Although from 2016, Algeria has started to implement the new EFL curriculum reform at middle schools, the findings of this study demonstrate conspicuously that the majority of teachers have negative perspectives about the reform relevance, and management, and competency-based approach. In a competency-based curriculum, it is essential to provide students with tasks and texts that allow them to retrain their schema and apply skills to solve new problems and learn new issues. This, particularly, can be accomplished by involving students in tasks, which enable them to gain hands-on experiences that have a far-reaching impact as far as their comprehension of the taught content is concerned (Wangeleja, 2010). By contrast, the sole focus of this new reform, according to teachers, is total reliance on supplying new skills, which in some ways is expected to fracture the flow of teaching process. Teachers also consider this reform as a fence to their teaching because it propels teaching several competencies and values, like the three target competencies ( “iInteraction, interpretation, and production)”, and the four values ( “nNational identity, conscience, citizenship, and openness to the world)”, and cross-curricular competencies (“iIntellectual, methodological, communicative, pPersonal and social)”. While curriculum reforms in this new century perpetuate teachers’ engagements and satisfaction, this new EFL reform appears to be too static. It does not obstruct only their involvement, but also their creativity, which Kuan Chen Tsai (2013) considers it as a source of providing students with teaching experiences that are rich, positive, and sustaining. Besides, the reform is evocative of the undeniable truth that because of its content, learners become more passive in which knowledge construction resulted just from teachers part. In general assumptions of competency-based curriculum implementation, they teachers are expected to give up their role as ‘knowledge transmitters’ and adopt the new role of ‘coach’ and instructional designer (Sudsomboon, 2010). The new reform lacks providing ample opportunities where teachers and students are supposed to have real discovery play, thereby, influencing their activities and decisions. Bobbit (1913) considers the first task of curriculum development is to “discover the activities which ought to make up the lives of students and alongside with these, their abilities and personal qualities necessary for proper performance”.
Furthermore, teachers’ negative views towards the management of the reform show the absence of communication, support, and collaboration between the government and teachers. Ornstein and Hunkins (2018), however, stress on the need to equip teachers with more support to sense the real meaning of change, they (2018) state: “curriculum designers must provide the necessary support for their recommended curricular innovations or modifications.” (p. ) . If the new reform is to enable and get high-quality learning, teachers must be supported over time in a way that facilitation can be sensed. lack of support, which is in some ways similar to management, hampers reform success. Similarly, although training program constitutes a vital aspect in the implementation of the new reform, its efficiency and supplication before the first implementation of the new curriculum are absent. According to Anangisye (2011), teachers need to be well trained to be knowledgeable and ready whenever there is a curriculum change. Responding to curriculum reform implementation through the followed management procedures is no more its aim, as it functions in a void.
Additionally, the views exhibited by teachers about the competency-based approach (CBA) do not indicate that the selected approach is appropriate, rather it brings difficulties to them and learners. According to the participants, teaching by this approach is unsuitable to the learners’ level. The use of CBA deviates from its right way since knowledge construction is always found with teachers but not learners. This is totally in contrast with what Von Glaserfeld (1995, p. ) asserts: “knowledge is not passively received but build-up by the recognizing subject.” Also, although learners’ levels are very limited, teachers are forced to implement the CBA in teaching the content of the curriculum, and this can be one of the main signs that denotes reform failure. Constructing a cadre of competent learners requires sustaining freedom for teachers to select the most suitable teaching methods to learners. This may probably ensure the teachers’ commitment to realize their learners' potentials as well as reform objectives attainment.
In a nutshell, it can be said that Algerian teachers’ perspectives about the new EFL reform become a conflict between policymakers intentions and actions and classrooms contexts and conditions. While the former focuses on organizational effectiveness, efficiency and equity, the latter is about what includes enablers or inhibitors of the teaching process. And this conspicuously articulates the carelessness of policymakers about “how the implementation process can be affected by the existing classroom conditions” (Wedell, 2009, p. 45). Having said that, it is clear that the Ministry of National Education has to look again to this reform and try to develop it based on teachers’ participation because their ideas and values which by the end concretised teaching process. By doing so, teachers will get a good command about how to deal with the reform faults and weaknesses. Also, there is a need to conduct regular analysis of teachers’ needs and expectations to fully enable them to be involved in the the teaching process. Additionally, the Ministry of National Education and other agents, like schools’ administration and inspectors, should guide and motivate teachers, and try to build their willingness and hopes regarding the application of reform policies in the EFL classrooms.