and content knowledge when the topic of the textbook is out of the scope of their knowledge base. The ‘abstractness’ of the topic and language barriers of the authentic materials should not be regarded as obstacles to their teaching but as opportunities to learn. When supplementing the materials, teachers could seek more high-quality teaching materials online or refer to the demonstrations of how to use these materials effectively in class. Through the process of evaluating the materials, teachers will enlarge the repertoire of pedagogical knowledge so that more meaningful and engaging materials can be selected.

7.2.2 Implications for Professional Development In the text-driven context of ELT in China, professional development towards teachers’ material use is not new at the primary and secondary levels. In contrast, at the tertiary level, instructors are often regarded as being merely adequate in orchestrating their daily teaching, including the use of curriculum materials. The findings of this study have revealed that the teachers, either novice or experienced, had difficulties in adapting and enacting the prescribed curriculum materials in the classroom. This means that materials use requires skills, knowledge and competence, which provides valuable implications for both pre-service teacher educators and in-service teacher trainers. Most recently, Tomlinson (2018) asserted that the most effective teacher development rests with materials development, as the process of materials use is intertwined with the process of teacher learning (Davis et al., 2017; Li, 2020). Pre-service teacher educators should equip teachers with classroom-level curriculum development skills (Shawer, Gilmore & Banks-Joseph, 2009). The teachers in this study by no means lacked materials, but in great need of suitable and feasible materials for particular teaching contexts. Since no material is one-size-fitsall, future teachers need to foster their capability of analysing the materials to identify the potential teaching content, to adapt and supplement their materials strategically and to develop a deeper understanding of the curriculum. Therefore, teacher education programmes should take teachers’ expertise of evaluating, selecting, adapting and getting access to materials into consideration, especially in the digital era when abundant language resources are at the fingertips of students and teachers.

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The in-service professional development among a cohort of teachers is necessary to develop teachers’ ability to perceive the pedagogical potential of materials and authenticate the prescribed materials to cater to divergent teaching contexts. It is worthy of noting that the intensive short-term nationwide teacher training on the use of the newly adopted textbooks has proved to be ineffective in facilitating teachers’ daily practice. In contrast, institution-based longitudinal exchange meetings concerning the use of the same materials among a cohort of teachers could stimulate teachers’ self-reflection on using the materials in a community of practice, foster teachers’ motivation of creatively using the materials and contribute to teacher growth in the long run. Thus, school-based initiatives aiming at improving teachers’ capacity of materials development should be strengthened (Ball & Cohen, 1996). Moreover, collegial cooperation can provide another avenue for in-service professional development (Humphries, 2014).

7.2.3 Implications for Materials Development Teachers’ decisions on selecting and adapting activities and tasks are driven by their interpretations of the pedagogical intentions embedded in the textbooks. Thus, the implicit rationales that underlie book compilers’ designs should be made transparent and concrete to teachers. Engaging teachers with curriculum materials cannot be achieved without communicating how and why the curriculum materials are developed. Communication among teachers, textbook writers and publishers should be enhanced to ensure that the use of the textbook is in line with the intentions of the designers. In addition, owing to the inevitability of teachers’ modification of curriculum materials, materials should be made flexibly adaptive with more space for teachers to authenticate in divergent teaching contexts. Moreover, multimodal materials could be developed to complement the paper-based textbooks to facilitate teachers’ teaching and students’ learning in the high-technology learning environment. As shown in this study, all teacher participants used PPT slides in class to present their lesson plans and supplemented a raft of video, audio and visual artefacts. High-quality digital auxiliary resources are necessary to ensure the accuracy and diversity of input to teachers and students.

7.2.4 Implications for Meso-level Administrators and Macro-level Policymakers In order to facilitate teachers’ effective use of curriculum materials, a liberal environment should be created for teachers to participate in compiling the syllabus and selecting appropriate teaching materials at the institutional level. If teachers became involved in curriculum development and instructional planning, they could gain the

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confidence to modify curriculum materials (Ben-Peretz, 1990). As introduced in Chap. 3, the syllabus, entailing the adoption of prescribed curriculum materials, the coverage of textbooks, teaching pace and schedule, is mainly stipulated by the department head without consulting to the ordinary teachers. Teachers have no say in designing the syllabus at the target university. The regulations of mandating textbooks at the institutional level wielded enormous pressure and challenge to teachers in terms of what to teach and how to teach. To build a more liberate and autonomous teaching environment, the administrators should adjust their perception of the heuristic value of the textbooks, i.e. the authoritative role of the textbooks. The findings revealed that even if the mandatory textbooks were disseminated to teachers, the use of materials was divergent. Administrators, who have the right to prescribe curriculum materials, should not only think about the selection of the materials but also about how these materials are likely to come ‘alive’ in the classroom setting (Guerrettaz & Johnston, 2013). In China, researchers have long neglected the fact that university administrators have a significant impact on language policy and curriculum implementation (Cheng & Li, 2019). Compared with the macro-level national agency, meso-level institution agency needs to be examined, since university administrators are the de facto arbiters in meso-level policymaking in China. Except for the policy of stipulating syllabus and prescribing mandatory textbooks, the evaluation system of teacher appraisal at the institutional level needs to be reformed with particular emphasis on teachers’ endeavour to promote the more productive and creative use of the materials. At the target university, there is a general laissez-faire evaluation policy on utilizing the prescribed textbooks. Teachers’ daily teaching performances and even students’ learning outcomes are not incorporated into teacher appraisal and have little bearing on teachers’ promotion. Consequently, the teachers tended to develop an indifferent attitude towards the textbook and even towards their daily teaching (e.g. Windy and Fiona). Without teachers’ effective enactment of curriculum materials, the textbooks are simply pages of dead written symbols (O’Neill, 1982). Therefore, the retrospective evaluation of textbook use should be carried out concomitantly with the adoption of the new textbooks from teachers’ and students’ standpoints and be included as an essential part of teacher accountability. For the macro-level CE curriculum developers and policymakers, the divergent ways in which teachers interpret and utilize the same textbook in one university indicate the implausibility of regarding the new textbook as an agent of change. The adoption and dissemination of innovative curriculum materials are only the first steps for educational change. Teachers should be empowered and enlightened to develop more student-centred and school-based curriculum and curriculum materials. Moreover, teacher and student voices concerning the recommendation and selection of suitable materials should be heard. The curriculum guidelines should be more accessible and feasible to the meso-level administrators and frontline teachers since the misinterpretations of the curriculum guidelines could become another barrier to the success of curriculum reform.

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7 Implications and Conclusion

7.3 Why Should We Conceptualize Teachers’ Use of Materials? The curriculum instrument mediation model helps to advance our understanding of the ostensibly simple yet complex teaching phenomenon of materials use and to disentangle the multilayered roles of curriculum instruments. First, this theoretical interpretation deepened the view that materials use is by no means a straightforward or linear activity but one that is dynamic, situated and complex in nature. The process of enacting curriculum materials is accomplished with the participation of teachers, learners, designers, administrators, curriculum materials and the context. Second, the theoretical analysis uncovered the formation of curriculum instruments by creatively drawing on theories of teachers’ cognition in tool use (Keller & Keller, 1996) and personal practical knowledge (Clandinin & Colloney, 1992). It clarified the components of curriculum instruments and proved the practical nature of TKMU. More importantly, the new form of teacher agency of learning through materials use was hypothesized based on the theoretical interpretation of the phenomenon. Through theoretically unpacking materials use, I argue that the more effective use of materials could not be reached without the development of both teachers and materials. This concurs with Stenhouse’s (1975) dictum, ‘there is no curriculum development without teacher development’. Third, the conceptualization of the multilayered affordances of artefacts broadened the scope of future research. Through examining the interaction between teachers’ resources and multi-levelled values of the curriculum materials, which is relatively uncommon in studies of the teacher–curriculum relationship (Remillard, 2005), more insights could be gained for the development of high-quality curriculum materials. Fourth, the patterns of teachers’ utilization of curriculum materials and the model of underlying relationships are not disciplinespecific or context-specific, since materials use happens in every classroom around the world. Thus, the curriculum instrument mediation model formulated in this study has the potential to interpret materials use in other disciplines across contexts, which will consolidate theoretical groundings in the field of materials use.

7.4 Limitations of the Study and Recommendations for Future Research One of the limitations of the current study is due to time constraints in conducting this research. The whole CE course lasts for four semesters, but the data were collected in three successive semesters, and the main study was conducted during only one semester, covering three complete units. Therefore, future research could examine the teacher–curriculum relationship longitudinally. A longer time could help to categorize each teacher’s teaching styles. Since teachers’ use of the textbook might evolve over time (Mesa & Griffiths, 2012), future research could focus on how the process of using curriculum materials changes as teachers gain experience in teaching the

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course and how teaching the course informs and determines the ways the textbook is used (Mesa & Griffiths, 2012). Additionally, the comparison and contrast between novice and experienced teachers in terms of the use of materials lacked in this study. But it can be designed in future studies, as there are prominent findings in this study contradictory to the current Western literature in terms of teachers’ pedagogical and curricular decisions on using the same materials in classroom settings (see, for example, Richards,1996; Tsui, 2003). Furthermore, the ultimate goal of teachers’ use of curriculum materials is to produce effective teaching and to facilitate students’ learning. As the classroombased research of materials use and its effect on students’ learning still lack in the Applied Linguistics (Graves, 2019), further investigations are welcomed into the relationship between teachers’ curriculum strategies and the effectiveness of their instruction (Sherin & Drake, 2009) and between effective curriculum use and student learning (Taylor, 2013). As for the influencing factors in materials use, the relationship between the factors and teachers’ adaptation could also be explored. For instance, research on the relationship between the features of curriculum materials and their effects on teachers’ adaptation could inform teachers about the possible ways of contextualizing and personalizing the materials. Examining teachers’ personal resources and the effects on their adaptation could trigger teachers’ self-reflection, deepen their understanding of themselves and foster teacher growth. Future research could also investigate teachers’ prior experience and its effect on curriculum use (Sherin & Drake, 2009). Although this study demonstrated the various ways in which teachers utilized curriculum materials in a rather general manner, the small number of participants limits generalizability, although this was not the purpose of this multiple-case study. Future research could enlarge the population of teacher participants and expand the types of materials under investigation. The book only embodies a modest step towards linking materials with language teachers’ daily work of classroom teaching. It is hoped that this study will pave the way for future studies both locally and globally since the concept of effective materials use affects every classroom and must be more seriously considered by actors at individual, collective and organizational levels across the world.

References Ball, D. L., & Cohen, D. K. (1996). Reform by the book: What is or might be the role of curriculum materials in teacher learning and instructional reform? Educational Researcher, 25(9), 6–14. Ben-Peretz, M. (1990). The teacher-curriculum encounter: Freeing teachers from the tyranny of texts. Albany: State University of New York Press. Brown, M. (2009). The teacher-tool relationship: Theorizing the design and use of curriculum materials. In J. Remillard, B. A. Herbel-Eisenmann, & G. M. Lloyd (Eds.), Mathematics teachers at work: Connecting curriculum materials and classroom instruction (pp. 17–36). New York: Routledge.

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Cheng, J. & Li, W. (2019). Individual agency and changing language education policy in China: Reactions to the new ‘Guidelines on College English Teaching’. Current Issues in Language Planning, 1–20. Clandinin, D. J., & Connelly, F. M. (1992). Teacher as curriculum maker. In P. W. Jackson (Ed.), Handbook of research on curriculum (pp. 363–401). New York: Macmillan. Davis, E. A., Palincsar, A. S., Smith, P. S., Arias, A., & Kademian, S. M. (2017). Educative curriculum materials: Uptake, impact, and implications for research and design. Educational Researcher, 46(6), 293–304. Garton, S., & Graves, K. (2014). Identifying a research agenda for language teaching materials. The Modern Language Journal, 98(2), 654–657. Graves, K. (2019). Recent books on language materials development and analysis. ELT Journal, 73(3), 337–354. Guerrettaz, A. M., & Johnston, B. (2013). Materials in the classroom ecology. The Modern Language Journal, 97(3), 779–796. Harwood, N. (2017). What can we learn from mainstream education textbook research? RELC Journal, 48(2), 264–277. Humphries, S. (2014). Factors influencing Japanese teachers’ adoption of communication-oriented textbooks. In K. Garton & S. Graves (Eds.), International Perspectives on Materials in ELT (pp. 253–269). England: Palgrave Macmillan. Keller, C. M., & Keller, J. D. (1996). Cognition and tool use: The blacksmith at work. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Larsen-Freeman, D. (2014). It’s about time. The Modern Language Journal, 98(2), 665–666. Li, Z. (2020). Disentangling teachers’ enactment of materials: A case study of two language teachers in higher education in China. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 1–20. Li, Z., & Harfitt, G. J. (2017). An examination of language teachers’ enactment of curriculum materials in the context of a centralized curriculum. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 25(3), 403– 416. Li, Z., & Harfitt, G. (2018). Understanding language teachers’ enactment of content through the use of curriculum materials. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 46(5), 461–477. Mesa, V., & Griffiths, B. (2012). Textbook mediation of teaching: An example from tertiary mathematics instructors. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 79(1), 85–107. O’Neil, R. O. (1982). Why use textbooks? ELT Journal, 36(2), 104–111. Rabardel, P., & Bourmaud, G. (2003). From computer to instrument system: A developmental perspective. Interacting with Computers, 15(5), 665–691. Remillard, J. T. (1999). Curriculum materials in mathematics education reform: A framework for examining teachers’ curriculum development. Curriculum Inquiry, 29(3), 315–342. Remillard, J. T. (2005). Examining key concepts in research on teachers’ use of mathematics curricula. Review of Educational Research, 75(2), 211–216. Richards, J. C. (1996). Teachers’ maxims in language teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 30(2), 281–296. Shawer, S., Gilmore, D., & Banks-Joseph, S. (2009). Learner-driven EFL curriculum development at the classroom level. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 20(2), 125–143. Sherin, M. G., & Drake, C. (2009). Curriculum strategy framework: Investigating patterns in teachers’ use of a reform-based elementary mathematics curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 41(4), 467–500. Stenhouse, L. (1975). An introduction to curriculum research and development. London: Heinemann. Taylor, M. W. (2013). Replacing the ‘teacher-proof’ curriculum with the ‘curriculum-proof’ teacher: Toward more effective interactions with mathematics textbooks. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 45(3), 295–321. Tomlinson, B. (2012). Materials development for language learning and teaching. Language Teaching, 45(02), 143–179.

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Tomlinson, B. (2018, June). Teacher development through materials development. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Materials Development Association, Shanghai, China. Tomlinson, B., & Masuhara, H. (2018). The complete guide to the theory and practice of materials development for language learning. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell. Tsui, A. B. M. (2003). Understanding expertise in teaching: Case studies of second language teachers. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Tsui, A. B. M. (2012). The dialectics of theory and practice in teacher knowledge development. In J. Huttner, B. Mehlmauer-Larcher, S. Reichl, & B. Schiftner (Eds.), Theory and practice in EFL teacher education: Bridging the gap (pp. 16–37). Bristol, England: Multilingual Matters.

Appendix A

Baseline Teacher Interview Protocol

Part I. Personal history and experience The purpose of this section is to learn about the teacher’s views on teaching and learning English and recollections of previous experiences with English. 1. How long have you been teaching? • How long at the target university? 2. What do you remember about the English classes you have had (in university, high school or elementary)? • Did your teachers use textbooks when teaching English? • How did they use textbooks in their classroom? • How did you use textbooks inside and outside the classroom? 3. Have you taken any professional development classes on using textbooks since you began teaching here? • What were they? • Why did you take them? • Have they helped you think about teaching English? In what ways? Part II. Perceptions of the College English curriculum requirement and the course The purpose of this section is to uncover the teacher’s knowledge, beliefs and attitudes concerning the College English Curriculum Requirement and teaching and learning the course. 4. Have you experienced changes in the curriculum? 5. What do you think of the 2007 College English Curriculum Requirement? • What are the challenges of teaching the new curriculum? • What are the benefits of teaching the new curriculum? © Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020 Z. Li, Language Teachers at Work, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-5515-2

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Appendix A: Baseline Teacher Interview Protocol

6. What do you feel the goals of College English should be? • Why are these things important? 7. What is the most important thing you would like your students to learn from College English? 8. Have your feelings about the College English course changed over the years? • In what ways? • How do you account for this? Part III. Perceptions on the New Standard College English series and the use of the textbook The purpose of this section is to learn about the teacher’s attitudes towards the textbook, particularly the content of the Students’ Book and Teacher’s Guide and how they are used in the classroom. (I will have the textbook available during the interview but will follow the teacher’s lead in turning to it and examining its content.) 9. Have you experienced the change of textbooks? 10. Have your feelings about using textbooks changed over the years? • In what ways? • How do you account for the change? 11. Based on what you know, how would you describe the NSCE Students’ Book to someone else? • • • •

What features stand out to you? What are its strengths? What are its weaknesses? What are its purposes?

12. Based on what you know, how would you describe the NSCE Teacher’s Guide to someone else? • • • •

What features stand out to you? What are its strengths? What are its weaknesses? What are its purposes?

13. As you prepared to use the text for the first time, what concerned you the most? 14. How would you characterize the way you usually use the NSCE textbook? • Do you do anything before you start teaching? • Has this changed over the years? How? 15. What do you anticipate when you will next use the NSCE textbook?

Appendix B

Pre- and Post-observation Teacher Interviews

Pre-observation interview 1. What do you plan to teach in today’s lesson? 2. What is your goal for this lesson? 3. What were your sources for the topic and materials? • What particular features of the materials were especially helpful or unhelpful in developing your lesson? Post-observation interview The purpose of the post-observation interview is to elicit the teacher’s thoughts and decisions on how the textbook is used in the classroom. I will watch the video-taped lesson observation together with the teacher. 1. How do you think your lesson went? 2. Why did you use the textbook in that particular way? 3. What might influence your decision-making?

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Appendix C

Baseline Student Interview Protocol

The purpose of the student interview is to uncover students’ attitudes towards the textbook and their use of it. 1. 2. 3. 4.

What teaching materials do you use in the classroom? How do you use the textbook and other materials in the classroom? How do you use the textbook and other materials outside the class? What do you think is the role of your textbook in your English learning? Do you regard it as a learning tool? Why or why not? 5. Based on what you know, how would you describe the NSCE Students’ Book to someone else? • • • •

What features stand out to you? What are its strengths? What are its weaknesses? What are its purposes?

6. What features of the textbook do you find most and least helpful and why? 7. Does the teacher supplement/add other materials from outside the textbook? 8. How does your teacher use the textbook?

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Appendix D

Observation Analysis

The lessons will be video-recorded. The following procedures are for the analysis of the lesson observations. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Teaching steps Teaching emphasis Enactment Students’ responses Duration Teacher adaptation/improvisation

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Appendix E

Transcription Conventions

Ss:

Several students at once or the whole class learner (not identified)

S1: S2: etc.

Identified students

Italics

Discourse that originates from texts of the given materials

?

Phrase final rise in intonation

(number)

Longer pause with the length of pause indicated in seconds



Text or talk omitted

((text))

Commentary within the transcript by the transcriber

(text)

Translation from L1 to L2

((??))

Unintelligible

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