Title

The relationship between classroom environment and students’ speaking skills in a foreign language at the elementary level

Date of Award

8-1-1999

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)

Department

Institute for Educational Development, Karachi

Abstract

The ability to speak good English in Pakistan is considered a pivotal point around which the success of life moves. Teaching and learning English as a foreign language in the main stream schools of this country, however, revolves around reading and writing. In most classrooms listening and speaking skills are ignored. The reason for focusing on reading and writing is that only these two skills are assessed in examination. Recent research indicates the importance of speaking in this learning process. Oral language, both speaking and listening, is a life time activity; it enhances pupils' understanding of language in both oral and written forms and the way language can be used to communicate. This investigation is a case study focusing on the relationship of the classroom environment and students' speaking skill in an elementary classroom. Major finding indicates that a conducive environment created by the teacher helps students to enhance their speaking skills. For elementary students to be fluent in speaking the target language, the teacher needs to give them opportunities to talk about their own experiences. Physical environment is also important in learning a foreign language. A place is needed where students can have an opportunity to share their ideas closely. The class should be well lighted with moveable furniture to facilitate effective group work. This study found that small group' work is an effective strategy in creating a conducive environment for promoting students' speaking skills. Such a supportive non-threatening environment increases students' learning outcomes, which further brings about the desired change in the teacher's perception about the role of speaking in the learning process. The study also found that small group work is appropriate for students' speaking especially for shy and withdrawn students, where all the students can get a chance to talk about various topics. Teachers' role and responsibility in not limited to influencing the academic and intellectual performance of the students. Teachers can meet this responsibility by stimulating students thinking by encouraging discussions, dialogue, and role-play, and also by describing pictures and guiding students in evaluating the worth of ideas.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library

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