ABSTRACT The introduction of a new mandatory policy for the teaching of English at the higher education level in China, College English Curriculum Requirements (CECR, published in 2004), had the intention of modernising and improving the quality of English teaching at the tertiary level in China. The policy had a focus on student centred approaches to learning and the use of technology to support this process. This paper reports on a study that investigated the views of teachers, administrators and policy makers about the intended pedagogical shift embedded in the policy and the success of the policy in achieving this goal. The paper attempts to clarify how lecturers in higher education in China have been oriented by the CECR towards pedagogical change. To achieve this purpose, the paper reviews current issues in the context of English teaching at tertiary level in China and attempts to frame them in a conceptualisation of eclecticism and principled eclecticism. Then, the paper analyses the responses of teachers, administrators and policy makers, based on an analysis framework developed by Maton (2004) from the work of Bourdieu (1993) and Bernstein (2000), to uncover the relationship between the policy and the reality. The study found that while teachers are eager to make change themselves, in reality, the requirement of a student centred approach and new technical teaching in the policy, challenges teachers’ current knowledge in terms of their current training in understanding curriculum and syllabus, their knowledge of principled eclecticism and computer teaching, and how to deal with textbook teaching and the College English Test. The paper concludes that there is a gap between the policy and reality, and that a gap exists therefore between
Cite this paper
nullGao, L. (2011). Eclecticism or Principled Eclecticism. Creative Education, 2, 363-369. doi: 10.4236/ce.2011.24051.
 Bernstein, B. (2000). Class, codes and control, volume V: Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity: Theory, research, critique. (Revised edition). Oxford: Roman & Little field.
 Bourdieu, P. (1993). The field of cultural production. Cambridge: Polity.
 Brown, H. (2002). English language teaching in the ‘post-method’ era: Toward better diagnosis, treatment, and assessment. In J. Richards and W. Renandya (Eds.), Methodology in Language Teaching: An Anthology of Current Practice (pp. 9-18). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9780511667190.003
 Gao, L. L. (2010). Policy challenges for university English teachers in China: Beyond the obvious. Berlin: VDM Verlag Dr. Muller.
 Hale, S. (2004). The discourse of court interpreting: Discourse practices of the law, the witness, and the interpreter. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: J. Benjamins Pub. Co.
 Harmer, J. (2003). Popular culture, methods, and context. ELT Journal, 57, 288-294. doi:10.1093/elt/57.3.288
 Jia, G. (2004). The new trends of language teaching approaches. Foreign Language World, 104, 74-78.
 Kumaravadivelu, B. (2001). Toward a postmethod pedagogy. TESOL Quarterly, 35, 537-560. doi:10.2307/3588427
 Larsen-Freeman, D. (2000). Techniques and principles in language teaching (teaching techniques in english as a second language). (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.
 Liang, A., & Gao, H. (2004). On inquiring teaching model. Journal of Basic English Education, 6, 18-21.
 Liu, R., & Dai, M. (2003). Study on the present college English teaching and its development in China. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.
 Luo, L., He, F., & Yang, F. (2001). Introduction to comprehensive teaching methods in college English teaching. Foreign Language World, 4, 5-9.
 Ma, Z. (1998). The realization of CLT in grammar teaching in college English. Foreign Language World, 69, 44-46.
 Marsh, C. (2000). Innovation and change. Handbook for beginning teachers. (2nd ed.). NSW: Pearson Education.
 Maton, K. (2004a). The field of higher education: A sociology of reproduction, transformation, change and the conditions of emergence for cultural studies. Ph.D. Thesis, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
 Mellow, D. (2002). Toward principled eclecticism in language teaching: The two-dimensional model and the centring principle. Teaching English as a Second Language Electronic Journal, 5, A-1.
 Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (2004). College English curriculum requirements (for trial). Beijing: Tsinghua University Press.
 Nunan, D. (1991). Language teaching methodology. Sydney: Prentice-Hall.
 Pennycook, A. (1989). The concept of method, interested knowledge, and the politics of language teaching. TESOL Quarterly, 23, 589- 618. doi:10.2307/3587534
 Wang, Y. (2001). Eclecticism in foreign language teaching. Foreign Language World, 2, 25-28.
 Yan, X., Zhou, Z., & Dai, P. (2007). Principled eclecticism in college English teaching in China. Asian EFL Journal, 17.
 Yi, L. J., & Liu, X. P. (2004). Introduction to genre-approach in Australia. Journal of Xi’an International Studies University, 12, 33-35.
 Ying, H., He, L., & Zhou, S. (1998). The reform of college English teaching: A learner-centred thematic teaching model. Foreign Language Teaching and Research, 4, 22-26.