Teacher's role in developing students' oral proficiency in English as Foreign Language (EFL) class

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Teaching and learning English as a foreign language (EFL) in Pakistan revolves around reading and writing. In most classrooms listening and speaking skills are ignored. The reason of focusing on reading and writing is that only these two skills are assessed in examination. Although the ability to speak English is widely considered a key to upward social mobility, yet there is no serious effort being made to help students develop oral proficiency in schools. Given the importance of oral proficiency in EFL, this study was conducted to understand how teachers could facilitate its development in our context. This study showed that learners' strategies such as the use of first language for literal translation, code switching, self correction, imitation and experimentation with new vocabulary contribute a lot to develop their oral proficiency. In my attempt to find out how teachers can build upon these strategies, I came across a number of dilemmas and tensions, in making decisions about when to focus on fluency or accuracy, how much code switching to allow, and what, when and how to correct errors. The use of pictorial representations in oral language activities created a challenge as students used them differently than what was planned. More vocal students' dominant behavior raised equity issue. I learnt that EFL teachers have to pull together all the strings of this complex web in making decisions that create a balance between accuracy and fluency. Moreover Pakistani teachers also need to work toward increasing their own proficiency in oral language and to develop own resources to teach oral language.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library