Eclecticism or Principled Eclecticism

DOI: 10.4236/ce.2011.24051   PDF   HTML     8,723 Downloads   15,132 Views   Citations


The introduction of a new mandatory policy for the teaching of English at the higher education level in China, College English Curriculum Requirements (CECR, published in 2004), had the intention of modernising and improving the quality of English teaching at the tertiary level in China. The policy had a focus on student centred approaches to learning and the use of technology to support this process. This paper reports on a study that investigated the views of teachers, administrators and policy makers about the intended pedagogical shift embedded in the policy and the success of the policy in achieving this goal. The paper attempts to clarify how lecturers in higher education in China have been oriented by the CECR towards pedagogical change. To achieve this purpose, the paper reviews current issues in the context of English teaching at tertiary level in China and attempts to frame them in a conceptualisation of eclecticism and principled eclecticism. Then, the paper analyses the responses of teachers, administrators and policy makers, based on an analysis framework developed by Maton (2004) from the work of Bourdieu (1993) and Bernstein (2000), to uncover the relationship between the policy and the reality. The study found that while teachers are eager to make change themselves, in reality, the requirement of a student centred approach and new technical teaching in the policy, challenges teachers’ current knowledge in terms of their current training in understanding curriculum and syllabus, their knowledge of principled eclecticism and computer teaching, and how to deal with textbook teaching and the College English Test. The paper concludes that there is a gap between the policy and reality, and that a gap exists therefore between

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Gao, L. (2011). Eclecticism or Principled Eclecticism. Creative Education, 2, 363-369. doi: 10.4236/ce.2011.24051.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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