The relationship between EFL Teachers’ Attitudes towards CLT and Perceived Difficulties of Implementing CLT in Language Classes

Mehrak Rahimi, Farhad Naderi


The present study investigated the relationship between EFL teachers’ attitudes towards CLT and perceived difficulties of implementing CLT in language classes. Two hundred and three EFL teachers participated in the study. Their attitudes towards CLT and their perceptions of the problems of implementing CLT were assessed by two questionnaires. The results of the descriptive statistics showed that EFL teachers had positive attitudes towards CLT in general and group work in communicative classes in particular. Further, while EFL teachers generally did not find much difficulty in implementing CLT in language classes, they found the difficulties the educational system creates as a major obstacle to use CLT. Moreover, CLT attitudes and perceived difficulties of CLT implementation were not found to be related; however, when subscales of CLT attitudes and perceived difficulties questionnaires were considered, three correlations were found to be statistically significant. Difficulties caused by students in communicative classes were found to be inversely and significantly related to (a) attitudes to CLT as a whole (r=-.160, p<.05) and (b) attitudes towards group/pair work in CLT (r=-.156, p<.05). Further, attitudes towards the role of teacher in a communicative class were found to be positively related to difficulties inherent in the CLT method itself (r= .181, p<.01).



Attitudes, CLT, difficulties, problems, teachers

Full Text:



Anderson, J. (1993). Is the communicative approach practical for teaching English in China? Pros and cons. System, 21, 417-480.

Badger, R., & Yan, X. (2008). To what extent is communicative language teaching a feature of IELTS classes in China? IELTs Research Report Volume 13. IDP: IELTS Australia and British Council.

Breen, M., Hird, B., Milton, O., & Thwaite, A. (2001). Making sense of language teaching: Teachers’ principles and classroom practices. Applied Linguistics 22,470-501.

Burnaby, B., & Sun, Y. (1989). Chinese teachers’ views of western language teaching: Context informs paradigms. TESOL Quarterly, 23, 219-237.

Carless, D. (2003). Factors in the implementation of task-based teaching in primary schools. System, 31, 485-500.

Carless, D. (2007). The suitability of task-based approaches for secondary schools: Perspectives from Hong Kong. System, 35, 595-608.

Carless, K. (2013). Innovation in language teaching and learning. In C. A. Chapelle (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics (pp. 1-4). US: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Carlson, R. O. (1968). Summary and critique of educational diffusion research. In Research implications for educational diffusion: Major papers presented at the National Conference on Diffusion of Educational Ideas (pp. 4-23). East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University.

Chang, L. U. (2000). Communicative language teaching: Senior high-school English teachers' belief and practice. Master Thesis, Taiwan: Tamkang University.

Chang, M. (2010). EFL teachers’ attitudes toward communicative language teaching in Taiwanese college. Asian EFL Journal, 53, 17-34

Chen, Q. (1995). Let the pendulum swing and swing better: More thoughts on language teaching methodology. Proceedings of the 21st Annual Symposium of Deseret Language and Linguistics Society, Provo, UT.

Coskun, A. (2011). Investigation of the application of communicative language teaching in the English language classroom: A case study on teachers’ attitudes in Turkey. Journal of Linguistics & Language Teaching, 21, 85 - 109.

Ellis, R. (1994). The study of second language acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fullan, M. (1993). Change forces. US: The Falmer Press.

Gor, K., &Vatz, K. (2009). Less commonly taught languages: Issues in learning and teaching. In: M. H. Long & C. Doughty (eds.), The handbook of language teaching (pp. 234-249). US: Wiley-Blackwell.

Gorsuch, G. (2000). EFL educational policies and educational cultures: Influences on teachers’ approval of communicative activities. TESOL Quarterly, 34, 675-710.

Hawkey, R. (2006). Teacher and learner perception of language learning activity. ELT Journal, 60, 242-252.

Hiep, P. H. (2007). Communicative language teaching; unity within diversity. ELT Journal, 61, 193-201.

Hui, L. (1997). New Bottles Old Wine: Communicative Language Teaching in China. English Teaching Forum, 35, 38-41.

Karavas-Doukas, E. (1995). Teacher identified factors affecting the implementation of an EFL innovation in Greek public secondary schools. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 8, 53-68.

Karavas-Doukas, E. (1996). Using attitude scales to investigate teachers’ attitude to the communicative approach. ELT Journal, 50, 187-198.

Korthagen, F. A. J. (2004). In search of the essence of a good teacher: Towards a more holistic approach in teacher education. Teaching and Teacher Education, 20, 77-97.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006). TESOL methods: Changing tracks, challenging trends. TESOL Quarterly, 40, 59-81

Liao, X. (2003).Chinese secondary school EFL teachers’ attitudes towards communicative language teaching and their classroom practices. Doctoral Dissertation. New Zealand: University of Auckland.

Li, D. (1998). It’s always more difficult than you plan and imagine: Teachers’ perceived difficulties in introducing the communicative approach in South Korea. TESOL Quarterly, 32, 677-703.

Liu, G. (2005). The trend and challenge for teaching EFL at Taiwanese universities. Regional Language Centre Journal, 36, 211-221.

Mulat. L. (2003). Teachers’ attitudes towards communicative language teaching and practical problems in its implementation. Unpublished Master Thesis. Ethiopia: Addis Ababa University

Nation, I. S. P., & Macalister, J. (2010). Language curriculum design. UK: Routledge

Orafi, S. & Borg, S. (2009). Intentions and realities in implementing communicative curriculum reform. System, 37, 243-253.

Ozsevik, Z. (2010). The use of communicative language teaching (CLT): Turkish EFL teachers’ perceived difficulties in implementing CLT in Turkey. Master Thesis. US: University of Illinois.

Phillipson, R. (1992). Linguistic imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rahimi, M., & Asadollahi, F. (2011). On the relationship between Iranian EFL teachers’ classroom management orientations and teaching style. Procedia Social & Behavioral Sciences, 31, 49-55.

Rahimi, M., & Naderi, F. (2013). The role of EFL teachers’ attitudes towards communicative approach in their teaching style. Paper presented in the first National Conference in Teaching English, Literature and Translation. Shiraz, Iran.

Rathore, M. (2012). Teaching of English through methodology: Problems & prospects. India: Ignite (India) Publishing.

Razmjoo, S. A., & Riazi, A. (2006). Do high schools or private institutes practice communicative language teaching? A case study of Shiraz teachers’ in high schools and institutes. The Reading Matrix, 6, 340-363.

Richards, J. C., & Schmidt. (2002). Dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics (3rd ed.). UK: Longman.

Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (1986). Approaches and methods in language teaching (2nd ed). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching (3rd ed). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Richards, J. C. (2006). Communicative language teaching today. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Rogers, E. (2003). The Diffusion Of Innovations (5th ed.). New York, NY: Free Press.

Rusch, E., & Perry, E., (1999).Resistance to change: an alternative story. International Journal of Educational Reform, 8, 291.

Sato, K., & Kleinsasser, R. (1999). Communicative language teaching: Practical understandings. The Modern Language Journal, 83, 494-517.

Savignon, S. (1991). Communicative language teaching: State of the Art. TESOL Quarterly, 25, 261-277.

Savignon, S. J., & Wang, C. (2003). Communicative language teaching in EFL context: Learner attitudes and perceptions. IRAL, 41, 223-249.

Surafel, Z., (2002). The effects of the new English language teaching methodology in the first cycle secondary schools. Educational Journal, 6, 70-86.

Tsai, T. H. (2007). Taiwanese educators’ perspective on the implementation of the new English education policy. Doctoral Dissertation, US: Alliant International University.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2019 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.