We can not over stated the necessity of English. English is now a global language. It is spreading around the world as it keeps us in touch with more people than any other languages. In Bangladesh the situation of English language is different from other developing countries. It is observed that English is not used as a means of communication as it was before the liberation. During the British rule English became the medium of education, administration and commerce. English had that status till the partition of India in 1947. From that time to 1971 English played a very significant role in national life of Pakistan. English was only language of Pakistan to communicate with East Pakistan (Now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan ( Now Pakistan). It was widely used in the government administration, law courts and commerce. It was the medium of communication with other countries. English was taught as a compulsory subject at the secondary and higher secondary levels of education . It was also the means of instruction at higher education at Universities, Engineering and Medical colleges.
After the emergence of Bangladesh as an independent nation in 1971, English lost its status of a second language because of the Bengali Introduction law in 1983 by Bangladesh government. It has been made compulsory for employees in government and autonomous institutions to use Bangla in office, legal documents and correspondences except communication with foreign governments, countries and organizations. As a result English lost its previous status as a second language and need to be treated as a foreign language. However Bangladesh cannot be rightly considered as genuine ESL situation. As Begum (in Begum 2003) (1999 : 215) says : “Bangladesh can no longer be considered as a genuine ESL situation. Neither does it qualify as a purely EFL one.”
Bowers (in Begum 2003) (1996:23) in his study on English teaching in Bangladesh describes it as “ESL lapsing into EFL” and this is in fact the present status of English in Bangladesh.
After 1983 the opportunities for using English outside the classroom were lost. English was no more used outside of the classroom. However it remains as the prestige language of the educational minority and aristocratic society. As English is not practiced outside of the classroom, student do not get the opportunities to practice English and they fail to achieve the required skills in speaking, listening, reading, writing. Specially our S.S.C & H.S.C level students don’t show their adequate performances in English. They can not serve the purpose according to the expectation. Sometimes they fail to avail even foreign scholarship due to lack of knowledge in English.
Statement of the Problem :
English is introduced as a compulsory Subject at SSC and HSC level. But unfortunately our students have not yet performed the satisfactory Standard of doing the job. There are recognized four language skills in learning English but our Students are showing. poor performance in this regard. they are not able to maintain the expected Standard of learning the language. It has become a burning issue for the nation. without being sound in English one can not have higher education and can not maintain a satisfactory standard of living either in home or abroad. So to ensure the best use of our potentialities and the betterment of our future generation we have to find out the causes lying behind poor performance of our students of these levels and recommend the ways of solution.
This study has been undertaken with the following objectives :
- To find out the causes of poor performance of the students in English at SSC and HSC level of Bangladesh.
- To identify the ways of improving English Language skills i.e. Listening, speaking reading and writing.
- To find out the effective class room teaching techniques.
Scope of the study :
The main focus of the study is to identify the causes of poor performance of the students of SSC and HSC levels considering it as a burning issue .The causes of the problem have been identified and the solutions have also been enclosed here with as the main focal points of this paper.
Methodology for a study depends on various aspects like the type of research, availability of time by the investigator, access to respondents and sources etc. Descriptive research contains qualitative data and as data collection tools e.g. interviews, observation and questionnaire can be used. Empirical research may contain both qualitative and quantitative data and so may use any kind of research instruments.
Moreover, data can be collected from primary, secondary and internal sources. For this study primary sources have been used, though for looking at the background of the study and rationalizing the study secondary sources have also been used. For accuracy and reliability, quantitative data and adequate sampling are needed. However for lacking of adequate time and experience, the researcher went for purposeful sampling.
Population of the study
Population, the source of primary data is the collection of all the units in the field of in inquiry into a problem for finding out the solutions. In this study the population is the teachers and students of selected schools and colleges from where necessary data of the study are collected.
Sample size is very important in ensuring the effectiveness and fruitfulness of the research. However, some aspects like time, fund, desire for accuracy, type of people or situation being studied, resources available and purpose of the study may control sample size. In this study weighting a students sample is most important and the next is the teachers. The following table shows the sample size.
Table: Sample size (respondents)
|Types of respondents||Number||Percentage|
In Bangladesh the number of schools and colleges is a great one. The researcher was not able to have a large sample from all the country. So the study was limited to the surveying of two colleges and two schools. The number four has not been chosen statistically. However as the researcher thought that four institutions visit would be appropriate under the timeframe. So only four institutions were selected.
We defined the population consisting of students of 9,10,11,12 and Teachers of the same schools and colleges the students are from. The researcher purposefully did the sampling of schools and colleges. This selection was purposeful. The schools and colleges were as follows:
· MadhapurPilotHigh School, Hobigonj.
· ModelCollege, Narshinghdi.
· Narsinghdhi Uccha Balika Bidyaniketon, Narishghdi.
· Narshinghdi Govt. Mohila college, Narishghdi.
Process of data collection
For collection of data, investigator first need to choose from a wide variety of data gathering tools like interview, observation, questionnaire, checklist, rating scale and psychological test etc. For this study, questionnaire was used as the foremost tool. Then were observation, interview based on questionnaire and analysis of documents.
For two different units of population (student, teacher,) two questionnaires were used. The teacher filled in those questionnaires themselves. The students were given adequate support to respond to the questionnaire.
No formal interview was done. However, the researcher took the opportunity of interviewing the teachers in an informal open way to get more insight into the field of investigation.
Observation was made with a view to checking whether those schools and colleges visited really have more facilities for English teaching.
Data has been analyzed mostly manually except in case of finding out the summations and percentages, First, data was patterned in tabular form according to the fulfillment of research objectives. During this time the variables underlying the investigation were kept in mind.
The tabular forms were consolidated into pieces of information regarding the objectives. During this time some of the data found to be redundant which were collected through questionnaires.
For analysis of data, helping of computer has been taken. Presentation of tabular data was transformed into different graphs or charts with the help of Ms Excel and Ms word.
The terms used in the title of the research work has been defined bellow:
Poor: Being the state of a quality that is low or lower than expected.
Performance : Here performance means achieving the four language skills e.g. Listening, speaking, reading and writing
SSC : It stands for secondary school certificate .It is the 2nd stage of our educational system.
HSC : It stands for Higher secondary certificate. It consists of 11 & 12 classes.
Bangladesh : Covering the whole area of Bangladesh.
There are vast works already done on this issue. But unfortunately I have to do the work in a very short time frame. So I did not able to contract with so many research papers. I have reviewed only Bangladesh cadet college, volume-13, 2003 and “teaching English skill” which helped me to build up my concept about this issue.
Rationale of the study :
This study is significant as it would find out the causes of poor performance in English at SSC & HSC level. This would give us chance to think over the issue.. More importantly this study might help us to find out a way about the solutions of this issue.
Limitation of the Study :
- Only a few schools and colleges have been Selected as the research area in proportion of the whole country.
- Difficulty in collecting data for on going examinations in institutions.
- Accurate statistical method is not applied for deciding Sample size in proportion to population of the study.
- Lack of adequate financing.
- Shortage of time.
- Insufficient facilities reference books & journals.
Data Presentation and Analysis
This study is regulated for finding out the causes of poor performance of the students in English. Data is collected from two respondent groups e.g. teachers and students of selected schools & colleges. At first their group responses are presented and later on a consolidated responding table would be shown for the responses of the whole representative population for bringing to light the respective problems.
opinion of students
Students were asked in a friendly atmosphere to speak the truth about their poor performance in English and from their answers mainly three types of responses were collected ; Some causes are related to the students, some to the teachers and some are related to other factors. All the students’ opinion have been collected in the following three sub-sections in three tables:
Causes related to the students
Table 1: Causes related to the students
|causes||No. of respondents||Yes||No||percent|
|Unconsciousness of guardians||25||16||9||64||36|
Comment: The above table shows that the poor performance of students in English of S.S.C and H.S.C level are related mostly with inattentiveness and English phobia of students as wells as unconsciousness of their guardians.
Causes related to the teachers
Table 2: Causes related to the Teachers
|Lack of efficiency and training||25||18||7||72||18|
|Not following proper method||25||15||10||60||40|
|Unwillingness of taking teaching profession of talent people||25||16||9||64||36|
|Unattractive class teaching||25||19||6||76||24|
|Not using of teaching aids||25||20||5||80||20|
|Unawareness about aim of teaching English||25||18||7||72||28|
|for not facilitating the students||25||20||5||80||20|
|Involvement of teachers to private tuition.||25||20||5||80||20|
|Lack of handsome salary||25||17||8||68||32|
The table shows that the causes lying behind the poor performance in English of students are lack of efficiency and training of teachers. They are not at all aware of following proper method of teaching, unwillingness of taking teaching profession of talent people, involvement of teachers to private tuition and above all the lack of hand some salary of the teachers are highly responsible for the defoliation of the ill performance of the students of mentioned level.
Causes related to other factors
Table 3: Causes related to other factors
|causes||No. of respondents||yes||No||percent|
|Inconvenient class room||25||20||5||80||20|
|Unsuitable text book||25||15||10||60||40|
|Traditional Examination system||25||18||7||72||28|
|Dependency on guide books & note books||25||20||5||80||20|
Comment: The above table shows some other factors related to the decoration of the poor performance of the students.
Opinion of Teachers
Teachers were asked in a friendly atmosphere to speak about the poor performance in English and from them mainly three types of responses were collected. Some causes are related to the students, some to the teachers and some are related to other factors. All the Teachers opinion have been collected in the following three sub-sections in three tables.
Causes related to the students
Table 4: Causes related to the students
|causes||No. of respondents||Yes||No||percentage|
|Unconsciousness of guardians||15||10||5|
Comment: This table shows that good percentage of the student are callus to learn English.
Causes related to the teachers
Table 5: Causes related to the Teachers
|causes||No. of respondents||Yes||No||percent|
|Lack of efficiency and training||15||9||6|
|Not following proper method||15||8||7|
|Unwillingness of taking teaching profession of talent people||15||8||7|
|Unattractive class teaching||15||10||5|
|Not using of teaching aids||15||12||3|
|Unawareness about aim of teaching English||15||10||5|
|for not facilitating the students||15||9||9|
|Involvement of teachers to private tuition.||15||8|
|Lack of handsome salary||15||12|
Comment: Above table shows that teachers engaged in teaching are not so qualified and aware of new method of teaching.
Causes related to other factors
Table 6: Causes related to other factors
|causes||No. of respondents||yes||No||percent|
|Inconvenient class room||15||10||5|
|Unsuitable text book||15||8||76|
|Traditional Examination system||15||9||6|
|Dependency on guide books & note books||15||11||4|
Comment: It shows the lockage in method of academic criteria of education policy.
Problems Identified by two respondent groups
Two respondent groups, students and teachers were consulted mainly through questionaires to find out causes lying behind the poor performance of the students. In response they passed their comments regarding ill performances of students in English at SSC and HSC level.
Table 7: Causes identified by two respondent groups
|Inattentiveness of students||15||10|
|Unconsciousness of guardians||16||10|
|Lack of efficiency and training||16||10|
|Not following proper method||18||9|
|Unwillingness of taking teaching profession of talent people||18||10|
|Unattractive class teaching||20||9|
|Not using of teaching aids||20||8|
|Unawareness about aim of teaching English||18||10|
|for not facilitating the students||20||9|
|Involvement of teachers to private tuition.||20||8|
|Lack of handsome salary||17||12|
|Inconvenient class room||20||10|
|Unsuitable text book||15||8|
|Traditional Examination system||18||8|
|Dependency on guide books & note books||20||11|
It is clearly seen from the above table that the causes of poor performance of students in English at SSC and HSC level related to inattentiveness and English phobia of students, Lack of efficiency and training of teachers, unattractive class teaching, not using of teaching aids, traditional Examination system and dependency on guide books & note books.
Research findings :
The study was done keeping in mind to identify the causes of poor performance in English at S.S.C and H.S.C level and find out the solutions of the mentioned problems. The findings are as follows:
1. Lack of efficient and trained teachers is one of the main causes of poor performance in English .
2. As the teaching profession is poor salaried, the talented people are not willing to take the profession so long they are not compelled. So perfect English teachers are not seen in secondary and higher secondary level.
3. In communicative English visual aids are essential. But teaching aids are not seen using in any level of our education.
4. Teachers are not at all aware of the aims and objectives of the teaching. They are not trained enough. Teachers having shallow knowledge are recruited.
5. Defective examination system which is proved unfruitful for the students.
6. As there is practically no supervision of the work of English teachers, the teachers fail to get any guidance from experts.
7. In most cases teachers are seen engaged in private tuition. It hampers the students to achieve their target in performing English.
8. Depending on guide and note books of the students causes great hamper to reach the goal of achieving the target language.
9. Most of the guardians are not at all conscious about the importance of learning English. Even many are illiterate also. So their children are remained weak in English.
Some recommendations are given according to the context of the problems:
- Teachers and students are to be aware of the importance of four skills e.g. Listening, speaking, reading and writing.
- Teachers must have good command over the language. Bangla should not be uttered in the class. Teachers and students are to be encouraged reading English news papers, story books etc.
- Teachers and students must go through the functional structure based English those are highly needed in situation based conversation. They are to be encouraged to make environment for doing so.
- Necessary hearing aids could be allocated for listening development.
- Examination system should be developed by emphasizing oral testing. A good number should be allocated for viva. So that the students could overcome their shyness.
- Situation based question could be set in question papers. So that the student might be improved in free hand writing. In this regard imitation and learning without understanding must be prohibited.
- Students are to be encouraged writing freely without quoting anything directly from the content .Everything should be written in examination Script by his own language and these would be regarded highly.
- We need to produce quality teachers of English and attract the brilliant and meritorious young people to take teaching as profession.
- We should create a truly learning environment in our society specially in the classroom.
- Guardians of learners are to be more conscious of the necessity of learning English.
- Institutions should be rich in timely and good books and other aids.
- The English foundation in primary level should be stronger than ever in the past.
- Teachers should be encourage to adopt communicative approach such as pair work, group work, choral drill, chain drill etc. While teaching in the class. They should also be encouraged to use pictures flash cards, charts, maps, radio, tape-recorder and other audio- visual aids to make their classes fruitful.
- Teachers should make English easy and attractive and remove phobia from learners through motivation and counseling.
- Modern method of teaching such as situational method, communicative method, elicited method etc. Should be introduced with optimum application of teaching materials or aids. Grammar should be taught in the context and in the situational method.
- The concurrent curriculum and syllabus should be followed in line with the rest of the world.
- Salary line and incentives of English teachers should be handsome enough to make teachers more cordial to impart proper teaching and allure quality teachers for teaching.
- More training programs should be implemented and conducted for teachers.
- English has to be given the highest priority in our education policy.
- Some moral and ethical based stories should be introduced in the EFT books.
- weekly and monthly class-tests should be introduced in order to promote the performance of the students.
Though Chinese, French, German, Russian and Spanish are used by the international community. None of them is comparable to English. English is top one of the five official languages of UNO. It is the official language of international civil aviation. unofficially, it is the first language of sports, pop music and cinema entertainment. English is the medium of communication in science and technology, trade and commerce and research. Our access to the ICT based world is so vulnerable due to many constraints and we mostly suffer for want of a common language that is English. Without having sufficient command over of this language we cannot think of approaching ourselves to the world of competition, We stumble just on opening the internet because of language limitations which we can easily meet up if we gat a little bit magnanimous in exercising English from the very dawn. We are badly in need of improvising our English skills to ensure the best use of our potentialities and discharge our sacred duties and responsibilities for the betterment of the future generation.