This study explores a field-motivated concern among English as a Foregin Language (EFL) teachers at a college preparatory English language program. The course syllabus for this program is fixed and systematically paced over four, seven-week modules. Despite formal assessment measures that result in placing the learners into four levels of English language proficiency, it has been reported by teachers, that inside the classrooms, the learners are of varying degrees of language proficiencies and attitudes. This study utilized a focus group approach and case-study classroom observations to explore the extent to which teachers take any measures to address these variations in proficiency and affect in the classroom. Focus-group participant teachers showed a great deal of awareness of variations amongst students and expressed tendencies towards using teaching strategies that would address these variations. However, limitations of time and material, they reported, tend to hinder such efforts. Likewise, when observing two classrooms within the same context, the researchers identified some individual differences among teachers in terms of strategies that account for student individual differences in the classroom, but these strategies were limited in number and variation. It was concluded that in highly-structured courses, with fixed material and unified learning outcomes, there remains room for creating dynamic classroom practices that are sensitive and reactive to students' needs and interests. The study calls for a larger scale investigation of this topic and advocates teaching approaches that have the potential to compensate for the unified syllabus and structured pacing of the courses.
Teacher Evaluation and Effectiveness