Beliefs and Attitudes of Pre- and In-Service Teachers towards Communicative Language Teaching in Challenging Times: A Case of West Libya
This article explores EFL pre-service teachers’ beliefs and attitudes towards communicative language teaching (CLT) and how it is implemented in Libya. It is common that all universities send pre-service teachers to schools for teaching observations and teaching practice as part of their preparation for teaching. However, in Libya,the EFL teacher workforce is underprepared because the teaching of English was banned from 1986 to 1998 (Asker, 2012) and subsequent professional development opportunities lacking. Besides being under pressure to cope with changing requirements in pedagogy and practice to focus on communicative language teaching,this challenge is exacerbated by the recent, rapid growth of schools and free public education. This also creates a dilemma for pre-service EFL teachers on practicum, since their mentor teachers are likely to be teaching traditional grammar-translation method (Assalahi,2013), while their mentees should be focused on CLT. Moreover, the pre-service teachers’own English language learning experience would have been the traditional approach in contrast to their university program that advocates CLT. Thus, to investigate the impact onthe effectiveness of the practicum experience a case study was conductedusing an establishedLikert style survey ofpedagogical beliefs and attitudes. Two independent groups of pre-service teachers and in-service teachers through convenience sampling completed this.The findings showed thatboth groups weresomewhat contradictory and inconsistent intheir beliefs about five CLT principles and potentially lacked in-depth awareness of how they appear in classroom EFL practice. Their responses also provided insights into the barriers to implementing CLT, which related to large class sizes, long term personal experience of the grammar translation method, students’ expectations and lack of professional learning of ISTs. These findings can be used to reform policy and develop EFL teachers’ professional learning, as well as reviewInitial Teacher Education programs in challenging contexts such as this.