Investigating Causes of a Reluctance to Speak English in the Classroom – The Case of Botswana Junior Secondary Schools


This study discusses the factors underlying the phenomenon in which, often, students in Botswana Junior Secondary Schools (JSSs) seem reticent towards speaking English during lessons, in order to develop their proficiency in English as a second/ foreign language ESL/EFL. The implications of this disjuncture were also examined. Further, possible measures that could be emplaced to encourage students to speak English willingly were explored. A multi-method research (MMR) approach was used to unearth the state of English language (EL) use in Botswana’s JSSs through questionnaires for students and interviews with teachers. The conclusion was that students are not entirely averse to speaking English. Instead, they are primarily inhibited from adhering to the ‘English-Only Policies’ (EOPs) for fear of possible ridicule by their peers. Additionally, the study established that some students preferred communicating in their mother tongues (L1), since these were natural and easy to produce. Furthermore, it was determined that currently, no concrete rules exist for enforcing EOPs during school time.

Keywords: Classroom Learning, Communicative Competence, English speaking policies, Junior Secondary Schools, Reluctance, practise


Article Review Status: Published

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