An Evaluation of the Language Improvement Component in the Pre-Service ELT Programme at a College of Education in Kuwait: A case study
Date: 16 March 2012
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
PhD in Education
The current research study was conducted with the aim of evaluating the basic language skills component (BLSC) in the ELT pre-service programme at a College of Education in Kuwait by eliciting the participants’ views regarding its quality and using the results as a basis for suggesting amendments and improvements. The BLSC comprises ...
The current research study was conducted with the aim of evaluating the basic language skills component (BLSC) in the ELT pre-service programme at a College of Education in Kuwait by eliciting the participants’ views regarding its quality and using the results as a basis for suggesting amendments and improvements. The BLSC comprises three courses, Writing, Reading and Conversation, which must be taken by new student teachers in the first semester of enrolment in order to improve their language proficiency. In view of the exploratory nature of this study and its context-specificity, the naturalistic orientation of interpretive and social constructivism as an epistemological stance were selected. The research design employed a sequential mixed methods case study using an adapted version of Bellon and Handler’s (1982) evaluation model. The participants in the study were three lecturers teaching the BLSC courses and 55 students in their first year at the English Department. The data, both quantitative and qualitative, were collected through course evaluation questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, diaries, and relevant written documents. Data were analysed quantitatively using SPSS descriptive statistics and qualitatively using exploratory content analysis. The findings revealed that the BLSC has some major shortcomings that need to be addressed. Shortcomings related to the physical environment of the college site include old buildings, a limited number of classrooms, shortages in learning and teaching resources and facilities, and insufficient library resources. With regard to the goals and objectives of the BLSC, the findings showed some critical issues and the need for a certain degree of revision. Moreover, the findings reveal students’ dissatisfaction with some aspects of the content and materials of the BLSC, including boring and non-challenging topics, and outdated textbooks. Teaching methods were found to be traditionally oriented, applying a teacher-centred approach. The findings show that students were extremely critical of the traditional assessment philosophy used by their teachers, which depends on a final exam that tests rote-learned materials. The study concludes by making suggestions that will have implications for the improvement and development of the given programme in particular, as well as educational practice in general. In addition, the study proposes a model for evaluation which can be applied and modified depending on the specifications of any given context.
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