Tripoli University (LIBYA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2014 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 6371-6378
ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 10-12 March, 2014
Location: Valencia, Spain
In spite of the fact that, English has been introduced in Libyan primary schools for a number of years, it could be argued that pupils’ performance in English is still disappointing. One reason for this unsatisfactory performance could be that Libyan students who learn the English language are not given opportunities for interaction and participation in the classroom; they do not assume responsibility for their learning; and they lack the chance to work collaboratively (UNESCO 1996). Although this report highlighted the issue, but it has not given enough details about what was happening in Libyan EFL classrooms. An extensive literature search using educational, linguistic and psychological databases did not find any published research regarding classroom interaction among Libyan young learners. Similar research into conference papers also revealed nothing. Therefore, this study aims at exploring, in details, the nature of classroom interaction in some Libyan primary education schools.

This study is based on a qualitative research design, in which two methods of data collection were employed: classroom observation and stimulated recall interviews. Classroom observation was used to explore the nature of interaction in the classroom. The stimulated recall interviews were utilized to supplement data gathered by classroom observation and to give further interpretation of certain behaviours taking place in the classroom. 24 teaching sessions were observed, 12 of them were video recorded. To supplement and verify the classroom observation findings, the verbal interaction in six video-recorded lessons were transcribed and coded using a framework adapted from Sinclair and Coulthard’s (1992) system of discourse analysis.

The overall findings show that interaction in all the lessons observed was tightly controlled by teachers. Teacher-led repetition and question-and-answer exchanges between the teacher and the pupils dominated the classroom interaction. The role of the learner is seen as the passive receiver of knowledge conveyed by the teacher. Choral repetition of language models provided by the teachers was the most significant feature of pupils’ talk. The findings demonstrate that frequent criticism and physical punishment were the most distinctive characteristics of the teachers’ feedback in most of the classes observed. The study provides a fundamental basis for understanding the nature of classroom interaction in EFL primary classrooms that can be used as a basis for further research in Libya and elsewhere.