Enhancing English Language speaking skills through using communicative language teaching to boost secondary school students’ motivation to speak

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Speaking is an important language sub-skill that students should master when they learn English language. Bygate (2003) says that speaking is a skill which deserves attention every bit as much as literary skills, in both first and second language. It is the skill students are frequently judged by. It is also the vehicle par excellence of social solidarity, social ranking, professional advancement and business (Jones, 1989). In fact, the current literature on language teaching focuses on learners gaining command/ on having effective communication skills (Bygate, 2009). The teaching of English is emphasised by Pakistan’s National Curriculum (2006), yet studies on Pakistani students (e.g. Alam & Bashiruddin, 2013) highlight that a general problem faced by a number of learners is their being unable to communicate orally in English, even when they are able to read and write in it. One reason for this could be that traditional methods of teaching such as a version of GTM, which tend to focus on grammar and reading and reading writing (Rahman, 2010), are often favoured in Pakistani language classrooms (Rahman, 2010). The fact the National Curriculum (2006) only requires the assessment of reading and writing may also be one of the reasons why speaking skills are ignored in the classroom. Whatever the case may be, oral skills are an area that learners in Pakistan appear to have difficulty mastering. Accordingly, the present study focused on enhancing students’ speaking skills through using action research methodology to boost their motivation to speak using Communicative Language Teaching and its activities as intervention tools. Data collection was done through conducting three non-participatory observations of English language teaching classroom; focus group discussions with the six-member participant sample group and semi-structured interviews with the IX grade language teacher. The results of the data analysis suggest that the CLT-intervention helped to boost students’ motivation and therein enhance their speaking skills in number of ways. Firstly, that there was paucity of opportunity for participants’ to be exposed to and interact with the target language, The CLT- related intervention helped to create opportunities for students to engage with the target language. This is in turn seemed to lead to positive change in their interest in the language and their willingness to participate, their willing to communicate (MacIntyre & Charos, 1996). Another finding was the indication that the CLT-related intervention, the seeming boost in student interest seemed to have helped to reduce participants’ language anxiety (Horwitz, 1986). The CLT-intervention also seemed to positively affect learners’ interest and engagement with speaking skills in terms of vocabulary-development. The present study also provides recommendations for future research studies based on the insights gain from this action research.

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