CHAPTER FOUR : Research Findings
This chapter will summarise the data generated from the interviews and the classroom observations in relation to the ten sub – research questions established at the beginning of the research. It is hoped that the findings of these questions will provide the answers to the overall Research Question; What are the impacts of the recently implemented English literacy programme in Tongan primary schools on the teaching and learning of Tongan language skills?
The ten sub-research questions are: What English literacy activities (reading/writing) are being taught in the classrooms? What Tongan literacy activities (reading/writing) are being taught in the classrooms What teaching approaches are used during English literacy activities? What teaching approaches are used during Tongan literacy activities? How has the ‘new programme’ affected student attitude towards learning the Tongan language? How has the ‘new programme’ contributed to the development of Tongan learning resources in the classroom? What are the teachers’ perspectives about the ‘new programme’ and about the teaching and learning of the Tongan language at primary school? What are the TMOE plans to support the development of the Tongan language in the Primary Schools? How did this ‘new programme’ affect the Primary Schools? How did this ‘new programme’ affect the TIOE’s language programme? The chapter summarises and highlights the findings of each research question based on the data gathered during the interviews and the school visits.
What are the English literacy activities (reading/writing) that are taught in the classrooms?
The ‘new programme’ prescribed shared and guided readings as daily reading activities. From class 1 to 3, 30 minutes is assigned for guided reading while 35 minutes is assigned for classes 4 to 6. For shared reading, 20 minutes is assigned for classes 4 to 6 and 15 minutes for classes 1 to 3. ‘Shared reading’ is mostly administered with the whole class whereas the ‘guided reading’ is always done in small groups. From this prescribed timetable, teachers of classes 1 to 3 have 45 minutes and teachers of classes 4 to 6 have 55 minutes to do reading activities. The ‘shared reading’ is a methodology where the teacher and the pupils share a book for several days. In the course of this sharing, the pupils, as they become familiar with the book or story, are encouraged to read the story aloud, discuss and to act it. Teachers may find language aspects to teach from the story and encourage and guide the pupils in writing about the book or story they share. The ‘guided reading’ is done in groups of about 4 to 6 pupils depending on the class population. Here, the teacher is helping the pupils individually in their reading and pronunciation. Usually the class is divided into 4 groups of children whose language development is of a similar level. The teacher has prepared 4 reading activities including the guided reading. These 4 activities will rotate in the groups from Monday to Thursday. This means that the teacher will do guided reading with all the 4 groups once a week. Friday is reserved for testing or revision. From the observations, teachers do not strictly conform to the prescribed timeslot and there is some overlapping of activities, but, in all the classrooms observations, all reading activities were covered within the allocated time. Sometimes it is the written work that is left unfinished but it can be done the next day or given as homework for the pupils. Other reading activities that teachers are doing in the classrooms include: Reading aloud to the class. Talking about books or the stories that they are going to study, the author, title and the illustrator as motivation. Independent reading especially for early finishers. Silent reading. Additional reading activities are presented in different forms such as cloze, matching, completion and sentence ordering exercises.
According to the teachers, writing exercises are essential classroom activities because they are easy to set as well as keeping the students busy while the teacher can attend to other things or simply to rest. Written work is prescribed by the school timetable as follow up activities to the reading activities. Teachers have the freedom of selecting whatever written activities are appropriate to their purposes. The following list includes the writing activities that teachers commonly used in the classrooms. Guided writing. Shared writing. Hand writing. Rewriting / proofreading. Some of these writing activities were carried out in different forms such as close, matching, completion, letter writing, sentences writing, ordering sentences, dictation, crossword puzzle, comprehension, announcements, poetry and songs writing and true / false exercises.
What are the Tongan literacy activities (reading/writing) that are taught in the classrooms?
Again in the Tongan classes, shared and guided readings are prescribed by the timetable as daily reading activities for classes 1 to 3.Time allocations is 15 minutes for shared and 30 minutes for guided reading. In classes 4 to 6 there is no shared reading but only guided reading for 25 minutes. However, some teachers in these classes still used shared reading in their classes. Like the English classes, the shared reading is done as a class activity while guided reading is done in small groups. While the teacher is doing the guided reading with one group, the other groups are doing their own reading activities usually in different forms such as close, matching, completion and ordering sentences.
These are the writing activities that teachers used in the classrooms. Guided writing. Shared writing. Hand writing. Rewriting / proofreading. Copying / Transcription. These writing activities were carried out in different forms such as close, translation, matching, completion, letter writing, sentences writing, ordering sentences, dictation, crossword puzzle, comprehension, announcements, proverbs studies, poetry and songs writing and true / false exercises.
What teaching approaches were used during English literacy activities (reading/writing)?
Reading – the main activity in this book and skills-based approach is the ‘shared reading’. This is when the teacher and the pupils share a good book or story in class. This book or story is central to all other activities including discussion, acting, rewriting, drawing, vocabulary, grammar and other language features. Most teachers used ‘story reading’ as motivation at the beginning of the language classes. Then the teachers and the pupils have the ‘shared reading’ and the ‘guided reading’ together, then the pupils can have the independent and the ‘silent reading’ by themselves. It was clear that this approach is very successful in the classrooms. The pupils are looking forward for the stories both in the English and the Tongan classes. Questioning – this is one of the most common teaching approaches the teachers are using in the classrooms. Teachers ask questions usually on the title, the author, the illustrator and the theme of the stories they studied. They also used this approach to motivate their pupils and to introduce their topics. Grouping – this is commonly used during the guided reading because it has to be done in small groups. Usually the teacher divided the class into four ‘ability’ groups. One group will do guided reading with the teacher and the others do their own reading activities, led by group leaders. If the teacher has time then he may check with the other groups. This approach helps in building relationship and cooperation among the pupils. It is a departing from the teacher – centred approach to a pupil – centred approach where the learners are much involved in the learning. Brainstorming – teachers asked the pupils questions on a particular topic related to their stories at the beginning of their classes. Flashcards – teachers have words written on cards and are shown to the pupils during the class. Drawing – one teacher draw a picture on the blackboard. She then asked questions about the picture and asked the pupils to write a little story based on the picture.
What teaching approaches were used during Tongan literacy activities (reading/writing)?
Dictation – the teacher read out a small passage from a text and the pupils write them down in their exercise books. The teacher then copied the passage on the board while the pupils made their corrections. Questioning – this is the most common approach used by the teachers in their teaching of the Tongan language. Grouping – this approach is used daily during the reading activities. While the teacher is doing the guided reading with one group, the other groups are doing their own reading activities. Some teachers also use this approach in written activities. Brainstorming – teachers used this for different purposes like motivating or introducing a topic. Translation – This is a translingual approach where sentences in one language are translated to the other language or vice versa. Reading – ‘shared’ and ‘guided’ reading are prescribed for classes 1 to 3 and only ‘guided’ reading for classes 4 to 6. However, some teachers in these classes were still doing the ‘shared’ reading with their classes. Drawing – one teacher asked the class to draw a picture to show what happened in the story they read. The teaching approaches used by the teachers in both English and Tongan were quite similar. As mentioned above, the reading approaches are the same except that the ‘shared’ reading is not prescribed for classes 4 to 6 in the Tongan Language. Questioning, brainstorming and grouping were all used in both languages. Two teachers used drawing in their classes (English/Tongan). Flashcards were used in English and dictation and translation were both used in class 6 Tongan classes.
CHAPTER ONE : Education in Tonga: a historical development
1.2. The Missionaries
1.3. The Breakthrough
1.4. Formal Education
1.5. Nationalizing the Education System
1.6. Education Revival
1.7. New Heights
1.8. Ministry of Education – Roles, Functions and Structure
CHAPTER TWO Primary Schools
2.3. The Curriculum
2.4. Current Language Programme
2.5. What is bilingualism?
2.6. What is Bilingual Education?
2.7. Why is Bilingual Education important?
2.8. What is a ‘Book – Flood’ Methodology?
2.9. What are the Best Bilingual Options for Tonga?
2.10. Secondary Entrance Examination:Error! Bookmark not defined.
CHAPTER THREE Rationale and Methodology
3.1. The Basic Education ‘Crisis’
3.2. Dakar ‘Framework for Action’
3.3. Basic Education in Pacific Island Countries
3.4. Tonga’s Primary Language Development Program
4.1. What are the English literacy activities (reading/writing) that are taught in the classrooms?
4.2. What are the Tongan literacy activities (reading/writing) that are taught in the classrooms?
4.3. What teaching approaches were used during English literacy
4.4. What teaching approaches were used during Tongan literacy activities (reading/writing)?
4.5. How has the ‘new programme’ affected pupils’ attitudes towards
learning the Tongan language?
4.6. How has the ‘new programme’ contributed to the development of Tongan learning resources in the classrooms?
4.7. What are the teachers’ perspectives about the ‘new programme’ and about the teaching and learning of Tongan language in the primary schools?
4.8. What are the TMOE plans to support the development of the Tongan language in the Primary Schools?
4.9. How did this ‘new programme’ affect the Primary Schools?
4.10. How did this ‘new programme’ affect the TIOE’s languages programmes?
4.11. Summary of Findings
CHAPTER FIVE Conclusion and Recommendations
5.1. Analysis of the ‘New Programme’ in Tonga
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A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masters of Arts in Education, The University of Auckland, 2002