Factors affecting the implementation of communicative language teaching in Libyan secondary schools

HUSSEIN, Suad (2018). Factors affecting the implementation of communicative language teaching in Libyan secondary schools. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00121
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    Abstract

    Because English is considered and taught as a foreign language in Libya, where the classroom is the only environment offering exposure to English, an effective teaching method is required to underpin the quality of teaching English in such a context. This study was undertaken to investigate the implementation of communicative language teaching (CLT) in Libyan secondary schools by exploring the implementation of the Libyan English language curriculum in which the CLT principles are incorporated. The study examines the teachers’ perceptions and understanding of CLT. It investigates whether and how CLT is implemented, and identifies the challenges faced by both teachers and students, highlighting the socio-cultural and contextual factors that facilitate or hamper its implementation. It also explores how appropriate the curriculum is for use in the Libyan secondary school context. For this study, an interpretive research paradigm was chosen, and the qualitative research approach was adopted. Three kinds of participants, including 20 teachers, three inspectors of English and 10 secondary school students, were involved. The qualitative data were gathered by undertaking audio- and video-recorded classroom observations of teachers’ practice and stimulated-recall interviews. Finally, I conducted semi-structured interviews with all of the participants: the teachers, the inspectors, and the students. Qualitative content analysis of the observation and interview transcripts, plus field notes, was used for the data analysis. The findings showed (1): an inconsistency between the theoretical principles of the curriculum and its practical implementation in the majority of the teachers’ practices; (2) that the majority of the teachers’ practices were characterised as traditionally oriented, adopting traditional teaching methods, such as the teacher-centred approach, the grammar translation method, reading aloud, and an over reliance on the mother tongue ,and translation between Arabic and English; (3) a lack of student participation in the classroom with the rare implementation of pair and group work, combined with some degree of misunderstanding of its purpose; (4) that exams dominated and shaped the teaching of the curriculum, affecting the teachers’ practices and students’ expectations regarding English teaching and learning; (5) the students’ dissatisfaction with the majority of the teachers’ practices, such as the overuse of the mother tongue in the classroom, the omission of pair and group work activities, and the neglect of the teaching of productive skills; and (6) that the students were aware of the international importance of English, and that their positive attitude towards learning English as a communicative language contrasted with the teachers’ outlook, as the students were critical of the exam, which neglected the communicative side of English language. These findings, along with the challenges related to contextual and socio-cultural factors such as the lack of teaching aids, large class sizes, and (Libyan) parents with no knowledge of English, were found to impact negatively on teaching using CLT. The study concludes by offering pedagogical recommendations about how CLT implementation in the Libyan secondary school context might be improved. In addition, the study identifies several important areas for further research: the implementation of CLT in the Libyan primary school context, given its significance as a foundation for the secondary stage, an investigation of the teaching of productive skills, and improved teacher training. The study offers fresh insights by attempting: (a) to bridge the gap existing in the previous literature and give Libyan students an opportunity to have their voices heard; (b) to use stimulated-recall interviews as a research tool, which facilitated effective data collection, and is a method that has not been used in the Libyan context hitherto; (c) to identify key socio-cultural factors related to CLT implementation, which have restricted the teachers’ practices; and (d) to offer recommendations, as this study sheds light on the importance of primary schooling as a key stage for improving secondary school attainment and promoting more effective CLT implementation.

    Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
    Additional Information: Director of studies - Diana Ridley
    Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
    Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.7190/shu-thesis-00121
    Depositing User: Louise Beirne
    Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2018 13:49
    Last Modified: 24 Jul 2019 10:29
    URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23409

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