Innovating EFL Teaching of Reading: An Activity Theory Perspective on Chinese Teachers’ Readiness to Adapt to Educational Reform
In the era of globalization, the importance of English is well recognized by the Chinese government as the language will contribute to China’s modernization and competitiveness in the global economy (CMOEC, 2002). As a result, English as a Foreign Language (EFL) education in China has both a political and economic motivation (Q. Wang, 2007). To this end, this chapter is concerned with Chinese EFL teachers’ commitment to this vision, and the extent to which they embrace educational reform — in particular, innovations related to teaching of EFL reading comprehension. In this study, we discuss the development of university-level EFL teaching for students who are non-English majors, which is officially termed “College English,” highlighting some challenges to successful implementation of innovation, including cultural, contextual, and pragmatic factors. Next, we discuss the relevant literature and theoretical frameworks that underpin a study conducted in China, examining factors that account for teacher readiness to adapt to the recently introduced reform. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings for pedagogy and teacher development, making a number of recommendations for the local Chinese context.
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