Why won't they speak English?

Tue Mar 05 2024 at 01:00 pm to 01:30 pm

Online event | London, United Kingdom

TeachingEnglish - British Council
Publisher/HostTeachingEnglish - British Council
Why won't they speak English?
In this #TeachingEnglish live event, we explore the practical ideas from a recent research project with report authors. 'Why won't they speak English?' The full report by Dalia Elhawary (Alexandria University) and Eleanore Hargreaves (University College London) is available in both English and Arabic from the TeachingEnglish website: https://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/publications/case-studies-insights-and-research/why-wont-they-speak-english
This report draws on the framework of Self Determination Theory to investigate primary-school children’s anxiety and autonomy/agency during lessons for speaking English. An intervention was carried out by introducing pairwork into the classes of 281 children in three government primary schools in Alexandria, Egypt. Their teachers were introduced to Self Determination Theory and supported to use pairwork for English speaking lessons. The aim was to help implement Self Determination Theory, potentially leading to improved English-speaking learning; and wellbeing. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected through sentence starters, questionnaires, drawings, and in-depth semi-structured interviews with selected pupils.
The research sought out students’ suggestions on how to create enhanced opportunities for young learners to learn spoken English, with special focus on reducing anxiety and increasing autonomy/agency.
Findings indicated that children’s levels of anxiety when speaking English in class were substantial, especially girls’; and autonomy/agency was felt higher by boys.
Dalia Elhawary is a lecturer of EFL Pedagogy and Curriculum at the Faculty of Education, Alexandria University, Egypt. She has over 20 years of experience working in initial teacher education and teacher professional development programmes. She has participated in national and international educationa projects with leading educational institutions in Egypt and around the world. Her recent research interest focuses on understanding children’s experiences of learning English as a foreign language in challenging and under-resourced contexts. By making learners’ voices heard, she hopes to help educators and stakeholders be better informed about how to improve the learning environment and experiences of these learners. Her recent research work also focuses on exploring learners’ and teachers’ agency in non-Western contexts, and on examining professional learning communities for school-based reform and teachers’ professional development. Dr. Elhawary research endeavour aims to empower learners and teachers and bring about changes, particularly at classroom level, that could have significant impact on improving learners’ overall learning and well-being.
Eleanore Hargreaves is Professor of Learning and Pedagogy at the UCL Institute of Education, Faculty of Education and Society at London University, UK. Her research interest is in listening to children talking about their experiences of schooling and how schooling supports their learning. She has also done work in professional development of teachers in a range of Arabic-speaking countries. She lived in Egypt and taught as a primary school teacher there for five years. She has been co-researching in Egypt with Dalia Elhawary since 2012, focusing on primary classrooms in Alexandria and supporting their teachers. Her publications include What makes a good primary school teacher? (Routledge, 2012); Children’s experiences of classrooms (SAGE, 2017); and Reimagining professional development in schools (Routledge, 2020).

Event Venue

Online event, London, United Kingdom

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