Impact of instructional techniques and course books on ‘O’ level students’ communicative competence in Kumi and Soroti Districts
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Notwithstanding the importance of English to nations that use the language as a second language, it is evident that the citizens who purport to have learnt it lack communicative competence in its spoken form. In Uganda, it has been noted with concern that although English is taught and used as a medium of instruction, the students who go through secondary education (including those in Kumi and Soroti districts) cannot effectively communicate in it orally. As a contribution to addressing the problem, the researcher attempted to establish the range and effectiveness of teachers’ instructional techniques, course books used, the communicative competence sub-skills covered and the amount of practice given to the students so as to develop communicative competence in spoken English. Four different hypotheses were advanced namely: Instructional techniques used by teachers do not promote students’ communicative competence. The course books used by teachers do not encourage students to communicate competently in spoken English. Communicative competence sub-skills are not sufficiently taught by the teachers Students are not given enough practice in communicative competence sub-skills. Ten lessons of English is senior three were observed in ten different schools in an attempt to establish the instructional techniques and course books used by teachers to promote students’ communicative competence and the amount of practice given to learners. Two sets of questionnaires were designed and administered to 32 teachers and 200 students (selected at random) to supplement data collected through classroom observations. The Z-test statistics for proportion was used to test hypothesis one and three at 0.05 level of significance and a critical value of -1.645. The results from lesson observations showed that only grammar was given sufficient coverage and the most often used instructional techniques were Question and Answer and chorus answers. According to the teachers and students, the most often taught component is still grammar, marginally followed by the sound component. The Z-test statistics for the most frequently used instructional techniques/ activities showed that Questions and Answers and chorus answers dominated. Results from all sources of data collected showed that the course books commonly used are English In Use and Integrated English which are communicative orientated but there are not enough copies and learners’ are not given enough practice in spoken English. It was concluded that teachers in Soroti and Kumi districts do not use instructional techniques that promote ‘O’level students’ communicative competence in spoken English. In light of the above findings it was recommended that teachers should give sufficient coverage to all aspects of communicative competence and use instructional techniques that promote it as well as give learners enough, quality and meaningful practice in communicative competence in spoken English.
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