Teaching English the lingua franca of Asia
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This qualitative study investigated the English reading instruction and teachers’ pedagogical approaches in three elementary schools in Beijing, China. Eleven English teachers in these three elementary schools participated in the study and data were collected through semi-structured interviews, field observations, and documents. The findings of the study indicated that these teachers of English had covered eight aspects of knowledge when they taught Chinese students how to read in English, and these eight aspects included phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, writing, grammar, and cultural knowledge. Among these eight aspects, the teachers varied mostly with regard to phonemic awareness and phonics instruction. Furthermore, the participating teachers had different concerns in developing their teaching pedagogies. They all had concerns focusing upon the learner, the subject, and the teacher, but it differed on the subcategories within. Some teachers emphasized more of an affective involvement of the learner whereas some were concerned more with the background knowledge of the learner; some focused on the practical aspect of the language whereas some focused more on the target language being a testing subject; some were concerned with how to facilitate students’ learning process and some concerned more with how to lead the class or the learning. These pedagogical differences were the reason for the different approaches these teachers adopted in their classrooms and also determined where they were placed on the locus of control continuum.