In or out of the action zone: Location as a feature of interaction in large ESL classes in Pakistan

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication (Name of Journal)

Voices from the language classroom: Qualitative research in second language education


Institute for Educational Development, Pakistan


Large ESL classes are a "hard reality" in developing countries such as Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and Nigeria, where teachers everyday face classes which are sometimes composed of a 100 even 200 students (see, for example, research by Coleman 1989a and 1989b; Gorrell and Dharmadasa, 1989; Naidu, et al. 1992; Okebukola and Jegede 1989; Sabandar 1989; Shamim 1991). Although teachers have identified large class sizes as one of their major problems, we do not know for certain how teachers and learners perceive teaching and learning of English in large classes, as they are, in "difficult educational circumstances" (cf. West 1960). this chapter is part of a preliminary attempt to arrive at some understanding of the lives of teachers and learners (cf. Allwright and Bailey 1991) in one such context - that is, large ESL classes in Pakistan.