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Challenges in learning english as a language in underprivileged areas in pakistan

Last updated on 17.05.2020


Getting education is the basic need of every human and contributing to tool for a better life with all status and standard of lives.

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Beginning of every journey has a teething stage which has some difficulties; such as health, wealth, mental illness, self-demotivation, communities, commuting, location, company of bad people around and many others.

This article will investigate the problems in learning English as a language skills in underprivileged area in Pakistan. Data was collected by interviewing teachers, students, reviewing literature on internet and self-observation.

The study’s findings showed that learners of slum areas do enjoy learning English through different interacting and integrated activities such as language games, listening songs, watching movies, going to the field trips, celebrating international days in the classroom, doing in the art work, use of realia, participating in community services and every activity that engages learners kinesthetically with technology integration.

However some teachers observed that leaning of underserved students can be enhanced by motivating and counselling them for taking interest in learning languages, by sharing some success stories, by adopting student centered approach and communicative methodologies with better atmosphere.

Furthermore, community members, believing in significance of learning English language, admit that their living standard causes a vital hindrance in learning English as a language.

Authorities may make the use of these findings to make learning more productive, effective and more results oriented by designing language learning programs with the consideration of context-specific needs and problems of the target learners.

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English language learning is an integral part of academic and professional lives. Specially for the students who come from low income families because they are job oriented communities since they do not have enough investment to start their business.

This also applies in Karachi, Pakistan because Karachi’s huge portion is slum area. I am a language trainer and have been working in far slum areas of Karachi since 2010 under supervision of US consulate Karachi such as; Khuda Ki Basti, Sachal Ghot, Orangi Town and students from other slum areas in different institutes.

This research will explain the observations of working in these areas.

Short introduction of areas;

Khuda ki Basti is located after Surjani town where mostly people are labor, there is not proper water and sewerage systems. People drink contaminated unclean water. There is not proper electricity connections that is why people suffer from huge and long hours power failure.

People lack for the basic necessities of lives.

Sachal Ghot, is located near SUPARCO (The Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission)

This is a tribal area where the most of the people speak Sindhi. This are does not have many facilities of lives. Such as safe and clean living standard, proper schools, good teaching staff, people work in the factories or on small hotels.

Orangi town is located in northwest of Karachi which the largest slum area of karachi. People area jobless or have very limited earning. Mostly students work on different garages after schools. Many NGOs are working the are to facilitate the need of area.

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Violence Threats in the area.

Since these all areas are highly influenced by political parties and other $1 so there is a always a huge chance for learners to get in to any bad company.

To enlightened the needs and challenges in learning English language, the study was conducted under these two questions:

1- What are the English language learning needs of underprivileged children?

2- What are the English language learning problems they face?

3- Do you think, pressure of academic (conventional) education does not allow learners to study English as language due to affordability of fee?

Literature Review

Needs Analysis;

According various researchers, they have introduced many definitions of Needs analysis which is also known as needs assessment. It has a significant part in the procedure of designing and replicating any language course, either it is English for Specific Purposes (ESP) or general English course, and it centrality has been endoursed by several scholars and authors;

(Munby, 1978; Richterich and Chancerel, 1987; Hutchinson and Waters, 1987; Berwick, 1989; Brindley, 1989; Tarone and Yule, 1989; Robinson, 1991; Johns, 1991; West, 1994; Allison et al. (1994); Seedhouse, 1995; Jordan, 1997; Dudley-Evans and St. John, 1998; Iwai et al. 1999; Hamp Lyons, 2001; Finney, 2002). Also, the importance of carrying out a needs analysis for developing EAP tests is emphasized by Fulcher (1999), McDonough (1984), and Carrol (1980, cited in Fulcher, 1999) According to Iwai et al. (1999).

Needs analysis commonly refers to the activities that help in collecting information that will serve as the basis for developing a curriculum that will meet the needs of a particular group of learners.

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Allwright who was a pioneer in the field of strategy analysis (West, 1994) started from the students’ perceptions of their needs in their own terms (Jordan, 1997). It is Allwright who makes a distinction between needs (the skills which a student sees as being relevant to himself or herself), wants (those needs on which students put a high priority in the available, limited time), and lacks (the difference between the student’s present competence and the desired competence)

Means analysis tries to investigate those considerations that Munby excludes (West, 1998), that is, matters of logistics and pedagogy that led to debate about practicalities and constraints in implementing needs-based language courses (West, 1994). Dudley-Evans and St. John (1998: 125) suggest that means analysis provides us ” information about the environment in which the course will be run ” and thus attempts to adapt to ESP course to the cultural environment in which it will be run. …

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