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As Cambodia emerges from decades of isolation and unrest into a globalized world, English language has assumed a privileged space inside the national education system because it is the main language of international business and tourism. The study of the English language is first introduced in lower secondary school and continues through upper secondary school. Although the French language is also offered, most students and most schools take and teach the English language, respectively.
As the Cambodian education system expands to reach more students in hopes of preparing them for the global economy, problems arise from this rapid development. For example, although enrolment rates in secondary school have increased in most areas, class size has likewise increased because of the lack of school buildings. The government has prioritized building more schools to meet this increased demand, but such an endeavour takes time. Hence, there are still not enough schools to meet the quickening student enrolment each year. Additionally, the number of teachers in remote areas lags behind teachers in urban centres.
These structural realities pose challenges to teaching and learning. There are about 40 to 60 students in each classroom as a result of not enough teachers. This happens in both urban and rural areas. Large class size causes learning difficulties for many students. For example, some students in the back of the classroom cannot see the white board clearly, making the student concentrate less on the lesson. Other students at the back of the classrooms are not able to hear the teacher clearly. Moreover, group and pair work is difficult to arrange when the classroom is overcrowded with students. A large population of students in one classroom stretches the ability of many teachers to teach effectively.
Different pedagogies are needed to overcome these challenges, especially in classrooms teaching a foreign language. Teachers must be able to teach the complete curriculum that has been set out by the ministry of Education while also offering students a quality education. More research is needed to understand methodological techniques to overcome some of the structural issues facing Cambodia teachers. This is especially important for English teachers whose subject is an important entry point into the global economy.
To unpack the phenomenon of teaching and learning in large class by:
Exploring what teachers and students perceive as the main difficulties when teaching and learning in large class respectively.
Exploring ways that teachers can manage large classes effectively
Exploring how students learn in large classes
What are the difficulties for English teachersâ€™ in large classes?
What are the difficulties of students in large English classes?
What are the best practices for teachers to overcome the perceived problems of teaching in large classrooms?
How can students learn English effectively in large classes?
Although the increasing numbers of students in school helps achieve Education For All, it nevertheless challenges the quality of education in Cambodia. The increasing number of students in school has forced teachers and principals to combine students into large classes. With a large number of students, teachers face the problem of controlling large numbers of students. Students also face problems when they are placed in large classes.
English is one subject included in the national curriculum. It is seen as an important class for the future of children in Cambodia. However, quality is negatively affected because teachers are unable to cope with the large class sizes. The quality of teaching and learning decreases when teachers cannot control classes properly and students have difficulties understanding the lesson. Teachers must overcome the challenges of large class sizes by using pedagogy that is adapted to the situation. For example in a classroom with 50 students the teacher should do pair work. Generally, the students in Cambodia organized in classrooms that have six rows and two lines. Teachers can manage this by asking students in one row to turn back and face a student in the second row. This is an easy way to organise students to do pair work. Also students are able to practice pair work together. Although this methodology can help teachers and students be more effective, there are still limitations. Both teachers and students need to learn to adapt in this environment, but more pedagogical knowledge is needed as well as a better understanding of the challenges faced by both teacher and student.
How many each? How schools are selected? Non-random (convenience, purposive)
How teachers are selected?
What tools will use? Interview, observation, questionnaire, surveyâ€¦
How students are selected? Random Sampling (Random, systematic, stratified, cluster)
Non-random sampling, convenience sampling used to select Battambong province for the study. 5 Secondary Schools will be selected. Non-random sampling, convenience sampling will be used to select Norea Secondary School, Ek Phnom Secondary School, Wat Tamem Secondary School, Or Dambong 1 Secondary School. After 5 schools are selected, teachers of English in those schools will be selected accordingly. To select teachers, random sampling, random selection will be used to reach 5 teachers from each school, comprise of 25 teachers from those 5 schools. Additionally, in order to select students, random sampling, random selection will be used to select students based on the availability of students in classes taught by selected teachers.
When, where, how, by whom?
What will you do during data collection?
The data collection will be conducted during January to April, 2014. Individual teachers who had acknowledged an interest in participating in this study will be interviewed by the researcher, some assistant researchers. Survey questionnaire will be distributed to students either by researcher, assistant researchers. They were instructed to read questions carefully and to choose their response on sheet provided. Students will be given an opportunity to ask any question before starting their survey. There was no time limit for completing the survey and they were instructed to return the survey after their completion.
To collect the data, ethics were considered when developing the sample. This study aimed to collect data from samples as professional teachers and student from state secondary schools. To do so:
The permission letters will be sent to targeted school principals for approvals.
Information was clearly given to participants about what the study is. Participants will not be identified (anonymous).
The date of the data collection procedure was also informed to teachers and students at targeted schools. However, in the process of collecting data, participants were not given any rewards or inducement for interview or complete the questionnaires. The data collected from all participants was strictly treated in accordance with the research ethics.
Acknowledgement will be sent and approved by the questionnaire developer. The data will be kept and stored in the researcherâ€™s office and will be only accessed by researcher. The data was anonymous and unidentified.