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Full Text: Three decades of English teaching material and methods for high schools in China
integration of tradition and innovation

⼈人民教育出版社英语专家 刘道义

Abstract:
During the more than 30 years since the late 1970s China’s high school English language pedagogy has undergone three major
phases, two of which were accompanied by reforms to the curriculum. Each of these reforms resulted in a new set of textbooks.
These sets each had their own characteristic concept and methodology which was then updated from time to time before being
replaced. When the three phases are analyzed from the perspective of theory and practice, it is possible to see development and
innovation but also continuity based on previous experience. This was because it was felt that only in this way could a smooth
transition from one phase to another be assured, and the teaching of high school English develop and improve.

Key words: textbooks and teaching methods, tradition and innovation, functional approach, communicative language teaching,
constructivist theory, task-based language teaching
There is a famous saying in China that “The teacher always follows a certain way of teaching, but does not stick to it.” And I
believe that there is actually no universal teaching method in the world. The invention and development of all teaching methods
have their special historical background, and can exert positive influence on the society at that time. However, all teaching methods
have both advantages and limitations. The adoption of any teaching method should be decided according to the students’ needs and
the actual teaching situations. Depending on one single method the teacher cannot achieve good results.
Teaching methodology consists of three hierarchical elements, namely, approach, method and technique. An approach,
according to Anthony, is a set of assumptions dealing with the nature of language, learning, and teaching, such as the structural
approach and communicative approach. Method is an overall plan for systematic presentation of language based upon a selected
approach. Techniques are the specific activities manifested in the classroom that are consistent with a method and therefore in
harmony with an approach as well. (D Brown, 1994) Defining these three aspects is quite helpful in the discussion of teaching
methods.
The selection of teaching methods
Which method is most effective? It depends on:
1)Teaching goal. The goal of school English teaching is to help students acquire comprehensive language application ability
based on integrated qualifications in terms of language skills, language knowledge, affective attitudes, learning strategies and
cultural awareness. Obviously, it aims at fundamental and general English, rather than English for specific purposes. Selecting
suitable teaching methods in line with the goal is conducive to laying a solid foundation for the future development of the students.
This foundation should be comprehensive, covering not only language factors but also intellectual and psychological factors,
feelings, learning ability and cultural awareness. Any effective teaching methods can be adopted. Meanwhile, the latest results in
international language research should be absorbed and adopted, e.g.: the task-based language teaching can be adopted to enhance
students’ comprehensive ability to improve their way of learning and using the language.
2)The target learners. Students are youths ranging from 12 to 18 years old. They are remarkably differentiated from primary
school students in terms of both physical and psychological development. They are approaching the physically mature stage and are
not as easily agitated and good at emulating. They are thinking more sensibly and have strong curiosity. They have passion for novel
and exciting things. They are both anxious and concerned for the future. They tend to be subjective, one-sided and emotional in their
thinking. Therefore, it is not appropriate to adopt the Total Physical Response (TPR)method for teaching high school students.
3)Teaching environment. English is universally taught in China as a foreign language (not as a second language). Except in
the Zhujiang Delta region and coastal areas, most of China’s foreign language environment is quite weak. The actual conditions
including different native languages and dialects, and cultural background of the students, the large-size classes and limited teaching
hours are all deciding factors for the selection of teaching methods.
The development history of high school English textbooks during the past 30 years could be roughly divided into three phases

Besides.” The big change is like what N. and has entirely different compiling and layout structure. It also proposes that junior high school teaching should stress listening and speaking at beginning. How to make use of the positive transfer and overcome the interference is an important issue in the English language teaching. incomparable to NSEC. English author of JEFC. the textbook proposed to conduct teaching in English. textbooks at that time emphasized practices in repetitive emulation. It believes that language is a linear structure. and dialogues which were made up of sentence patterns. Influenced by the behaviourist learning theory. An analysis of senior high school English textbooks and teaching methods used in the 1980s When English textbooks in the 1980s are mentioned. with listening preceding speaking. Grant. but more on the structural approach. Junior/Senior high school English textbook(1980s);Junior/Senior English for China jointly compiled by China and Britain (1990s);Full-time general junior/senior high school English(revised version of JEFC/SEFC. The textbooks gave emphasis on certain parts in pronunciation. The training of pronunciation and intonation is kept in the current junior high school textbooks. Especially the Sino-British jointly developed version of SEFC is twice as large as the 1980s version. repetition and talking in order to attain an ability and habit to talk automatically without thinking about vocabulary and grammar structure. 5. Indeed. though in a new way. and holds that oral language is primary and written language is secondary. the grammar translation method was used quite frequently. Moreover. the compilation of textbooks was not based on grammar translation method. reading and writing. The textbooks of the three stages appear to be quite different. the sentence pattern is the basis for language teaching. It did not forbid the use of the mother tongue. unlike the grammar translation method which allows teaching mainly in the first language. a well-known linguist in China said: “The new teaching method cannot come into being overnight. the transformation is gradual and evolutional in terms of teaching approach and method. The structuralists emphasized accuracy in teaching language. which featured grammar explanation preceding examples and translation. 2. 2001-)and the General Senior High School Curriculum Standard Experimental English textbook(NSEC—New Senior English for China. and the few illustrations were of poor quality. vocabulary and grammar teaching in accordance with the similarities and differences between English and Chinese. Its main features include: 1. called a “Revolution without‘R’——Evolution”. Therefore. built up with small structures of different layers,and the sentence is a basic structure.2004-). and supported with large amount of oral and written language exercises. neither can it be borrowed from other countries without any changes. with reading preceding writing. The students have fully grasped the thinking tool in the first language. As a result. However. It is inevitable for students to link foreign language with their thoughts in the first language (in the process of mind translation). 3. and it is difficult for them to eliminate the influence of their mother tongue when learning English since it has become their natural habit to resort to the first language. and achieved remarkable . It cannot be ‘a totally new product’ which has nothing to do with the previous foundation. it is not well carried out in the senior high school textbooks. people tend to assert that the textbooks were based on the theory of “grammar translation method”. However. pronunciation and grammar knowledge were integrated into texts. and also provided comparison exercises of English to Chinese translation and Chinese to English translation. the reforms carried out in curricula and textbooks at the three stages show both inheritance and innovation. As a matter of fact. people held that the language teaching process was also a process to form a new habit. The senior high school texts focused mainly on grammar structure. the 1990s and the beginning of the 21th century. this assertion is not factual. in stead of complete revolution. The textbook pays attention to trainings in listening. The high school English textbooks of the 1980s accepted many viewpoints of the structuralise theory. It goes like what Zhang Zhigong.including the 1980s. and it proposed the motto “Use as much English as possible. use Chinese appropriately”. 4. and requires teaching directly in foreign language. Therefore. They demanded repetitive imitation and a lot of practice for the students to acquire ability to correctly use English. These practices have also been carried on in the NSEC. the textbook designed systematic exercises in pronunciation and grammar. speaking. It may be true that in the teaching activities during that time. Teaching needs to resort to visual means and language environment (including contexts and situations). In senior high school stage. This principle was well implemented in the junior high school textbooks with a large quantity of illustrations. For that purpose. and so it was very important to teach English through pattern drills. reading comprehension ability was focused. senior high school textbooks at that time were centered on texts. This is essentially different from the grammar translation method which aims at improving reading and translation ability. and grammar is still taught in the New Senior English for China. The teaching mainly adopted induction rather than deduction. The revised version of SEFC and the NSEC are also remarkably different from the 1990s version. which was similar to animal behaviour in the ‘stimulation-response’ pattern. That is why junior high school textbooks were centered on sentence patterns. However. However. the compilers of the textbook believe that the learners’ language and thinking undergo a series of complicated changes during the process of English learning. Reading and writing came later. memorizing.

with the deepening of the teaching reforms. are chosen to give students opportunities to use them frequently. lexicology and grammar. and take into consideration factors such as notions. Therefore authentic language materials. There were more mechanical grammar structure exercises than lively. 5)The functional approach adopts a variety of teaching methods to organize teaching activities. A teaching kit is needed. and the effective teaching experience is still quite useful and should be carried on. This can help arouse the students’ interest in learning the language.: the function-oriented approach may lead to neglecting the step-by-step accumulation of language and being too liberal with students’ errors. e. . The major characteristics of the functional/ communicative approach: 1)Develop the students’ communication ability. and the requirements on actual communicative competence are limited. First of all. When the new textbooks were first used. and the textbook became colour prints. little research was carried out to investigate the students’ needs and interests. which included four lessons each. As compared with the previous version. Thus. The functional approach is a teaching methodological system focusing on language function and development of communicative ability. ·The functional approach has its own problems which are hard to tackle. When making research into China’s high school English teaching reform. and indiscriminately copying of the functional approach needs to be avoided. pronunciation and intonation. 4)Encourage the students to have as much access to the target language as possible and apply it in real life. and teaches the students to properly use the language in various situations. The textbooks emphasized the structures of language which mainly included phonology. The textbook (JEFC/SEFC) was divided into units. and auxiliary reading materials. we should learn and adopt the functional approach. slides and graphics. On the other hand. An analysis of pedagogy of high school English in the 1990s The Sino-British jointly developed Junior/Senior English for China (JEFC/SEFC)introduced the modern language teaching theory. More illustrations were added. there was a lack of practical communicative activities such as exchange in information and completion of certain tasks. many experienced teachers felt quite at a loss as to how to teach with them. good language environment and teaching facilities in addition to large-size classes. In the textbooks. It can also motivate the students to learn actively. situations. Thirdly. This change marked a big stride with a larger size textbook and new design. The reasons mainly include: ·China’s high school foreign language teaching is part of the basic education and is not a specialized education. contents and ways of teaching in accordance with the students’ actual needs. But in the second year there were fewer complaints. requirements. language structure oriented textbooks do not pay enough attention to the essence of language—its communicative function and the notions which need to be understood and expressed in communication. the problems with the structuralist teaching method itself were exposed and needed to be solved. the students can feel pleasure derived from successful use of the language for communication. which was popular in the European Community. e. but neglected the contents and meanings of language to a certain degree. the communicative approach is not feasible. and hampered the development of their creative thinking. and there were relatively fewer exercises to train the students to use the language for communication purpose. and then make a decision on the language forms they need to grasp before mapping out a list of functional and notional items. The functional approach proposes to arrange teaching activities based on communicative functions. Textbooks alone can not show the full functions of language. vocabulary and grammar structure in addition to genres. memorizing and mechanical drilling ignored the initiatives and self-motivation of the learners. The students could not find pleasure derived from application of English language learned from school. topics. too much emphasis given to imitating. The advocators first analyze what students want to do with the language. resulting in a lack of attraction and interest in the textbooks. Based on the above reasons the functional approach cannot be fully promoted in China’s high schools. in addition to audio and video materials. The high school English teaching reform shall follow the principle of utilizing the truly effective parts in the functional approach and absorbing all useful elements from other approaches so as to develop a reform strategy which best suits China’s high school teaching conditions. the SEFC appeared to be much more fashionable. the audio-lingual method and the sentence pattern teaching method based on the structuralist theory have been adopted by many teachers. Also. The functional approach can grasp the essential functions of language and embody the development rules of language. 3)Make the process of teaching communication-oriented. ·Due to limitations in teaching conditions. The functional approach converts the foreign language teaching process as a process for communication with foreign language. meaningful and ability-nurturing activities and practices. Secondly. which contains the student’s book.g. a large number of sentence transformation exercises were not based on actual application of language.progress as compared with the grammar translation method. What the students need is the basic language knowledge and skills. and therefore could not become highly motivated to learn. However. and followed a reform path conforming to China’s situations through integrating China’s traditional teaching experience.g. However. lack of high level teaching team. in particular. we also need to pay attention to China’s own useful experience and the actual teaching situations. teacher’s book. The writers of JEFC/SEFC made a careful analysis of the functional (or communicative) approach. 2) Map out the purpose. In the third year.

different requirements were set for vocabulary and grammar. attention. the author made certain revision of the texts selected from the previous book. according to the syllabus. natural disasters.e. Some other texts are conductive to developing such intellectual elements including observing. One of JEFC/SEFC’s innovations is that it broke the traditional mode of organizing teaching in strict accordance with grammar structures. the Chinese partners of this jointly-developed textbook project know very well that the traditional grammar system has been a dominant teaching approach for the past century and is hard to be totally given up. environmental protection. teacher’s book. whereas texts in the previous version had been usually quite irrelevant with the students’ life and current society. This was the first time for senior high school textbooks to include conversations and listening comprehension exercises. etc. and discussions. function and language structure were closely integrated. speaking. In this way. and the students were unable to talk about social issues even though they could recite many of the texts. The texts of the old textbook were selected from a large quantity of overseas resources. A total of 16 topics had been selected especially for SEFC after investigation among the students to find out their specific interests and needs. Presentation. The previous textbook focused on grammar structure. audio and video tapes in addition to diagnostic tests were supplied. the students’ listening and speaking ability was remarkably improved. educational and very informative. graphics. However. Moreover. The chosen topics were contemporary. The fourth innovation of SEFC was that a series of supplementary materials were developed to reinforce the textbook. In each unit. As a result. Practice and Consolidation. SEFC implemented the principle of comprehensive training of the four skills with more emphasis on reading. That is it offered materials for different levels of students. topic. in view of China’s actual teaching situations. Unlike the old textbook which highlighted literary works. and were revised by the senior editors from the People’s Education Press before they were finalized by experts including Deng Yanchang and Ding Wangdao. workbook. reading and writing activities. sports and music. Besides. Meanwhile. Thus. Thus the teaching of functional and notional item was guaranteed.: . sketches. these texts were also well received by teachers and students.people started to recognize the value of the new textbook. developing their individuality. the textbooks made different requirements in teaching vocabulary and grammar. The British author of SEFC Chris Jacques is a talented compiler. This is part of the inheritance. Besides. authentic. That changed the previous mode of all exercises for consolidating the reading texts. structure and function. etc. Advocating the five-step teaching method was also one of the outstanding characteristics of JEFC/SEFC. and slides. with one particular structure appearing in different units with an increasing complexity. but after all one person’s resources are limited. and it embodies also development and progress as evidenced in “Presentation” (i. With many years of application and practice. Of course. and an effective way to solve the “dumb” English problem seemed to have been found. which inevitably made people feel that it weakened the teaching of grammar. The third feature is that the four skills were highlighted throughout the whole process with more stress on reading in SEFC. the SFEC presented grammar in a cyclic way. and adopted a new approach to combine topic. women’s rights. JEFC/SEFC had another feature that made it different from the previous textbooks. At that time. which fell into two categories: receptive and productive. senior high school English course for the first year and second year were compulsory and the course for the third year was selective. drilling and consolidation. all the basic grammar items were reviewed in the books for the last three semesters. and the new textbook combined structure with topic and function. food sanitation. Moreover. The main reason of the success is that the textbooks were innovative and also carried on the previous successful experience. etc. The five steps refer to Revision. Drilling. reading was still given more attention especially in the third year of senior high school when the listening and speaking exercises were reduced to some degree and the quantity of reading was increased. The Merchant of Venice and Winter Sleep. Facts showed that this set of Sino-British jointly developed textbooks had achieved success. The abundant teaching resources provided sufficient flexibility to the textbooks and helped meet a variety of teaching demands. SEFC covered the topics of the common contemporary concerns including a balanced ecosystem. The five-step teaching method inherits the traditional experience such as revision. and space technology. It is quite wise to maintain the valuable parts. These materials vividly show the difference between Chinese and foreign cultures. The similarity the JEFC/SEFC shares with the old textbook is that they both pay attention to integrating moral education with language teaching. each textbook summarized all grammar items mainly in table form and included the summary in the appendix. It also conforms to the process by which knowledge and understanding is developed in the student’s mind. the teaching of reading and writing was integrated with oral English teaching by means of organizing questions and answers. and thinking. This approach was conducive to teaching students in accordance with their aptitudes. Apart from the student’s book. other materials including reading practice books. and can enhance the students’ awareness of cross-cultural communication. Therefore. vocabulary and pronunciation. and it is hard for both the teachers and the students to grasp the key points. a topic was introduced and was followed with listening. and alleviating burdens on them. The second innovation is that the content of the textbook was close to modern life and attached importance to nurturing the students’ sense of morality and enhancing their cultural qualifications. The daily communication expressions (functional and notional items) were attached equal importance in the syllabus with grammar. teachers who are familiar with the old textbooks could easily discover that SEFC kept quite a number of classical old texts such as Madame Curie. wall charts. However.

various forms of activities are carried out to reduce teachers’ control over students. interest. practicality. in which English and visual teaching aids are used. This article mainly deals with the “common senior high school curriculum standard English textbook”-. vocabulary About 3000 2500—3500—about 4500 grammar All items required by the curriculum All items required by the curriculum standard standard,with some additional items Lead-in Warming up. The inheritance and innovation in NSEC and its teaching methodology Currently. assessment and learning strategies. and the reason is that this method has originated from teaching practice. The purpose is to provide a set of senior high school English textbooks conforming to the requirements of contemporary social development. In the “Practice” step. functions. They describe this shift as a “smooth and steady transition”. After promotion and training. and the teachers do not need to correct every error in the students’ oral performance. editors and teachers organized by the People’s Education Press. SB8-10 pages,three times for reading. Since many teachers hope to know the difference between NSEC and the revised SEFC. 1. the target language. teaching approach. the New Senior English for China (NSEC) has been put to use only on trial basis in China’s coastal provinces. The revised version of SEFC was compiled with great efforts by a number of experts from both home and abroad. and although it is new. Revised version of SEFC NSEC requirement Close to level 8 Level 7—level 8—level 9 Number of units 58 55 Unit content SB7-9 pages,three times for reading. capacity twice for listening. and most of China’s regions are adopting the revised version of SEFC. twice for writing. almost everyone who has used this textbook before feels quite at ease when moving on to use NSEC. Although it is called a revision. and reading Teaching approach Emphasize task-based learning activity Emphasize discovery. structure. The exercises are aimed at improving the students’ fluency in stead of accuracy alone. Meanwhile. inquiry. I. it can make necessary preparations for both the teachers and students to shift to the new curriculum standard textbook. it is illustrated below with a table format. . but they also have certain differences. The revised version of SEFC and NSEC share many similarities. they are quite similar in terms of topics. elasticity and evaluation. Helps to enhance the students’ moral qualities and accomplishments in the humanities. As a result. About 14% materials Almost all the materials are new are chosen from the previous version of SEFC project One arranged in three units One for each unit Except for the differences shown in the above table. The characteristics of NSEC The characteristics of NSEC can be expounded from six aspects including the humanities.introducing new language phenomena). it is not difficult to follow. Thus. pre-reading. listening and speaking Warming up.NSEC. the five-step teaching method was well received by the teachers. It is a combination of inheritance and innovation. the students will be encouraged to develop their language skills into ability to communicate with the target language. speaking and writing listening and speaking. it is almost a new book. inquiring and task- based learning activity Language materials Most of them are new.

This textbook creates and designs a great number of language application activities (e. This set of textbooks can not only widen the cultural horizon of the students. What's more important is that the teacher paid great attention to the students' learning process. For instance. The content. the vocabulary of each unit is increased from 30 to 40. Generally speaking. For example. environmental protection. and can arouse both the teachers’ and students’ interests to continue their research.: Using Language in NSEC) so as to help the students feel and experience English in . Adopts an approach integrating function. covering science and technology. The structure of the textbook gives up the previous practice of dividing one unit into four lessons. in which the students' ability of autonomous and inquiring learning could be developed. language and culture. This way of compiling the book provides teachers with more flexibility in using the textbook according to actual situations. and takes into consideration China’s special conditions. places of interests. 3. ancient navigation technology in addition to literature and arts in order to deepen the students’ love for and devotion to their nation. nature. the topic of each unit can satisfy the students’ learning desire to a certain degree. topics and task-based activities to help the students construct their own cognitive system. celebrities. through which the students can observe the complicated and splendid external world. The textbooks involve a wide spectrum of cross-cultural knowledge and a variety of disciplines including social sciences and natural sciences. and the design of activities and tasks are all aimed at complying with the characteristics of the students’ physical and psychological development. structure. but also enhance their understanding of foreign countries. and arranged in accordance with structure and functional items. In general. The textbook absorbs the achievements in the fields of modern language teaching theory and practice. it attaches importance to promoting China’s culture including cultural relics. the training of all skills include the steps pre. They can integrate the textbook and organize more effective teaching activities. The activities and tasks are designed in three layers: drilling in language forms – meaningful practice – authentic tasks. Instead,each unit contains a number of sections such as Warming up and Pre-reading etc.g. level and capacity of the textbooks. listening. in addition to their ages so as to provide a stimulus for them to learn. geography and history. speaking. The materials provided by the textbooks are intended to give moral education to the students and enhance their accomplishments in the humanities. Moreover. reading and writing activities are organized and the teaching target is achieved through task-based activities and completion of projects. The NSEC includes 55 units in11 modules and covers a wide range of topics. the textbook tries to highlight the focal language points and difficult parts in each unit. places of historical interests. Centered on topics. In order to facilitate the acceptance of the textbook by most students. while and post. inventions. Students who are able to select the 9th level course ought to have a stronger vocabulary acquisition ability to deal with this task. and current events. the NSEC is much more demanding than the previous textbooks. medical science. 2. animals and plants. Conforms to the requirements for the students’ physical and psychological development. These careful considerations are aimed at making teaching conform to the characteristics of the students’ physical and intellectual development and their cognitive capacity so that both the students’ acceptability and potential are tapped. which lead the students to integrate or regroup the new information step by step based on their existing knowledge and experience into their own cognitive system. and can inspire their interests. The difficulty and complexity is gradually increased. and it even reaches 60 in the last three modules (actually not many root words). The content is close to the contemporary social life and has a strong sense of keeping pace with new social development. Another example is that the length of the text is gradually extended from 300 words to 600 words and then to almost 800 words at the final stage. It also carries on the effective methods from the traditional approach. especially English-speaking countries. The textbook is like a kaleidoscope. structure. only one topic and one grammar phenomenon is arranged for each unit. The 24 topics required in the curriculum standard are repeated in cycles in the book. In fact.

Such arrangements in the textbook are aimed at activating students’ thinking. first aid (5-4),plant experiment (9-4),and advertisement designing (9-5) etc. memorizing. communicate and express their ideas in English and it demands that the students bring their imagination and creativity to full play. the words marked with triangles in the new vocabulary list are not required for all the students to grasp. Human’s cognitive structure is gradually constructed through the processes of assimilation and conformability. The language materials of the textbook mainly come from contemporary social life. Discovering useful words and expressions/structures is designed with this purpose. the students can form effective learning strategies and enhance their autonomous learning ability. conformability and balance.: designing a place for watching birds (2-4). The constructivist theory is not only a cognitive theory. the NSEC adopts the task-based language teaching. improved and developed in the cycle of “balance---unbalance—new balance”. and they are still organized with a repetitive pattern for the students to deepen understanding and enhance actual application ability. It also helps the students take initiatives to study and learn to make use of available learning resources. Thus. the NSEC offers auxiliary reading materials. All these teaching resources make it possible for teachers to use the textbooks more flexibly and expand the language and information input. listening and speaking materials are all for selective use only. Assimilation is the process in which related information from the external environment is absorbed and integrated into the existing cognitive structure. The vocabulary teaching adopts such methods including explanation in English. 5. II. These sections make them brainstorm and trigger free imaginations. e. The sections including Warming Up. Enlightens the students to make inquiries in their learning so as to nurture their innovative spirit and ability to practice. conformability refers to the process in which the existing cognitive structure cannot assimilate information from the new environment and undergo reshuffling and reforms under changed external environment. Wildlife protection(2-4),Life in the future(5-3). and transparencies. To follow this guideline. The textbook(especially the Learning Tip section)helps the students to convert from the traditional passive learning via simple emulation to a more active approach utilizing such strategies as observing. As a matter of fact. This series of textbooks are designed to meet the needs of the majority of schools in China. The presentation and training of language knowledge and skills are arranged in a progressive and repetitive pattern. Robots(7-2). Although the textbook is mainly written in British English. and suggestions on diagnostic tests are provided in the teachers’ book. Vogotsky believes that the individual’s learning activity is carried . giving a presentation and even a short speech based on the given language. it also introduces different varieties of English used by major English countries especially American English in order to provide the students with an overall view of the English language. but also to their potential. workbook. which can help the students to reflect while studying. e. and becomes enriched.: Computers(Module 2. analyzing. and teacher’s book. Purposely recycling is designed and implemented throughout the books. experiencing and exploring. cassettes. aural and oral materials. The textbook also contains quite a few vivid examples to encourage the students to have hands-on practice. constructivist theory is one of the important theoretical foundations for the learning method promoted by the curriculum standard. Pre-reading and various tasks in the Using Language section require the students to take initiatives to participate and learn autonomously. enlightening their intellects. surf the Internet (2-4). 6. Many listening and reading materials in the textbook are imaginative themselves. the most remarkable change of NSEC is that the requirement for Speaking is changed from memorizing the dialogues in the book to holding a discussion. information and situations. Constructivism holds that human being’s cognitive development is subject to the influence of three processes---assimilation. assessment books. while conformability is the structural change of cognitive structure. Provides rich resources produced with multi media in order to meet varied needs of the students.g. 4. associating. The influence of constructivist theory on the NSEC The senior high school curriculum standard encourages optimizing the students’ English language learning style. but also a learning philosophy. making them bring their study potential into full play through observing. The textbook also helps teachers change their indoctrination teaching method into an elicitation teaching method in order to give students more space for discovery and exploration. idiomatic and natural.g. promoting innovative spirit. Considering the differences and unbalance existing in actual teaching. and similarly. and considers the student as “whole person”. The grammar items mainly appear in the compulsory learning phase (Modules 1-5) to facilitate teaching. As compared with SEFC. The textbook views exploration and creativity as an integral part of a fully-developed individuality.person and develop language skills and finally acquire the comprehensive language competence. Unit 2). thinking. Suggestions are also given for the students to make self or peer assessment. wall charts. inducing and internalizing. analogy and association. and the language used is authentic. Their progress and achievements need to be identified and encouraged so as to enhance their confidence. Attention has been paid not only to the students’ acceptability. discovering. NSEC implements the curriculum’s human-oriented education concept. The related supplementary reading. comparing. the textbooks appropriately expand language materials on condition that the basic requirements set by the curriculum standard are guaranteed. and the approach conforms to the cognitive characteristics of Chinese students and is conducive for them to building up their cognition structure. The individual achieves balance with the external environment through assimilation and conformability. and enhancing capability for practice. Such arrangement gives elasticity to the textbook and flexibility to the teaching. Assimilation is the expansion of cognitive structure in quantity. This indeed requires the students to think. Such assessment system can also help teachers obtain feedback on their teaching so that they can improve their teaching accordingly. understanding. For example. Summing Up and Checking Yourself sections are designed in the student’s book. Meanwhile. Assessment system is added to monitor and improve learning and teaching In order to guarantee an effective monitoring on the whole teaching process and results in line with the objectives and requirements set in the curricula standard. their problems can be found. Besides the student’s book. the parts marked with asterisks in the student’s book and workbook are merely optional. which is conducive for the teachers to teach according to the students’ varying situations.

and make the new textbooks quite innovative. 7. we could discover that this is a gradual and progressive process. Teachers and students interact with each other and have dialogues on equal terms. It is these new concepts which cause the NSEC to undergo significant changes. and help them incorporate new information into objective. and this process is usually characterized with frequent interacting between the two approaches as explained in a Chinese saying: ”You have what I have. themselves. 4. 6. the evolution of the textbooks and teaching approaches will also be analyzed. The difference between constructivist theory and traditional teaching concept is compared as follows: Traditional classroom Constructivist classroom 1. 2. It is a gradually evolving process from traditional to modern. if the teaching method or classroom teaching promoted by the Sino-British jointly- developed Senior English for China is added between the two columns. it is not difficult to discern that innovation is made on the basis of inheritance. Now let us focus on researching the influence exerted by constructivism over classroom teaching with textbooks. Teachers respect the existing knowledge and experience of the student’s learning has reached teaching students. and propose their own questions and viewpoints. Assessment is integrated with teaching. rather than transferred from other people. There is no obvious dividing line between “traditional classroom” teaching and “modern classroom” teaching (currently constructivist classroom is considered as the modern teaching approach). These are exactly the theoretical basis for autonomous. 9. and whole. Constructivism encourages the learners to construct their subjective understanding of the objective world from the perspective of their own experiences and backgrounds and attaches importance to the learning process. creators and the teachers to input information. Therefore. The students are regarded as thinkers. and expansion of the classroom. The classroom teaching promoted by the Sino-British jointly developed SEFC 1.Does not support the approach of teaching vocabulary and grammar without contexts. structure is gradually formed and developed through assimilation and conformability. teachers can stimulate the students to think. It holds that learning occurs in the interaction with other people and the students need to be provided with conditions for exploring. Both the process and the results are evaluated. performance. The teachers are authorities. Teachers function as leaders. The knowledge produced in such activities is mainly constructed by the learners themselves. induce and sum up. Classroom activities mainly depend on 3. Learning is constructors. Students are considered as “empty tanks” for 4. The students mainly study 9.” The above table seems to convey the idea that the two approaches differ distinctively from each other. and 8. The class presentation is from part to the 1. Teachers seek correct answers to testify that 6. 3. viewpoints.out under certain historical. and they can think and explore on the basis of of knowledge. 8. Teachers help create situations for students to construct their knowledge. 5. Emphasize the pursue and interests of students. Students mainly study in groups. and the focus is on basic skills. supporters and learning instructive information via indoctrination. and promotes teaching the texts as a whole without dividing them into irrelevant sections 2.Advocates open classroom teaching. their existing knowledge and experience. as well as the task-based learning approach encouraged by the curriculum standard. and practical materials. and evaluation is evaluation through observing the students classroom made via tests and examinations. However. their work. Knowledge is thought to be static. learning (the development of cognition) about society and social communication is the process of human’s psychological function development. Also. Teachers make separate from teaching. partners. Here is the added table that may be put in between the columns in the above table. and test scores. They can propose hypothesis and provide based on memorizing and passive acceptance validation. Strictly follow classroom routine 2. inquiring and cooperative learning. Assessment of the students learning is 7. and give great importance to questions raised by students. and pass on 5. The class presentation is from the whole to the part. social and cultural backgrounds. and I have what you have. and society can play an important supporting and promoting role for the individual’s development in learning. converting the unilateral indoctrination by the teachers to two-way interactions between . their cognitive structure. In this way. macro classroom concept is emphasized. Knowledge is dynamic and undergoes changes with the learning depends on repetitive emulation and development of our experiences. discover. observe. in the cycling process of “balance—unbalance—new balance”. And. Classroom activities mainly depend on first-hand resources textbooks and reference books. Human being’s cognition memorization.

problem-solving and questions play and simple discussion problem- solving ‘Exercises’ ← (Ellis) → tasks ‘Enabling tasks’ ← (Estaire and Zanon) → communicative tasks’ It is obvious that the viewpoint of the strong version of TBLT is absolute to certain degrees. The table above by Littlewood clearly shows that the series of communicative activities here is not much different from the CTL approach. and they fall into two schools. and the only difference lies in that tasks not mechanical repetitions are involved in the production stage. The teachers will give proper suggestions or corrections to improper language use or errors made by the students. multiple choice selection. let us take a look into the non-communicative language exercise. ·non-communicative language exercises (often used in old textbooks. discussion. information-gap some creative role-play. The strong version school believes that theTBLT is different from the traditional PPP mode. and the exercises adopted by the NSEC mainly include word and sentence transformation exercises. cooperative and creative. with some attention to taught language in a communicate in communicate in how they are formed and meaning but not context where it situations which situations where the what they mean.. translations and crossword puzzles). He argues that theTBLT described by Littlewood is basically the same with the PPP mode in communicative language teaching.g. One is “the strong version of TBLT” and the other is “the weak version of TBLT”. sentence substitution. i. communication practice practice tion Focusing on the Practicing language Practicing pre. the weak version of TBLT believes that all activities which can promote language learning can be considered as tasks. Practice and Production.e. the PPP mode was used to compile textbooks and organize classroom teaching. and then do oral and written exercises to provide the learners with controlled spoken and written activities to practise new vocabulary and sentence patterns. rather than tasks.g. The former also needs presentation and practice phases. “Learning by doing. · communicative language exercises (firstly used by the sino-British jointly compiled SEFC and is still used today) include role plays with information gap. Starts to encourage the students to raise questions 3.Promotes teaching with multi-media means 4.Emphasizes on motivating the students initiatives and enthusiasm 5.Teachers keep changing their roles: demonstrators. the classroom teaching process of the weak version is not much different from the process of the PPP mode. Structured Authentic tive learning tive language tive language communica. To the strong version of TBLT. structured role. interview. Communica. diary-keeping and note-taking. e. In other words. words filling. Pre-communica. Skehan(1996)pointed out. The influence of the task-based language teaching approach in the NSEC. awareness-raising answer’ practice Activities or unpredictability. the former is developed based on the latter. Littlewood(2004)used a very clear table to illustrate this issue: Focus on forms ← → Focus on meaning Non-communica. survey. Presentation. interactive. task-based teaching concept shares the same origin with the communicative language teaching concept (or functional approach). For a long time. referees and helpers. the PPP mode only offers exercises. communicative. communicative language activities and task-based activities and make a comparison. Actually. letter-writing. firstly the teachers introduce language items. information. ‘discovery’ and ‘question-and. questions. ·Task-based activities (the NSEC uses many such activities) refer to the communicative activities which are meaningful. debate. and the points of “weak task school” are easier for us to accept. e. Emphasizes the use of language. Tasks can be divided into enabling tasks and communicative tasks.g. organizers. The supporters of TBLT don’t have universal opinions on it. communicating new communicates new elicit pre-learnt meanings are substitution exercises. but with unpredictable. more complex activities ‘personalized’ e. guessing. e. e. language. teachers and students. message to others. doing while learning” 9.Classroom organization is changed by carrying out activities in groups III.g. Harmer(2001)argues that task-based language instruction is just the opposite to PPP because by TBLT teachers get the students to complete certain tasks before they discuss the application process of language. With this method. Now. However. 6.Changes “spoon-feeding” to the heuristic way of teaching 7.Encourages to add listening comprehension and oral tests in examinations 8. instructors. They often require the learners to integrate their own experience into . Using language to Using language to structures of language.g.

While implementing task-based teaching. Probably language presentation has been made in the previous lesson. The form-function principle:The design of task shall integrate the forms and function of the language so as to nurture the students’ capability to utilize the language while grasping the language form. Such situations normally occur in open classes. e. To help the students complete this task step by step. since higher language application ability of the learners is required.l and What qualities does a great person have? p. Some personalized activities request the students to be creative. Actually. Or it may be the case that students participate very actively in the activities. Task-based activities emphasize not only language. Otherwise. The students still need to learn grammar and memorize words.60). it can be discovered that it is difficult to carry out activities in class. Here. The task dependency principle:The design of tasks follows the principle of making gradual increase in the degrees of difficulty and complexity. Some other activities can stimulate the learners to refer to their own experiences. The students shall be led to make reasoning and deduction by themselves so as to understand the functions of language and utilize it in real situations.19);and analysis of information and solving problems (Listen to the story to find out what happened. take Module I as an example.e. Plan your poster. This is also called ladder task principle. Almost all Projects are activities which have certain parts of the following characteristics. There are also many tasks which require the students to go out of the classroom and make contacts with social life. in addition to the Warming up.g. or only a few top students are actively involved.: the process to construct knowledge. the textbook provides two limericks as examples for the students to read aloud and taste the humor and rhythm.54). understand and use the language. Make a code for taking notes (p. Make notes about Murray’s life. but grasping of knowledge is not purely achieved through the teachers’ explanations. the following problems frequently occur: ·The language format is ignored to pursue the tasks’ real situations and be anxious to achieve functions. The following information sheet is often used in the textbook to replace traditional question formats. the Writing task in Module 4 of the NSEC requires the students to write a limerick. Learning by doing: Lead the students to learn language and accumulate learning experience through completing specific communicative tasks.14);Analysis of people’s attitudes(p. real.7),listening to southerners of the United States(p. it contains boasting and exaggeration in such shows. but by student’s application so as to experience. i. and then construct and develop their own language system. but their . we want to restate the five principles proposed by Nunan in 1999 concerning task-based language teaching. help Anne with her problem (p. For example. In the NSEC.33).g. letter writing (A letter of advice p. or the whole lecture has been given and practiced.classroom learning. Then the students are asked to search for rhyming words and complete the frame of limerick given by filling in appropriate words. and remind teachers to pay attention to certain issues in order to avoid some setbacks. Scaffolding:The language learning process is progressive. Pre-reading and Speaking tasks in each unit. p.43). p. and forming a cycle of evolution from the basic tasks to advanced tasks which covers the basic tasks. but also the learning process. language presentation steps (including vocabulary and pattern drills) are omitted to show that the students can apply language creatively in task-based activities as if they could acquire the language without learning or being taught. and we need to provide the students with sufficient support.43. (p. e. a large quantity of task-based activities can be located. internalize. They are not confined to activities in class.51). ·Real life related tasks ·Analysis and problem solving tasks ·personalized and creative tasks ·Tasks which activate the learners’ own experiences ·Tasks to make social practice Communicative activities and task-based activities are more difficult to be carried out in teaching than non-communicative language exercises. For example: questionnaire investigation concerned with real life experiences(Are you good to your friends? p. The authenticity principle:The language materials and context are made as real as possible to provide the students with a natural. or simulated real situations to let them experience.

IV. due to limited printed pages. If the constructivist and communicative task-based teaching conceptions and the language acquisition theory are applied to develop the five-step teaching method. It includes Warming up.language is of poor quality and full of errors. The NSEC renovates teaching approach based on inheritance of pervious experience A thoughtful teacher once asked such a question: “Can task-based teaching be integrated with the five-step teaching method?” This question deserves our research. Actually. No matter whether they recognize non-communicative exercises as tasks. especially to the backward regions and students with difficulties. the following graphic can be constructed. The five-step teaching method needs to be innovated based on inheritance. This results in such problems as inaccuracy in expression and weak language foundation. · Emphasize real communicative tasks. However. Such kinds of exercises are included in Learning about language section in the NSEC. Although this graphic is not fully-developed. ·Emphasize the nurturing of students’ comprehensive language application ability. the five-step teaching method needs to be upgraded to suit the needs of the present curricula. some teachers dare not explain language phenomena in class (especially in open classes) and give necessary instruction. Therefore. and a big number of excellent teachers have been growing with this method. The five-step teaching method has given strong influence on China’s English language teaching during the past over ten years. which can be called as “5P” or the new five-step method. it is the beginning of a unit and the start of listening. summing up The five Ps stand for the five steps of the NSEC English language teaching process: 1)Preparation. it can be a starting point for us to carry on further research and discussion. and ignore non-communicative exercises. the strong version of TBLT would give a negative answer. the teachers need to make necessary addition. ·While emphasizing the students’ self-motivated construction of knowledge system. the increase in many task-based activities naturally reduces the quantity of exercises in language forms. ·Lack of support given to students while they are carrying out task-based activities. reading and writing activities. aimed at activating the students’ . Probably. They don’t point out the problems in the students’ group activity and do not correct the commonly-existing language errors of the students. and the weak version of TBLT would not since they hold a positive attitude towards the PPP teaching method and would probably not be against the five-step method. mechanical drills of language form in English language teaching are indispensable. which is closely related to PPP. instead. There should be a process existing between non- communicative exercises and real communicative tasks. The weak version of TBLT considers non-communicative exercises as enabling tasks and the strong version does not consider them as tasks at all. who fail to experience pleasure from successfully fulfilling tasks. speaking. and ignore the strengthening of basic knowledge and training of basic skills. This step is far from the simple revision carried out at the beginning of each class. textbooks and teaching approaches.

20th Century High School and Primary School Teaching Syllabuses and Curriculum Standards Collection. 3)Practice. enrich their experience and make progress. D. The students are expected to accomplish target tasks. China Light Industry Press. 2004. 1991. language acquiring and learning should be integrated. 5)Progress. 2004. 2005. This step has higher requirements than in the previous five-step method. can the smooth transmission from one phase to another be well assured. to predict what they will learn so as to get involved in the learning tasks to follow. l Brooks. 4)Production. Task-based Language Teaching. During the past 30 years. People’s Education Press. Reference l H. In other words. and teachers are encouraged to use English to explain language phenomena to their students.: authentic communicative tasks) and projects designed by the textbook or the teacher. Selected Works of Zhang Zhigong Vol. 2005. 2)Presentation. existing knowledge and experience. Brown Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy Prentice Hall Reagents 1994 l The Ministry of Education of People’s Republic of China.com. and refers to the development from non-communicative language activities (i.e. Students are instructed to treat observing. The Current Status and Future of High School English Textbooks. Having analyzed the textbooks and teaching methods from the perspectives of both theory and practice. imitation and memorizing as learning tasks. The Application of Multiple Intelligence and Constructivist Theory in Classroom Teaching. Liu Daoyi. 2001. An Interpretation of General Senior High School English Curriculum Standards. The new language knowledge is introduced in contexts. Translated by Fan Wei Cases of Constructivist Classroom Teaching. Beijing Normal University Press. Besides. New Curriculum English Teaching and Learning. they need to provide rational instructions to help the students study and grasp language rules rapidly. The textbooks in the three decades have their own distinctive characteristics. Luo Shaoqian. On study. l Curriculum and Teaching Materials Research Institute. General Senior High School English Curriculum Standards (trial). Knowledge and experiences acquired will be consolidated through Summing up. This step combines the drilling and practice steps of the previous five-step method.e. 2002. l Huang Yuanzhen. 2003. The background of Curricula Reforms. The teachers should make sure that the students have obtained sufficient language input to cultivate language feel. l Longman 1987. l Gong Yafu. Jiangsu Education Press.cn 京公⽹网安备110402440009号 传真:010-58758877 . and the ELT be developed and improved incessantly and successfully through reforms in China. you can discover that the innovation of teaching materials and methods is developed based on the previous experience. l Ye Zi. discovering. People’s Education Press. l Zhang Zhigong. 2003. G. l English Curriculum Standard Research Team. 2004. 2011-02-23 ⼈人教⽹网 ⼤大 中 ⼩小 推荐给朋友 打印 关闭 【上⼀一篇】 【下⼀一篇】 版权所有:⼈人民教育出版社 地址:北京市海淀区中关村南⼤大街17号院1号楼 京ICP备05019902号 电话:010-58758866 邮编:100081 新出⽹网证(京)字016    400-810-5788 E-mail:pep@pep. Checking and other measures so that the students will consolidate the knowledge learnt. Fujian Educuation Press. and the guiding concept and methods adopted have been updated continuously. China’s school English language materials and teaching methodology have seen major changes accompanying the reforms in the curricula. 2003. (i. The People’s Teaching Press. 5. l Ouyang Fen. l Shi Liangfang. Only in this way. The students are also asked to think and inquire. J. this is what the old saying “推陈出新(weed through the old to bring forth the new)” means. “Enter the new curricula: a dialogue with the curricula implementer”. Foreign language volume (English). Constructivism in Education (translated by Gao Wen) East China Normal University Press.: mechanical practice) to meaningful practice and then to all kinds of communicative activities. People’s Education Press. China Light Industry Press. Guangdong Education Press. Perhaps.