A Study of the Class Room Language of Juni or Secondary School Teachers of EngliSh

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Addis Ababa University


The purpose of this study is basically to identify tho language f'unc'bi.ons most commonlyused by junior secondary school teachers of English in the classroom. In addition, the study aims at identifying the linguistic errors that occur in the language functions and along with this it attempts to show which language functions the teachers find most difficult to handle and whioh they mani.pul.a+e with ease. Four government junior second8~y schools were selected for the study. From tho twelve teachers of English working in these schools eight were selected and recorded while teaching English in tho classroom. The reoorded lessons were then transcribed and analysed on the basis of the system of analysis developed by Sinclair and Coulthard (1915) vri..tha slight modification made by this researcher. The results of the analysis of the findings showed that the mosf commonLanguage functions used by these teaohers wore: a) Asking questions (Elioiting and Re-elioiting) whioh took 59.3% of the lesson time; b) Ex:plaining, Exempl.i.f'yi.ng, summarizing (Informing in general) which took' 26.1% of the lesson time; c) Giving instructions and orders (Directing) whioh took 9.3% of the lesson time; d) Opening and olosing the stages of tho lesson (Framing and Focusing) which took 4.57~of the lesson time; and e) Checking students' understandine of the Leason which took 0.8% of the lesson time. -111- The results also showed that there wor-e511 errors (granunatical and pronunciation errors) which woro classified into 11 categories. Of theso errors, 39.5~~ were identified in Elicits, 36.4% in Informs, 14.2% in Directs, 6.6% in Boundary exchanges, and 3.3% ': in Checks. Further, it was fotmd that the ratio of errors to exchanges is much greater in Informs than in anyone of the other exchanges. There were nearly three more errors in every Inform exchange than in everyone of the ollher exchanges. In addition, the results showed that the functions of explaining, summarizing, evaluating (in general explaining meaning or putting over information) and giving instructions were the most difficult ones for the teachers to hanclle while asking questions (particularly re-eliciting by nominating or prompting or looping) and ohecki.ng students' understanding wer-ethe onos tho teachers fOlli~deasy to manipulate. On the basis of the findings it was recommendedthat junior secondary school teachers of English need to be given appropriate training in these language f'uno'bi.onsparticularly in the functions concerned with explaining meaning or putting over information, rephrasing and simplifying unanswer-ed elicits, and giving instructions. In addi,ti011tit was recomended that improvements should be made in the textbooks in a way that would minimize teachers' over-reliance on them and proviae enough chanoes of using these language f'unctions as frequently and meaningfully as possible.



Juni or Secondary School