An Investigation on the Challenges Faced by Early Childhood Education (ECE) Undergraduates to Speak in English Language
This study was carried out specifically to identify the speaking proficiency level among the undergraduates and outline the core challenges faced by them in speaking English during their Diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECE) study period. The study adopted a quantitative approach whereby the data were acquired through a survey method that used an adapted questionnaire as the primary instrument for its data collection. Prior to the study, the average level of English proficiency of the respondents was established through the participants’ language proficiency test scores. The document analysis of the undergraduates’ English language test grades revealed that more than 70% of ECE undergraduates; irrespective of their semesters; had scored below average grades (C+ and below) in their language proficiency. The following finding was then used as the basis to investigate the challenges faced by ECE undergraduates to speak in English. An online survey was administered to the selected respondent from each semester followed by descriptive statistical analysis. The findings revealed that undergraduates encountered major difficulties due to no motivation to speak, lack of confidence, worried of mistakes, mixing languages, fear of criticism, limited vocabulary and other factors. In conclusion, ECE undergraduates speaking fluency were affected by both linguistic and non-linguistic factors. The implication of this study is that various teaching and learning strategies should address these challenges to create future competent preschool teachers. Future research can be conducted to find possible solutions in overcoming the challenges and assist in language acquisition, specific to cater ECE undergraduates.
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