A discourse approach to teachers’ beliefs and textbook use
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Textbooks have long been considered a pivotal learning and teaching resource in classrooms. However, there is a paucity of research on how language teachers use textbooks in relation to their beliefs, with analytic methods in such studies mainly restrained to content-based thematic analysis. In other words, it is imperative to bridge these research gaps. To this end, from the perspectives of Halliday’s (1994) systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and Vygostky’s (1978) socio-cultural theory (SCT), this case study explores how a Chinese college English teacher acted upon his beliefs and used a textbook to mediate his students’ English learning in his classroom. Drawing on constructs of the SFL-based appraisal system and speech function as well as supplementary interviews, the study reveals that the Chinese college English teacher’s beliefs and practices as discourses were constructed by linguistic resources and shaped by context, and that the teacher flexibly and selectively acted upon his beliefs in the process of mediating students’ textbook knowledge. Implications of this study include using SFL and SCT to explore educators’ beliefs and practices and also providing effective teacher education for Chinese college English instructors to reshape their beliefs so that they are better prepared to use textbooks in classrooms.