Teaching Oral English in an ESL Setting: Some Challenges Observed by Teachers in Upper-West Ghana

  •  Solomon A. Dansieh    


This study sought to establish from teachers of English in Senior High Schools in the Upper-West Region of Ghana what they considered to be the main challenges confronting their students in the Oral English course. Thirty-four (34) teachers participated in the survey, which used questionnaire and personal observation for data gathering. The study found that there was a high tendency for features of the L1 of students to affect their learning of L2, especially in the areas of phonemes, morphemes, words, sentences and discourse structures. This was not surprising, as English was the L2 of majority of high school students in the region. The study acknowledges the need for language teachers to understand the linguistic systems of the second language of the student and how they function and be able to differentiate between the first and second language of the learner. It further concedes that a teacher’s ability to speak and understand a language is not a guarantee for attaining the requisite technical knowledge for understanding and explaining the system of the language. It was observed that the challenges of pronunciation were not limited to students but affected the teachers too. The study recommends the teaching of pronunciation at basic level in an ESL context like Ghana’s and also the provision of relevant teaching and learning materials for schools as well as periodic training for subject teachers.

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