The Study of Foreign Language Teachers’ Beliefs: Implications for Research in the Arab World

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Keywords: Teachers’ beliefs, foreign languages, curriculum innovation, teacher training, Arab World.

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This paper will discuss recent issues in the area of foreign language teachers’
beliefs. It will mainly look at why research is being undertaken in the field. It
will argue that an understanding of teachers’ practices can be achieved by an
understanding of the beliefs underpinning those practices. This is particularly
important because any educational innovation would not succeed if the
objectives of these innovations are incompatible with the beliefs of teachers.
The paper will then give a bird’s eye view of the few studies on foreign
language teachers’ beliefs that were conducted in the Arab world. It will note
that while the findings in these studies were generally congruent with current
theory in the field, the Arab context remains nevertheless drastically
unexplored. Hence, the paper will argue that further research is needed in
order to have a fair representation in the field. It will point out that any data
would be peculiar and unique because they would reflect the socio-political
and cultural aspects of teachers in the Arab countries. Finally the paper will
argue for the need to encourage debate within the Arab academia as a
platform for promoting research on language teachers’ beliefs.