The Research Introduction
In the education system, teachers play a fundamental role for the students because; they are a source of knowledge, information, and help them in idea creation in a particular subject. English is a foreign language in Libya for both the teachers and the students, and coupled with the hard cultural context, teaching the subject is considered, to be a challenge. The teachers are also constrained regarding the teaching activities that they can apply. For instance, the teachers deal with large class sizes, and therefore they are unable to monitor the individual performance of the students as far as their language comprehension, and reading skills are concerned (Abosnan 48). They also have time limitations due to the amount of coursework that they have to cover within a specified period. It has also been pointed out that most of these teachers tend to over-rely on the textbooks that they are provided with for teaching purposes to the students. They have been limited concerning the techniques or the aids that they are allowed to use while teaching the subject to the students.
From a students perspective learning English serves little purpose in Libya than learning other subjects such as medicine or engineering, (Darling-Hammond, 312). The learners have few opportunities to apply the skills and knowledge that they have gained in an English classroom. It is also difficult for the teacher to encourage the enthusiastic learners even to use what they have learned from other students. The reason for this is that; even for the students who are learning the language, most of them are not good at English, and therefore experience challenges regarding expressing themselves.
1.2. Background of English Learning in Libya
During the 1980s and 1990s, the Grammar-Translation method was one that was used to educate EFL learners English in Libyan secondary schools. However, as of 2000, a new English syllabus was introduced in Libyan secondary schools that were teaching English, (Darling-Hammond, 312). The Communicative Language Teaching method was applied in the English curriculum. There are various reasons as to why educators decided to change their approach to how they teach English in Libya. There was the demand in the society to ensure that there are skillful teachers who can teach the language in a dynamic environment. In addition to that; due to globalization, most educators felt that there was the need to ensure that most Libyans can express themselves in a more articulate manner both verbal and written channels in English.
It has been pointed out that the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approach provides the students with more opportunities to ensure that the targeted students can communicate in English. The purpose of the teacher is to act as both a facilitator and coordinator concerning preparing the students to engage in active learning of the subject through both interactive processes such as in discussion and role-playing. It ensures that the students are engaged in terms of authentic and meaningful contextual learning.
According to the Ministry of Education in Libya, it has stated that most of the secondary school students in the country are unable to express themselves articulately in both verbal and writing methods (Ahmed and Abouabdelkader 1-4). Therefore, to solve these problems, the CLT approach has been seen as an appropriate method to at-least ensure the students can communicate verbally through things like role-playing whereby; each student will be allowed or given an opportunity to speak.
One of the most rampant problems about teaching the English language in Libya is that the country does not have an ethnolinguistic diversity like in the other countries. Approximately 98% of the countrys population speaks Arabic and use this language as its main communication when interacting with people. English then is considered a foreign language, and although it is a compulsory subject in 5-12, very few people rely on it regarding using it personally. However, English is seen to be important for communication purposes in the following sectors: job markets, when conducting businesses, especially with foreign companies, and in the government. In fact, the government is putting extra measures to ensure that government workers develop English skills.
There are various challenges that exist about teaching English in Libya. It is important to point out that the grammar-translation method is the primary method of teaching English in the country. There have often been problems about the policy-level expectations and the actual practice by those who are involved in the teaching practice ( in this case both the teachers and the students). The teaching practices that are normally used mainly focus on grammatical rules, vocabulary memorization and the translation of the sentences. An important point to note is that English is primarily taught in Arabic and there is normally little use of English in these lessons.
Most of the English textbooks that have been used in the Libyan education system mainly comprised of a collection of grammatical rules whereby; there are different grammar items that were presented structurally, and there are no interactive exercises that the students could use for practice purposes. It made the language seem so rigid, and it presented the students with challenges regarding understanding it (Ahmed and Abouabdelkader 1-4). This teaching method encourages the students to learn about the language, which is a good thing but fails to ensure the students know how to use the language in different contexts. Even in the examination of competence of the English language what is mainly assessed is grammatical knowledge and writing skills. However, speaking and listening skills, which are vital during the communication process are not the focus in both the teaching practice, neither are they examined.
The national exam system of Libya has been seen to be an obstacle to the changes needed in English education policies. The primary responsibility of the Libyan English teachers is to prepare the students to pass their examinations. Learning is measured through recurrent examinations (written forms of examination). They are used to show progress, and as long as the student passes the examinations, he or she is considered to have learned the language, instead of focusing on whether the student can be able to express himself or herself adequately.
The structure of the thesis:
The first chapter of the study will be the introduction. It will present the background of the study with data related to Libyan secondary school teachers and their skills; the aim and objectives of the study; the research questions; the problem statement; the significance and limitations of the study. The second chapter of the study will be the review of the literature. It will present some other existing studies done by various researchers related to the topic selected for the research. The third chapter of the study will be the research methodology. It will present a detailed view of the methodologies and techniques adopted for the study, including the research paradigm, research approach, research design, sampling plan and sampling design, and the types of data collected. The fourth chapter of the study will be the analysis. It will present the outcomes from the primary data collected during the study. The fifth episode of the survey will be the discussion. It will show the inferences from the analysis of both the primary as well as secondary data gathered during the study. The sixth chapter of the study will be the conclusion. It will present the key findings, conclusions and recommendations for overcoming the research problems observed during the study. The final section of the survey will be the bibliography, comprising of all the sources of data that were used during the study to collect the data required for analysis.
1.3. Aims and objectives of the study
The objective of the study is to develop a training course in teaching reading skills for the teachers of the English language at the secondary level education in Libya, with specific usage of Wilhelm's Strategies.
Objectives of the study:
The objectives of the study are as follows:
To identify the problems that teachers face while teaching reading skills to the students at the secondary school level in Libya, concerning their teaching reading skills
To determine the recent developments in teaching reading skills at the secondary school level
To understand how the knowledge and efficient utilization of reading strategies are demonstrated
To suggest recommendations to improve the present condition of teaching reading skills
1.4. Research Questions
1. What are the knowledge and cultural constraints that are faced by English educators regarding the choices and methodologies they use in their teaching?
2. What are the possibilities of ensuring the CLT or the CPD approach among the educators teach the students to appropriately learn English?
1.5. Problems of the Study
With specific reference to Libya, it is evidence that the poor resources, facilities, and study material will have critical impacts on the teaching and learning methods adopted in the English language. Also, the lack of collaboration and poor motivation among teachers is also observed to have created a negative impact on their teaching ability. Moreover, the Libyan culture and their beliefs seem to have implications for the teachers who find difficult to apply new methods, different ideas, and methodologies in the secondary level schools.
It is also observed to be emphasized by Hawana (1981) that, the English teachers caliber is not good in Libyan schools since their academic qualification is not more than a bachelors degree and the training level of teaching the foreign language like English is very little.
The need to communicate with people from other countries has created a demand for Libyans to want to learn English within their own country, and it has been incorporated into their education system. Although English has actively been taught in Libyan schools since 1997 after its temporary ban in 1986, it has emerged that the Libyan students still face a challenge when they try to interact with the native English speakers. The Libyan students usually spend about ten years from the secondary education level to the university; however, it is a challenge for many to even produce or state simple sentences in English, especially when communicating orally.
Ahmad (2001) points out that the problem that affects most of the Libyan students and inhibits their oral communication is the teaching style that is deemed to be unsatisfactory. They, therefore, find difficulties in using English in practical situations, even after graduating from the university. The teaching at the Libyan schools focuses on grammatical rules, vocabulary memorization, knowing the letters used in sentences, and various pattern drills. The problem with taking this approach is that it does not fulfill the purpose of learning that needs to involve learning multiple interrelated variables such as cultural understandings and how to use English to achieve its communicative objective. Hence, the present research attempts to develop a training course in teaching reading skills for the teachers of English language at the secondary level education in Libya. Moreover, the study will specifically adopt Wilhelm's Strategies, in which Wilhelm and his co-authors rely on a learning-centered approach more than teacher-centered approach.
1.6. Significance of the study
The study makes it evident that, in Libya, English language teaching continues to be a critical issue, especially at the level of secondary education. The country is observed to have inadequate resources, facilities and study mat...
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