ced and novice teachers have shown that they differ in how they perceive and interpret classroom events (Calderhead, 1981)think and make decisions ((Berliner, 1987; Clark & ) (Peterson, 1986), )and develop experienced in pedagogical and content knowledge (Berliner, 1986).
This research, hence, was an attempt to investigate a relationship between novice and experienced EFL teachers’ self-efficacy and self -reflection and to discover the components of each on novice and experienced EFL teachers.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
In Iran, English is considered a foreign language (EFL) and is taught both throughout the formal education (secondary school and university) and at language schools (Amadio, 2003). Private Language schools in Iran are not part of the formal education. In this research, “academic setting”, “academic school” and “academic learner” refer to setting, schools and learners in secondary school and universities, and “private setting”, “private schools”, and “private learner” refer to setting, schools, and learners in non-governmentally funded language schools.
Second year of the lower secondary is the first year students study English at school. Studying English only for 2 hours 15 minutes a week, they continue until they receive their high school diploma. During the final year of the upper secondary program (pre-university course), however, this time increases to three hours a week (Fallahi, 2007).
At university level, for those not majoring in English language (English language and literature, teaching English, linguistics, and translation), English instruction does not exceed 8 out of about 140 credit hours of undergraduate studies (Fallahi, 2007)
Private language schools play a more important role in the field of ELT in Iran. Courses offered in these language schools usually focus on all four skills (Yarmohammadi, 1995), unlike upper-secondary schools and universities, which focus more on redaing. These schools usually have different programs for various age groups. Course books employed are more up-to-date and they usually follow more contemporary teaching methodologies.
In the field of ELT, Iranian students and teachers face numerous problems. These problems can be classified under three categories: learners, materials and setting, and instructors. Many of the problems concern learners. Primarily, most academic learners lack motivation to study English (Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005), while it provides one of the essential key factors that initiates learning in L2. Lack of motivation can be because academic learners do not expect to use English in authentic situations in future, as very few Iranians travel to English speaking countries and Iran is not a very attractive tourist spot for native speakers of English. Consequently, many students become mark oriented and the major reason to study English becomes to pass the course and not to learn (Karimnia & Salehi Zade, 2007).
Karimnia and Salehi Zade (2007) also found that Iranian learners encounter problems in all the language skills. This problem is partly caused by strong language interference between English and Farsi (Gazanfari, 2003). Research shows that some of the most problematic areas for Iranian students are comprehending and using English tenses (Keyvani, 1980), reporting speech in English (Yarmohammadi, 1995), and using English authentically (Karimnia & Salehi Zade, 2007).
Poor teaching materials and unsuitable instructional settings are responsible for some of the problems regarding ELT in Iran. In the academic setting, course books have been targets for criticism. Sadeghian (1996) believes that, “for certain methodological and ideological reasons, we water the content and language so much that what we teach has no educational values” (p. 1). Karimnia and Salehi Zade (2007), too, find school and university curricula inefficient and blame them as one of the reasons for students’ incompetency.
Inappropriate class size in the academic setting can also contribute to poor learning on the side of the students (Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005). It is not surprising to find English classes with 20-30 students in schools and universities. It is clear that languages are learned through interaction, an element that is missing in the academic setting for the shortage of time and the size of the class.
Many believe that in the academic setting, instruction duration is barely enough (Fallahi, 2007; Karimnia & Salehi Zade, 2007; Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005). As mentioned earlier in this section, learners in the academic setting study English for only 2 hours 15 minutes weekly at school and only 8 credit hours out of 140 credit hours at university.
Considering the fact that in an EFL setting the role of the teacher is magnified instructor-related problems are regarded more important than the other problems as teachers have always played more important roles than curricula or the learning environment. In the academic setting in Iran, many English teachers at school level are not competent enough to teach English (Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005; Sadeghian, 1996). The majority of the teachers at schools use Farsi to teach vocabulary items or to explain grammar. The situation is not any better at universities. More often than not, even university professors teach students majoring in English in Farsi. Of course, “the university instructors are [competent], but the problem is that students are not at the level of proficiency to make the professors communicate with them in English” (Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005, p. 94). This becomes a vicious circle as such graduates are the next generation school teachers (Sadeghian, 1996).
Instructor problems in private settings are of different nature. These teachers are usually very competent as most of them have learned English either in private language schools where the quality is much higher than academic schools (Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005), or in an English speaking country where they have lived and/or studied for some years. One problem some of such teachers have is too much dependance on teaching methods that they have learned in the training courses or by means of which they have been taught when they were students. As it was mentioned earlier in this section, private language schools try to keep abreast of changes in the field of teaching English. Many language schools are now introducing the concepts of postmethod condition and reflective teaching in their teacher training programs.
Although private schools do face some shortcomings, they provide a better setting for research. Many scholars do not find research done on academic schools generalizable (Sadeghi, 2005; Talebinezhad & Sadegi Benis, 2005; Sadeghi, 2003; Seif, 1998). Talebinezhad and Sadegi Benis (2005) believe that “the real act of English learning takes place not in these educational centers [i.e. academic centers: