In China, developing students' overall communicative competence was set as the central goal of the current college English curriculum requirements since 2004. However, this goal has remained largely unfulfilled, particularly with regard to writing competence. This study proposes that the genrebased pedagogy in systemic functional linguistics may be the key to achieve this national curriculum goal. After teachers were trained in this pedagogy, through designed workshops for teacher development, this research examined possible changes in teachers' stated beliefs about effective writing pedagogy and actual teaching practices. The findings from classroom observations and teachers' self-reports suggest that even though all teacher participants valued the genre-based pedagogy, a very weak connection was made to their actual teaching practice. This study aimed to understand possible constraints leading to this inconsistency. Teachers' prior instructional knowledge, general attitudes to educational changes, self-confidence, and contextual factors such as class size, knowledge of students and assessment, were the main contributors to inconsistency. To overcome barriers and maximize the effectiveness of the genre-based pedagogy in achieving the national curriculum goal, several implications are discussed.