Teacher's and pupils perceptions of factors contributing to pupil's poor performance in composition writing in grade twelve French examonations

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Kalima, Veronica Namasiku
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Since 2000 the performance of pupils in French composition has been deteriorating. Research by Habimana (2010) revealed that the pupils who were studying French were finding composition writing most difficult among the four components of the French paper. The Examination council of Zambia‘s reports also indicated that the pupils’ performance in composition writing was still poor (ECZ:2009;2010;2011). No attempt had been made to establish the factors contributing to the poor performance in pupils’ in composition writing in French in Zambia. Hence the need for this study.The research design was both a case study and survey. Face to face interviews and lesson observations were held, questionnaires were also administered as methods of data collection. The research population included all the former pupils of French who were studying French at UNZA and those at Alliance Francaise in Lusaka, all the teachers of French in Lusaka and the French specialist at the Examination Council of Zambia, the French Specialist at the curriculum development center and the language specialist (SESO) in Lusaka District.The sample was 80 former pupils, 10 teachers and 03 officials. The data collected from the teachers and education managers as well as lesson observations. The data was transcribed and presented as raw data, it was later analyzed thematically. The data collected quantitatively was analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) in order to come up with frequency tables.The findings of the study of the factors contributing to the pupils’ poor performance in composition writing in French were ; the basic-high school policy, insufficient time of learning, teachers’ inadequate preparation, insufficient and unsuitable teaching and learning materials, lack of motivation, inadequate teachers and pupils’ negative attitude towards French. Other factors were; lack of reading culture among pupils, lack of school of support from the education managers and the French Government.In view of the above factors, some recommendations were made; The Ministry of Education should reintroduce French in basic schools. The schools that offer French should consider increasing the periods for French to four per week of which one will be for composition. They should also enhance Continuous Professional Development (CPD) for teachers of French. They should also provide a variety of teaching materials for composition. The curriculum development center should revise the syllabus for French so that it suits the Zambian child. The examination council of Zambia should revise the format for examining composition in French so that it is in line with what is obtaining in the class.
English language --Composition and Exercises