Publication Date



In the debate over English language teaching approaches and methods, the influence of examinations on classroom pedagogy and the nature of these examinations are critical considerations for teachers. In the Inner Mongolian context, as for all China, examinations reflect traditional conceptions of teaching and learning, classroom teaching conditions such as class sizes, and the English-as-a-foreign language setting. In this situation, decisions about classroom pedagogy and objectives and whether teaching focuses on test-taking rather than on the learning of language go to the core of teacher agency. In this paper we foreground the struggles and dilemmas experienced by English language teachers in Inner Mongolia in attempts to exercise agency amidst the instructional demands of an exam-oriented community, and a misalignment created by an exam remaining centered on discrete skills rather than students' proficiency in applying ranging uses of the language they are learning. These conditions are now located within New English Syllabus expectations are that teachers will implement their knowledge of educational theories and of current English teaching methodology to create opportunities for more broadly based learning and proficiency.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.