An Ethnographic Investigation of Activity Modifications in EFL Classrooms* (Pages: 107 - 117)
Task-based pedagogy states that learning is the outcome of an interaction between the student, the teacher, and the activity. Therefore, for the learner to be successful, the teacher must have full command of this interaction and be able to modify the activity in the best interest of students. In our experiences and observations of classrooms, we have noticed that the level of this interaction and modifications vary among language teachers. The present ethnographic study attempts to identify potential sources of EFL teachers’ activity modifications by exploring the teachers’ perceptions of the natures, aims, and requirements of a given language-learning activity. The knowledge of potential sources of mismatch between teacher intentions and the natures of activities help to inform EFL teachers about language-learning activities at hand; as a result, the desired outcomes of teaching activities are achieved. To guide this study, three research questions were constructed regarding a) the types of activity modifications in EFL classes, b) the number of modifications and its relationship to the number in years of teaching experience, and c) the themes behind the reasons for modification. For these purposes, EFL teachers’ classroom activity modifications were quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed. Six in-service language teachers of a university-level preparatory class were visited and their activity modifications were recorded on the Activity Modification Sheet. Later they were interviewed to discuss these modifications. The results of the current study reveal the types of modifications made in language classes and suggest four major themes pertaining the reasons for activity modifications: clarification, time management, student feedback, and professional collaboration. However, the results also demonstrate the lack of a statistically significant relationship between the participants’ numbers of modification and their numbers in years of teaching experience.