An empirical study of the teaching and learning of speaking and listening skills in relation to work place needs with reference to the National Curriculum, in some secondary schools in the County of Humberside
One broad question addressed in this research is "What are the links between the learning of speaking and listening skills in secondary school, and the future use of speaking and listening in the work place?" To facilitate the answer to the above question, this study also seek to answer the following question: "What is the present situation in teaching and learning speaking and listening skills in secondary school after the introduction of the National Curriculum in 1989?" In order to answer the above questions this research adopted a multi-method approach known as triangulation technique. The techniques used were interviews, observations and questionnaire. The sample consisted of 1105 Year 11 students, 14 heads of English Department, 5 English teachers, 1 moderator, 2 careers officers and 2 employers. The data was analysed quantitatively and qualitatively. The findings show that there is no explicit link between the learning of Speaking and Listening in Humberside secondary schools, and future use of Speaking and Listening in the work place. Whatever links the school has with work places are more for the students' future plans: further education or employment; the duration for work experience is too short and the development of Speaking and Listening at work place is not one of its purposes. It was found that The HoDs and the teachers based their teaching on English in the National Curriculum. It was observed that some activities were set up by teachers but little teaching of Speaking and Listening was based on them. The opportunity for the students to be involved actively in Speaking and Listening activities was limited and there was minimal use of technology to promote Speaking and Listening. Speaking and Listening were used as tools to achieve other learning, especially literature and writing. The teacher still dominated the class and reading and writing still dominated the integration of skills. Listening has been badly neglected. Based on the two answers it can be deduced that at the secondary school level in the County of Humberside, even after the introduction of the National Curriculum, there is no planned link between schools' teaching and learning of Speaking and Listening skills with their future use at work place. It was also found an aspect of the teaching and learning of Speaking and Listening has been neglected. Based upon the findings, certain recommendations for actions and future research were made. It was recommended for the HoDs and the teachers to attend in-service training and to be part of the national networks that could promote Speaking and Listening. In addition all teachers are recommended to carry out action research. Apart from that there should be equivalent awareness-raising programmes for persons outside school who will meet the school leavers. Future research is needed in evaluating the effectiveness of in-service training and school and industry partnership in bringing positive changes to Speaking and Listening of students and school leavers. Research is also needed to determine whether school leavers who possess the recommended Speaking and Listening skills are in fact more effective than those who do not meet the requirements of work place.