Teaching challenges and coping strategies of English second language teachers in senior secondary schools in the Ohangwena region, Namibia

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University of Namibia
The study investigated the teaching challenges faced by English Second Language teachers (ESL) in Senior Secondary Schools in Ohangwena Region (Namibia), as well as the strategies used by the teachers in order to cope with their specific teaching challenges in the study area. Furthermore, the study surveyed the views of the ESL teachers on the measures that could be used to minimise the teaching challenges they are facing in Senior Secondary Schools in the Ohangwena Region, Namibia. The study used the mixed methods research design to collect data from a sample of 60 ESL teachers currently teaching in the Senior Secondary Schools in Ohangwena Region. The research participants were selected using the purposive sampling method. Data were collected using questionnaires, focus group discussions and observations. The study found that ESL teachers in Ohangwena Region encounter challenges such as lack of resources for teaching and learning ESL (55% of the participants agreed and 25% strongly agreed), overcrowded classes (45% of the participants agreed and 25% of them strongly agreed), absenteeism by learners (60% agreed and 10% of them strongly agreed), lack of parental involvement (60% of the teacher participants agreed), learners’ lack of motivation, learner’s poor attitude, lack of advisory services, lack of refresher workshop, and learners’ lack of exposure to English language programs. In terms of strategies used by the ESL teachers to cope with their specific teaching challenges in the study area, the study found that the teachers mostly motivate their learners, improvise and use different sources when teaching ESL, use learner centered teaching methods, use team work, and made communication in ESL compulsory for the learners to help them develop their vocabulary. On the measure that could be used to minimise the teaching challenges that ESL teachers face in the study area, the participants highlighted the need for the provision of adequate resources such as ESL textbooks and more classrooms to accommodate all learners, involving parents in their children’s education, reducing the number of teacher-learner ratio in the classrooms, organising capacity building workshops for ESL teachers, and changing the medium of instruction for junior primary grades from Oshikwanyama to English language. The study recommended that the government should improve the ESL resources of the Senior Secondary Schools in ii Ohangwena Region, reduce overcrowded classrooms, provide refresher workshops and support from advisory services to ESL teachers, and provide well-equipped libraries to increase the learners’ exposure to English language. In addition, the study recommended that English language should be used as a medium of communication both inside and outside the classroom to increase exposure and vocabulary of the learners.
A dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirement for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education (Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment studies)
English Second Language, Coping strategy, Challenges, Classroom