Teachers ‘classroom strategies aimed at developing communicative competence in learners during english grammar lessons in selected secondary schools in Nakonde district
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English has always been the language of government business, judiciary, media and employment and a compulsory subject from grade five to the final year of secondary education while Zambian languages are used as medium of instruction from grade 1-4 and as a subject from grade 5-12 and have largely performed the role of preserving Zambian culture and heritage as noted by (Wakumelo 2013). This implies that the teaching of English in schools is of paramount importance. In line with this, the Zambian Senior Secondary School English Language Syllabus recommends two general methodologies, the communicative language teaching approach and Text Based Integrated Approaches. This clearly, entails that communicative competence is the aim of teaching English in Zambian secondary schools, as it is critical for mobility in education and is seen as a symbol of people’s aspirations for quality in education and a fuller participation in national and international life. However, we did not know what classroom teaching strategies teachers were using to teach English grammar aimed at developing learners’ communicative competence. It was against this background that this study was undertaken. The objectives were; to establish teachers’ understanding of communicative competence, to assess teachers’ classroom teaching strategies aimed at developing communicative competence in learners during English grammar lessons and to establish challenges faced by teachers when teaching English grammar. The purpose of this study was to establish teachers’ classroom teaching strategies aimed at developing communicative competence in learners during English grammar lessons in selected secondary schools in Nakonde district. The study was qualitative and data were collected through interview guides and classroom observation guides. The study targeted all secondary schools, all teachers of English and HODs in Nakonde district. The sample size was 4 secondary schools, 20 teachers of English and 4 heads of departments. The collected data were analyzed thematically according to the objectives and questions of the study. This study was underpinned by the code and pedagogic discourse theory whose proponent is Bernstein(1973),this theory talks about how classroom learning does not happen in a vacuum, as a result, it is affected by other factors such as teachers, pupils and the education system. Hence this theory was used to establish how these factors affected the development of communicative competence in learners. The findings revealed that 14 out of the 20 teachers understood communicative competence because they were able to state its meaning; 4 had misconceptions while 2 others did not know. The findings also revealed that 12 of the 20 teachers were not familiar with the recommended teaching approaches as they failed to state them when they were asked. Classroom lesson observation data revealed strategies teachers were employing in teaching English grammar lessons aimed at developing communicative competence in learners, which included; group discussions, sentence construction and oral presentations, teacher simulations, brain storming and storytelling. The last objective revealed a number of challenges teachers were facing in teaching English grammar among them were; inadequate understanding of communicative competence, poor syllabi interpretation skills, lack of proper teacher training and refresher courses in methods to teachers who left colleges and universities way back, large class sizes, low English Language proficiency in learners, shallowness in content in MK English text books and erratic supply of text books in schools. In view of these findings; universities and colleges of education should come up with professional development programs aimed at keeping in-service teachers abreast with the recommended methods through short intensive courses during school holiday, schools to intensify on continuations professional development programs. Key words: Text based integrated approach, Syllabus, Communicative competence, English.
The University of Zambia
SubjectLanguage and languages--Study and teaching--Zambia
communicative competence--Study and teaching--Zambia