Investigating English language deficiencies in Training Colleges in Ghana - the case of Wesley College, Kumasi.

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The performance of students in English in the majority of our educational institutions in Ghana continues to suffer deterioration. Much as we tend to blame the students involved, we ought to be aware that if the source of the problem comes from the teachers as resource persons themselves, then we are not addressing the root cause of the problem of language deficiencies in our schools. By targeting the problem of English from the perspective of the teacher training colleges, we shall be tackling the problem of English from the root. The work focuses on investigating the sources or determinants of English language deficiencies by evaluating the English language skills/competences of teacher trainees using the Chief Examiners’ report; assessing the perception of the teacher trainees on their English language course programme in terms of the mode of delivery, pedagogy and learning environment; reviewing the English language entry grades of teacher trainees; reviewing the qualifications of tutors in teacher training institutions; reviewing the structure of English language courses in the training colleges; examining the general teaching-learning environment as well as learning materials at Wesley College which serve as a case study; and finally examining the criteria for assessing teacher trainees in their training institutions. Data Collection is mainly from primary sources and a few from secondary sources. With the primary data, questionnaires, face to face interviews and observation were used to solicit information. A sample size of as many as five hundred teacher trainees (500) out of a population size of one thousand, one hundred and eighty- one (1181) at Wesley College were administered questionnaire. Results from the questionnaire were collated by the use of Statistical Package for Social Scientist (SPSS). As per the data and subsequent analyses, certain critical recommendations are made including the need to address the entry requirements; attending to the shortcomings of basic knowledge transferred from the senior secondary schools; improving motivation in the teaching profession; providing resources in the form of teaching aids and materials to assist tutors bring teacher trainees to the desired level; ensuring that tutors who teach these would-be teachers are not just qualified on paper but are actually abreast with new knowledge and research findings that are hitherto the preserve of only examiners in English; addressing the problem of unavailability of reading lists and recommended textbooks by ensuring accessibility to e-library; and running periodic workshops, seminars and in service training with modern techniques in the teaching of English language as a second language to update knowledge and skills. Finally, cognizance should be taken of the fact that in this study, Wesley College was chosen to represent all the teacher training colleges in Ghana. However, since there are a lot of teacher training colleges scattered in all the regions in Ghana, it is possible that some regions may have some peculiar problems which Wesley College conditions could not address. It is recommended therefore that future research be made on other teacher training colleges to identify possible differences in problems for more appropriate tailor-made solutions to them.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of English in partial fufilment of requirement for the award of Masters in Philosophy.