Potential cultural resistance to pedagogical imports: The case of communicative language teaching in china

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415 Citations (Scopus)


Since the late 1980s there has been a top-down movement to reform English language teaching (ELT) in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). An important component of this reform has been an effort to import communicative language teaching (CLT) in the Chinese context. CLT, however, has failed to make the expected impact on ELT in the PRC. This paper examine some of the most important potential constraints on the adoption of CLT in the Chinese classroom, namely, the Chinese culture of learning. It argues that CLT and the Chinese culture of learning are in conflict in several important respects, including philosophical assumptions about the nature of teaching and learning, perceptions of the respective roles and responsibilities of teachers and students, learning strategies encouraged, and qualities valued in teachers and students. In view of such fundamental differences, the paper contends that it is counterproductive to take an ‘autonomous’ attitude, rather than an ‘ideological’ one, to pedagogical innovations developed in a different sociocultural milieu. It concludes by arguing for the necessity of taking a cautiously eclectic approach and making well-inform edpedagogical choices that are grounded in an understanding of sociocultural influences. Hu.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-105
Number of pages13
JournalLanguage, Culture and Curriculum
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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