Aloys Hategekimana, Innocent Bihira, Gaspard Ngendahayo, Phocas Hagumimana


English language is a compulsory subject at all levels of education in Rwanda. This paper aims to discover the challenges of learning English as a second language in secondary schools. It sought to investigate students’ perceptions of their fluency in the English language, to find out students' perceived ability to talk about lessons in English, to investigate students’ perceived feelings when they are learning English, to analyze students’ perceived anxiety when they are learning English, and to analyze students’ perceived embarrassment when they produce ungrammatical English in class. In this study, 73 learners were selected and quantitative data were collected using a questionnaire. The findings show that learners have low English proficiency. They revealed that they do not participate in English lessons as they are afraid to make mistakes, have anxiety during instruction, and fear embarrassment for committing grammatical errors, which are the main challenges of learning ESL in Rwanda. It was recommended that teachers should be trained to handle learners in English class by avoiding correcting learners’ mistakes whenever they commit them because it undermines their confidence to participate in the teaching and learning process. They have to create a classroom environment where every learner can use the ESL successfully.


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ESL, learning, second language, English as a subject, English learning, challenges

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