This teachers use grammar translation method to teach the

This study describes the perceptions of public sector and private
sector secondary school teachers of English about the approaches for teaching
communication skills to secondary classes. 15 teachers of English from five
public sector secondary schools of Lahore and 15 teachers of English from five
private sector secondary schools of Lahore were selected by stratified random
sampling. The participant teachers shared the same academic and socio-cultural
background. For obtaining data about the research questions which set to explore
the perceptions of the teachers, a close ended scaled type questionnaire was
used. The data was analyzed by descriptive statistics (frequencies, the mean
and the SD). The analysis of the data shows that the sampled private secondary
school teachers tend to use communicative language teaching for teaching oral
skills on the other hand the sampled public sector secondary school teachers
use grammar translation method to teach the isolated sentences in the
classroom. Though the study has certain limitations, it has implications for
English teachers, teacher trainers, researchers of oral skills teaching and
curriculum developers.  

Key words:      Medium of Instruction, Competence,
Proficiency, Teaching of Communication Skills, Communicative Language Teaching

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The Approaches to Teaching Oral Skills

in Public & Private Sector Secondary Schools of Lahore


In many third world countries like Pakistan, English
is considered as the most sophisticated language (Mahmood, 2011).  The
prevailing view across Pakistan is that learning of English is necessary to get
the jobs. Those who do not have basic knowledge of English cannot obtain good
quality jobs. The proponents of English language also claim that without
English language proficiency, one cannot communicate effectively with others. Those
who cannot speak English language proficiently, even if educated, do not get
highly paid jobs. Parents, employers, media and policy makers often express
dissatisfaction over the quality of English language teaching in Pakistan when
they see the graduates cannot speak the language appropriately which they have
been leaning painstakingly for years. It is thought that speech is more
important because we sustain through it (Macaro, 2003; Richards, 1990).

According to Khursheed (1993) Education system in Pakistan is
divided into government schools, private schools and religious schools. The
public or government supported schools are impacted by a variety of problems.
“There had been a great controversy in the medium of instruction between
private and public sector educational institutions. “(Khalique, 2008).

Generally, the medium of instruction in public schools is Urdu and in
private schools, it is usually English. When students enter in the University
Education, it is often found that they lack communicative competence in English
language with the exception being the students coming from elite schools. The
students coming from public schools are found to be good at spoken Urdu,
whereas the students passing from private schools tend to use English language
effectively to interact. There are some private school students, though they
are taught English in schools, they do not get the appropriate environment to
practice it at their schools, homes and social set-up where they could
communicate in English to get proficiency and fluency hence they are unable to
communicate effectively in English language.

In an ideal language learning classroom, learners aiming to develop
their proficiency in spoken English would take part in activities that
systematically develop their understanding and use of spoken English, as it is
used for both transactional and interactional purposes. To do so, their courses
and course materials would provide opportunities to develop and practice a
variety of different kinds of oral skills. Teachers teaching spoken English
classes would have a sound knowledge of the nature of communicative competence
and the use of communicative classroom activities, and learners would be
motivated to practice their spoken English skills both inside and outside of
the classroom. Opportunities to learn English in Pakistan are provided in both
the public sector schools as well as in the private sector. In the official
curriculum of public education, English is listed as one of the required
courses for middle and high school levels. Students in middle and high schools
take between three to four hours of English each week. The current “revised” syllabus
used in public education aims to move beyond a focus on reading skills and to
develop basic English proficiency. According to the National Curriculum for
English language, Grade I-XII, (Government of Pakistan, 2006), English is the
language of international communication, higher learning and better career
options. It should therefore reach the masses so that there is no
discrimination among the rich and poor in Pakistan in term of opportunities for
personal, professional and economic development.

In Pakistan, however, a number of factors mitigate against the
successful teaching of spoken English. These include issues related to the
curriculum and materials for teaching English, teacher competence as well as
the limitations of classroom-based learning. Despite the aims and objectives
given in the National Curriculum for English Language, Grade I-XII, (Government
of Pakistan, 2006), listening is almost absent in the syllabus as the English
teacher uses Urdu language for instructions, and speaking is limited to a few
drills (mainly intended to practice grammar) and short dialogues to introduce
language functions. Consequently, after eight years of English instruction,
unless students have taken additional courses in a private institute, they
normally have minimal communication skills in English. It is not an
exaggeration to claim that a Pakistani student who graduates from high school
(and who has not attended any courses outside the formal education system) is
hardly able to introduce himself or herself in English or to express or
understand more than a few simple sentences, despite having studied English at
school for at least ten years (British Council, PEELI).

In Pakistan, it is being observed that the goal of practiced
approaches in private schools is to make the learners proficient in English
communication skills whereas traditional and conventional approaches are still
being practiced in public sector schools to teach communication.  The particular concern of this study is communication
and its related issues in educational settings.

Based on the reviewed literature and the observation discussed
above, the researcher tried to compare the approaches to teaching oral skills
practices in public and private sector secondary schools of Lahore.

Objectives of the Study

explore the teaching practices to teach oral skills in public and private sector
secondary schools of Lahore.

compare the approaches to teaching oral skills practices in public and private
sector secondary schools of Lahore.


Hypothesis of the study

is no significant difference between the approaches to teaching oral skills
practices in public and private sector secondary schools of Lahore.