The influence of large classes in the English language teaching-learning process in Ecuadorian high schools

Texto completo

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UNIVERSIDA

ÁR

TITULACI

The influence of

AUTORAS:

Guerra

Pozo H

DIRECTOR:

Salced

DAD TÉCNICA PARTICULA

ÁREA SOCIO HUMANÍSTIC

CIÓN DE LICENCIADO EN CIENCI

EDUCACIÓN MENCIÓN INGLÉS

of large classes in the English language t

process in Ecuadorian high schools

Trabajo

erra Velasco, María Verónica

o Hernández, Adriana Isabel

cedo Viteri, Karina Soledad Mgs.

Centro Universitario San Gabriel

2014

LAR DE LOJA

ICA

CIAS DE LA

ÉS

e teaching-learning

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APROBACIÓN DEL DIRECTOR DEL TRABAJO DE FIN DE TITULACIÓN

Magister

Karina Soledad Salcedo Viteri

DOCENTE DE LA TITULACIÓN

De mi consideración:

El presente trabajo de fin de titulación: “The influence of large classes in the English

language teaching-learning process in Ecuadorian high schools” realizado por Guerra

Velasco María Verónica y Pozo Hernández Adriana Isabel, ha sido orientado y

revisado durante su ejecución, por cuanto se aprueba la presentación del mismo.

Loja, febrero de 2014

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DECLARACIÓN DE AUTORÍA Y CESIÓN DE DERECHOS

“Nosotras, Guerra Velasco María Verónica y Pozo Hernández Adriana Isabel,

declaramos ser autoras del presente trabajo de fin de titulación “The influence of

large classes in the English language teaching-learning process in Ecuadorian high

schools” y eximimos expresamente a la Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja y a

sus representantes legales de posibles reclamos o acciones legales. Además

certificamos que las ideas, conceptos, procedimientos y resultados vertidos en el

presente trabajo investigativo, son de nuestra exclusiva responsabilidad.

Adicionalmente declaramos conocer y aceptar la disposición del Art. 67 del

Estatuto Orgánico de la Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja que en su parte

pertinente textualmente dice: “Forman parte del patrimonio de la Universidad la

propiedad intelectual de investigaciones, trabajos científicos o técnicos y tesis de

grado que se realicen a través, o con el apoyo financiero, académico o institucional

(operativo) de la Universidad”.

f ………..……….. Autora: Guerra Velasco María Verónica Cédula: 0401144969

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DEDICATION

My dedication is to my whole family for motivating me to finish my career. This

work is especially dedicated to my husband who loves and supports me all the time

to keep on studying. An especial dedication also goes to my two daughters for their

unfailing encouragement that has helped me a lot to reach this important stage in my

life.

Verónica Guerra

I dedicate this thesis to God for being the strength of my life, for giving me

the gifts of wisdom, and for offering me the opportunity to finish my studies. To my

parents for their unconditional support, which has fulfilled my life with useful

values. Also, I dedicate this research to my family for always giving me their love

and time to achieve the Bachelor’s degree in Teaching English as a Foreign

Language.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT

We want to thank the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja and to the EFL

teachers for their powerful contribution to our career. Especially, we thank all those

educators and people who have offered us their continuous guide, help, and

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CONTENTS

COVER……...i

APROBACIÓN DEL DIRECTOR DEL TRABAJO DE FIN DE TITULACIÓN ii DECLARACIÓN DE AUTORÍA Y CESIÓN DE DERECHOS…………...…...iii

DEDICATION...………...iv

ACKNOWLEDGMENT……….………..v

CONTENTS………...……….. vii

ABSTRACT... 1

RESUMEN...2

INTRODUCTION………..…….… 3

METHOD………...6

DISCUSSION………..………….7

Literature Review…...……….…7

Description, Analysis, and Interpretation of Results………....22

Conclusions...………...……….52

Recommendations…...53

REFERENCES………...54

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ABSTRACT

This research investigated the influence of large classes in the English language

teaching-learning process in Ecuadorian high schools. The method was quantitative.

The research was conducted in two public high schools in San Gabriel in 2013. The

sample consisted of one hundred ninety one students from 8thbasic education to 3rd

year of senior high school

The field research required the researchers to collected data through surveys which

were applied to the students. In this case, the participants were surveyed at the end of

their regular class schedule. To stimulate the students’ participation, the questions of

the survey were administered in Spanish. There were one hundred ninety one

answers responses in total.

Once the research was conducted, it was possible to determine that the English

teaching- learning process in the public high schools, where the research was carried

out, is affected negatively by both the large number of students since not all of them

participated in the EFL classes actively and the teachers who were not able to give

individual attention to each learner.

Key words: large classes, English teaching-learning process, instructional, social and

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RESUMEN

Este estudio investigó la influencia de clases numerosas en el proceso de

enseñanza y aprendizaje del idioma Inglés en las escuelas secundarias del Ecuador.

El método fue cuantitativo. La investigación se realizó en dos escuelas secundarias

públicas en San Gabriel en 2013. La muestra estuvo conformada por ciento noventa

y un estudiantes, quienes fueron del 8vo año de educación básica al 3er año de

bachillerato.

La investigación de campo requirió que los investigadores recolecten datos a

través de encuestas aplicadas a los estudiantes. En este caso, los participantes fueron

encuestados al final de su horario de clases regular. Para estimular la participación de

los estudiantes, las preguntas de la encuesta fueron administradas en Español. Hubo

ciento noventa y un respuestas en total.

Una vez que la investigación fue conducida, se encontró que el proceso de

enseñanza y aprendizaje de Inglés en las escuelas secundarias públicas, donde se

realizó el estudio, es afectado negativamente tanto por el gran número de estudiantes,

ya que no todos ellos participan en clase, como por los profesores que no pueden dar

una atención individualizada a cada alumno.

Palabras claves: clases grandes, proceso de enseñanza-aprendizaje de Inglés,

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INTRODUCTION

A serious situation that has been widely observed in Ecuador is when the students

finish high school, their English writing and speaking skills are not good enough

although they have studied for six years the foreign language; therefore, their

language communicative competence limits their academic performance.

Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the Ecuadorian government has

made significant decisions with the aim of providing students with the opportunity to

improve the English learning process. For example, in 2012, the Ministry of

Education promoted the implementation of important policies and strategies to

design a high school curriculum according to international standards, such as A1, A2,

and B2.

On the other hand, it is necessary to point out that the large number of

students is an aspect that affects the quality of instruction. In Ecuadorian high

schools, large classes are part of the reality that the teachers and students deal with

during the English lessons. The large number of students may influence on the

teaching-learning process in a positive or negative way; therefore, it is necessary to

investigate large classes.

For the reasons given above, it was proposed to conduct a research on the

influence of large classes in Ecuadorian public high schools so that it can be

determined whether the large number of students affects the English teaching and

learning.

One relevant point to mention is that this study attempts to answer three

questions as follows: 1) what instructional implications do large classes have on the

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teaching-learning process?; and 3) what psychological implications do large classes

have on the teaching-learning process.

Another relevant point to mention point out is that previous studies on the

influence of large classes on the English teaching-learning process have been

conducted. Blatchford, Bassett, and Brown (2011) carried out a research to examine

the effects of class size on pupil classroom engagement and teacher-pupil

interactions. The researchers found that in large classes the active interaction with the

teacher is reduced because students spend more time listening to the educators than

talk to the whole class.

Moreover, Ahmad, Khan, and Munir (2013) carried out a study to investigate

the factors that affect the English learning process. The researchers found that classes

are overcrowded, individual attention is not paid to the students, and the teachers are

not qualified enough to teach English and do not have adequate knowledge of

teaching methodologies.

Furthermore, Al-Husseini (2009) conducted a research to find the factors that

influence the perceptions of teachers of large classes. The researcher concludes as

follows: teachers’ perceptions are influenced by their concerns with the success of

teaching; teachers are not able to pay attention to students individually; teachers are

not capable of making all the students participate in a classroom discussion; it is hard

for teachers to check the work of the students during the class; it is difficult to teach

pronunciation and writing; and it is impossible for teachers to cover the syllabus

within a given period of time.

Having mentioned previous research done on the influence of large classes on

the English language teaching-learning process, it is necessary to comment that

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students, educational institutions, and authorities because the findings will allow

them to take the necessary action in order to improve the teaching quality.

This study also offers a valuable contribution to the high schools where the

research was conducted since its results will encourage teachers and authorities to

implement norms that contribute to the English knowledge of the students and to

improve their learning.

At this point, it is necessary to mention that the present research was

conducted without any limitation which facilitated the researchers to investigate the

influence of large classes on the teaching-learning process in Ecuadorian public high

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METHOD

Setting and Participants

This study was carried out in two public high schools in San Gabriel, Ecuador

in 2013. The high schools were located in the north part of the city. The participants

included one hundred ninety one students who were drawn from 8th basic education

to 3rdyear of senior high school. The age of the participants was about 12-17 years

old.

Procedures

In the investigation, a literature review was conducted to support the current

research in a theoretical and bibliographical way. The literature review included

important topics such as teaching approaches and methods, class size, managing

learning, managing large classes, activities for working with large classes, seating

arrangements, classroom space, and different levels of proficiency. The literature

review also contained relevant information of five previous studies done on the issue

of the present research. The literature review was conducted by researching books

and some reliable journals on language research.

In addition, a field research was conducted. The field research required the

researchers to use questionnaires, which contained questions in Spanish, in order to

collect data; this means that the information was gathered by surveying all the

students who participated in the study. Such data provided useful information of the

influence of large classes in the English language teaching-learning process in

Ecuadorian high schools.

The results obtained in the surveys were analyzed quantitatively, for which it

was necessary to draw 21 graphs and analyze each question that the participants

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DISCUSSION

Literature Review

To support the current research in a theoretical and bibliographical way, this

section presents the literature review which includes relevant topics such as teaching

approaches and methods, class size, managing learning, managing large classes,

activities for working with large classes, seating arrangements, classroom space, and

different levels of proficiency. The literature review also includes significant

information of five previous studies done on the matter of the present research. All

the topics which have been mentioned previously are described below.

Teaching Approaches and Methods

To start discussing this topic, it is relevant to provide a definition of approach

and method. Referring to the first one, Davies and Pearse (2001) define approach as

a teaching way which focuses on notions of language, learning, and teaching. With

regard to the second one, the same authors define method as a teaching-learning way

related to specific instructions of activities and techniques that are used in a language

classroom.

Once given the above information, it is necessary to mention that there are

different teaching approaches and methods used in a language classroom; the ones

discussed in this literature review are Grammar Translation Method, Communicative

Language Teaching, The Natural Approach, Cooperative Language Learning, Total

Physical Response, Content-Based Instruction, and Task-Based Language Teaching.

Some of the important characteristics of each teaching approach and method are

given below.

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texts into and out of the language they learn. These authors state that in Grammar

Translation Method, the emphasis is on reading and writing skills, being the latter

considered as the superior language form. The same authors also affirm that

vocabulary is selected only on texts introduced in the lessons and that a list of words

written in the native and target language is used to teach new vocabulary. Moreover,

Larsen-Freeman (2000) indicates that in Grammar Translation Method, students

learn grammar by memorizing rules and examples and by applying them to other

sentences. This implies that grammar structures are learned in a deductive way. In

addition, Larsen-Freeman mentions that grammatical paradigms, i.e. verb

conjugations, are learned by students when they are taught a foreign language

through Grammar Translation Method.

With regard to Communicative Language Teaching, Larsen-Freeman (2000)

states that the goal of this approach is to promote communicative competence since

students are asked to use the target language to communicate while performing

games, role plays, and problems-solving. Furthermore, this author says that as the

objective of Communicative Language Teaching is to communicate in the language

that is taught, it is necessary for learners to know linguistic forms, meanings, and

functions. Furthermore, Richards and Rodgers (2001) indicate that in

Communicative Language Teaching, a language is learned by students when they use

it effectively to communicate with one another. Three important characteristics of

Communicative Language Teaching mentioned by Richards and Rodgers are as

follows: 1) fluency is a significant part of communication; 2) communication

requires learners to integrate different language skills; and 3) the process of learning

implies both to construct language in a creative way and to use it through trial and

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As far as The Natural Approach is concerned, Richards and Rodgers (2001)

point out that this approach is seen as a traditional method of teaching because it

focuses on observing and interpreting how students learn their native and second

language in an informal setting. Moreover, it is important to mention that the same

authors state that from the beginning of a lesson, The Natural Approach emphasizes

language exposure in order to make good the learning preparation; it means that there

is an amount of time in which students hear linguistic input before they make an

effort to produce the target language being learned. In addition, House et al. (2011)

say that in The Natural Approach, the target language provides learners with input in

a meaningful way since techniques such as TPR as well as mime and gesture are

used.

In relation to Cooperative Language Learning, as Richards and Rodgers

(2001) state, this approach encourages pair and small group of students to work on

cooperative activities in a classroom. According to these authors, developing critical

thinking skills and developing communicative competence through socially

structured interaction activities are considered to be the main teaching objectives of

Cooperative Language Learning. Moreover, Larsen-Freeman (2000) comments that

Cooperative Language Learning stimulates students to think in a positive and

interdependent way since they are required to work in a group cooperatively. This

author also says that in Cooperative Language Learning, students usually work in a

same group during a period of time until they are able to learn together effectively. In

fact, Larsen-Freeman adds that learners form groups of males and females, different

ethnic groups, and different proficiency levels learn from each other and get along

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Referring to Total Physical Response, Richards and Rodgers (2001) state that

this teaching method focuses on coordination speech action that makes students learn

a language by developing physical activities. For these authors, teaching oral

proficiency at a beginning level and teaching basic speaking skills are two important

aims of Total Physical Response. Moreover, Richards and Rodgers mention three

activities used in Total Physical Response as follows: 1) imperative drills being the

major classroom activity since they are usually used for eliciting physical actions and

activities performed by students; 2) conversational dialogues used after students have

completed one hundred hours of instruction; and 3) role plays centering on everyday

situations such as at a restaurant, supermarket, or gas station.

On this same matter, Larsen-Freeman (2000) indicates that in Total Physical

Response, the target language is used for communication in order to help students

listen to it from the beginning of their learning. This author also states that teachers

in Total Physical Response encourage the comprehension of the language being

taught through the use of pictures and a few words introduced in the native language

of learners. The same author points out that a teacher using Total Physical Response

in his/her classroom considers to be important to make learners enjoy their learning

experience while they learn to communicate in the target language.

As far as Content-Based Instruction is concerned, Richards and Rodgers

(2000) say that in this second language approach, teaching is based on content or

information that learners study. For Larsen-Freeman (2000), in Content-Based

Instruction the learning of language is usually integrated with the learning of some

other content such as an academic subject matter since it has been observed that

academic subjects offer natural content for teaching language. This author, moreover,

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authentic subject matter; in this case, students are given different examples, some

redundancy, and comprehension checks. Furthermore, Larsen-Freeman says that in

Content-Based Instruction, students work on meaningful language and content linked

with the context of authentic materials and activities. In addition, Brown (2001)

mentions that Content-Based Instruction might enhance intrinsic motivation and

empowerment due to the subject matter is focused on areas that are important to the

student’s lives.

Regarding Task-Based Language Teaching, Richards and Rodgers (2001)

mention that it is an approach encouraging the use of tasks for teaching a language

and for providing a better context for the activation of the students’ learning; it

means that the core unit of planning and teaching is targeted at making students learn

a language through the use of tasks that can be done in pairs of small groups in order

to facilitate the process of learning. Additionally, Richards and Rodgers state that in

Task-Based Language Teaching, the needs of a specific group of learners determine

the teaching aims; hence, according to both authors, teachers have to select, adapt,

and create the tasks to form them into a teaching sequence suited to the needs,

interests, and language proficiency of students.

Moreover, an important point to remark about Task-Based Language

Teaching is that Nunan (2004) affirms that in this approach the intellectual growth of

students is stimulated through the involvement in sequences of tasks. Another

relevant point to mention is that Brown (2001) states that in Task-Based Language

Teaching, teachers have a well-integrated approach to plan their classes through

tasks that learners use in the real world and make them develop their language skills

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At this point, it is pertinent to state that all the teaching approaches and

methods discussed above play a very important role in a language classroom since

they make a powerful contribution to the English teaching-learning process, making

it varied, motivating, dynamic, effective, successful, and enjoyable for students.

Class Size

It is worth starting this topic by remarking that class size implies teachers to

work with a different number of students who attend their English lessons; that is,

teachers have to focus on teaching large and small groups. Regarding small classes,

they allow teachers to get effective results, provide them greater opportunities for

personalized education and individual attention, and help students to learn English

effectively (Blatchford et al. 2003). Furthermore, teaching small classes makes

management learning easy to be handled and enables teachers to establish a good

relationship between them and their learners (Jeffries & Huggert, 2010).

With regard to large classes, Brown (2001) mentions that in large classes

students receive a little attention to their individual work. Besides, they are given less

feedback on their written tasks; and their opportunity to practice speaking is reduced.

More to the point, Blatchford et al. (2003) say that in large classes teachers have

difficulty teaching to the whole class, especially when there are students of diverse

aptitudes.

Managing Learning

The aspects considered in managing learning are instructions, feedback,

timing, and discipline. As for instructions, Gower, Philips, and Walters (2005)

suggest using simple and short expressions; it means that teachers need to give easy

and adequate instructions to students so that they can practice the target language

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same set of words while they teach students whose level of the target language is

basic. Furthermore, Wajnryb (1992) suggests giving instructions in a clear way to

make learners develop a class effectively.

Regarding feedback, Gower et al. (2005) state that it enables teachers to help

students check their success and progress. These authors also mention that feedback

can be given through praise, encouragement, correction, and discussions carried out

individually or in group. Moreover, Littlejohn and Hicks (1999) point out that

feedback can be given through evaluation activities and can be offered among

learners and the teacher. Referring to this issue, the same authors say that it is better

for students to give feedback with one another by forming pairs or groups of three

classmates, especially those who are friends with each other, since this provides a

clear focus when they are asked to do a re-written piece of their work drawing on

what each learner has done.

With regard to timing, McLeod, Fisher, and Hoover (2003) affirm that using

time effectively helps students accomplish their learning objectives and provides a

pleasurable environment in which teachers and learners work. Furthermore, an

important point to mention about timing is that Wajnryb (1992) says teachers plan

the time of the lessons to have good judgment in making decisions that affect the

timing during a class.

As for discipline, the cause of it can lie in difficulties at home, in school, or

with friends; these are probably beyond the teachers’ control, but some causes of

discipline problems can lie within a classroom and teachers have to be capable of

resolving them (Littlejohn & Hicks, 1996). In addition, Gower et al. (2005) point out

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motivation of the students, the size of the class, the institution environment, and the

respect that learners have for teachers and vice versa.

Managing Large Classes

According to Byram (2000), large classes are considered to be a problem for

language teaching although some teachers manage them in an effective way to make

students succeed in learning. This author also states that some problems that teachers

experience in large classes are management and classroom control. To handle this

problem, Byram suggests teachers to know the names of their students as soon as

possible, to keep activities brief, to ensure that students know what to do, and to ease

transitions from one task to another.

Furthermore, to manage large classes effectively and to attract the students’

attention, Woodward (2001) recommends that teachers use clear eye contact with

learners, use hands up, tap on the board, ring a little bell or shake a tambourine. This

author, additionally, suggests teachers keep students involved from the beginning of

a lesson to create a good working environment in large classes.

Seating Arrangements and Classroom Space

Regarding seating arrangements, McLeod et al. (2003) suggests arranging

students’ desks in sections with spaces from the back to the front and side-to-side

between rows since this arrangement enables teachers to move quickly in the

classroom and examine the progress of the class. Furthermore, Gower et al. (2005)

recommends that teachers take into account the types of chairs and tables of the

classroom to arrange the students’ desks according to the activities planned for their

lesson. In fact, these authors say that the students’ desks can be arranged in

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front of the class to see what the class is doing, to control gesture and eye contact,

and to focus on individual needs.

As far as classroom space is concerned, McLeod et al. (2003) say that as

teachers are well aware that the quality of student’s experiences are improved or

reduced by the physical space of a classroom, they make a great effort to create a

lively and rich teaching environment. Moreover, these authors indicate that the space

of a classroom influences both on the amount of attention students pay to the

teaching-learning process and on the way they act and move around the class.

McLeod, et al. also affirms that classroom space affects the instructional program

directly since learners’ misbehavior can result from the lack of space in which they

work. Therefore, it is necessary to use the classroom space adequately to encourage

students to work on their tasks positively and to help them learn in an optimal way

(Gower et al., 2005).

Activities for Working with Large Classes

Bhatnagar and Bell (1979, 263) affirm that “teaching a foreign language

successfully to large classes requires a highly skilled approach involving group

work”. Thus, these authors suggest teachers teach in small groups to make students

work together on grammar exercises, perform pattern drills, complete worksheets,

read aloud, and listen for comprehension.

In addition, Davies and Pearse (2000) recommend that in large classes

teachers use group-work or pair group to involve learners in writing practice. For this

activity, these authors suggest teachers make sure that all the member of a group

write out the work on different occasions and check each piece of work. Davies and

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develop more complex activities such as dialogues, role plays, and talks to be

presented at the front of the class.

Different Levels of Proficiency

Farell, (2006) mentions that it is inevitable for teachers to work with students

whose English level are higher than the one of their classmates. This author states

that sometimes it is necessary to challenge students who have advanced English

language proficiency so that they can produce the language at a higher level.

Furthermore, to complement what Farell indicates about advanced level students, it is

relevant to remark that Harmer (2009) says that it is easy for teacher to make these

learners work in pairs or groups to have a discussion of a given topic without

structuring the activity in any way.

On the other hand, Harmer (2009) points out that it is required for teachers to

be far more rigorous in telling elementary students in an exact way what they have to

do in order to carry out pair or group work discussion. According to this author,

learners with low proficiency level even need help with some of the language they

like to use. It means that teachers have to model an example of the target language so

that students with low English level can get involved themselves in practicing what

they learn.

It is now necessary to support all the important topics discussed above with

previous research which has revealed several factors affecting the teaching-learning

process in large classes. Therefore, relevant information of some past investigations

included in this literature review is given below.

Ahmad, Khan, and Munir (2013) carried out a study to investigate the factors

that affect the English learning process. All the English teachers of forty six high

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qualitative. The investigation involved interviewing the participants. Sixteen English

teachers were selected for the purpose of interview. Two teachers were selected from

each type of school system from district Abbottabad, Malakand, Mansehra and

Peshawar. To guide the interview session, an interview script was written. The

questions asked in the interview were selected according to the research objectives.

The study used note taking technique while conducting the interview. The interview

was conducted in an individual way and it lasted one hour. All the information

collected during the interview was analyzed in a qualitative way.

The researcher found that classes are overcrowded, individual attention is not

paid to the students, and the teachers are not qualified enough to teach English and

do not have adequate knowledge of teaching methodologies. Based on these findings,

the researchers’ conclusion is that proper condition are not available for learning

English at secondary level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and there is a need to address

these problems on priority basis, especially in the Provincial government schools of

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Furthermore, Al-Husseini (2009) conducted a research to find the factors that

influence the perceptions of teachers of large classes. The sample of the study

consisted of thirty three teachers coming from nine different nationalities which

enrich their background experience. The method was quantitative. Data was

collected through a questionnaire which consisted of six questions with different

items. In the questionnaire, the participants provided information of their

nationalities, the level they teach, the number of students in the largest class they

teach, and whether they regard it as a large class or not. In the collection of data, the

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required for the respondents to write their names or schools when they answered the

questions of the questionnaire.

The analysis of the gathered data involved drawing six tables with their

respective questions and corresponding issues. All the information obtained through

the questionnaire was analyzed quantitatively.

The research concludes as follows: teachers’ perceptions are influenced by

their concerns with the success of teaching; teachers are not able to pay attention to

students individually; teachers are not capable of making all the students participate

in a classroom discussion; it is hard for teachers to check the work of the students

during the class; it is difficult to teach pronunciation and writing; also, it is

impossible for teachers to cover the syllabus within a given period of time.

Moreover, Blatchford, Bassett, and Brown (2011) carried out a research to

examine the effects of class size on pupil classroom engagement and teacher-pupil

interactions. Six hundred students of forty nine educational institutions participated

in the study. The general approach of the research was quantitative. Data was

collected through careful systematic observations. The observations involved both

observing when classroom-based activities started and providing a representative and

systematic account of students’ behavior. The observations were done in intervals of

ten seconds; there were gaps of twenty seconds between observations to record what

had been observed previously. All the collected dada was analyzed by examining

relationships between class size and observation measures.

The researchers found that the effect of class size on task behavior varies by

attainment group. They also revealed that the effect of class size is significant and the

association between class size and the amount of teacher instruction is positive. The

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teacher is reduced, because students spend more time listening to the educators than

talk to the whole class.

Furthermore, Thaher, M. (2005) conducted a research to determine what

effects (instructional, psychological or social) large classes have on students. To

accomplish this purpose, the researcher investigated and analyzed the attitude toward

large classes of EFL students. The sample of the study consisted of two hundred and

thirty learners. The method of the study was quantitative. Data was gathered through

a questionnaire. The information of the questionnaire was collected in relation to

feedback given by the participants. In this case, the participants were asked to answer

an open-ended question about the effect of large classes on them. The answers

provided by the students were classified into three major areas which included

instructional, psychological, and social.

Once collected the data, it was analyzed by using Independent T-Test, One

Way ANOVA, MANOVA Test with Wilk’s Lambda Statistic, Sidak Post Hoc Test,

and Cronbach Alpha formula. These tests were useful to determine the reliability

coefficient of the questionnaire.

In the research, the researcher found that the instructional effects influence a

lot on the social and the psychological effects. It was also found that the educational

practice and performance of the students are affected by large classes. Moreover, the

researcher found that classroom interactions in large classes are negatively associated

with class size.

In addition, Harfitt (2011) carried out a research to find out the perceptions

and practices of the teachers when they teach large and small classes. Three

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observations and interviews. During the process, forty eight lessons were both

observed and video-recorded. Each lesson was forty minutes long and it was part of

the regular secondary school curriculum in English. Moreover, in the research

process, the participants were interviewed to know their personal viewpoints and

experiences of teaching their classes. The questions that the teachers answered in the

interview were related to significant topics such as lesson planning, particular

classroom episodes and incidents, two classes taught and expectations of each,

pedagogical decisions, organization of classroom learning, the classroom interaction

in two classes, and opportunities for individualized teaching.

The analysis of the collected data was done in a qualitative and quantitative

way. In this case, it was necessary for the researcher to transcribe the information of

the interviews which had been audio-recorded. Similarly, the data of each

video-recorded lesson was broken and transcribed into smaller sections or episodes.

Moreover, during the analysis, an iterative process was done since the researcher

assigned codes to the collected data and from them an amount of themes emerged.

The findings of this study are as follows: group work is done more frequently

in small classes than in large classes; in large classes, teachers vary very little the

organization of learning during their teaching; the observed teachers personalize their

teaching much more in small classes; and the interaction among students is more

usual in small classes than in large classes.

In the line of the above findings, Harfitt concludes by saying that it was

valuable the idea of comparing teachers’ perceptions and practices of working in

large and small classes. The researcher’ conclusion is also that the findings of the

study address the need to conduct a deeper examination of teachers who work with

(27)

At this point, it is important to point out that all the studies stated above have

revealed how the EFL teaching-learning process is affected by the size of the classes

and therefore represent an important contribution to this present study. However, the

(28)

Description, Analysis, and Interpretation of Results

In this section, the collected information will be examined by doing a

quantitative analysis. For this purpose, the results obtained during the field research

will be divided into three main categories such as instructional, social, and

psychological implications.

Quantitative Analysis

What instructional implications do large classes have on the teaching-learning

process?

In classes with a large number of students:

V er y sa ti sf a ct o ry S a ti sf a ct o ry S o m ew h a t sa ti sf a ct o ry U n sa ti sf a ct o ry T o ta l

f % f % F % f % f %

1.

The activities done in class help to apply what students learn in class.

71 37 100 52 18 10 2 1 191 100

2.

The activities done allow to practice listening, speaking, reading and writing skills.

82 43 97 51 12 6 0 0 191 100

3.

The students are attentive and participate in class activities, including those sitting at the back of the classroom.

16 8 73 38 89 47 13 7 191 100

4.

Varied class activities are used such as group, individual, pair-work activities, etc.

115 60 70 37 6 3 0 0 191 100

5.

Activities such as plays, competitions, debates, games, etc. are used in class.

39 20 66 35 60 31 26 14 191 100

6.

Students can cheat during

the test 11 6 26 14 46 24 108 56 191 100

7.

Students get distracted by doing assignments from other subjects.

7 4 27 14 62 32 95 50 191 100

8.

The seating arrangement facilitates the tasks that are carried out in class.

47 25 111 58 29 15 4 2 191 100

9.

Students cannot receive regular feedback from the teacher due to the large number of students.

(29)

In classes with a large

what students learn in

Source: 8th basic educa

Authors: Guerra María

This graph sho

large classes they do a

This means that these

examples of somethin

of the surveyed studen

practice what they lea

agree with the questio

learners partially agre

being taught. In contra

agree that in large clas

developed.

52%

rge number of students: The activities done in c

in class?

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ía & Pozo Adriana.

shows that 37% of the students in the survey me

o activities that enable them to put into practice

se learners highly agree that they develop tasks

hing being learned. Moreover, from table 1, it ca

dents affirmed that in large classes they carryou

learn. The answer provided by these learners ind

tion number one illustrated above. On the other

ree that in large classes they do activities to pro

ntrast, 1% of the students in the survey outlined,

lasses, activities aiding the production of the ta 37% 10% 1%

Graph 1

Ve Sat Som Uns

in class help to apply

mentioned that in

ice what they learn.

ks to create their own

t can be seen that 52%

out activities to

indicates that they

er hand, 10% of the

produce the language

ed, that they do not

target language are Very satisfactory

Satisfactory

Somewhat satisfactory

(30)

Regarding this

to practice what they l

Considering both wha

the students, it is assu

have meaningful pract

English knowledge.

In classes with a large

listening, speaking, re

Source: 8th basic educat

Authors: Guerra Veróni

This graph rev

activities that help the

skills as indicated in t

surveyed students asse

language skills. The a

teachers assign them d 51%

his matter, Chickering and Gamson (1987) state

y learn and integrate learning as part of their kn

hat these authors mention and the answer given

sumed that teachers in large classes set activitie

actice of what they are learning in order to integ

rge number of students: The activities done allo

, reading and writing skills?

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ónica & Pozo Adriana.

reveals that in large classes, students are highly

them to practice their speaking, reading, listenin

n the survey by 43% of the participants. Moreov

sserted that they do activities targeted at develo

e answer given by 43% and 51% of the learners

m different activities to promote listening, speak 43% 6%

Graph 2

Ver Sati Som Uns

ate that students have

knowledge.

ven in the survey by

ities to allow them to

tegrate it to their

llow to practice

ly engaged in

ning, and writing

eover, 51% of the

eloping their

ers means that their

aking, reading, and ery satisfactory

atisfactory

omewhat satisfactory

(31)

writing practice. The tasks, for example, may include keeping a conversation where

the aim is to listen and speak, as well as reading a passage to fill in sentences, and to

write a short composition of a specific topic to produce written material. These

activities encourage the development of the students’ language skills. Of course, the

tasks that the students do must be in accordance with their language proficiency to

give them the opportunity to use the target language effectively.

To keep on analyzing the results of graph 2, it is necessary to indicate that

contrary to what 43% and 51% of students mentioned in the survey, 6% of learners

affirmed that in large classes they get involved very little in carrying out activities

that allow them to practice their listening, speaking, reading, and writing. That is,

their involvement in their language skills is limited or reduced because of the amount

of learners.

In this part, it is relevant to remark that Gower et al. (2005) state that

language skills in the classes are often integrated with one activity leading to another.

Taking into account both what these authors point out and the results obtained in the

survey, it can be said that the majority of the students integrate their listening,

speaking, reading, and writing skills through tasks that lead one skill to other in order

(32)

In classes with a large

in class activities, incl

Source: 8th basic educat

Authors: Guerra Veróni

This graph sho

possible to pay attenti

of learners stated to be

English lessons. On th

attention to participate

everyone involve in p

such as the noise and

class is not concentrat

those learners who sea

by all students in large

According to S

while learning, they m 47%

rge number of students: The students are attenti

ncluding those sitting at the back of the classroo

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ónica & Pozo Adriana.

shows that 8% of the students agree that in large

ntion to do activities indicated by their teachers

be attentive in large classes and to participate a

the other hand, 47% of students mentioned tha

te in class. However, 7% of the learners answe

participating in large classes. This answer may

d distractions caused by others students make t

rated to participate in the EFL lessons; it happe

seat is in the last row. Therefore, achieving the

rge classes seems to be a complicated issue.

o Schierenbeck (2013), when students are not c

y might simply not pay attention to a class and t 8% 38% 7%

Graph 3

Ver Sati Som Uns

entive and participate

room?

rge classes is

ers. Moreover, 38%

te actively in the

that they pay a little

wered that not

ay mean that factors

e that the whole

pens especially to

he required attention

t completely engage

d they might begin ery satisfactory

atisfactory

omewhat satisfactory

(33)

daydreaming or chatti

that teachers very ofte

control this situation n

succeed in teaching E

In classes with a larg

group, individual, pa

Source: 8th basic educat

Authors: Guerra Veróni

This graph sho

various activities assig

different tasks in class

pair, or group work, w

a dynamic and particip

Furthermore, from the

asserted that they carr 37%

atting with their peers. What this author mention

ften deal in large classes. In fact, if educators ar

n nor make the students pay attention to a lesso

English to large groups.

arge number of students: Varied class activities

pair-work activities, etc?

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ónica & Pozo Adriana.

shows that 60% of students affirmed that in larg

ssigned by the teachers. These students recogniz

ass stimulates the interaction with their peers th

, which provides the opportunity to practice the

icipatory way and encourages rapport among stu

the above table, it can be seen that 37% of surve

arry out activities individually, in pairs, and in g 60% 3%

Graph 4

Ver Sati Som Uns

ions is a problem

s are neither able to

son, they may fail to

ties are used such as

arge classes they do

nize that doing

through individual,

the target language in

(34)

individual, pair, and group work due to the constraints of time and space; therefore,

they believe that this does not promote the development of their English language

skills.

One important point to note about individual, pair, and group work activities

is that they encourage the students to practice fluency, uninterrupted communication

and production –oriented. In addition, they offer the learners the opportunity to

become independent of their teacher and to gain confidence to learn English

successfully.

Another relevant point to remark is that Woodward (2001) states that more

experienced teachers need to pick up new activities and to vary old ones. They also

need to keep themselves and their students motivated during the lessons. Considering

the statement of this author, it is worth saying that the researchers agree that a great

variety of activities encourages students to improve their language skills and

(35)

In classes with a large

debates, games, etc. a

Source: 8th basic educat

Authors: Guerra Veróni

This graph rev

do activities as the on

class to increase the p

students stated that tea

competitions, debates

surveyed students agr

activities to motivate t

These learners mean t

competitions, debates

learners mentioned th

during their learning. 31%

rge number of students: Activities such as plays

. are used in class?

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ónica & Pozo Adriana.

reveals that 20% of surveyed students strongly a

ones indicated in above question, which arise th

e production of the language being learned. Mor

teachers in large classes use activities such as d

tes, games, among others to teach their lessons.

greed that the teachers do not encourage enoug

te them and contribute to improving the quality

n that the teachers in large classes rarely use dra

tes, and games to teach their lessons. On the oth

that in large classes they do not develop these k 20% 35% 14%

Graph 5

Ver Sati Som Uns ays, competitions,

y affirmed that they

the interest of the

oreover, 35% of the

s dramatizations,

s. However, 31% of

ugh these types of

ity of their learning.

dramatizations,

other hand, 14% of

e kinds of activities ery satisfactory

atisfactory

omewhat satisfactory

(36)

It is worth men

make a great contribu

provided with enough

activities increase the

it can be used with stu

Furthermore, D

are useful to teach En

times, places, equipm

learn a langue. Consid

classes to use role pla

stimulate the English

In classes with a large

Source: 8th basic educat

Authors: Guerra Veróni

This graph sho

classes they are very a 56%

entioning that dramatizations, competitions, de

bution to development listening and speaking sk

gh opportunities to be exposed to English. Mor

he students’ knowledge, introduce new languag

students from all ages.

e, DeBord (1989) says that activities such as rol

English since they offer well-defined roles inclu

ment, and rules that motivate students to discov

sidering this information, it is necessary for tea

lays and games as part of their teaching in orde

sh learning of their students.

rge number of students: Students can cheat duri

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ónica & Pozo Adriana.

shows that 6% of students affirmed in the survey

y able to copy when taking their exams. 14% of 6% 14% 24%

Graph 6

Ver Sati Som Uns

, debates, and games

skills since they are

oreover, these

ages structures, and

role plays and games

cluding specific

cover, examine, and

teachers in large

rder to encourage and

uring the test?

vey that in large

of the students also ery satisfactory

atisfactory

omewhat satisfactory

(37)

mentioned that it is po

24% of surveyed stud

evaluating their know

that they do not copy

them to arrange their s

peers. Moreover, the l

evaluated do not allow

Furthermore, a

to reinforce their know

an examination. These

English, to have good

In classes with a large

assignments from othe

Source: 8th basic educat

Authors: Guerra Veróni 50%

possible to copy from others peers during the te

udents stated that they copy a little while the tea

owledge. Nevertheless, 56% of the students in th

y during their exams in large classes because th

ir seats in a separate way so that they do not sit

e learners told the researchers that copying in th

low them to put into practice what they learn in

e, an important point to indicate is that learners

owledge and strengthen their language skills do

ese types of students are honest and make a gre

od language proficiency, and to pass their exam

rge number of students: Students get distracted

ther subjects?

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ónica & Pozo Adriana. 4% 14% 32%

Graph 7

Ver Sati Som Uns

e tests. Moreover,

teachers are

n the survey assured

e the teacher asks

sit close by their

n the process of being

in the EFL classes.

rs who study enough

do not copy during

reat effort to learn

ams successfully.

ted by doing

ery satisfactory

atisfactory

omewhat satisfactory

(38)

This graph rev

them to do tasks of oth

Moreover, 14% of the

time doing homework

answer provided by th

motivation to learn En

to encourage the stude

the language skills of

From graph 7,

occasions get are distr

not related to English

mentioned that in the

means that these stude

and assigned by the te

In classes with a large

tasks that are carried

15%

reveals that 4% of students mentioned that it is h

other academic subjects different from those of

the students asserted in the survey that in large c

ork which is not related to the learning of the tar

these learners might indicate that they may hav

English; hence, the teacher needs to plan his/he

udents to work on interesting and productive tas

of the whole class.

7, it can also be seen that 32 % of the students

istracted by doing assignments from different su

sh matter. On the other hand, 50% of the studen

English lessons they do not do tasks of other

udents focus their minds on working on all the a

teacher in the target language.

rge number of students: The seating arrangeme

ed out in class.?

25% 58% 15% 2%

Graph 8

Ver Sati Som Uns

is highly possible for

of English.

e classes they spend

target language. The

have very low

/her lessons carefully

tasks that stimulate

ts affirmed that in

t subjects and that are

ents in the survey

er subjects. This

e activities taught

ment facilitates the

ery satisfactory

atisfactory

omewhat satisfactory

(39)

Source: 8th basic education to 3rd year of senior high school.

Authors: Guerra Verónica & Pozo Adriana.

This graph shows that 25% of students stated that the space of the classroom

enables them to work on activities planned by the teacher. From the same graph, it

can be seen that 58% of surveyed students affirmed that the space of the classroom is

appropriate to effectively work on tasks assigned by the teacher. On the other hand,

15% of students partially agree that the classroom space is adequate to allow them to

develop their tasks. However, 2% of the learners mentioned that the space of the

classroom does not enable them to carry out the activities assigned by the teacher.

An important point to note is that when the classroom space is big enough to

do different activities involving any type of movement, it offers a suitable, relaxed,

lively, and cheerful learning environment where students interact with the teacher

and their peers to participate actively while they developed tasks assigned in the

English classes.

Moreover, according to McLeod et al. (2003), as teachers are well aware that

the quality of student’s experiences are improved or reduced by the physical space of

a classroom, they make a great effort to create a lively and rich teaching

environment. Furthermore, these authors indicate that the space of a classroom

influences both on the amount of attention students pay to the teaching-learning

process and on the way they act and move around the class. McLeod et al. also

affirm that classroom space affects the instructional program directly since learners’

misbehavior can result from the lack of space in which they work.

What McLeod et al. (2003) mention above is true; therefore, it is relevant to

(40)

adequately to encoura

learn in an effective w

In classes with

feedback from the teac

Source: 8th basic educat

Authors: Guerra Veróni

This graph sho

cannot give them feed

attending the English

classes they do not rec

students have gaps an

to be corrected or stim

On the other h

gives them a little feed

teachers offer them fe 42%

urage students to work on their tasks positively

e way.

th a large number of students: Students cannot

teacher due to the large number of students?

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ónica & Pozo Adriana.

shows that 9% of the students strongly agree tha

edback that they need due to the large number

sh classes. Moreover, 34% of students affirmed

receive feedback in an adequate way. This migh

and doubts about learning and they are not give

timulated in their weaknesses and strengths with

r hand, 42% of students answered in the survey

eedback appropriately. Moreover, 15% of stude

feedback in an adequate way. 9% 34% 42% 15%

Graph 9

Ver Sati Som Uns

ly and to help them

not receive regular

that the teacher

er of students

ed that in large

ight mean that these

iven the opportunity

ithin the class.

ey that the teacher

dents stated that the ery satisfactory

atisfactory

omewhat satisfactory

(41)

It is relevant to remark that students have to know what they do well

individually or in whole-group work; therefore, it can be said that feedback is a

complement in the process of learning a new language because it helps students

evaluate their knowledge and progress.

What social implications do large classes have on the teaching-learning process?

In classes with a large number of students:

V er y sa ti sf a ct o ry S a ti sf a ct o ry S o m ew h a t sa ti sf a ct o ry U n sa ti sf a ct o ry T o ta l

f % f % f % f % f %

10.

There is a proper balance of student-student and teacher-student interaction.

55 29 90 47 38 20 8 4 191 100

11.

Students have the opportunity to build relationships with their classmates.

72 38 95 50 21 11 3 1 191 100

12.

The teacher has problems remembering all the

students’ names. 31 16 68 36 69 36 23 12 191 100

13.

The atmosphere is less stressful since the teacher does not ask several questions to the same student.

30 16 91 48 62 32 8 4 191 100

14.

It is easier for students to use their cell phone or any other mobile device without being seen by the teacher.

(42)

In classes with a large

student and teacher-st

Source: 8th basic educat

Authors: Guerra Veróni

This graph ind

they have a lot of opp

they are encouraged b

47% of the surveyed s

involved in interacting

students answered in t

and their peers during

somehow in accordan

the opportunity to inte

students indicated, it c

produce the target lan

well. In other words, i 20%

rge number of students: There is a proper balan

student interaction?

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ónica & Pozo Adriana.

indicates that 29% of the students mentioned tha

pportunities to interact with the teacher and thei

d by the learning process. From the same graph,

d students indicated that in large classes they ar

ting with the teacher and their classmates. Neve

in the survey that they do not interact so much w

ng their English classes. Besides, the answer of

ance with 4% of the learners who affirmed that

nteract with their teacher and classmates. Based

it can be said that in large classes they are not m

anguage by interacting with the whole class and

s, it can be stated that 4% of the students who a 29% 47% 4%

Graph 10

Ver Sati Som Uns

lance of

that in large classes

heir peers so that

ph, it can be seen that

are able to get

vertheless, 20% of

h with the teacher

of these students is

at they do not have

sed on what these

motivated to

and the teacher as

answered that the ery satisfactory

atisfactory

omewhat satisfactory

(43)

interaction with the ed

toward the English lea

It is necessary

very helpful to develo

teaching-learning proc

of new knowledge and

In classes with a large

relationships with the

Source: 8th basic educat

Authors: Guerra Veróni

This graph rev

have enough opportun

relationship among th

lessons they have the

practice their ability to 50%

educator and peers is not stimulated assume a p

learning process.

ry to mention that the interactive relationship in

elop a good rapport with a teacher and his/her st

rocess. Also, the process of interaction facilitate

and motivates students to participate in class.

rge number of students: Students have the oppo

their classmates?

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ónica & Pozo Adriana.

reveals that 38% of students consider that in larg

tunities to work on activities that enable them to

their peers. Moreover, 50% of students affirm t

he opportunity to interact with other students wh

y to learn a second language. 38% 11%

1%

Graph 11

Ver

Sati

Som

Uns

a passive attitude

in the classroom is

r students during the

tates the acquisition

portunity to build

large classes they

to establish a close

m that in their

while they put into ery satisfactory

atisfactory

omewhat satisfactory

(44)

From graph 11

large classes they hav

1% of the students in

opportunities to intera

An important p

classroom is positive s

as well as enriches and

In classes with a large

all the students’ name

Source: 8th basic educat

Authors: Guerra Veróni

This graph rev

classes the teacher doe

of the students asserte

From graph 12, it can

classes they partially a 36%

11, it can be noticed that 11% of the students af

ave very few opportunities to interact with their

in the survey mentioned that in the English clas

eract with their classmates.

nt point to remark is that the relationship of coex

e since it encourages the exchange of knowledg

and favors a good relationship among peers.

rge number of students: The teacher has proble

mes?

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ónica & Pozo Adriana.

reveals that 16% of students mentioned in the su

does not remember the names of the all students

rted that the teacher does not know the name of

an also be seen that 36% of the students affirme

ly agree that the teacher cannot remember the na 16% 36% 12%

Graph 12

Ver Sati Som Uns

s affirmed that in

eir peers. However,

lass they do not have

oexistence within a

edge among students

blems remembering

survey that in large

nts. Moreover, 36%

of the whole class.

med that in large

name of everyone. ery satisfactory

atisfactory

omewhat satisfactory

(45)

On the other hand, 12

his/her students while

It is worth indi

name of every learner

teaching-learning env

In classes with a large

teacher does not ask s

Source: 8th basic educat

Authors: Guerra Veróni

This graph sho

atmosphere is less ten

questions to different

Moreover, 48% of the

questions to the same

What these learners st 32%

12% of students stated that the teacher rememb

ile teaching English.

ndicating that when teachers are capable of rem

er, they establish a positive rapport with their s

nvironment full of support and confidence.

rge number of students: The atmosphere is less

k several questions to the same student?

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ónica & Pozo Adriana.

shows that 16% of students consider that in larg

tense because according to them, the teacher is a

nt students and not to the same one over and ov

the students asserted that the teacher does not m

e student, meaning that the atmosphere is more

s stated might indicate that in large classes they 16% 48% 4%

Graph 13

Ver Sati Som Uns

bers the names of

emembering the

ir students to create a

ss stressful since the

rge class the

is able to ask

over again.

t make frequent

ore relaxed in class.

ey do not participate ery satisfactory

atisfactory

omewhat satisfactory

(46)

so much to provide a s

related to the English

From graph 13

affirmed that they par

same student by askin

students mentioned th

progress regardless of

means that these stude

participation in class i

In classes with a larg

phone or any other mo

Source: 8th basic educat

Authors: Guerra Veróni

This graph sho

or any other electronic

Moreover, 14% of stu 53%

a specific answer when the teacher asks the cla

sh teaching-learning process.

13, it is also possible to establish that 32% of th

artially agree that in large classes the teacher ca

king him/her different questions. On the other h

that they have the same opportunities to be eva

of the number of students attending the English

udents are constantly asked questions to stimula

ss in order to fix and strengthen their knowledge

rge number of students: Is it easier for student

mobile device without being seen by the teache

cation to 3rd year of senior high school.

ónica & Pozo Adriana.

shows that 10% of students stated that they use t

nic devices during class without being caught b

students told the researcher that they secretly us 10% 14% 23%

Graph 14

Ver Sati Som Uns

class some questions

f the students

r cannot asses the

r hand, 4% of

valuated for their

lish lessons. This

ulate their

dge.

ents to use their cell

her?

se their cell phones

t by the teacher.

use their cell phones ery satisfactory

atisfactory

omewhat satisfactory

Figure

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