Presentation on theme: "British Association for Applied Linguistics 3 rd -5 th September, 2009 University of Newcastle, England Investigating opportunities for English language."— Presentation transcript:
British Association for Applied Linguistics 3 rd -5 th September, 2009 University of Newcastle, England Investigating opportunities for English language development and support in Zanzibar secondary classrooms Oksana Afitska, Guoxing Yu, Zuleikha Khamis, Pauline Rea-Dickins
2 Introduction Learning through L2 in African countries: overview The research context Scope of this study Analysis of classroom data and findings Performance in Form II examinations: English and other subjects Conclusion 2
3 Learning through L2 in African countries: overview Main medium of instruction: It was suggested by many researchers that students may struggle to engage with the curriculum if they have a limited command of the medium of instruction, i.e. English language (Wei and Martin, 2009; Mohamed, Hashim Issa and Banda, Felix, 2008; Brock-Utne, 2007; Moloia, Morobeb, Urwickc, 2008; Probyn, 2006; McGlynn and Martin, 2009). Achievement: Prior achievement is highly correlated with later student achievement, with students with high prior achievement scores achieving higher scores in subsequent achievement tests (Hungi and Thuku, 2009) …. prior achievement is the highest contributing factor in the prediction of student achievement (Ethington, 1992; Reynolds and Walberg, 1992; Gill and Reynolds, 1999; Fuchs et al., 2000).
4 Learning through L2 in African countries: overview Code-switching: Many researchers reported observing learners code- switching from English language to their primary languages in the classrooms in order to better understand the concepts, sustain conversations or simply interact between themselves. Teachers were also often observed code-switching between the languages in order to support understanding or hide their own gaps in English language knowledge (Paxton, 2009; Moodley, 2007; Hardmana, Abd-Kadira, Smith, 2008; Probyn, 2006). Chorusing: The research shows that in many classrooms pupils got the opportunity to speak only through chorus responses (otherwise they could easily go through the whole lesson without getting the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding or lack of it at all) (Altinyelken, 2009). The research also suggests that chorusing through the completion of phrases, the repetition of words and choral affirmation of understanding, may prevent pupils from engaging in more creative and higher levels of thinking (Abd-Kadir and Hardman, 2007). 4
5 Learning through L2 in African countries: overview Teacher talk: Teacher talk was often characterised by explanation and recitation with paying little attention to securing pupils understanding, use of IRF sequence (of which only first two parts were often present), and closed- questions (Hardmana, Abd-Kadira and Smith, 2008; OSullivan, 2006; Abd-Kadir and Hardman, 2007). Group work: Teachers admitted that they often either avoided of failed to do meaningful group work because of high number of students (Altinyelken, 2009; Moloia, Morobeb, Urwickc, 2008). When group work did take place teachers often remain seated at their desks or walked around the classrooms waiting for the students to present their work (Moloia, Morobeb, Urwickc, 2008). Exploratory talk during group work activities was conducted in learners first language (Probyn, 2006).
6 Learning through L2 in African countries: overview Reading: The research suggests that little reading happens in many African classrooms, often with only some learners participating in this activity due to the lack of resources (Probyn, 2006; Opoku-Amankwa, 2009; Vinjevold, 1999). It was also found that pupils who were taught by teachers who were good readers achieved better in reading than pupils who were taught by teachers who were poor readers (Hungi and Thuku, 2009). Writing - The research also suggests that pupils are often ill-prepared for written work as little speaking (oral work) and writing happens in many African classrooms (Probyn, 2006; Moloia, Morobeb, Urwickc, 2008). Speaking: It was observed that students were often passive and quiet in the classrooms; when invited to speak in L2, they produced largely minimal responses, often consisting of few words only (Mohamed, Hashim Issa and Banda, Felix, 2008; Brock- Utne, 2007; Moloia, Morobeb, Urwickc, 2008; Hardmana, Abd-Kadira, Smith 2008). However, when learners were allowed to speak a language that they felt comfortable with, they could suddenly became vibrant and articulate (Hulya Kosar Altinyelken, 2009). Overall, speaking was not common activity in many classrooms.
7 The research context Educational Policy in Zanzibar Island: Primary schools medium of instruction – Kiswahili, with English taught as a subject; Secondary schools medium of instruction and examinations – English. This study was carried out as part of SPINE (Student Performance in National Examinations: dynamics of underachievement) project (ESRC major research grant RES-167-25-0263), which aims to investigate Factors influencing students under/achievement in national examinations in Zanzibar secondary schools. One of the 9 studies specifically aimed to investigate classroom Language practices in Zanzibar secondary classrooms in order to reveal the extent to which learners were provided with language support and opportunities for English language development during the lessons. 7
8 Scope of this study This study draws on to a database of 9 lessons selected from a larger corpus of 72 hours of video-recorded intact lessons in four core curricular areas: biology, chemistry, mathematics and English. The data were collected over a two months period in Form II Zanzibar public and private secondary schools. The lessons were selected according to: The subject area (Biology 3 lessons, Chemistry 3 lessons, Mathematics 3 lessons) The extent of L1 and L2 classroom use (Kiswahili-English, mainly English) The levels of teachers L2 proficiency (English - high proficiency, English - low proficiency) 8
9 Analysis of classroom data From two perspectives: Teachers focus on language (Grammar, Pronunciation, Paraphrasing, Translation and Vocabulary) Development of learners language skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing) Definitions: Grammar – any instances when the teacher draws learners attention to the grammatical structure of the language (as part of teaching, feedback, assessment. For example, use of tenses, capital letters…) Pronunciation – any instances when the teacher corrects learners pronunciation, makes an emphasis on variations of pronunciation, drills pronunciation by means of chorusing. For example, teacher says: T: chloroplast, all together, chloroplast; CLASS: chloroplast 9
10 Definitions Paraphrasing – any instances when the teacher uses the exact or contextual synonyms, or alternative ways of saying something. For example: T: it has no numbers, here is nothing or what organism can not make their own food what type of organism can not can not manufacture their own food. Translation/explanation in L1 – any instances when the teacher translates or explains in L1 information which has just been presented in L2. Vocabulary/concept – any instances when the teacher introduces new vocabulary/concept; explains the meaning, invites learners to chorus definition or new vocabulary item. Listening – all instances when learners hear teacher speaking either in L1 or L2.
11 Definitions Speaking – all instances when learners speak in L1 or L2 (individually, in groups or as chorus) Reading – all instances when learners read aloud (or in head) after they have been instructed by the teacher to do so (from the board or from their text books). Writing – all instances when learners are instructed by the teacher to do a writing activity (either at the board or in books). Chorus – all instances when learners speak altogether, these are interactions with the teacher. Group – all instances when learners speak within their group to their peers but not to the teacher. Individual – all instances when learners speak individually to the teacher in response, or asking a question
18 Summary Few potential opportunities for language development and support were provided across all contexts; English-Kiswahili lessons seemed to provide more potential opportunities for learners language development than English (mostly) lessons, regardless of whether these lessons were taught by teachers with high or low English language proficiency; Most attention seemed to be paid to vocabulary issues (leaving focus on grammar, pronunciation, comprehension through paraphrasing or translation behind);
19 Summary Of the four major language skills, students spent considerably more time listening to the teacher than on other skills (speaking, reading and writing); Learners never used English language to talk to their peers and the teacher during group work activities; Reading in L2 was practiced very rarely and only through chorus reading from books.
20 English language ability and performance in maths, biology and chemistry – data structure of multilevel modelling Note: 161 schools (156 in 2007, 158 in 2008, some new schools joined in 2008, a couple of schools that had data in 2007 but did not have data in 2008)
21 English and maths (a) Total: 64.717, school=29.18%, pupil=70.82% Total=90.4, School=30.75%, Pupil=69.25%
22 English and maths (b) Adding ENGLISH explains (90.4- 64.717)/90.4=28.41% of the maths total variance; and (27.8-18.882)/27.8=32.08% of the school level total variance and (62.6- 45.835)/62.6=26.78% of the pupil level total variance. In other words, ENGLISH can explain nearly 1/3 of the total variance of maths, and 1/3 of school-level and 1/3 of pupil-level variances in maths too.
23 English and biology (a) 23 Total=65.646, school=18.17%, pupil=81.83% Total=114.968, school=18.79%, pupil=81.21%
24 English and biology (b) Adding ENGLISH alone explains (114.968- 65.646)/114.968=42.90% of the total variance in BIOLOGY (see the cons model), and (21.601- 11.928)/21.601=44.78% of school-level variance in BIOLOGY, and (93.367-53.718)/93.367=42.47% of the pupil-level variance in BIOLOGY.
25 English and chemistry (a) Total=158.281, school=23.06%, pupil=76.94% Total=275.993, school=22.05%, pupil=77.95%
26 English and chemistry (b) Adding ENGLISH alone explains (275.993- 158.281)/275.993=42.65% of the total CHEMISTRY variance, and (60.852- 36.497)/60.852=24.36% of school level chemistry variance, and (215.141-121.784)/215.141=43.39% of pupil level chemistry variance.
27 Other languages? Although other two languages (Kiswahili and Arabic) are also significant predictors of the students performance in maths, biology and chemistry, it is noted that they are less capable of explaining the variances than ENGLISH. KISW explains (275.993-88.954)/275.993=31.54% of the total chemistry variance, (114.968-76.585)/ 114.968=33.39% of the BIO total variance, (90.4- 75.678)/90.4=16.29% of the maths total variance.
28 Other languages? KIARAB explains (275.993- 203.452)/275.993=26.28% of the CHEM total variance, (114.968-88.569)/114.968=22.96% of the BIO total variance, (90.4-71.885)/90.4=20.48% of the maths total variance.
29 Summary of the multilevel models (a) It is very clear that ENGLISH is a significant and substantial predictor of the students performance in maths, biology and chemistry. The school-level variances explained in the cons models as well as in the models including ENGLISH as the single explanatory variable demonstrated a substantial proportion of the variance is attributable to school level factors
30 Summary of the multilevel models (b) As ENGLISH itself is affected as other core subjects by various school and pupil factors, this probably explains why there is not much improvement in terms of fitness of the models (measured by the change of % of school-level variance in the total variance). It is therefore essential to collect further school- and pupil-level data to examine what factors (in particular, in relation to English language learning opportunities at home and at school) and how much these factors can account for the variances (in the tradition of school effectiveness studies) and the role of ENGLISH language ability compared to the other factors – our plan for nationwide data collection using pupil and headteacher questionnaires
31 Conclusion (a) Findings of this study lie in line with findings from other research studies in teaching and learning practices in many multilingual African classrooms. Firstly, the examination results demonstrate the crucial role of English language ability in students performance in examinations of other core subjects.
32 Conclusion (b) Secondly, the classroom data suggest that learners could potentially benefit from schooling more if they are provided with more opportunities for English language development and support during the lessons. Thirdly, language support and opportunities for English language development may be best provided when teaching and learning in the classrooms are conducted through non- restricted and collaborative use of learners first language and English language, where both languages are seen as crucial and equally important for effective facilitation of successful learning and higher achievement.