Improving grade VIII students' English Speaking Skills through communicative language teaching in a private secondary school in Ghizer District of Gilgit-Baltistan
Date of Award
Master of Education (MEd)
Institute for Educational Development, Karachi
Pakistan’s national curriculum of English gives equal importance to all four communication skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing). However, literature (Alam, 2012; Farooq, 2013) and my personal experience reveal that in classroom teaching, speaking and listening skills are given less or no importance. One of the explanations for not teaching speaking skill is the extensive use of grammar translation method (GTM) as language teaching approach in Pakistani context. Due to an exclusive focus on grammar and translation in this method, the students learn grammar rules of English language but are unable to speak in the target language. On the other hand, communicative language teaching (CLT) has been suggested by many researchers and linguists (e.g. Chung, 2017; Hiep, 2007, & Whong, 2013) to be used for enhancing English speaking skill while equally developing other language skills. Considering the importance of CLT in language teaching, my interest to practice this language teaching approach in my context and the need of the focused school, I carried out this action research study which aimed at improving grade VIII students’ English speaking skills by using communicative language teaching in a private secondary school in the Ghizer district of Gilgit-Baltistan. To manage track of students’ progress throughout the study I focused on six purposively selected students. The data was collected through interview, classroom teaching observation and document analysis. The findings of the reconnaissance stage revealed that in the focused school, GTM was used to teach English as a subject. The reconnaissance stage also highlighted that the language classes were teacher-centered. Students were asked to rote memorize the grammar rules and had rare opportunity to speak or practice English speaking skill. Urdu was used as medium of instruction and the students and teachers were interacting through local languages. Hence, due to the above mentioned reasons the students’ English speaking proficiency was not up to the expectations of their grade level. On the basis of the reconnaissance stage findings I planned to improve the students’ English speaking skills through CLT. I conducted three cycles with three lessons of 45 minutes in each cycles. I taught using group and pair work, presentations, discussions, sketch description, and games. These activities encouraged the students to speak in English without any fear of making mistakes. The findings revealed that the students’ fluency and confidence level improved to a certain level. They enhanced their vocabulary and the use of speech fillers and long pauses reduced considerably. The study also highlighted an early emphasis on helping students developing their fluency and confidence in learning the target language which can gradually lead to the improvement of language accuracy. Furthermore, the study suggested that to enhance the students’ English speaking accuracy grammar rules should be taught through communicative activities rather than using rote memorization.
Ahmed, N. (2017). Improving grade VIII students' English Speaking Skills through communicative language teaching in a private secondary school in Ghizer District of Gilgit-Baltistan (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.