Challenges of Teaching English as a Foreign Language in Primary Schools: The Case of Primary Schools in Oromiya National Regional State of Ethiopia

Dagne Tiruneh Dinsa, Taye Gudeta Beye


This research was aimed at investigating the challenges of teaching English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in primary schools of the Oromiya National Regional State of Ethiopia. The study embraced four zones of the Regional State: Jimma, South West Showa, Ilu Abba Bor and Eastern Wollega. The participants of the study were teachers teaching English to the primary schools and their students. In order to collect data for the study, the researchers used questionnaire, focus group discussion and classroom observation. Comprehensive sampling was used to take the EFL teacher informants. Students who were involved in the FGD were taken purposively. In order to select the sample schools, the researchers used convenient sampling techniques. Mixed approach was used to analyse the data. Data from teachers questionnaire was analysed quantitatively. Those from FGD and classroom observation were qualitatively analysed. The research revealed that teachers who were made to teach English at the lower primary classes where self-contained teaching policy is in use were not qualified as EFL teachers.

This has become the cause of frustration and demotivation in the teachers work. According to the research the main challenges of teaching EFL in the primary schools were teachers lack of awareness about interactive teaching methods, lack of awareness about their roles in class as EFL teachers , lack of access to up-to-date information and materials on EFL teaching, the difficulty(burden) of self -contained class, shortage of refreshing trainings and workshop on English language teaching/methodologies, shortage of trainings on active learning/interactive language teaching strategies& student centred teaching approaches, large class(more than 85 in a class), absence of suitable conditions to implement student- centred approach, and the difficulty of the new textbook in use for both the teachers and the students. The research concluded that the EFL teachers were challenged with the gap of knowledge and skills they have in teaching EFL in relation to teaching methodologies. On the basis of the findings and the conclusions made, the researchers have forwarded the recommendations thought to be advisable to address the conditions.


Challenges; EFL; self- contained; interactive teaching; awareness; student-centred.

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