perspectives is presented; then a review of studies on beliefs about language learning and teaching through the recently used instrument of metaphor elicitation in different EFL settings in the world including Iran is provided; afterwards a review of the roles assigned to language learners and teachers in the design of the dominant language learning and teaching methods is presented; and finally a conclusion about the need to conduct the present study and to fill the gap in the related literature is offered. It should be noted that, in the present review, only those studies that were directly relevant to the main concerns of the current study were considered.
۲.۱.۱. The Conceptual Framework of Metaphor
Metaphor is traditionally defined as a device for seeing something in terms of something else (Cameron & Low, 1999, p. 78). According to a definition provided by Lakoff and Johnson (2003) in the Dictionary of Merriam-Webster encyclopedia (2014), metaphor as an important term in the present thesis is “a word or phrase for one thing that is used to refer to another thing in order to show or suggest that they are similar”. As well, according to Lakoff and Johnson (2003, p. 158), in all aspects of life, realities are defined in terms of metaphors and then proceed to act on the basis of the metaphors.
According to Ishiki (2011); since 1980s, metaphor analysis has been one of the most popular methods in language learning and teaching research to explore the way language teachers and student view the different aspects of language learning and teaching. Metaphors have been helping language teachers and students as well as researchers to organize their belief sets and have served as an aid to reflect themselves (Ellis, 2001; Ishiki, 2011). It is through metaphors and its analysis that language teachers and students conceptualize what language teaching and learning involves and their roles and objectives in the classroom.
In other words, language learners’ and teachers’ beliefs and views are embedded in the metaphors they pick so that it is crucial to look at metaphors as a reflection of complex social practice (Ishiki, 2011). As it is significantly useful for language teachers to be aware of learners’ metaphors, the process of producing and interpreting metaphors is also beneficial for learners themselves. Ellis (2001) pointed out that making learners aware of the metaphors they use to conceptualize their learning may be one way of increasing their control over learning. With metaphors as a means of expression and communication, learners can portray their voice effectively and efficiently. Through metaphor analysis, language teachers can have access to learners’ mental images which cannot be described in any other form of communication (Kesen, 2010a; Ishiki, 2011). For example, according to Huang (2011); when a learner says learning English is to plant a tree, the individual sees English learning as a long process and needs patience that you have to work on every single day. Metaphors, in this way, are representations of thoughts and also beneficial communication tools.
۲.۱.۲. Studies on Learners’ Beliefs about Language Learning and Teaching
There are a number of studies that have used qualitative methods and instruments to elicit the beliefs of language teachers and learners about different aspects of language learning and teaching. In this line, there are a number of recent studies that have employed metaphor analysis to obtain the English language teachers’ and learners’ beliefs with the assumption that our thought processes are largely metaphorical in nature (Huang, 2011; Ahkemoglu, 2011). These studies have examined the English language teachers’ and learners’ beliefs about the English language by itself, the English language learning, English classroom practices, English teacher’ roles and English learner’ roles and so on. The majority of these studies on metaphor analysis in EFL contexts (for example Karadag and Gultekin, 2012; Ishiki, 2011; Kesen, 2010a , 2010b; Erkmen, 2010; Ahkemoglu, 2011) have focused on metaphors produced by non-Iranian EFL learners except for a few studies that have focused on Iranian EFL learners but in academic contexts wherein the particiapnts have been monolingual Persian-speaking EFL learners (for example Pishghadam, Fatemi, Akbarzadeh Torghabeh, and Navari, 2008; Pishghadam and Pourali, 2011a, 2011b; Farjami, 2012a, 2012b, 2012c). The orientation of belief studies through metaphor analysis in Iranian EFL contexts reveals the fact that all these studies have been predominantly on EFL learners in monolingual as well as academic contexts. Therefore, there is a need for studies in bilingual and school-level contexts.
The review provided below is provided based on different EFL contexts in which studies on beliefs about different aspects of language learning and teaching have been conducted. So, first, studies in non-Iranian EFL contexts and then studies in Iranian EFL settings are presented.
Among the belief studies conducted earlier through metaphor analysis was the investigation conducted by Oxford (2001) wherein the personal narratives of 473 foreign language learners as immigrants from different countries in the United States were investigated and the metaphorical images they used about three language learning and teaching approaches was identified. Oxford in this study reported that these English language learners varied both quantitatively and qualitatively in the content of the metaphors they employed about teachers and teaching in an English as a second language context in an English-speaking setting. In this study, the learner’s role was not under investigation and the implications of results were not provided. One of the positive aspects of this study was using short narratives as the research instrument for metaphor elicitation from the immigrant EFL learners. This was in line with Wan et al’s (2003) comment in which qualitative research tools as reflective instruments are the best to elicit participants’ beliefs and attitudes to the different aspects of language learning and teaching.
In another study, Ellis (2002) examined metaphorical concepts and images in the diaries of six beginner learners about language learning and teaching in a German context. In his qualitative study, he reports five conceptual metaphors and their entailments, giving examples for the key words related to each metaphor including learning is a journey (e.g., I got hopelessly lost), learning is a puzzle, learning is a work, learning is a suffering, and learning is a struggle. These metaphors were collected over a long time and Ellis (2002) suggested that the metaphors provide by these beginner learners revealed two main points as learning a new language was problematic for these learners for cognitive and affective reasons and they constructed themselves as both agents of their learning and patients of experiences they could not control. There were no further discussions in this regard.
A study of Puerto Rican EFL teachers and learners by Guerrero and Villamil (2002) was one of the belief studies in which metaphor elicitation questionnaires and interviews were used to probe into the EFL teachers’ views to the various dimensions of language learning and teaching. Guerrrrero and Villamil (2002) in their investigation identified nine distinct conceptual metaphors for in-services English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) teachers in terms of teacher’s roles, learner’s roles, and the learning process alongside the ESL teachers’ assumptions and theories underlying their beliefs. Various metaphorical conceptualizations of the language learning profession emerged, and teachers were most frequently represented in the classic roles of a leader, a provider of knowledge, an agent of change, a nurturer and an artist, whereas learners were represented by a wide range of metaphors from very active (for example, a musician, a construction worker) to very inactive (for example, a television viewer, a piece of clay). The identification of features of metaphors provided a frame of reference for understanding student teachers’ philosophical orientations, roles and practices in EFL teaching.
This investigation in a Puerto Rican ESL context was in line with the objectives of the present study in terms of the research instrument used, the data collection and analysis procedure, and the frame of reference provided for understanding student teachers’ philosophical orientations, roles and practices in EFL teaching. However, there were some differences as in the present study the participants were EFL learners and interviews as complementary research instruments were employed to validate the results.
Similarly, Ocak and Gunduz (2006) in a Cypriot EFL context elicited 620 metaphorical images

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