DUARTE, Solange De Souza. COÊLHO, Márcio Wendel Santana. Learning difficulties in the English language discipline and its relationship with the family environment at the São Vicente de Paulo State College. Revista Científica Multidisciplinar Núcleo do Conhecimento. Year 05, Ed. 03, Vol. 02, pp. 159-176. March 2020. ISSN: 2448-0959. Acess Link: https://www.nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/education/english-language-discipline, DOI: 10.32749/nucleodoconhecimento.com.br/education/english-language-discipline
This study has the following to discuss, from a literature review, about the learning difficulty in relation to the English language course taught at the São Vicente de Paulo State College, in Bom Jesus da Lapa – BA. The aim of this article is to verify what are the learning difficulties, identify and report the problems faced in teaching the English language and to verify whether teachers seek to overcome learning difficulties. The present study aligns with the quantitava and qualitative approach, based on the analysis of a case study. Thus, interviews were applied to analyze learning difficulties and data were collected from the answers of teachers, students and family. The results showed that the solution to solve learning difficulties in the English language discipline is to adopt reading and writing strategies in school as well as the development of activities at school or at home seeking ways that favor learning autonomously and critically to overcome difficulties.
Keywords: Learning, difficulty, English language, family.
It is important to discuss today the importance of the English language, which is one of the most widely spoken languages in the globalised world, as well as its challenges. In this context, the study aims to reflect on the learning difficulty in the English language discipline and on the accompaniment of the family in this process. The São Vicente de Paulo State College was considered, in Bom Jesus da Lapa – BA, since it is related to the daily experiences of the school community. The teaching of the English language in public schools is seen as deficient and precarious due to the lack of interest of most students in the discipline. For this reason, the teaching and learning process of this discipline has faced several difficulties.
The research is relevant because it highlights the main causes of learning difficulties in English. They are crowded classrooms, teachers who do not have language training as well as there is a lack of motivation of students for the discipline. In this sense, the teaching of the English language should be more attractive so that the interest and desire of the student to learn the language along with the culture of the country are awakened. Thus, the study conducted a field research to be analyzed in a comparative way, and its qualitative and quantitative approach to analyze the data linked to research that may contribute to the application of learning strategies benefiting new research in the area.
2.1 OVERALL OBJECTIVE
- To verify the learning difficulties in teaching the English language and the accompaniment of the family at Colégio São Vicente de Paulo, in Bom Jesus da Lapa – BA.
2.2 SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
- Identify the learning difficulties in the teaching of the English language and how the family is accompanied in the context of the Colégio São Vicente de Paulo, in Bom Jesus da Lapa – BA;
- To report what are the difficulties faced in teaching the English language and how the process of accompanying the family takes place at Colégio São Vicente de Paulo, in Bom Jesus da Lapa – BA;
- To check if teachers seek to overcome learning difficulties by teaching the English language at São Vicente de Paulo School, in Bom Jesus da Lapa – BA.
3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This research aims to conduct a case study. It is a structured research method, and thus can be applied in the most diverse areas in order to understand situations different from the most varied phenomena and/or social problems (ANDRADE et a, 2017). From the analysis of a case study it is possible to know and reflect on individual or collective phenomena. Since it is a research method, it has its own characteristics and can be conceptualized in different ways, depending on the theoretical current adopted. Yin (2010) defines the case study as an empirical research that aims to investigate contemporary phenomena within a real-life context, here, in this case, learning difficulties in English language teaching in a college in Bahia.
The case study, according to Yin (2010), is used, especially when the limits between the phenomenon and the context are unclear, which makes it necessary to conduct a more complex investigation to obtain answers to this problem (such as field research, for example). Due to this purpose, the objective is, when conducting a case study, exploring, describing and explaining a given event (in the case of this research, the objective is to know and explore the context of the school chosen to describe and explain the learning difficulties and challenges to teach the English language in the Bahian school delimited for this study). It is also scoped to provide a broad and detailed understanding of a given individual or collective phenomenon/problem (we are analyzing the context of a college, but several others can deal with the same reality).
Stake (2007), in turn, understands that the case study is nothing more than a delimited system, and thus emphasizes that, simultaneously, there are two principles at work in this methodological approach: the unity and the globality of the problem. In this sense, researchers who propose to conduct a case study should consider all aspects that may be relevant to broadly understand a certain problem to be investigated. It is considered a certain period so that it is possible to have a clearer and more accurate view of the phenomena from a detailed description of it (ANDRADE et al, 2017). Therefore, the case study as a research method, for Stake (2007), requires the researcher some care with some processes such as the design of the research, the explanation of the procedures, the strengths and limitations of the study.
Considering this context, we can emphasize that, in general, this method is particularly efficient when the researcher wishes to answer questions related to the current context of some social phenomenon. It reflects on how or why a given social phenomenon works. Although it is a method capable of producing evidence based on quantitative and/or qualitative data collection and analysis techniques, it can be applied either from a technique or as an instrument or approach. In the area of education (case of this research), it is usually used as a didactic approach to problematize a situation in order to approximate the theory of practice.
It can also perform a detailed analysis of an individual case and explain the effects of this problem/social phenomenon. In view of the above, we analyzed the study of some responses of teachers, 2nd year and 3rd year high school students and their families. They belong to the Colégio São Vicente de Paulo, located in Bom Jesus da Lapa – BA. The interview (annex) points out the learning difficulties in the teaching-learning process of this school, and, from these answers, we aim to analyze their impressions, opinions, thoughts and postures. To do this, we start from the idea that:
We understand by research the basic activity of science in its inquiry and construction of reality. It is research that feeds teaching activity and updates it in the face of the reality of the world. Therefore, although it is a theoretical practice, research links thought and action, that is nothing can be intellectually a problem if it was not, in the first place, a practical life problem. Research issues are therefore related to socially conditioned interests and circumstances (MINAYO, 2009, p. 16).
In this qualitative and quantitative work, we considered the answers of English language teachers, students and families of those who are associated with the Colégio São Vicente de Paulo, in Bom Jesus da Lapa – BA. The present study aligns with the quantitative and qualitative approach. The quantitative research aims to measure and quantify through numerical data and, for this, the questionnaires with multiple choice questions are adopted to facilitate the collection. Qualitative research, in turn, is represented in this study by the case study, and thus, the researchers applied the interviews to identify the difficulties in relation to learning English. The research sample is small and the interviewees provided their perceptions about the subject studied.
According to Moreira (2002 apud Oliveira 2011), the difference between quantitative and qualitative research goes beyond the simple choice of research strategies and the data collection procedure, representing, in fact, epistemological positions. The research was based on the literature review and also conducted a field research to shape the case study. In this sense, the procedures that caused the data, based on the answers, to be generated were collected from the perceptions of teachers, students and also families. The period considered for the application of the research instruments was 2017, more specifically the period in which recovery studies were started.
4. DATA ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION
The answers of teachers, students and families regarding the difficulty of learning the English language were considered. The research population included 60 students, 30 families and 03 teachers associated with The College Of São Vicente de Paulo, located in Bom Jesus da Lapa – BA. The sample, in turn, considered the answers of 03 students (1 student of the 2nd year of high school and 2 students of the 3rd year of high school, 02 teachers who work in both classes (2nd and 3rd year of high school) and 02 families.
The research comprised the entire school year 2017, especially the period in which recovery studies were started, since it demonstrated the difficulties of students in relation to the English language. Although 60 students and 30 families were initially chosen, 57 students and 28 families did not participate in the research for various reasons: absence during application days, withdrawals, etc. According to the interview, 40% of the students interviewed were studying in the 2nd year of high school and 60% in the 3rd year of high school.
Figure 1: Age group of respondents
According to the graph, the age group of students is: student A: 17 years (percentage of 16.7%), student B:18 years (percentage of 33.3%) and student C: 16 years (percentage of 50%). When asked about the main learning difficulties in English language teaching, the teachers pointed out that:
What is the difficulty in learning the English language?
TEACHER A: Inappropriate teaching material
TEACHER B: Most of the time there is disinterest on the part of students
For the students, when asked about their difficulties in relation to the English language, they emphasized that:
What are the biggest difficulties in learning the English language?
Student A: verbs
Student B: verbs
Student C: verbs
On the other hand, the family says that other disciplines of the curriculum:
What are the main difficulties your child has at school?
FAMILY A: In Portuguese
FAMILY B: Physics, chemistry, mathematics
We can perceive that in the school environment we can have several points of view in relation to the main difficulties faced in the school routine, because these visions are interdisciplinary. Mendes (2017), emphasizes, in his study, that it is in the classroom, that is, in the school environment of teaching and learning, that the student must perform more tasks of a cognitive nature, which, in turn, need attention, concentration, processing, elaboration and integration of information, reasoning and problem solving. It is noteworthy that:
Teaching a foreign language, therefore, implies the inclusion of grammatical competence, communicative competence, proficiency in the language, besides, it is clear in the change of behavior and attitude towards one’s own culture and the cultures of others (LIMA, 2009, p. 189).
In this context, we realize that the field of English teaching needs to improve the learning processes developed during class so that students feel more motivated to learn a new language, and consequently their culture as well. According to the students:
Do you do all the activities and jobs that the teacher goes through?
a) Yes b) No c) Sometimes d) Never and) I don’t have time
Student A: Yes
Student B: Yes
Student C: I don’t have time
According to family follow-up:
Every day you check to see if your child has done the work and activities of the classes?
a) Yes b) No c) Sometimes d) Never and) I don’t have time
FAMILY A: Yes
FAMILY B: Sometimes
However, school and family, working together, can perform activities that seek to develop the strategies of reading and writing comprehension as well as can contribute to the activated prior knowledge. Oliveira (2015), on this phenomenon, points out that:
A behavior that is very close to the issue of indiscipline is not doing the extraclass activities. Doing so is important for students to internalize linguistic information. Even the exercises in which the student must copy sentences and words that seem so silly because they do not require much cognitive effort, are important for the fixation of spelling. (…) in case they neglect their tasks (consequences such as it takes a long time to assimilate the orthographic patterns and the structure of the English language). If the students are children, inevitably the teacher must call the coordination of the school to talk to the parents about it (OLIVEIRA, 2015, p. 35).
Reading contributes to the development of Learning the English language, since it produces meanings from the interaction of the idea transmitted by the text with the knowledge that the student has. The written modality, in turn, should be seen as a skill to be developed.
Figure 2: How many books do you usually read during the year?
Regarding the number of books read during the school year, the results indicate that student A read from less than 5 books (percentage of 16.7%), student B read 4 books (percentage of 33.3%) and student C read 5 books (percentage of 50%). In this context, some questions were asked regarding reading habits.
Is reading and writing important to you in learning the English language? Why is that?
Student A: Yes, it helps me in knowledge and dialogue
Student B: Yes to improve learning
Student C: Yes without this we are nothing
Do you have any kind of incentive to improve reading and writing?
FAMILY A: Yes
FAMILY B: Yes always advise and teach
We observed, in the interviewees’ statements, the importance of learning the English language well with reading and writing and how the family has encouraged the cognitive, affective and social development of the student, which provides a good result in learning. In this respect, Fragoso (2018) believes that:
[…] if I’ve managed to learn to enjoy doing exercises, I’m sure you can also learn to like English. Start with activities that are somehow enjoyable for you and gradually introduce those that you don’t like so much, but consider necessary for your development. And keep in mind that it’s better to do little, but often, than nothing. The motto should be progress, not perfection. Would it be good if we could take a “knowledge pill” or a “healed body pill” to achieve our goal without any effort? (FRAGOSO, 2018, p. 25).
The use of appropriate teaching material in the classes is fundamental to attract the attention of these students, however, for this to occur, the pedagogical and didactic planning of the teacher should appreciate the resolution of the problems and/or difficulties of the students.
What are the essential factors for developing the ability to learn English?
TEACHER A: Teacher training/appropriate teaching material
TEACHER B: Reduction in the number of students per class/vocational training/appropriate teaching material
Regarding the training of professionals, it can be affirmed that:
The great dilemma is for those who dedicate themselves to both initial and continued training. In the initial, the clash is established with the professional future itself, which still hopes to be ” taught ” to use techniques that work . In the continuing, the clash usually arises in the relationship with the managers of private and public institutions, who still expect clear and direct results, as if the training consisted of the rapid learning of techniques (MOITA LOPES, 2013, p. 105).
According to the family, the school could improve your child’s learning this way:
What could the school do to improve your child’s teaching/learning?
FAMILY A: Teach with activities and keep class schedules at risk
FAMILY B: See the difficulties they have
Says Silva (2015), who:
In everyday teaching and learning practice, conflicting teacher and student styles can cause so-called styles wars. By being aware of this fact, both teachers can pay attention to the styles of their students, trying to serve them or teach them to better explore their styles, learning to transform information received in one style (that of the teacher) to another style (their own). Thus, a visual student can be taught to take notes from a class explained by an auditory teacher who only talks about the topic without using images or even without writing on the board. These student notes may contain colors, differentiated spatial use with schemas, semantic maps, and other resources (SILVA, 2015, p. 70).
Therefore, the process of teaching foreign language learning should receive the support of the entire school community regarding its importance to improve pedagogical practice. In the words of Rajagopalan (2003):
It is for this reason that, in the case of foreign languages, did not mean anything less than the acquisition of a perfect competence, with perfect competence being understood as the domain that the native speaker supposedly has of his language. In fact, from the so-called Chomskian revolution in linguistics, it became redundant to qualify competence as perfect. The native speaker knows his language and that’s it. According to this booklet, it is up to the foreign language learner to do everything possible to get closer to the competence of the native (Rajagopalan, 2003, p. 67).
Considering the context presented, a new question was asked:
What is the importance of English language learning teaching?
TEACHER A: Better interact with the media and the world
TEACHER B: Learning a second language is very important for the intellectual development of students, as it provides them with the opportunity to know and connect with other cultures
The improvement of the development of the teaching-learning process is necessary so that teachers are able to overcome daily difficulties and thus improve the performance of students, for this, making use of attractive and different didactic resources is essential to attract the attention of these students. The school, in turn, plays a very important role in this process, as important as the family and the teacher. In this sense, the family, the school and the teacher will have better results in the face of the difficulties presented by the student if they all work together. According to Scheyerl (2009, p. 126 apud Perin 2005, 150):
Despite recognizing the importance of knowing English, students treat English language teaching in public schools or with contempt or with indifference, which most often causes indiscipline in the classrooms[…]. The teacher works with the feeling of the student who does not believe in what he learns by demonstratin[…]g. i despise what the teacher proposes to do during class.
According to Canedo (2018), the family can also be defined by the social functions it is expected to fulfill, including socialization, the protection of children, support and regulation of social behavior. Without the support of the family in the student’s school process, the risk he/she is at is much greater, because these problems, which, at first, are only schoolchildren, may have repercussions on life as a whole. If the family, the school and the teacher are not working together, they will not obtain better results in the face of the difficulties presented by the student. Within this context, the interviewed families stated that the family’s function was to always go hand in hand with the school helping to teach and encourage students.
Finally, the families said that it is the school’s task to continue the formation of a good citizen and believe that it should teach and help that student to have a good education. Therefore, the family’s partnership with the school will be essential to the success of education and all students. The goal is to lead students to a better future by building goals capable of providing learning experiences capable of building more critical citizens.
The objective of this study was to verify the learning difficulties in English as well as to reflect on the family monitoring of the difficulties of the students of the São Vicente de Paulo State College, located in Bom Jesus da Lapa – BA. It was found that there are problems, but they can be overcome with the support of all those involved in the process of developing the students’ skills, thus promoting better learning, because with the support of the school community as a whole as well as families students will feel more willing to face the challenges associated with learning a foreign language.
Considering the context presented at the school, the article presented the main learning difficulties that were mentioned by the agents involved in the study. In order to carry out the discussion, the answers obtained from the interviews were considered, and from them it was also observed that it is necessary to solve the learning difficulties pointed out by teachers, students and their respective families through teaching strategies, such as the development of reading and writing activities at school or at home. We consider, therefore, the evidence that there is interaction between teachers, students and families and that these, together, are seeking paths that favor learning autonomously and critically to overcome the challenges of daily school life.
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1- How old are you?
Student A:17 years old
Student B :18 years old
Student C: 16 years old
2- Which grade do you study?
Student A:3 year
Student B: 3 years
Student C: 2 years
3- How many books do you read during the year?
Student A: 4 to 5 books
Student B :4 books
Student C :5 books
4- What are the greatest difficulties in learning the English language?
Student A: verbs
Student B :verbs
Student C :verbs
5- How many hours do you study per day?
Student A: 7 hours
Student B :7 hours
Student C :1 hour
6- Do you do all the activities and jobs that the teacher goes through?
- a) Yes b) No c) Sometimes d) Never and) I don’t have time
Student A: yes
Student B: yes
Student C: I don’t have time
7– Are reading and writing important to you in learning the English language? Because?
Student A: yes, help me in knowledge and dialogue
Student B: yes to improve learning
Student C: yes without this we are nothing
1-What is the level of education?
FAMILY A: 2nd-degree complete
FAMILY B: I have finished my studies
2-What is the function of the family?
FAMILY A: always go hand in hand with the school.
FAMILY B: it is teaching and encouraging.
3-What is the school’s task?
FAMILY A: Continues the formation of a good citizen.
FAMILY B: is teaching and helping to have a good education.
4- Do you have any kind of incentive to improve reading and writing?
FAMILY A: Yes
FAMILY B: Yes always advise and teach.
5- Every day checks if the child has done the work and activities of the classes?
- a) Yes b) No c) Sometimes d) Never and) I don’t have time
FAMILY A: Yes
FAMILY B: Sometimes
6- What are the main difficulties that your child has in school?
FAMILY A: In Portuguese.
FAMILY B: Physics, chemistry, mathematics.
7- What could the school do to improve your child’s teaching/learning?
FAMILY A: Teach with activities and keep class schedules at risk at all times.
FAMILY B: See the difficulties they have.
1-What is the difficulty in learning the English language?
TEACHER : The appropriate teaching material
TEACHER : B most often disinterest on the part of students
2-What are the main causes of difficulties in teaching/learning the English language of students?
TEACHER A: appropriate teaching material/ teacher training
TEACHER B: overcrowded classrooms and lack of interest in the acquisition of a new language by students, in addition to students, in addition to the lack of training of professionals.
3-What has the school done to improve the learning of students with learning disabilities?
TEACHER A: reading and writing project.
TEACHER B: the school is part of a out-of-step system, but has developed some projects to encourage teaching learning.
4- Is there treatment for you for difficulties in reading and writing in English? ( ) yes ( ) no
If there is explain how.
TEACHER A: yes
TEACHER B: reduce the number of students per room, train professionals in the area, provide teaching resources.
5- Are traditional models of teaching, which keep teachers and students apart, changing? Give your opinion.
TEACHER A: yes. There is a greater interaction between teachers and students.
TEACHER B: I believe that it has been a long time since the teacher/student relationship has undergone major changes.
6- What are the essential factors for the development of the ability to learn English?
TEACHER : A: teacher training/ appropriate teaching material.
TEACHER : B : reduction of the number of students per class / professional training / appropriate teaching material.
7-What is the importance of English language learning teaching?
TEACHER A: better interact with the media and the world
TEACHER B: learning a second language is very important for the intellectual development of students, because it provides them with the opportunity to know and connect with other cultures.
 Master in Education Sciences from FICS – Faculdad Interamericana de Ciencias Sociales, postgraduate in Portuguese language from FACIG – Faculdade Cidade de Guanhães – MG and post-graduated in English language from FIJ – Faculdade Integrada de Jacarépaguá – RJ. Graduated in Letters/English from UNEB – State University of Bahia.
 PhD in Educational Sciences from U. Autonomous, PhD in Health Sciences & Clinical Psychocanalise – OPEN and Master in Educational Sciences from U. AMERICANA, Specialist in Hospital Pedagogy – UNISA/SP, School Management & Hospital Psychology, Gr aduado in Pedagogy – UNISA/SP.
Submitted: August, 2019.
Approved: March, 2020.