Ahkemoglu (2011) in another study in a Turkish EFL learning and teaching context investigated the conceptual metaphors of both ELT-major and non-ELT-major learners in regard to their perceptions of an English language teacher. The roles assigned to English language learners were not considered in this study. In addition, the study searched into the similarities and/or discrepancies between ELT-major learners and non-ELT major learners in how they perceive an English language teacher. Data were collected through metaphor elicitation sheet, semi-structured interviews, and personal essays. Both qualitative and quantitative methods of analysis were used. Personal metaphors were analyzed and the main conceptual themes were identified. The main results of the study indicated that while some metaphors were peculiar to English language teacher such as an oracle, a schizophrenic, and a gum, some metaphors seemed to be common with the ones developed for the concept of a teacher such as a light, a guide, and a bridge.
This study had positive and negative dimensions. Using non-English-major learners was one of the main positive aspects of this study in line with the characteristics of the participants in our investigation. Employing metaphor elicitation sheets as well as complementary semi-structured interviews were also similar to the design of our study. This study had two negative aspects including concentration on academic-level EFL learners and lack of attention to the roles of EFL learners in the language learning and teaching context.
In a study on Japanese EFL learners beliefs about the various aspects of language learning and teaching, Ishiki (2011) examined the use and analysis of Japanese students’ metaphors in an EFL setting. This study highlighted how students’ metaphors on the English language learning changes over time as their proficiency improved. The participants were 14 college-level students who were enrolled in an international business program. Students’ metaphors were collected two times throughout the semester with participant observation and interviews in order to better understand their rationales behind. This procedure of data collection and data analysis, that is, using metaphor elicitation and complementary structured short interviews were similar to our investigation into students’ beliefs in an Iranian EFL context. The results of the Ishiki’s study revealed that learners did not change their metaphors whereas their level of proficiency developed, and students’ imagined self had a great impact upon their metaphors as it served as a driving force to master English.
Huang (2011) in another study emphasized how the metaphor can be influential on language learner identity particularly second language learning and what effects can be brought about from the metaphor in a Taiwanese ESL context. This study investigated the EFL learning among thirty-five non-English-major freshmen from Taiwan, with a variety of backgrounds ranging from departments of academic contexts. The students’ English learning process was elicited through metaphors, and then the influences that these metaphors had on their language learning identity particularly second language learning identity was examined.
In a research into EFL teachers’ and students’ beliefs about the roles assigned to an EFL teacher; Wan, Low, and Li (2011) provided a report on how a group of Chinese university teachers and two groups of their English-major students used personal teacher-related metaphors via a metaphor prompt “An English teacher is ……….because ……….”. One of the overlooked aspects of this study was lack of attention to metaphors about EFL learners’ roles. Data sources for this study also included follow-up individual interviews. The primary aims of the study were to examine the effects of metaphor analysis concerning beliefs about classroom teachers’ roles between teachers and students, including comparing accounts by students at different levels of English proficiency and to establish whether the use of metaphor analysis involving teachers and students with a degree of interaction between them led to behavioral change, particularly change in teaching practices. The results identified mismatches regarding the interpretations of teachers’ roles both between students and teachers and between student groups at different levels of English proficiency.
One of the other studies on the beliefs of the English language teachers and learners about the different aspects of language learning and teaching is a study by Karadag and Gultekin (2012) in a Turkish EFL context. In their metaphorical study they investigated metaphors that 567 elementary school students used in order to describe the term English language teacher. The data were collected using a questionnaire consisting of open-ended questions, and analyzed using qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques. Content analysis technique was used in the analysis of qualitative data, and Chi-square was used in quantitative data analysis. According to the results of the study, it was found out that 83 valid metaphors were produced by 429 elementary school students. These metaphors were collected under 6 conceptual headings according to their common features. The obtained metaphors were also investigated in terms of several factors. It was observed that the conceptual categories formed related to the metaphors that elementary school students use have no significant difference according to gender and school levels, but have significant differences related to their classroom levels. This study did not discussed in detail about the metaphorical concepts and their implications for EFL education contexts.
Lin, Shein, and Yang (2012) in a Taiwanese EFL context employed metaphorical analysis to investigate how pre-service teachers view EFL courses at the beginning of their teacher education programs. To this end, forty student teachers in a teacher certificate program in secondary education were asked to provide metaphors of how they conceptualized themselves as EFL teachers. Findings revealed that the teachers’ metaphorical conceptualizations appeared to be more student-centered, reflecting beliefs about teaching practice and generally stemming from personal and school experiences. Overall, the written metaphors provided access to pre-service teachers’ preconceived notions of teaching prior to entering the classroom.
Studies on language learners’ and language teachers’ beliefs about the different aspects of language learning and teaching are not limited to non-Iranian EFL or ESL settings; rather there have been a few recently published investigations on the exploration of Iranian EFL learners and teachers via metaphors.
Pishghadam, Fatemi, Akbarzadeh Torghabeh, and Navari (2008) focused on the assorted ways Iranian language learners view their language educational system and the impact of these views on their success in learning a foreign language. Language learners’ beliefs were elicited via metaphors about their teachers, the teaching process and how they viewed themselves as learners. This orientation was in line with the objectives of our study particularly in terms of considering EFL teachers’ and learner’s roles. Then, the analysis and categorization of these metaphors based on Martinez, Sauleda, and Huber’s taxonomy (2001) of metaphors revealed the kinds of learning principles which seemed to be more favorable to learners than others. Results of the analysis of the metaphors showed that the public school learners mostly attribute their level of failure in language learning to the behavioristic methods in their classes; while the private school learners attribute their apparent success to the cognitive style of learning. This study had a significant characteristic that is it related the metaphors produced by school-level EFL learners to language learning principles.
Pishghadam and Navari (2008) in the same investigation examined the metaphors created by two groups of language learners in Iranian high schools (Formal context) and private language institutes (informal context). To this end, 50 language learners at schools and 50 at language institutes in Mashhad, Iran received two checklists of 27 metaphors about teachers and 18 metaphors about learners. Learners were required to select the metaphors which truly conceptualized their perceptions of the English educational system in Iran. Their metaphors were categorized based on the taxonomy developed by the scholars in the field. The results highlighted remarkable differences in schools and language institutes, emphasizing the language institute learners’ superiority in their perception of English education.
In another study in an Iranian EFL context, Askarzadeh Torghabeh, Elahi and Khanalipour