CURRICULUM COMPATIBILITY FOR ESL CONTEXTS: THE CASE OF FUNCTIONAL-NOTIONAL ENGLISH SYLLABUS IN ZIMBABWE

Cathrine Ngwaru

Abstract


Successful language teaching and learning usually depends on a number of factors including; the type of language syllabus used, how well teachers understand the demands of that syllabus and how pedagogically knowledgeable they are. This qualitative study investigated the primary school teachers’ understanding and awareness of the assumptions underlying the Functional-Notional English Language syllabus currently used in Zimbabwe. Semi-structured interviews and document analysis were used to collect data from ten primary school teachers of ESL purposively selected from five schools in Masvingo district to the south of Zimbabwe. The purpose was to establish the extent to which teachers’ classroom pedagogies were responsive to the demands of the syllabus and the impact that their practices had on the learners’ communicative competence and overall academic performance. The study is conceptualised within Kumaravadivelu’s (1994; 2008) Post method framework and Vygotsky’s (1962; 1978) Constructivist theory of second language teaching. The results of the study revealed that; teachers were aware of some of the demands of the functional-notional syllabus but their instructional practices did not fully conform to its theoretical principles and classroom procedures. The study concluded that, there was still a great deal of work required in this area of ESL pedagogy for the enhancement of pupils’ linguistic proficiency for general academic performance.

 

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Keywords


functional-notional syllabus, instructional practices, linguistic proficiency, pedagogic practices, post method pedagogy

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