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A Survey of Teachers’ Beliefs about English Teaching and Learning.


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Chapter II: Review of Related Literature………. 6

2.1 Introduction………. 6

2.2 Concepts of Teachers' Beliefs………. 6

- Definition of Teachers' Beliefs………. 6

- Teachers' Beliefs and Conception about Profession………. 34

2.4 Present Study on Teachers' Beliefs………. 35

Chapter III: Research Methodology………. 36

3.1 Introduction………. 36

3.2 Overview of the Methodology……… 36

3.3 Research Sites and Participants………..……… 37

3.4 Research Design……….. 38

3.5 Data Collection……… 38

3.5.1 The Questionnaire……….. 39

3.5.2 The Questionnaire Delivery and Collection………... 41


Chapter IV: Findings and Discussions……….. 44

4.1 Introduction………. 44

4.2 Teachers' Beliefs about English……….. 44

- Teachers' Beliefs about the Importance of English……….. 44

- Teachers' Beliefs about English Language Skills and Aspects………..…. 45

- Teachers' Beliefs about being able to Communicate in English………...…… 47

4.3 Teachers' Beliefs about Learning English………... 50

4.4 Teachers' Beliefs about Teaching English……….. 52

- Teachers' Beliefs about What English Teaching is……….. 53

- Teachers' Beliefs about How to Teach English……… 58

- Teachers' Beliefs about a Successful Teaching……… 61

- Teachers' Beliefs about Teaching Guidelines……….. 64

- Teachers' Beliefs about Teaching Sources………... 69

4.5 Teachers' Beliefs about Their Job……….. 71

Chapter V: Conclusion and Recommendations………... 74

5.1 Conclusion……….. 74

5.2 Implications………. 75

5.3 Recommendations………... 76

References………. 78


Appendix 1: Research Questionnaire

Appendix 2: Respondents' answers on the Questionnaire (examples) Appendix 3: Respondents' answers (typed per-question), examples Appendix 4: Maps of Questions in the Questionnaire


List of Figures

Figures Page

2.1 Overview of research on teachers' judgments, decisions and behavior 18


List of Tables

Tables Page

3.1 Participants by Age 37

3.2 Participants by Length of Their Teaching Experience 37 4.1 Teachers’ Beliefs about English Language Aspects 46

4.2 The Most Frequently Taught Language Skill(s) 48

4.3 The Most Pleasurable Language Aspect(s) to Learn

(When the Teachers were Students) 48

4.4 The Most Important and Supportive Language Aspect of

Students' Communication Ability 49

4.5 The Most Pleasurable Learning Materials to Learn

(When the Teachers were Students) 50

4.6 Teachers' Experience in Learning Certain Language Skill(s) 51 4.7 The Easiest Language Skill(s) to be Learnt by Students 52 4.8 The Results of Data Analyses on English Language Skill(s)

(Based on number of occurrences of each skill) 53

4.9 The Most Difficult Skill(s) to Teach to Students 55

4.10 The Results of Data Analyses on English Language Skill(s)

(Based on number of occurrences of each skill) 56

4.11 The Results of Data Analyses on English Language Skill(s)

(Based on number of occurrences of each skill) 57

4.12 The Regularity of Using Indonesian during the Teaching of English 61

4.13 The Most Important Teaching Guidelines 64

4.14 Responses about Curriculum 2004 66




There are four major items discussed in this chapter. The first is the background of the problem of this study, which briefly generates the bases to conduct the study and the rationale of the study that contains part of the general theoretical framework used as the tools in analyzing the data. The second is the presentation of the research questions that have guided the study. The third discusses the significance of the study, and the last provides an overview of the organization of the thesis.

1.1 Background of the Problems

The conduct of this study was motivated in major part by series of small studies, which I carried out when I took EFL methodology, issues on EFL methodology, and curriculum developments courses at graduate program at Indonesia University of Education. Contributing ideas to this study was also my reading of many research based papers as well as theoretical articles published in journals about teachers and their teaching conceptions and activities. From these courses and readings, I gained a relatively clear picture that teachers are indeed the most powerful person in a classroom setting. For example, Yero (2002) said that the power to change education—for better or worse—is and always has been in the hands of teachers. It is the human – and the humane- qualities of teachers that will ultimately determine the quality of instruction offered to learners (Maley, 2004).


Holt Reynolds, 1995; Fang, 1996; Murphy, 1999; Ballone and Czerniak, 2001; Wilson et al., 2002; Minchew, 2004; Richards et al., 2006). Individual teachers, according to Yero (2002), through their conscious or unconscious participation (or lack thereof), have the power to make or break reform efforts. They shape the curriculum according to their own beliefs, teach their own personal values through the implicit curriculum, and operate their classrooms in accordance with their own particular definitions of teaching and learning.

Therefore, because teachers hold beliefs regarding professional practices, which influence their actions, a careful study about the role of teachers’ beliefs is necessary. By investigating teachers’ beliefs about their teaching, which makes the beliefs verbalized explicitly, it is possible for both the teachers and the educational reformers to identify some of teachers’ misconceptions (if any) about their actions that might lead to unproductive teaching, and work out the problems afterward. As asserted by Ballone and Czerniak (2001, citing Cuban 1990), the result of this kind of examination would enable the teachers and reformers in education to identify and resolve the problems and the past failures in educational reform.

Nevertheless, while research on teachers’ instructional activities have long been around in the field of teaching, research on teachers’ beliefs as major contributing factor to their decisions during the activities is still limited. In fact, although it has been realized by many researchers for the past decades that beliefs are the best indicators of the decisions made by individuals in the course of their lifetime (Pounds, 1966, and Rokeach, 1968 as cited in Murphy, 1999), Borg (2003a) reported that a review of published research into teacher cognition in language teaching lists only 64 studies since 1976 with 47 of these appearing since 1996.

Likewise, the lack of research on teachers’ beliefs is even more pronounced in Indonesia. My personal experience can attest to this. That is, based on my library search on thesis results documented in English Department of the Postgraduate level of Indonesia University of Education, as the foremost educational university, only few of them directly investigate teachers’ beliefs about English teaching and learning. Therefore, the present study is one among few, which should contribute to development of a fuller understanding about this matter.

1.2 Research Questions


teaching, and their understanding of the systems in which they work and their roles within it. Therefore, in order to achieve its major purpose in finding out what English teachers’ belief about English teaching and learning is, some specific questions corresponding to each components proposed by Richards and Lockhart (1995) were developed to guide the process of data collection, as follows:

a) What is the teachers’ belief about English? b) What is their belief about learning English? c) What is their belief about teaching English? d) What is their belief about their job?

1.3 Significance of the Study

Understanding teachers’ beliefs is essential to the improvement of teaching practices because these beliefs serve as bases for teachers’ attitude and behavior in the classrooms. According to Murphy (1999), this understanding can serve as a necessary first step in bringing about positive changes in teaching and learning processes. Besides, as affirmed by Murphy (1999, citing Brousseau, Book and Byers 1988), this can also provide tremendous insights into every facet of the educational process, teacher education programs and instructional leaders. Moreover, as asserted by Yaumi (2006), doing research on teachers’ beliefs plays a great importance on educational development. As quoted in her article, a survey conducted by Human Development Index found that around 60% teachers of Primary schools, 40% teachers of Junior High Schools, 43% teachers of Senior High Schools, and 34% teachers of Senior Vocational Schools have not met the standardized quality of our national education. Therefore, she said that doing research on teachers, especially their beliefs, is imperative.


Furthermore, relevant theories suggest that teachers’ decisions, as the most contributing factors of the successful of teaching processes, are led by the teachers’ beliefs. As affirmed by Kennedy (1999) although decision making is also often subconscious, especially during the lessons, intuitive action is still based on underlying tacit knowledge and belief structures. Teachers’ beliefs and values in this case serve as the background to much of their decision-making and actions (Richards and Lockhart, 1995). Therefore, doing research on teachers’ beliefs is important, because it would give information about the reasons that underlie teachers’ decisions concerning their teaching and how these particular decisions influence their subsequent activities.

In brief, this kind of study is beneficial both theoretically and practically. Theoretically, in the context of Indonesia where research about teachers is very limited, this study would be useful to give insight into what the teachers believe about English teaching and learning and how it impacts on their teaching activities. Practically, this study informs how a number of Indonesian teachers perceived the teaching of English and how their perceptions impact on their daily teaching activities in the classroom in the middle of contextual demands coming from different sources (e.g. curriculum imposed by the government and social expectations).

In addition, since there has been very limited data regarding teachers’ belief about teaching and learning, I am certain the result of this research contributes to the professional sources in the teaching profession in Indonesia University of Education, especially in Post Graduate programs, and adds to the general professional literature. Furthermore, I hope the result of this study would enlighten many other studies concerning teachers’ beliefs and other related topics.

1.4 Organization of Thesis


Chapter Three provides detailed information about research methodology. Research sites and participants, research design, and data collection and analyses method are presented in this chapter.

Chapter Four provides the findings and discussions of the present study. The presentation are presented orderly in sequence under the umbrella of the issues being focused in this study: teachers’ beliefs about English, teachers’ beliefs about learning English, teachers’ beliefs about teaching English, and teachers’ beliefs about their job.




3.1 Introduction

In order to produce information of a particular research problem, every research undertaking entails appropriate research methodology which can take the form of principled procedure. This systematic procedure guides the researcher to acquire and logically analyze the intended information (data) to attain specific research findings of the problem being investigated. Likewise, this study also requires a suitable research method to facilitate the conduct of investigation on teachers' beliefs about English teaching and learning. To this end, this chapter provides an overview of the research methodology selected for this study and the rationale for the choices made.

This chapter comprises five major sections. The first section presents a general overview of the methodology adopted in this study, and the second one describes the research sites and participants involved. The third section elaborates on how the study was planned to attain its particular purpose. Afterward, the phases of data collection and analyses are explained in the subsequent sections.

3.2 Overview of the Methodology

This study is descriptive (non-experimental) in nature. It attempts to find out certain variables that are not easily identified or too embedded in the phenomenon to be extracted for study—teachers' beliefs about English teaching and learning. No manipulation or treatments of subjects was devised in this study—the variables were characterized as they were.


3.3 Research Sites and Participants

This study involved a total population of fifteen Junior High Schools in Sukabumi. This level of schooling was chosen because it is the first level of education where English has been officially taught and, therefore, English teaching at this level can hold decisive impacts on students' further learning. In addition, logistically speaking, these schools were relatively easier to access because the researcher was one of the English teachers.

The total school population, represented by forty-two teachers of English, was taken as the participating teachers of the study. This decision was made to ensure that the data reflect a full picture of the condition. These participating teachers were non-native teachers of English. The majority of these teachers were female (61.90%) and the rest of them were male (38.10%). Most of them hold an undergraduate level of education as their highest degree (90.48%), or had Diploma 1 (2.38%) and Diploma 3 (2.38%). They were majoring in English Education. Meanwhile, the remaining two respondents hold an S1 from different major of educational background (4.76%): one majored in Mechanical Engineering and the other majored in Management.

In addition, the majority of the teachers reported that they had never taken any additional English course (83.33%), while the rest did (16.67%). Moreover, they varied greatly in terms of age and the length of their teaching experiences. The following tables present the breakdown of the participants by age and the length of their teaching experience.

Table 3.1

Participants by Length of Their Teaching Experience

Teaching Experience Number of participants Percentage

<6 years 8 19.05%

6-15 years 14 33.33%

16-25 years 18 42.86%

>25 years 2 4.76%


With letters of reference from UPI and Sukabumi Municipality Office of Ministry of National Education, access to the schools was obtained from each school principal of the participating schools. After some contacts were made with the principals, thorough discussion related to the study was then carried out with the English teachers.

3.4 Research Design

In order to collect, organize, and integrate the data, this study employed a cross sectional survey as its research design. This research design was employed because of the nature of the research questions as well as the scope of the study that involved a total number of populations of a relatively large geographic area (Merriam and Simpson, 1989; Merriam, 1991; Fowler, 1995; Scheureun, 2000; Trochim, 2001; McMillan and Schumacher, 2001; Walonick, 2004; Connor, 2006; Coe, 2006).

Moreover, the fundamental idea behind a survey design is compatible with this study. That is, to investigate variables by asking people questions related to their attitude or patterns of firsthand experiences at one point in time (namely: what they have done, their current situations, their feelings and perceptions) and to examine the relationships among the variables afterward.

Nevertheless, as with other research design, survey research design suffers form inherent weaknesses such as reactivity, low response rates, inability to probe more detailed information from the respondents, and the originality of the responses (whether the responses stated in the questionnaire were truly the respondents' or somebody else). In general, these factors may affect the quality as well as the validity of the findings of the study. Therefore, some anticipatory measures had been done to work out these problems before the survey was done, as explained in the following data collection.

3.5 Data Collection


To be precise, the following sub-sections provide more information concerning the questionnaire and its' delivery and collection. These explanations include the justification of the decisions made, which at the same time explain the efforts made to tackle some commonly occurring problems as mention earlier.

3.5.1 The Questionnaire

The questionnaire utilized in this study comprises fifty-seven questions. All of these questions were developed based on the research questions that had been composed based on theories (through careful writing, editing, reviewing, and rewriting). In order to probe detailed information, most of the questions were open-ended and few of them were closed ones. According to Fowler (1995), asking open-ended questions is among the best ways to increase response, especially to measure complex matter—beliefs. He emphasized that although the measurement result may not be as easy to work with; participants like to answer some questions in their own words.

Furthermore, to confirm the validity of their responses, some questions were developed with a specific function to intentionally check the participants' consistence. Besides, because this study applied no other data gaining processes, some sub-questions investigating the "how" and "why" related to certain main questions were given in order to get more information and to verify their responses.

Triggered by theories related to beliefs, which emphasized experience as the main source of beliefs, and theories concerning the importance of doing teaching reflection, the questionnaire administered in this study was deliberately developed in the form of self-reflection. In addition to its specific uses to investigate the participants’ beliefs about English teaching and learning, this format was set up to reduce participants' reluctance to answer the questions, which may cause a high rate of non-response, and to ensure that the returned questionnaires had been answered by the same participants she sent the questionnaires to.


The questions in the questionnaire were presented in a chronological order based on their experience—starting from their English learning experience as students up to their current experience as teachers. To probe more insightful information, a relatively ample white-lined space was provided in every question, although several questions were closed questions. Moreover, in order that all the participants would understand the questions in the same way, some stated instructions were provided and certain crucial words in each item of questions were typed in italics and bold. Besides, all the questions were presented in Indonesian.

Furthermore, to reduce participants' hesitation and stress that might occur when they answered the questionnaire, the questionnaire was given an attractive title :""""This is my experience during my teaching and learning English." This title was as well stated to set the

participants' stances that they were not going to be evaluated, instead they were required to share some of their prestigious experience concerning English teaching and learning since they were students up to their current experience as English teachers, which treasure their beliefs about English teaching and learning.

Basically, the questionnaire was divided into three logically interrelated sections. Each of the sections covered a specific topic. Particularly, the participants' English learning experience as they were students (12 questions), their commitment to become teachers (19 questions), and their current daily teaching activities (26 questions). In every transition of the sections, some short statements that were purposively given to mainly attract participants' attention and motivation to answer the questions were provided. Besides, these statements also maintain the questionnaire external appearance as a reflection.

Similar to any questionnaire in general, a pre-notification letter was attached on the first page of the questionnaire in order to establish the legitimacy of the survey. Within this letter, a brief description of why the study was being done, why the participants should complete the questionnaire, how the results would be used, and its "confidentiality" was stated.


3.5.2 The Questionnaire Delivery and Collection

Questionnaire sets were delivered personally to every respondent based on an appointment. This was done to facilitate personal contact with the respondents and to ensure that they understand what they have to do. Within this step, clarification related to the questionnaire and the submission date of the questionnaire was discussed.

About three weeks afterward, the questionnaires were then collected. In this phase, some interviews to clarify the participants’ responses (both through further self-visited and via phone) were done. Through this process, all the forty-two sets of questionnaires were successfully collected with the necessary information. Overall, the whole process of questionnaire delivery and collection took two months.

3.6 Data Analyses

The following steps are the process of data analyses the researchers used to analyze the data gained from the questionnaire.

1. Assign a number (as an identity) to every respondent.

2. Type responses under each question consistent with the identification number of the respondents (as exemplified in appendix 3)—this resulted 70 sets of data. This typing process was done to file the raw data, to make the data more user-friendly and to make the analyses easier. Besides, this procedure made the verification of participants' consistency possible. It also made more straightforward the process of data analyses of every response and across responses of a question as well as across questions under the same issue and across issues.

3. Read each data set repeatedly and identify recurring topics by highlighting the keywords stated on each response using kinds of symbol (e.g.





) and colorful highlighters. In some cases, especially in analyzing closed questions, the process were easier because the questions had directly provided the themes (such as important/not that important/unimportant) in which the data could be put into nominal-level categories right after applying the themes into the responses.

4. Organize recurring topics coming from each data set into themes relevant to items of the questions in the questionnaire.


6. Copy the categories into a separate list of items complimented with number of respondents. This procedure made possible the calculation of each category into percentages.

7. Organize data sets (which have been converted into categories and percentages) based on corresponding research questions. Because all research questions required information from many different items of questions, references was made to "maps of questions" (see appendix 4) already prepared beforehand. In this way, all related information items could be put together. From this grouping, formulation of finding for each research question became possible.

8. Reformulate the (big number of) categories in each group of data set into fewer bigger categories—there are four groups of data sets, including data sets about teachers’ beliefs about English, about learning English, teaching English, and about the teachers’ job. 9. Formulate a statement of generalization based on the final categories organized under

each research question.


Figure 3.1 Data Analyses Procedures

Assign an identity to every respondent using number

Organize data sets (which have been converted into categories and percentages) based on corresponding research questions

Copy the categories into a separate list of items complimented with number of respondents

Formulate a statement of generalization based on the final categories organized under each research question Organize recurring topics coming from each data set into themes

Reformulate the categories in each group of data set into fewer bigger categories

Rearrange recurring themes into categories




This chapter is primarily devoted to explaining three main points, including the conclusions of the present study that also contains the summary of the major findings of the present study, the implications of the findings, and some recommendations both for further study and for teachers’ professional development.

5.1 Conclusion

As spelled out in the first chapter, the major purpose of the study was to get insight into teachers’ beliefs about English teaching and learning. Using various theoretical perspectives and research-based explanation from other researchers, data from respondents have been analyzed and results have led to the followings.

First, the teachers in this study perceived English as a tool they use to attain real life purposes both in academic and social contexts. They believed that these purposes can be accomplished by way of learning certain linguistic sources of direct relevance to real life communication (especially, oral).

Second, relevant with their conception about English, the teachers agreed that learning English means learning the skills of reading and speaking together with vocabulary and grammar. They believed that these skills and aspects are the most essential linguistic sources to be learnt by their students to achieve their real life purposes, especially in the context of real need of communication.

Third, consistent with the conception of English and learning English, teaching English for these teachers means teaching of skills and aspects. They believed that the teaching of English should be carried out effectively using certain criteria of good practices in ways which are consistent with professional principles and procedures, by using appropriate teaching guidelines and sources for the purposes of facilitating and motivating students’ optimal learning to get good scores.


Additionally, it is quite interesting to note what this study has revealed. For example, there is an indication that teachers' conception about English teaching and learning in their previous experience as learners would serve as a basis for their current beliefs about English teaching and learning in their current teaching activities. Concerning their profession, this study also found that daily teaching experience could improve teachers' level of professional commitment. That is, in the course of their professional service, the teachers would regard their job as a profession, do their job professionally, solve their teaching problems in professional ways, and would gradually improve their professional performance through professional activities.

Overall, it can be concluded that teachers’ beliefs influence the teachers decision-making including those related to lesson planning, use of primary learning materials, teaching and learning activities occurring in the classroom, teaching and learning evaluations, and professional development.

5.2 Implications

Based on the major findings of the study, as presented above, some pedagogical implications are necessary to be drawn.

First, believing English as a tool to attain some real purposes, teachers in this study focus primarily on helping students to pass their study that is commonly measured by scores which means product oriented. In other words, process is not very well taken care of. Given this fact, determination of students’ graduation needs also include consideration of students’ achievements across times in order to appreciate students’ learning progress during their study in Junior High School.


Third, the teachers in this study believe that the teaching of English should be done effectively. They believe that an effective teaching is a proportional teaching, among others is in terms of teaching facilities. However, the data also revealed that major teaching facilities are unlikely to be provided by teachers (e.g. language laboratory or complete tape-sets to teach listening to students). This implies that the government should provide more complete teaching facilities in order to facilitate the teachers to achieve an effective teaching that accomplish its' main purpose—teaching all the language skills integratively to develop students' communication ability.

Fourth, the teachers believe that, as a profession, their occupation needs to be improved continually to ensure their personal development and professional benefits. This implies that the government should provide well-designed and well-organized teaching trainings that would facilitate the teachers to improve the quality of their professional activities.

5.3 Recommendations

Based on the researcher' reflection on her experience in conducting research on teachers' beliefs as well as a thorough analyses on the findings that have been revealed, presented below are some ideas intended for those who are concerned about teachers' beliefs and their impact on teaching activities and those who are interested in doing research on teachers' beliefs.

First, because of the nature of beliefs which is difficult to define and investigate, research study on this issue would require long-term of engagements from the researcher. Therefore, use of longitudinal research design is recommended.

Second, it is recommended that multiple data-collection procedures should be used in doing in doing the research. This is especially true for those who are interested in investigating whether teachers' beliefs about English teaching and learning are consistent with the teachers' actual practices in their classrooms.


do thorough exploration about the particular issue that may be more useful in a particular context.

Fourth, with regard to the impact of beliefs on teachers and their teaching activities, it is recommended that the teachers reflect on their teaching activities. According to many researchers, doing teaching reflection would help the teachers to find their power in explication, examination, and revision of their own practical theories and learn more about how their students' beliefs mediate what is learned (e.g., Anderson and Holt-Reynolds, 1995).



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Table 3.1 Participants by Age
Figure 3.1 Data Analyses Procedures


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