To what extent is communicative language teaching a feature of IELTS classes in China?


Richard Badger

Xiaobiao Yan

Date Published:

12th April 2012

This report examined the teaching methodology used in IELTS preparation classes in China.

The research used Hu’s six element framework for describing teaching methods:

  • Pedagogical orientation.
  • Instructional content and presentation.
  • Language practice activities.
  • Teacher and learner roles.
  • Learning materials.
  • Assessment.

It started with the hypothesis that teachers were making methodological choices between communicative language teaching (CLT), audio-lingualism and grammar translation methods.

Research methods included: questionnaires completed by just under 80 IELTS teachers; stand-alone interviews with 10 teachers; and three stimulated recall interviews following classroom observations. We found that the most common methodology used approximated to CLT but that teachers took a more dominant role and used more Chinese than would be characteristics of CLT.