Iranian EFL Teachers’ Sense-Making of Policy Reforms: The Case of the New Communicative-Based Curriculum
منبع: Teaching Language Skills (JTLS), Volume ۳۷, Issue ۲, Summer ۲۰۱۸ 169 - 193
By the end of the 2020s, a change involving the substitution of the Communicative Approach to English teaching for the Structural one has been fully operative in the Iranian secondary education system. This study set out to explore the views of Iranian teachers vis-a-vis the changes introduced into the education policy of the nation since teachers as end-point policy workers play a pivotal role in the ultimate success or failure of any curricular activity. Using data from semi-structured interviews and follow-up procedures, the investigation sought to delve into how eighteen EFL teachers at the upper secondary education level made sense of changes effected at the intersection of policy and practice. Common patterns and themes were identified and presented at the level of data analysis. Despite embracing the changes, the results showed that the teachers sensed that they had been left to their own devices in translating policy into practice and that the proposed reforms were not all-inclusive in the sense that significant stakeholders including parents, school counselors, and educational leaders had been left out. They were further keenly aware of a number of obstacles in the way of policy enactment and found especially the prevalence of a regime of cramming for tests leading to the dominance of a negative teach-to-the-test culture, limited support available and infrastructural challenges, as well as resistance to change among structurally-minded practitioners as highly detrimental to implementation of change. Implications for policy, practice, and research are finally given.