The implementation of language skills integration In English as a foreign language (EFL) classes: Jimma college of teachers' education in focus
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The purpose of this study is to assess to what extent language teachers integrate language skills in teaching and learning English at JCTE. The study particularly, found out teachers' knowledge on the theoretical orientations of language skills integration, examined to what extent teachers practically implement integrated language skills in EFL classes and identified the major factors that might hinder the implementation of language skills' integration in EFL classes. To this end, the study employed descriptive survey method, which involves both quantitative and qualitative data gathering tools to enrich data. Accordingly, JCTE was selected through availability sampling. Then, all the 6 EFL instructors along with 46 EFL students which sum up to 52 were selected through purposive sampling as respondents for the study. To collect the necessary data for the study, two sets of questionnaire were employed as the main data collecting tools. Besides, classroom observation, interview and content analysis were utilized to supplement and substantiate the data gained through the questionnaire. To analyze the quantitative data, frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation were utilized. The qualitative data were analyzed thematically. The results of the study reveal that the instructors were not capable enough on the knowledge and the theoretical orientations of language skills integration in EFL classes. In addition, it was found that the teachers lacked practical skills on the implementation of language skills integration in EFL classes. Furthermore, the study revealed that: instructors did not teach two language skills in integration in speaking, writing, reading and listening lessons; that is, they hardly taught four language skills in integration in these lessons, they rarely used communicative activities and project work, some of the instructors could not effectively play their managerial roles and most of them hardly used various teaching aids and equipment, most instructors frequently used whole class organization at the expense of pair and/or group organizations, a number of hindrances which related to the College, the students and the instructors directly or indirectly impeded the implementation of language skills integration in EFL classes. Generally, the study indicated that the module did not create a fertile ground for integrated language skills teaching/learning in EFL classes. That is, the organization and balance between the macro and micro skills of the language skills development in the module was not appropriate to the learners and learning situation. Thus, the skills integration and the development of discourse and fluency skills were not given sufficient attention. Finally recommendations were drawn based on the above findings. The points of the recommendations include: the instructors' use of communicative activities and project work when they teach integrated language skills, the students' awareness on the advantages of integrated language skills learning, the effectiveness of the organization and balance between the contents of language skills in the module, the importance of in-service training in the form of workshops, symposia, experience sharing and seminars for the professional growth of teachers. Teacher training institutions (colleges and/or universities) should train teachers on both the theoretical and practical aspects of integrated language skills teaching in EFL classes.