Exploring the disjunction between spoken and written English among second language (L2) learners at St Charles high school, Lesotho.
This research project was primarily a qualitative investigation, the purpose of which was not to test a particular set of hypotheses, but rather to develop an exploratory analysis of the disjunction between spoken and written English among pupils at St Charles High School. In light of the lack of empirical and exploratory research on the use of English as a second language in Lesotho, the study aimed to investigate pupils' and teachers' perceptions on the use of English as a subject and medium of instruction. Chapter 1 presents an introduction of English and the formal type of education in Lesotho by missionaries just before the middle of the nineteenth century. Although English is regarded as the 'language of power' nevertheless the teaching and learning of the language has its own problems and teachers and pupils' experiences with second language learning in different local and international contexts are discussed in Chapter 2. The study used both qualitative and quantitative methods to gather and analyse data. A case study approach was employed using a range of instruments to collect data relevant to the aim of this project. The findings show that although pupils are generally proficient in spoken English and appear to understand the spoken language fairly well, assessment of their written exercises and during lesson observations indicates that their fluency in English is not related to their performance in written English. Therefore, fluency in English language does not necessarily form a sufficient basis to describe pupils as competent in English (L2). This does explain the possible difference between spoken and written English. The thesis does not offer tips for teachers nor are methods prescribed about how to teach English as a second language. Although limited to a particular high school (the detail and context of which are described in Chapter 3), much of what was found and the subsequent recommendations may be of value to improve the teaching and learning of English. I hope that this study, which was very much a pilot in nature, will help to highlight issues that might be addressed in more detailed studies in the field of second language learning.