Contextual influences on instructional practices: A chinese case for an ecological approach to ELT

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135 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports on a study investigating English language teaching (ELT) practices in secondary-level classrooms in China. A sample of 252 secondary school graduates from different parts of the country completed a questionnaire on various instructional practices. Analyses of the data revealed that whereas classroom instruction in socioeconomically developed regions has taken on some features of communicative language teaching (CLT), instructional practices in the less developed areas are still characterized by traditional language teaching methodologies. The regional differences in instructional practices are traced to various economic, social, and cultural factors. The analysis shows that what transpires in the foreign language classroom is inevitably shaped and constrained by contextual influences. This conclusion high-lights the need for an ecological perspective to replace the technological one that predominates in international endeavors to reform language education. The article concludes by discussing what the adoption of an ecological approach entails in the Chinese contexts for ELT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-660
Number of pages26
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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