EFL Teachers’ Cognitions about Teaching Speaking Skills
Keywords:Cognition, EFL teachers, Engish language teaching, Language skills, Teaching speaking
The main purpose of this study was to explore EFL teachers’ cognitions about teaching speaking. To achieve the purpose, a sequential mixed-methods research strategy was employed. The participants were secondary and preparatory school English language teachers in Gurage Zone. A questionnaire was administered to 192 teachers while an interview was conducted with four teachers. In analyzing the data, descriptive and bivariate analyses were computed for the quantitative data, and a qualitative content analysis was used for the qualitative data. The findings revealed that speaking was not the skill teachers enjoyed teaching and learners liked to learn. The teachers considered speaking as the weakest part of their learners. To most of the teachers, learning speaking was different and difficult from learning other language skills. So far as the classroom activities are concerned, the teachers regarded group discussion as the most effective. Despite all the problems, the teachers’ self-concept was optimistic, but they were pessimistic about the students’ interest in learning to speak. It was found that most teachers’ beliefs were primarily influenced by prior teaching experiences. The teachers ranked the relationship between their beliefs and the classroom practices as fair. Teachers thought the teaching of speaking was predominantly influenced by learner-related factors. Moreover, there were teachers’ beliefs that showed statistically significant relationships to their gender and year of teaching experience. The study concludes that the teaching of speaking is still one of the disregarded areas of English language teaching. Based on the findings, further investigations and training are also recommended.
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