Challenges and Opportunities of Developing Students’ Communicative Competence: A Case of Grade 12 Students in Each of the Selected Schools from the Three Closest Zones to Mizan Town
Keywords:Communicative competence, discourse competence, strategic competence, challenges, opportunities
The main objective of this study was to investigate the challenges and opportunities of developing students’ communicative competence. To this end, a total of three schools from three different zones such as Sheka, Bench-Maji and Kafa were selected as a study area. To gather the valuable information from the subjects, two instruments, a test for students and questionnaires for both teachers and students were used. To select the sample subjects, purposive sampling and systematic sampling techniques were used for teachers and students, respectively. The result of the study has shown that the students’ communicative competence that was inferred from their performance was an “average” or it was in “good” scale. Furthermore, the test result showed that the students mean score value of their communicative competence is 53.15 with the standard deviation of 9.8 from the result, and the students’ linguistic competence is the least and below average value while the students’ discourse competence and strategic competence were medium. The students’ sociolinguistic competence was higher than average. However, the students and teachers’ responses showed that lack of practice in all macro language skills, students’ shyness and being passive, lack of exposure to English speakers, lack of technology assisted language learning, first language dominance and lack of interest were the main challenges to the development of students’ communicative competence. The finding also indicated that students have very limited number of opportunities such as only those related to teachers and textbooks. Finally, based on the results obtained, EFL teachers should have clear understanding about goals of language teaching and CLT principles’ implementation especially in teaching grammar inductively and in using language for meaningful communication and the ministry of education should provide necessaryperiodic trainings for EFL teachers on CLT principle implementations to improve the students’ communicative competence.
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