n Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa - Teacher practices and verbal interaction in primary school classrooms in Botswana




This article reports the results of fifteen randomly selected English lessons (eight in Standard 6; one in Standard 5; and six in Standard 4) observed in primary schools in Botswana. It was hypothesised that pupils had limited opportunities for meaningful verbal interaction in the classroom. Analyses were made on transcribed lesson data to determine the nature of verbal interaction, the questions asked in the classroom, the language error-correction techniques used, and the teaching attributes of the teachers. All these analyses confirmed the hypothesis to be true. The results were then collated and typical characteristics of primary school English language classrooms in Botswana were identified. It appears that an interactive model of pedagogy is, however, still wanting in the English language classrooms, despite the popularity of in-service programmes on communicative teaching for teachers.


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