This study describes the perceptions of public sector and privatesector secondary school teachers of English about the approaches for teachingcommunication skills to secondary classes. 15 teachers of English from fivepublic sector secondary schools of Lahore and 15 teachers of English from fiveprivate sector secondary schools of Lahore were selected by stratified randomsampling. The participant teachers shared the same academic and socio-culturalbackground.
For obtaining data about the research questions which set to explorethe perceptions of the teachers, a close ended scaled type questionnaire wasused. The data was analyzed by descriptive statistics (frequencies, the meanand the SD). The analysis of the data shows that the sampled private secondaryschool teachers tend to use communicative language teaching for teaching oralskills on the other hand the sampled public sector secondary school teachersuse grammar translation method to teach the isolated sentences in theclassroom. Though the study has certain limitations, it has implications forEnglish teachers, teacher trainers, researchers of oral skills teaching andcurriculum developers. Key words: Medium of Instruction, Competence,Proficiency, Teaching of Communication Skills, Communicative Language TeachingThe Approaches to Teaching Oral Skills in Public & Private Sector Secondary Schools of LahoreIntroductionIn many third world countries like Pakistan, Englishis considered as the most sophisticated language (Mahmood, 2011).
Theprevailing view across Pakistan is that learning of English is necessary to getthe jobs. Those who do not have basic knowledge of English cannot obtain goodquality jobs. The proponents of English language also claim that withoutEnglish language proficiency, one cannot communicate effectively with others. Thosewho cannot speak English language proficiently, even if educated, do not gethighly paid jobs. Parents, employers, media and policy makers often expressdissatisfaction over the quality of English language teaching in Pakistan whenthey see the graduates cannot speak the language appropriately which they havebeen leaning painstakingly for years. It is thought that speech is moreimportant because we sustain through it (Macaro, 2003; Richards, 1990). According to Khursheed (1993) Education system in Pakistan isdivided into government schools, private schools and religious schools. Thepublic or government supported schools are impacted by a variety of problems.
“There had been a great controversy in the medium of instruction betweenprivate and public sector educational institutions. “(Khalique, 2008).Generally, the medium of instruction in public schools is Urdu and inprivate schools, it is usually English.
When students enter in the UniversityEducation, it is often found that they lack communicative competence in Englishlanguage with the exception being the students coming from elite schools. Thestudents coming from public schools are found to be good at spoken Urdu,whereas the students passing from private schools tend to use English languageeffectively to interact. There are some private school students, though theyare taught English in schools, they do not get the appropriate environment topractice it at their schools, homes and social set-up where they couldcommunicate in English to get proficiency and fluency hence they are unable tocommunicate effectively in English language. In an ideal language learning classroom, learners aiming to developtheir proficiency in spoken English would take part in activities thatsystematically develop their understanding and use of spoken English, as it isused for both transactional and interactional purposes.
To do so, their coursesand course materials would provide opportunities to develop and practice avariety of different kinds of oral skills. Teachers teaching spoken Englishclasses would have a sound knowledge of the nature of communicative competenceand the use of communicative classroom activities, and learners would bemotivated to practice their spoken English skills both inside and outside ofthe classroom. Opportunities to learn English in Pakistan are provided in boththe public sector schools as well as in the private sector. In the officialcurriculum of public education, English is listed as one of the requiredcourses for middle and high school levels. Students in middle and high schoolstake between three to four hours of English each week. The current “revised” syllabusused in public education aims to move beyond a focus on reading skills and todevelop basic English proficiency.
According to the National Curriculum forEnglish language, Grade I-XII, (Government of Pakistan, 2006), English is thelanguage of international communication, higher learning and better careeroptions. It should therefore reach the masses so that there is nodiscrimination among the rich and poor in Pakistan in term of opportunities forpersonal, professional and economic development.In Pakistan, however, a number of factors mitigate against thesuccessful teaching of spoken English. These include issues related to thecurriculum and materials for teaching English, teacher competence as well asthe limitations of classroom-based learning.
Despite the aims and objectivesgiven in the National Curriculum for English Language, Grade I-XII, (Governmentof Pakistan, 2006), listening is almost absent in the syllabus as the Englishteacher uses Urdu language for instructions, and speaking is limited to a fewdrills (mainly intended to practice grammar) and short dialogues to introducelanguage functions. Consequently, after eight years of English instruction,unless students have taken additional courses in a private institute, theynormally have minimal communication skills in English. It is not anexaggeration to claim that a Pakistani student who graduates from high school(and who has not attended any courses outside the formal education system) ishardly able to introduce himself or herself in English or to express orunderstand more than a few simple sentences, despite having studied English atschool for at least ten years (British Council, PEELI).In Pakistan, it is being observed that the goal of practicedapproaches in private schools is to make the learners proficient in Englishcommunication skills whereas traditional and conventional approaches are stillbeing practiced in public sector schools to teach communication. The particular concern of this study is communicationand its related issues in educational settings.
Based on the reviewed literature and the observation discussedabove, the researcher tried to compare the approaches to teaching oral skillspractices in public and private sector secondary schools of Lahore. Objectives of the Study· Toexplore the teaching practices to teach oral skills in public and private sectorsecondary schools of Lahore.· Tocompare the approaches to teaching oral skills practices in public and privatesector secondary schools of Lahore.
Hypothesis of the study· Thereis no significant difference between the approaches to teaching oral skillspractices in public and private sector secondary schools of Lahore.