The influence of the Cambridge examinations on the teaching of English language in the approved secondary schools of Trinidad

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This study investigated the effects of the Cambridge School Leaving Certificate Examination or the Cambridge General Certificate of Education (GCE) O'Level Examination on the teaching of English language in the approved secondary schools of Trinidad. Data were collected through observation of 11 English language classes in six schools (two government, two assisted, and two private), and interviews with 10 teachers and a random sample of students from the classes observed. It was found that: 1) the GCE examination in English language had such an influence on teaching practice that most teachers would have taught their classes differently without the exam, spending more time on debates, discussions, and literary clubs; 2) there was a great need for better qualified teachers to teach English language in the secondary schools; 3) teachers depended heavily on textbooks written to prepare students for the GCE exam, although most texts were written for use in English secondary schools; 4) the language used by most students in ordinary conversation differed from the language Cambridge expected students to use in the exam; and 5) there was need for linguists to look at the English used in Trinidad to compare and contrast it with the English required by the exam


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