Source: European Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 35, No. 4, November 2012, 481–493
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)
This study aimed at identifying the overall trends in beliefs about language learning of pre-service English as a foreign language (EFL) teachers in the Turkish context, thereby filling a gap in locally situated research.
The participants in this study were 217 full-time undergraduate students in different years enrolled in ELT programmes at seven state universities in Turkey.
Of the 217 students, 142 were females and 75 were males.
Data were collected through BALLI questionnaire (Horwitz 1987).
BALLI is the most widely used and recognised questionnaire in research on learner beliefs and it contains a prescriptive set of statements to which respondents mark their degree of agreement.
The findings reveal that the prospective Turkish teachers in this study hold a variety of beliefs about language learning.
Some of their beliefs may constitute an impediment to successful language learning and teaching, such as some of their beliefs about pronunciation, error correction, and the time required to become proficient in a foreign language.
Thus, the findings of this study support the general contention that language teachers may hold certain beliefs about language learning that may have an impact on their instructional practices.
Therefore, language teachers across various European contexts should make an effort to become aware of their beliefs about language learning and of the influence such beliefs may have on the language learning and teaching situation.
The findings strongly suggest that teacher education programmes should encourage prospective teachers to explore their beliefs, pay attention to any unrealistic beliefs or misconceptions they may hold, and challenge such beliefs with new information and knowledge.
The process of exploring beliefs can also lead to the development of more effective language teaching behaviours as well as to self-knowledge and autonomy.
On a pedagogical level, this article adds further support to the notion that understanding pre-service teachers’ beliefs can support the language teaching process; indeed, ELT teachers’ consciousness of their beliefs and expectations regarding language learning may contribute to a more conducive teaching and learning environment.