Title

Opportunities for improving oral skill in English in the English and content area classes: Exploratory study

Date of Award

8-1-2007

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

It is very sad to see that most of the parents spend their hard earned money for their children to get education but in return their children pass out from some private schools only with a certificate saying passed in so and so grade, but having failed to literally learn all the four skills of English language like the listening, speaking, reading and writing. They leave school without especially having the confidence of speaking in English. It was this concern that made me to initiate my study. Furthermore, experiencing the students practicing rote memorization for each and every subject was also very disturbing. This study explores the practices for teaching and learning of English and science disciplines. The purpose was also to look at the hindering and facilitating factors for oral proficiency in the classroom teaching in an English medium private school. I used the qualitative research method for this study. It is a case study where I used multiple sources for data collection. Through a series of interviews with the science and the English teachers of classes four and five, I collected the data to know the underlying causes for the students in this English medium school as far as their speaking skill is concerned. I also used the observation method to see the teaching strategy in the classrooms and interviewed students to inform me about the teaching strategy of science and English in their classrooms, and whether this pedagogy is helping them to learn the skill of English speaking. I also wanted to be informed as to what the students consider as opportunities for developing their speaking skill. The teachers were interviewed too, to inform me about their adopted ways of teaching content as well as the speaking skill. The study revealed that developing the speaking skill hard not been given much importance, but the teachers expected students to learn the language by being passive listeners. The study also showed that teaching English language only in the English language period has not sufficient to enhance students' speaking skill, rather incorporating speaking skill across the curriculum was beneficial in developing students' oral proficiency. Factors that hindered the students' oral proficiency were the assessment process which was not practiced in the school and the feedback provided to students also did not give them any opportunity to learn about their mistakes, at the same time did not allow students to express themselves in a better way by rather asking questions that made the students think about their answer and discuss it further. This gave students' the chance to learn to speak the language. Students' motivation and co-curricula activities were facilitating factors in this school to develop student's oral proficiency. Finally, some suggestions are put forward in the light of literature to promote oral proficiency in English medium schools where English is a foreign language for the students there. I concluded my research with suggestions for further study that would take the findings of this research a step further.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library

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