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The Classroom Practices of Primary and Secondary School Teachers Participating in English in Action (Study 2a2)

Erling, Elizabeth; Burton, Sonia and McCormick, Robert (2012). The Classroom Practices of Primary and Secondary School Teachers Participating in English in Action (Study 2a2). English in Action (EIA), Dhaka, Bangladesh.

URL: http://www.eiabd.com/eia/index.php/pilot-phase-rep...
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Abstract

The purpose of this study (Study 2a2) was to ascertain whether changes in the classroom practice of teachers and students participating in English in Action (EIA) had been sustained over the period of the pilot school interventions. As far as possible, the results of this study were compared to: i) those observed in a baseline study of a sample of schools prior to the interventions (Baseline Study 3, EIA 2009 a & b), as well as ii) Study 2a (EIA 2011a) on the classroom practices of primary and secondary school teachers participating in EIA, undertaken in June 2010, four months after the launch of the interventions. Like Study 2a, this follow-up investigation was a large-scale quantitative observation of teaching and language practices among teachers and students participating in the EIA primary and secondary programmes. A feature of any improved English language teaching is an increase in the amount of student talk in lessons, as well as an increase in the use of the target language by both teachers and students. Thus, this study focused upon the use of English by teachers and students, the extent of teacher and student talk time, the nature of the teacher talk, as well as the nature of the activities that students took part in. A total of 324 teachers were observed for this repeat study: 195 primary and 129 secondary teachers.

a) Primary findings

The data from primary classroom observations suggest that when primary teachers were talking, they used English the majority of the time (72%). The teachers were involving students in interactive activities for much of that time: teachers were asking questions 27% of the time, organising 22% of the time, giving feedback 11% of the time, and presenting 40% of the time.

While there was an increase in teacher presenting and a decrease in giving feedback between Study 2a (conducted in 2010) and Study 2a2 (conducted in 2011), the results of these studies taken together indicate a trend showing that:

a) Teachers are using the target language (i.e. English) to communicate with students for the majority of the lesson;

b) While teachers are still presenting during a large proportion of the lesson (23–45% of the time), they are using English to organise the lesson and are engaging with students through feedback and involving them in the lesson through questioning.

These findings mark a significant change from the classroom practices observed in Baseline Study 3 (EIA 2009a & b), where only 27% of teachers spoke in English more than they did in Bangla, and where teachers tended to read from the textbook and speak in Bangla more than in English (i.e. in 67% of the lesson).

When primary students were talking, they also used English the large majority of the time (81%), as they did in the 2010 study. Moreover, students seemed to be engaged in the lessons observed: much of the time they were speaking in chorus (53%); 38% of the time they were talking on their own; 5% of the time they were taking part in activities in which they were speaking in pairs; and 4% of the time they were speaking in groups. The 2011 study found that since the 2010 study there has been a decrease in pair and group work and an increase in students speaking in chorus. The increase in choral activity may indicate a positive trend, as this technique is particularly appropriate for young learners and large classes. The decrease in pair and group work, however, is disappointing and surprising, as this result contrasts with the findings of Study 2a (EIA 2011a) and Study 2b practice (EIA 2011b, c & d). Despite this, the results of Study 2a2 show a relatively wide range of activities that allow for both teacher–student and student–student interaction and mark a significant change from Baseline Study 3 (EIA 2009a & b), which identified few occasions when individual students or groups were encouraged to speak in English (2–4% of the lesson time) and which showed that, in most classes, students were not interactive at all.

b) Secondary findings

The data from secondary classroom observations show that the overall percentage of teacher talk time took up 50% of the lesson, while the overall percentage of student talk time was 24%. When secondary teachers were talking, they used English the large majority of the time (79%). Here too the findings suggest a significant emphasis on communication and interaction in the classroom. When teachers were talking, the data suggest that for much of the time the teachers were involving students in communicative activities: they were asking questions 23% of the time, organising 22% of the time, giving feedback 10% of the time, and presenting 45% of the time. As with the primary lessons, there was an increase in teacher presenting and a decrease in giving feedback between the 2010 and 2011 studies.

The results of 2010 Study 2a and 2011 Study 2a2 indicate a trend showing that:

a) Teachers are using the target language (i.e. English) to communicate with students for the majority of the lesson.

b) Students are talking for almost a quarter of the lesson time, which is a significant achievement for the EIA teachers, and it compares favourably with data from other parts of the world (e.g. Flanders 1970), but in particular indicates a change for teachers in Bangladesh (comparing this with the baseline data [EIA 2009a & b]).

c) While teachers are still presenting during a large proportion of the lesson (30–45% of the time), they are using English to organise the lesson and are engaging with students through feedback and involving them in the lesson through questioning.

These findings mark a significant change from the teacher classroom practices observed in Baseline Study 3 (EIA 2009a & b), where only 27% of teachers spoke in English more than they did in Bangla, and where teachers tended to read from the textbook and speak in Bangla more than in English (i.e. in 67% of the lesson).

When secondary students were talking, they also used English the large majority of the time (85%) (a similar finding to the 2010 study). When students were talking, a large amount of the time (50%) they were talking on their own, but they were also frequently engaged in both pair work (15% of the time), group work (13%) and speaking in chorus (23%). There has been an increase in the amount of chorusing and a decrease in the amount of pair and group work since the 2010 study. This decrease may be attributable to the time of year when the observations were undertaken. This hypothesis gets some support from the findings of the practice study (EIA 2011b, c & d), which showed that three-quarters of the lessons observed contained pair or group work.

Secondary students were engaged in listening activities for 3% of the time, in reading activities for 4% of the time and in writing activities for 9% of the time, giving similar results to the 2010 study.

Taken together, the results of 2010 Study 2a and 2011 Study 2a2 indicate a trend showing that:

a) Students are using the target language (i.e. English) for a majority of the time that they are speaking during a lesson. This marks a significant change in the classroom practices observed in Baseline Study 3 (EIA 2009a & b), where only a small proportion of students spoke in English during a lesson.

b) While there is a relatively high number of activities that only require a response from one student, there is also a large amount of pair and group work going on.

The fact that students are often engaged in activities in which they interact with their classmates marks a significant change from the baseline study (EIA 2009a & b), which identified few occasions when individual students or groups were encouraged to speak in English (2–4% of the lesson time) and which showed that, in most classes, students were not interactive at all. The fact that students are speaking for a greater proportion of the lesson than in the baseline study (EIA 2009a & b), and doing so in English, means that they are able to be more communicative, even if that is speaking individually or in chorus.

c) Overall findings

Taken together, and in comparison with Baseline Study 3 (EIA 2009a & b), the 2010 Study 2a and the 2011 Study 2a2 indicate significant and sustained changes in classroom practices of both primary and secondary teachers as well as in the amount of English language used. In Baseline Study 3 (EIA 2009a & b), teachers were observed to be primarily reading from the textbook, rarely involving students in activities, and in two-thirds of the lessons speaking English less than Bangla. Furthermore, the students spoke in English during a lesson or had opportunities to participate actively in discussion or to answer questions in only a small proportion of lessons observed.

There are some differences in the findings of the 2010 and 2011 studies. Most significantly, there was an increase in teacher presenting in 2011, with a decrease in giving feedback. There was also a decrease in the number of activities that involved pair and group work in 2011, with an increase in students speaking in chorus and in pairs.

d) Recommendations
With these findings in mind, the following recommendations should be considered in order to further support and sustain the changes being observed in the classroom.

• As teachers and students are clearly using English for the majority of the lesson, the focus of the EIA pilot school interventions should shift from supporting an increase in English use to supporting an increase in the quality of interactions in English (as was also shown in Study 2b practice; EIA 2011b, c & d).

• The fact that teachers are asking more questions, organising and giving more feedback is an indication that they are attempting to implement more communicative practices in their teaching. However, further support in this area is needed surely, as teachers are still presenting for a large proportion of the lesson time, and were found to be presenting more in 2011 than in 2010.

• Similarly, while Study 2a2 indicates that students are involved in more interactive activities than in Baseline Study 3 (EIA 2009a & b), this improvement needs to be reinforced, as there was a decrease in pair and group work between the 2010 and 2011 studies. Further implementation of pair and group work among both primary and secondary teachers should be encouraged, with a focus on the pedagogical value of such activities. The implementation of increased communicative choral work should be supported.

Item Type: Other
Copyright Holders: 2012 English in Action
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetUKaid
Extra Information: Please cite as 'English as Action (2012). The Classroom Practices of Primary and Secondary School Teachers Participating in English in Action (Study 2a2). Dhaka, Bangladesh: EIA'.
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Education, Childhood, Youth and Sport
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Other Departments > Development Office
Other Departments
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Education Futures
Innovation, Knowledge & Development research centre (IKD)
Related URLs:
Item ID: 36633
Depositing User: Sonia Burton
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2013 09:15
Last Modified: 08 May 2019 13:32
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/36633
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