According to Sanal (2017) traditional language teaching and learning, teachers are regarded as a source of knowledge and information giver. This means teachers are the sole role player and active participants whereas students are flippant and passive participants. Nevertheless, this teaching and learning style has no successfulness and researchers and curriculum designers recommended and found the other teaching and learning style which is called modern language teaching and learning, so this study is also inclined to the latter one (Kheladi, 2021). Therefore effective teaching and learning require the use of different methodologies and strategies to meet the diverse demands of learners. The challenge, however, is finding new ways and strategies to stimulate and motivate the learner’s creative abilities who have varied set of orientations towards learning. In the teaching and learning process, if the strategies are focused on active learning, students develop their self-confidence and actively engage in the teaching and learning process (Marta, 2010).
Ndebele and Maphosa (2013) argue that, In EFL class, active learning should be practiced to develop learners’ language skills and make them interactive in the process. Moreover, learning can only be considered effective if students are able to retain what they learned. The use of active learning strategies increases student retention by enhancing students’ language use. As Ur (2000) and Hess (2001) argues, large classes can provide richer human resources and greater opportunities for creativity than smaller class. Xu (2001) has also suggested that where there are more students in one class, there are more ideas and heterogeneous knowledge to share among themselves, and therefore, this situation facilitates several possibilities of practicing what has been taught in various mechanisms. Therefore large classes bring not only challenges but also opportunities for teachers. It is the teaching methodology rather than class size that contributes best to the efficacy of teaching. Such views encourage teachers to take adaptive teaching strategies to cope with the problems arising from the environment.
Marta (2010) citing Qi Li and Wang Jiana (2009) also enlightened more advantages in detail about large classes contribution in bringing numerous experiences, skills, and as well as learning strategies to one context. It can also deliver more opportunities for co-students collaboration, foster an atmosphere of cooperation, and inspire creativity and improvement. However, besides its worthiness, there are also several challenges encountering students and teachers so as to practice various techniques employed to teach language in a large class.
1.1. Statement of the Problem
Marta (2010) Citing Minstery of Education (Ethiopia) (1994) notes that document claimed that: in the Ethiopian context, active learning strategies are given emphasis as the strategies that encourage students to involve in their own learning and make the teacher facilitator of the teaching and learning process. This strategy is aimed at producing intelligent, responsible, and well-informed citizens who would take an active interest in the world around them.
Thus, seeking strategies that enable to apply active learning is believed to help students learn more than just memorization of facts because the goal in active learning is how to find out and use information, understand what students learn, and make the world meaningful rather than just memorize facts that may have no connection with their lives (Leu, 2000). A large class is the one factor that makes it impossible to practice active learning in the classroom of teaching and learning process and a majority of the teachers face instructional, discipline, physical, and evaluation problems. However, to practice active learning in large classes, if the teachers use different techniques of active learning in the teaching and learning process, students develop positive knowledge and develop their language skills.
As to the researcher’s observation and experience, there is a low practice of participatory or active learning strategies in the specified context of this study. This happens due to various factors. On this, local studies showed that the number of students in the class is the major factor that affects EFL teachers not to practice active learning in the teaching and learning process. Therefore, in the Ethiopian context, a large number of students (large class) could be the major factor that hinders teacher not to practice active learning and make them favor the traditional one. However, to practice active learning strategies in large classes there are different techniques that should be employed by EFL teachers. There are few studies conducted on the implementation of participatory or active learning strategies. For instance Marta (2010) has conducted on a similar area and recommended for further study to investigate more in this area. Therefore, this study is the replicable study of the one conducted by (Marta, 2010). This study is conducted in another place so as to assess Practices and Challenges in the Implementation of Participatory Teaching Strategies in Ethiopian EFL Large Classes
1.2. Research Question
This study is designed to answer the following leading research questions:
What are active teaching and learning a strategies type employed by EFL teachers to teach English Language in EFL large classes?
What are the challenges that EFL teachers face to practice participatory or active learning strategies while teaching English in EFL large classes?
1.3 Scope of the Study
Conceptually this study is only delimited to assess the practice of active learning strategies to teach English in large classes, and it couldn’t touch another aspect, and geographically it is delimited to Bishaw W/Yohannis Preparatory school only (Kafa zone, South West Ethiopia Regional State).