Category Archives: UNIVERSITE D’ABOMEY CALAVI

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Article n° 05- Rilale-Uac/ Volume 2, Issue n°1

DESCRIPTION DES CREATIVITES LEXICALES DANS LE LANGAGE DES JEUNES ETUDIANTS DE L’UNIVERSITE D’ABOMEY-CALAVI

Charles Dossou LIGAN

Université d’Abomey-Calavi (Bénin)

charles.ligan@flash.uac.bj

 

Abstract

Based on the terminological analysis of lexically-creative corpuses used by the young students in their conversation, this research work shows that the complexity of the language used by the young students is attributable to the diversity of the linguistic processes which come into play on purpose of creating meaning. The emerging linguistic hybridization can be noticed and observed through the presence of several languages in the same term. With those ‘closed terms’, those speeches seem to share some esoteric similarities due to their restricted accessibility. That is what enables us to make the assumption of language encoding by the youth who, while singling themselves out, contribute to creating or coining some neologisms. Considering the social function performed by language, those coined neologisms are successfully used as communication tools.

 

Keywords: Terminological Analysis, Lexical Creativity, Young Speech, Metaphor, Language Ghettoïsation.

 

Résumé

A partir de l’analyse terminologique d’un corpus de créativités lexicales employés par les jeunes étudiants au cours de leur conversation, la présente étude a permis de montrer que le langage des étudiants est complexe en raison de la diversité des procédés linguistiques mis en jeu pour créer les signifiants. L’hybridation linguistique qu’il dégage s’observe parfois dans la présence de plusieurs langues dans un même terme. Avec ses termes ‘’fermés’’,  ce parler ressemble quelque part à une langue ésotérique du fait de son accessibilité restreinte. C’est ce qui fait nous permet d’avancer l’hypothèse d’une sur-codification du langage chez les jeunes qui, tout en se démarquant, contribuent à la création de néologismes, donc à une fonction sociale de la langue, celle de servir d’instrument de communication. 

Mots clés : analyse terminologique, créativités lexicales, parler jeune, métaphore, ghettoïsation du langage.

Article n° 04- Rilale-Uac/ Volume 2, Issue n°1

DISCOURSE- HISTORICAL APPROACH TO CRITICAL DISCOURSE STUDIES: THEORETICAL AND CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS, BASIC CHARACTERISTICS AND ANALYTICAL TOOLS

André Cocou DATONDJI     datondjia@yahoo.fr

Franck AMOUSOU      courawin@yahoo.fr

Université d’Abomey-Calavi (Bénin)

ABSTRACT

The ongoing research work probes and restores the Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA) in Critical Discourse Studies (CDS) creed through a re-conceptualization of such a discourse analytical trend. In this perspective, drawing on the theories and views developed and shared by prominent proponents like Wodak (2001, 2009, 2011, 2015a, 2015b), Reisigl (2017), Wodak & Reisigl (1999) Reisigl & Wodak (2009), Weiss & Wodak (2003), the study sheds some insights into the DHA. Merely theoretical in its nature, it sets the foundations of how to do a historical analysis of a discourse or a text. It finally provides, through suitable tools and discourse strategies, some guidelines (and not a panacea) to carry out a critical analysis through the DHA lens. Indeed, a re-visitation of previous works on DHA has helped bring to limelight the distinctive features of that discourse analytical perspective and how to approach  language use (or discourse) under the DHA angle.

Key words: Critical Discourse Analysis, Discourse-Historical Approach, discourse strategies, historical context.

Article n° 02- Rilale-Uac/ Volume 2, Issue n°1

FRAUENERZIEHUNG ALS ENTWICKLUNGSFAKTOR: EINE UNTERSUCHUNG AM BEISPIEL VON HEINRICH BÖLLS WERK „DIE VERLORENE EHRE DER KATHARINA BLUM“

 

Assiyon AYIKOUE
Université de Parakou, BENIN

Sinseingnon Germain SAGBO
germainsinseingnon@yahoo.fr
Université d’Abomey-Calavi, BENIN

Abstract
This research article correlates Education and development with a special emphasis on women as players. It proceeds by considering a fictional work, namely „Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum” by the German author Heinrich Böll, where it analyzes the character of Katharina Blum in the novel it will show how the emancipation of a woman through education can change the traditional perception of the place of women in the society.
Keywords: Education – development – woman – Heinrich Böll – German.

Résumé
Cet article essaie de démontrer la corrélation entre l’éducation et le développement, notamment en ce qui concerne les femmes. En analysant le cas de Katharina Blum dans le roman « Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum » de l’auteur allemand Heinrich Böll, l’article montre comment l’émancipation de la femme par le truchement de l’éducation peut changer la perception traditionnelle de la place de la femme dans la société.
Mots clés: éducation – développement – femme – Heinrich Böll – allemand.

Article n°24- Rilale-Uac/ Volume 1, Issue n°1

A LEXICO-SEMANTIC EXPLORATION OF THE TERM LABOUR AS DEVELOPED IN ADAM SMITH’S THE WEALTH OF NATIONS

 

Servais Martial AKPACA

Université d’Abomey-Calavi

akpacasm@yahoo.fr

 

TELECHARGER VERSION PDF

Abstract

Great thinkers like Engels and Darwin wrote brilliant essays and books in which they present ideas and points of view on labour. Nowadays, individuals, in their various workplaces, face challenges driven either by labour relations and labour conflicts. But it seems that this term has a wider scope in The Wealth of Nations (1776) by Adam Smith. Indeed, the exploration of the conceptual areas of the term in virtually all the contexts in which it is used in the book reveals its complex economic flavours. The aim of this research work is to carry out a detailed analysis of the concept in the various contexts in which it is used in the book. Therefore, the research methodology followed is the qualitative paradigm which draws on, and interprets the analytical and cognitive meaning of the term labour. This approach moves away from theoretical approaches such as dictionary approaches which tend to define and connote the word out of any particular context. As a result, the term labour proves to be a highly technical and polysemous one which is presented in various contexts as being the same as work, labourers, a commodity, the real price of a commodity, a means of purchase, the original purchase money, a human activity, etc. The ongoing article explores that concept in the works of several other authors in a bid to compare the different meanings it assumes in different areas.

Key words: labour, concept, corpus linguistics, man

 

Introduction

Engels declares in his essaytitled The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man (1950) that:

Labor is the source of all wealth, the political economists assert. It is this, next to nature, which supplies it with the material that it converts into wealth. But it is even infinitely more than this. It is the prime basic condition for all human existence, and this to such an extent that, in a sense, we have to say that labor created man himself. (1950: 7)

This essay written in 1876 echoes an idea already developed by Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations (1776). Indeed, in this famous book, Adam Smith underlines the significant role of labour, by highlighting the fact that the real wealth of a nation is the annual product of its land and labour. ‘‘The reasons and causes that have induced almost all modern governments to mortgage some part of this revenue, i.e. to contract debts; and the effects of those debts on the real wealth—the annual product of the land and labour—of the society’’ (1776: 2).

This paper takes cognisance of the role assigned to labour by these two authors and undertakes to explore the conceptual areas of the term labour in The Wealth of Nations with the view to delimiting the contours and the content of the concept. The notion of labour itself needs to be explained and accordingly, this article will clarifyand show how concepts should be approached to avoid the traditional way of studying concepts from a purely structural point of view. In connection with this issue, Douglas et al (2000: 122) comment that:

But a little reflection suggests that the notion of kinds of concepts must be evaluated relative to the theoretical work a kind or domain is going to be asked to do. For example, if one is interested in concept learning, the relevant issue might be whether different kinds of concepts are acquired in the same way. Note that this shifts but does not remove the explanatory burden: For the question to be meaningful, criteria are needed for deciding whether concepts are acquired in the same way.’’ In brief, questions about kinds of concepts should be answered by theories rather than intuitions.’’

The point that is being made in this quotation is that there are differences in concepts. Indeed, a concept like democracy is an abstract one, whereas a concept such as table is a tangible one. The way abstract concepts are acquired is different from the way tangible concepts are acquired. Therefore, criteria are needed to clarify how different concepts are acquired.

It is expected that the methodology and the findings of this research work will make an impact on how concepts should be explored by terminologists. The traditional approach to terminology, i.e. the approach of the Vienna School, has been abandoned and new approaches have emerged. As a matter of fact, the approach adopted in this study is semasiological rather than onomasiological. Indeed, the focus is on every single occurrence of the term labour in the book. The meaning of the term depends entirely on the context in which it occurs. And the sum of the senses of the term from the beginning to the end of the book will provide the contents of the concept. It is mostly a cognitive approach in the sense that the meanings of the term are going to be searched for and structured systematically. The word labour is actually polysemous in the context of the book. It means work, workers, labour force as well as factor of production, commodity, price of commodities, etc. The discussion considers the term labour in a historical perspective.

 

  1. Historical perspective and problem statement
  • Historical perspective

Engels said that many thousands of years ago during a period that geologists call the Tertiary period, a highly developed race of anthropoid apes lived somewhere in the tropical zone – probably on a great continent that has now sunk to the bottom of the Indian Ocean. Darwin has given us an approximate description of these ancestors of ours.

‘‘They were completely covered with hair, they had beards and pointed ears and they lived in bands in trees. Presumably as an immediate consequence of their mode of life, which in climbing assigns different functions to the hands than to the feet, these apes when walking on level ground began to drop the habit of using their hands and to adopt a more and more erect posture. This was the decisive step inthe transition fromape to man.’’ (1950: 7)

Engels noted in his essay that when the apes’ hands became free, they could henceforth attain greater dexterity and skills, and the greater flexibility thus acquired was inherited and increased from generation to generation. ‘‘Thus the hand is not only the organ of labor, it is also the product of labour.’’ (Ibid: 9) Only by labour, by adaptation to ever increasing operations and through the development of muscles, ligaments and bones, has the human hand attained a high degree of perfection. The body of the apes also benefited by the law of correlation of growth, as Darwin called it. The mastery over nature, which began with the development of the hand, with labour, widened man’s horizon at every new advance. The development of labour helped to bring together members of society. First labor and then after it and with it speech – these were the two most essential stimuli under the influence of which the brain of the ape gradually changed into that of man which for all its similarity is larger and more perfect. What is the characteristic difference between the monkeys and human society? Labour began with the making of tools. These were hunting and fishing implements. The hunting implements enabled the monkeys to feed on meat instead of plants and herbs. The meat diet contained the most essential ingredients required by the organism for its metabolism. Engels (Ibid:15) said that ‘’By the cooperation of hands, organs of speech and brain not only in each individual but also in society, human beings became capable of executing more and more complicated operations.’’

In a nutshell, that was how Darwin and subsequently Engels explained the evolution of mankind. That is Darwin’s evolutionary theory. It was obvious that the part played by labour in this transition was great.

Later in 1776, Smith declared in The Wealth of Nations that ‘‘Labour was the first price, the original purchase money that was paid for all things’’ (1776: 13). That classical conception of the value of a commodity, which ignored demand, was exclusively based on production costs and remained valid for a century until William Jevons in The Coal Question (1865), Carl Menger and Leon Walras introduced the concept of marginalism. According to this concept, the marginal usefulness of a commodity increases when it becomes more and more scarce. A commodity’s price increases when it becomes scarce. Therefore, it is not only labour that determines a commodity’s price.

According to the neo-classical conception, the factors that determine a commodity’s price are not only labour but also profit and rent. This point of view contradicts Smith’s classical conception of a commodity’s price.

On this same issue, Ricardo also stated that ‘‘The value of a commodity, or the quantity of any other commodity for which it will exchange, depends on the relative quantity of labour which is necessary for its production, and not on the greater or less compensation which is paid for that labour.’’(1951: 11)This point of view disputes the idea of the value of labour which is equal to the quantity of labour it can purchase or command. ‘‘The wealth of the world was originally purchased not by gold or silver but by labour; and its value to those who possess it and who want to exchange it for something else is precisely equal to the quantity of labour it can enable them to purchase or command. (Smith, 1777: 13)

Karl Marx was against the notion of labour value, saying that labour was the origin of all values. According to him, the labourer sells his labour force (Arbeitskraft). It is the variable capital that serves to pay labourers’ salaries, which enable them to survive. The rest is what Marx calls fixed capital.

  • Problem statement

It is against this background that this paper sets out to discuss the concept of labour in The Wealth of Nations (1776).  In other words, the history of mankind reveals that man is the product of his labour. Thus, what is Adam Smith’s position on labour when he declares in The Wealth of Nations (1776) that labour is the source of the wealth of nations? For one thing, labour must be an important historical and topical issue because international organisations have been set up to deal with labour issues. Workers get together and form labour organisations. Everyday hundreds of thousands of people around the world are anxious about labour market problems. What is the content of the concept? This is an important question because labour is not solely an economic concept.

  1. Definition of key terms and the theoretical framework
  • Definition of the terms labour, corpus linguistics and concept

According to ILO Thesaurus (i.e. the International Labour Organisation’s thesaurus), the term labour is synonymous with work, which is defined as ‘‘Human activities, paid or unpaid, that produce the goods or services in an economy, or supply the needs of a community, or provide a person’s accustomed means of livelihood.’’The labour force is the sum of persons in employment plus persons in unemployment. Together these two groups of the population represent the current supply of labour for the production of goods and services taking place in a country through market transactions in exchange for remuneration.

Prah (2011: 4) says that:

‘‘Labour is purposive or goal-directed exertion to produce directly or indirectly means of sustaining life for the producer. In simple societies, much of this process is aimed at producing immediately useful products for the labourer. As societies become more complex, purposes of exchange increasingly assume pre-eminence. But even then, its central or primary object remainsthe sustenance of life. Labour uses means of labour – tools and techniques – in the process of the expenditure of labour power. In other words, Labour-power or the ability to produce labour (value forming labour) is materialised only by its exercise; it is manifested as labour only through work and this is invariably done in concert with other factors or forces of production like land, capital, immaterial inputs and congealed labour or value-adding inputs.’’

Corpus Linguistics: In this electronic age, we live in, computers are considered to be one of the most important needs as well as practical solutions; from there the idea of exploiting electronic corpora has been originated. Corpus is « a collection of texts in an electronic database » (Kennedy, 1998:3). And corpus linguistics is a merge of technology and linguistics, as corpus linguistics is defined as: « the study of language on the basis of text corpora » (Aijmer &Altenberg, 1991:1). Therefore, corpus linguistics has recently become the reliable source of real linguistics data and statistical information about language.

Concept: An example of concept is stallion which may be understood in terms of features such as animate, four-legged, male, adult, and so on. This concept is easy to describe because it is concrete. However not all concepts are easy to describe, especially abstract concepts. As a matter of fact, Douglas et al (2000: 121) say that:

‘‘Past research on concepts has focused almost exclusively on nounobject concepts. […] recent research demonstrating that useful distinctions may be made among kinds of concepts, including both object and nonobject concepts. We discuss three types of criteria, based on structure, process, and content, that may be used to distinguish among kinds of concepts.’’

In explaining the difference between these three types of concepts, Douglas et al (2000) indicate that a great deal of research on the psychology of concepts has been directed at their componential structure.‘‘Virtually everyone believes that concepts should be analyzed in terms of constituent attributes or features.’’ (Ibid: 123)

 

  • Theoretical framework of the research

Douglas et al (2000) argue that notions like democracy seem different from things like party or from concepts such as ‘‘black-capped chickadee. (Ibid: 122) Then, they wonder whether different kinds of concepts are acquired in the same way? As pointed out above, past researches focused almost entirely on noun object concepts like table, dog, chair, etc. However, there are non-noun object concepts as well.

Abstract concepts, such as truth and justice, seem different from object concepts, such as dogs and boats. Yet little work has addressed how we understand abstractconcepts. One suggestion has been that abstract concepts are understood through conceptual metaphors (Gibbs 1997, Lakoff & Johnson 1980). During this process, representations of concrete concepts are mapped onto the abstract concepts tofacilitate understanding. For example, justice might beunderstood through a conceptualrepresentation of a scale, and anger might be understood through a conceptualrepresentation of boiling water. If abstract concepts are understood via ametaphorical representation of an object concept, we might not expect to findstructural differences between these two types of concepts. Clearly more workneeds to be done on how abstract categories are formed and understood (Douglas, 2000: 128)

Douglas et al. (2000) stress a cognitive approach to the acquisition of concepts and present three types of criteria with respect to the study of concepts, namely structure, process and content; those are the structural, discursive and conceptual criteria.

Regarding the structural criterion, Douglas et al (2000) explain the componential structure of concepts. They say that ‘‘everyone believes that concepts should be analysed in terms of constituent attributes or features.’’ (ibid: 123) The above-mentioned example of stallion can be cited as an example. The 1970s were characterised by a shift from the position that categories are organised in terms of defining features (i.e. the classical view) to the view that category membership is more graded and structured in terms of features that are only typical or characteristic of categories, the so-called probabilistic or prototype view.

The discussion on concepts as a process reveals that categories formed through data-driven, bottom-up processes may be different from categories formed through top-down categorical processes. Structure or process cannot be evaluated in isolation; structure-process pairs must be considered. Process may drive structure. There may be multiple processes that operate on the same structure. There are principles of conceptual structure and processing that cannot be generalised across all concepts.

It is fair to say that theories about conceptual structure and processing arebased primarily on research with object categories, though the conclusions from Douglas et al.’s work are thought to apply to a different kind of concept. Are object concepts justeasy-to-study representatives of all concepts? One may also wonder whetherobject concepts are themselves uniform in kind. Furthermore, Douglas et al. list candidates for kinds of concepts based on structure, namely nouns versus verbs, count nouns versus mass nouns, isolated and interrelated concepts, object versus mental events, artefacts versus natural kinds, abstract concepts. It appears that the distinction between nouns and verbs is universal. Gentner (1981) and colleagues (Gentner & France 1988) have marshaled theoretical and empirical arguments for theview that nouns and verbs map onto ontologically distinct aspects of the environment. Although the contrast is not without exception, the general idea is that nouns refer to clusters of correlated properties that     create chunks of perceptual experience. Languages honor these perceptual discontinuities, as evidenced by good cross-cultural consistency in the presence oflexical entries corresponding to these chunks. In contrast, predicative concepts ingeneral and verbs in particular focus on relations among these entities involvingsuch things as causal relations, activity, or change of state. Given that relations presuppose arguments or objects, it would seem that nouns are conceptually simpler than verbs and, Gentner (1981) argues, more constrained by perceptual experience. (Douglas et al., 2000: 125).

Another point made by Douglas et al. is that the way mental concepts are acquired is different from the way object concepts are acquired. Mental events are more difficult to learn than object categories.

Although some researchers have focused on parallels between object and eventconcepts (e.g. Rifkin 1985; for social events, see Morris & Murphy 1990), Ripsand his associates have demonstrated important differences between objects and mental events (e.g. Rips & Conrad 1989, Rips & Estin 1998). For example, part-whole relations seem to behave differently for objects and mental events. Thesteering wheel of a car is not a kind of vehicle but a part of planning, such asevaluating competing plans is a type of thinking (Rips & Estin 1998). Evidencefrom other experiments suggest that parts of mental events (and, to an intermediate degree, scripts) are less bounded (discriminable) and more homogeneousthan parts of objects (Rips & Estin 1998). Finally, if the categories that describemental events are less bounded, then they may be more difficult to learn than object categories (see Keil 1983). (Douglas, 2000: 126-127)

Another list of candidates for kinds of concepts based on process include common taxonomic versus goal-derived categories, social information processing and individuation, stereotypes, subtypes and subgroups. Douglas et al. give below an example of goal-derived categories. Barsalou (1983, 1985) pointed out that many categories are created in the service of goals and that these goal-derived categories may differ in important ways from object categories. Examples of goal-derived categories include ‘‘things to take out of your house in case of a fire’’ or ‘‘foods to eat when on a diet.’’ Goalderived categories may activate context-dependent properties of category members. For example, the fact that a basketball is round isa stable property that should be accessed independent of context, but the fact that basketballs float may only be accessed in contexts where a goal relies on its buoyancy. (Douglas et al., 2000:133)

Candidates for kinds of concepts based on content are related to domain specificity. This is how Douglas et al introduce this idea:

Researchers advocating domain specificity have suggested that concepts from different domains are qualitatively different. Although it is difficult to give a precise definition of domain, the notion of domain specificity has served to organize a great deal of research, especially in the area of conceptual development. For example, studies of infantperception and causal understanding suggest that many of the same principles underlie both adults’ and children’s concepts of objects (e.g. Baillargeon 1994,1998; Spelke et al 1992) […] One of the    most contested domain distinctions, and one that has generatedmuch research, is that between       psychology and biology (e.g. Carey 1991). For example, Springer & Keil (1989) show that preschoolers think biological properties are more likely to be passed from parent to child than are social or psychological properties. They argue that this implies that the children have abiology-like inheritance theory. (Douglas et al., 2000: 128)

The various features of concepts discussed by Douglas et al will help understand the complexity of the concept of labour in The Wealth of Nations.  Indeed, though labour is an abstract notion, it is presented in the bookas a commodity, a means of purchase and exchange, the real price of commodities, a measure of the value of commodities, a factor of production, a source of wealth, an inherited wealth, an entity employed by the stock.

Of course labour is metaphorically represented when it is referred to as a commodity and we might not expect to find a structural difference between it and an object concept. However, when labour is represented as the real price of commodities, the metaphoric representation is still pervasive except the object concept. Further, when Adam Smith refers to labour as a factor of production, the metaphor is still persistent but this suggests a process rather than a structure. Besides, the statement ‘labour is an inherited wealth’ suggests that labour is an object concept.

The terminological approach adopted by this paper is semasiological, i.e. the paper focuses on the denomination labour and then tries to provide the definition of the concept.        The paper presents a brief historical evolution of labour as well. The evolutionary theory developed by Engels in The Part Played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man is used. This historical perspective reinforces the importance of labour in human development and prosperity.

Finally, the concept of labour in The Wealth of Nations is complex and takes the reader through the meanders and technicalities of economic thinking. The various conceptual areas of the term make it possible to define specifically its contours and to delimitate its content. Therefore, it will be possible to discuss the semantics of the term in the next section.

 

  1. The semantics of the term labour in The Wealth of Nations
  • A taxonomy of the concept of labour in The Wealth of Nations

It is important to reaffirm that the paper attempts to define the term labour in The Wealth of Nationsby focusing solely and exclusively on the information contained in the book. It is another way of constructing or bringing out the meaning(s) of the concept in the various environments and/or contexts in which the term labour has been found. This is a cognitive approach which is used in terminological exploration.

Douglas’ theory of the concept, which has been discussed above, provides the basis upon which taxonomic considerations will be dealt with. Indeed, there are three layers to put in place in discussing the concept of labour in the book. The first layer is the structural criterion, while the process and the content criteria serve as background to the other two layers.

  • Labour as a dynamic process

In the following examples, labour is presented as a factor of production as well as something that can be divided, wealth, a variable (especially through the fluctuations of its price). 1)

Labour is a factor of production: If the society were annually to employ all the labour it can annually purchase, the quantity of employed labour would increase greatly every year, and so the product of each year would be of vastly greater value than that of the preceding year. (p.21) Labour as a factor of production

 

In the example above, labour is presented as a factor of production and the process is dynamic. The words and syntagms ‘employ’, ‘purchase’, ‘quantity’, ‘increase greatly’, ‘product’ and ‘vastly greater value’ suggest an action and a value-adding process.

In another context, labour is presented as something that is divisible. (2)

The greatest improvements in the productive powers of labour, and most of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is directed or applied, seem to be results of the division of labour. It will be easier to understand how the division of labour affects society in general if we first look at how it operates in some particular manufactures. It is easy to see the division of labour in small manufactures where the over-all number of workmen is small and all of them can be collected into one workshop and all seen at once. P.3 Labour is divisible
Consider the trade of a pin-maker—a small manufacture, but one in which the division of labour has often been noticed. A workman not educated to this business or acquainted with the use of its machinery probably couldn’t make one pin in a day, and certainly couldn’t make twenty. [Smith builds into that sentence two asides: that the division of labour •has made pin-making a distinct trade and •probably has led to the invention of the machinery.] But these days not only is pin-making a particular trade but it is divided into branches most of which are themselves particular trades.p.3 Labour is divisible

 

In the examples above, labour is presented again as a dynamic process. Syntagms and action-oriented words like ‘productive powers of labour’, ‘skill’, ‘dexterity’, ‘directed’, ‘applied’, ‘results’ and ‘pin-making’ suggest a productive process which is facilitated and enhanced by the division of labour.

In another context, labour is presented as a source of wealth creation and population growth. (3)

The liberal reward of labour, therefore, is not just the effect of increasing wealth but also the cause of increasing population. To complain of it is to lament the necessary cause and effect of the greatest public prosperity. P.35 Source of wealth and population growth
The demand for labour— whether increasing, stationary, or declining—determines the quantities of necessities and conveniences that must be given to the labourer; and the money price of labour is determined by what is needed for purchasing this quantity. Pp.36-37 The demand for labour is a dynamic process
(c) His employers are those who live by profit. The stock that is employed for the sake of profit is what puts into motion most of a society’s useful labour. P.93 Labour is put in motion by the stock

 

In the examples above, labour is depicted as a source of wealth creation and population growth as well as an entity that is put in motion by the stock, and its demand may increase or decline or remain stationary. All these reflect the dynamic nature of labour processes.

As mentioned earlier, the conceptual features of labour do not only reflect a process. A structural/componential approach to the concept is possible.

  • A structural/componential approach to the concept of labour

This approach is rather static. It simply depicts labour as a sum of features. Indeed, labour is presented as commodities’ real price and the original purchase money. (5)

Chapter 5. Commodities’ real price (in labour) and their nominal price (in money) (p.12) Commodities real price
Labour was the first price, the original purchase money that was paid for all things. (p.13) First price, original purchase money
In this popular sense, therefore, labour may be said to have a real and a nominal price, just as commodities can. (p.14) –          Labour has a real and a nominal price

–          Labour means work

Because labour itself never varies in its own value, it alone is the ultimate and real standard by which the value of all commodities can—always, everywhere—be estimated and compared. It is their real price; money is their nominal price only. (p.14) Ultimate and real standard always and everywhere

Interesting characteristics of labour are revealed in the sentences above. The conception of labour presented here goes beyond the conception of the ILO Thesaurus definition. Labour is a price and has a price. It has a real price and a nominal price. It is the ultimate standard.

These are the components of the concept of labour as designed by Adam Smith. The concept of labour has a considerable terminological density in the book.

In the following context, labour is referred to as a means of purchase. (6)

The wealth of the world was originally purchased not by gold or silver but by labour; and its value to those who possess it and who want to exchange it for something else is precisely equal

to the quantity of labour it can enable them to purchase or command. (p.13)

 

–          A means of purchase

–          In this case, labour means work as well

Chapter 6. The component parts of the price of

commodities

In the early and rough state of society that comes before anyone has accumulated stock or claimed possession of land, the only basis for any rule for exchanging one object for another seems to be the proportion between the quantities of labour needed for acquiring those objects. (p.18)

 

A component part of the price of commodities

 

It is clear that the roles played by labour were many in the classical conception of economics. In the latter examples, labour is not described as spearheading a process. It is rather cited as a standard or part and parcel of something. So far two conceptions of labour have already emerged.

In the following examples, another characteristic of labour is presented. (7)

Most of them must come to him from the labour of other people, and he must be rich or poor according to how much of that labour he can command or can afford to purchase. (p.12) Labour is quantifiable
It is often hard to settle which is the greater of two quantities of labour; it isn’t always a mere matter of which took longer. p.13)

 

Labour is quantifiable

 

How to quantify labour? How can a quantity of labour be measured and compared to another quantity of labour? Adam Smith has given the answer by saying that some labour requires higher education and dexterity. And one hour of labour requiring higher education may be worth more than two hours of common labour. In any case, the concept of labour emerging from this particular instance is a combination of an abstract notion and an objective category. It must be easier to compare two quantities of water or sand.

There might be a resonant semantic relationship between quantities and labour. To buttress this remark, let us read what Hanks says about this concept. Hanks (2006: 19-37) says that « Metaphor is defined as a resonant semantic relationship between a primary subject and a secondary subject. »Further, he gives the following examples to show the resonant semantic relationship between words.

« Some metaphors are more metaphorical than others.

(6) A desert, that’s what it is – a desert of railway tracks.

(7) … Seeking to bring our awareness of spirituality to those

mostly brought up in a spiritual desert.

(8) I walked in a desert of barren obsession »

There is a resonant semantic relationship between the primary subject ‘desert’ and the secondary subject ‘spiritual’. In this context, the person talking has not walked in a desert. ‘Spiritual desert’ in this context is a metaphor which means a lack of spirituality. Note that a desert is a physical place, whereas spiritual is an abstract notion. The combination of these two words produces a resonant semantic relationship. To come back to the syntagm ‘quantities of labour’, it should be made clear that labour is not an object category that can be quantified or counted. Therefore, ‘quantities of labour’ is a metaphor that is used in this case to help understand a particular feature of the concept of labour.

Another combination of an abstract notion and an object category occurs when it is said that the inherited wealth of a poor man is his labour. It looks like a metaphor. (8)

·SMITH’S CASE AGAINST HAVING LAWS OF APPRENTICESHIP·

The property that every man has in his own labour is the basis of all other property, so that it is the most sacred and inviolable. The inherited wealth of a poor man lies in the strength and dexterity of his hands; and to hinder him from employing this strength and dexterity in whatever way he thinks proper, without injury to his neighbour, is clearly a violation of this most sacred property. P.54

Labour as inherited wealth

 

We normally inherit tangible properties but in this case, strength and dexterity are the inherited wealth. On this score, the idea that abstract concepts are understood via a metaphorical representation of an object concept can help understand this aspect of the concept.

In the following example, labour means workers. (4)

In agriculture, the rich country’s labour is not always much more productive than the poor country’s, and never as much more productive as it commonly is in manufactures. (p.4) Labour means workers

 

  • Labour as a content-laden concept

So far we can assert that the concept of labour has strong economic flavours in the book. It should be possible to sum up the various meanings of the term labour and present them as its conceptual areas. This will make a difference with alternative uses of the term in other fields of study. By the way, Termium indicates that labour is a concept that is used in the following five areas: work and production, labour and employment, production (economics), pregnancy and perinatal period, cost accounting and foreign trade.

The next thing to do is suggest a definition of the concept as it emerges from the book. Indeed, the definition should encompass the following senses: 1(a) work, (b) workers, (c) labour force. 2(a) Labour is a factor of production. 3(a) It is a commodity, (b) the real price of commodities, (c) the measure of the price of commodities. 4(a) It is a means of purchase and exchange. 5(a) It is a source of wealth. 6. An inherited property. 7. A variable (the variability of the labour price makes it become a variable). 8. A component of the wealth of a nation, which is the annual product of the land and labour of a nation.

 

Conclusion

The aim of this paper has been to explore the meanings of the term labour in The Wealth of Nations (1776). Indeed, the authors such as Adam Smith, Engels, David Ricardo, Karl Marx and others have exposed in their books different points of view on the concept the term refers to. According to Engels, man is the product of his labour. The title of his publication is revealing: The Part Played by Labor in the Evolution from Ape to Man. On this same issue, Smith says that ‘labour was the first price paid for all commodities’ and it is the source of the wealth of a nation. Though Marx did not go against this idea, he challenged the idea that labour was simply a value and described the labourer as someone who sells his labour force. These are different views that have enabled us to present an historical overview of the concept.

The methodology adopted in this paper is analytical in the sense that every single context in which the term has been used in the book has been analysed and its meaning has been interpreted.

As a result, the term labour is polysemous in the book. It is synonymous with work, labourers, a commodity, the real price of a commodity, a means of purchase, the original purchase money, a human activity, etc.

Another important aspect of the paper is the discussion of the notion of concept. The paper has gone beyond the traditional approach to concept, which is mostly structural, and has thrown light on another two conceptual criteria, i.e. process and content.

In The Wealth of Nations (1776), labour has clearly assumed the dimension of a concept. Indeed, it is a complex concept. Other authors and areas of specialisation also use this term and give it a different content. This will be the subject of further studies in forthcoming papers.

 

References

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Carey S. (1991). Knowledge acquisition: enrichment or conceptual change? In The Epigenesis of Mind: Essays on Biology and Cognition, ed. S Carey, R Gelman, pp. 257

 

Douglas L. Medin, Elizabeth B. Lynch, and Karen O. Solomon (2000). Are There Kinds of Concepts, InAnnu. Rev. Psychol. 51, 121–147

Engels, F. (1950).The Part Played by Labor in the Transition from Ape to Man. International Publishers, New York

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Gentner D. (1982). Why nouns are learned before verbs: linguistic relativity versus natural partitioning. In Language Development.Vol. 2: Language, Thought and Culture,ed. SA uczaj, pp. 301–34. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum

Gentner D, France IM. (1988). The verb mutability effect: studies of the combinatorial semantics of nouns and verbs. In Lexical Ambiguity Resolution: Perspectives from Psycholinguistics, Neuropsychology, and Artificial Intelligence, ed. SL Small, GW Cottrell, MK Tanenhaus, pp. 343–82. San Mateo, CA: Kaufmann

Gibbs RW. (1997). How language reflects the embodied nature of creative cognition. See Ward et al 1997b, pp. 351–73

Hanks, P. (2006). ‘Metaphoricity is Gradable‘ in A. Stefanowitsch and S. Gries (eds.): Corpora in Cognitive Linguistics. Vol. 1: Metaphor and Metonymy. Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter

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Article n°23- Rilale-Uac/ Volume 1, Issue n°1

IMPACT DES PRESTATIONS VERBALES DES ENSEIGNANTS SUR LES RENDEMENTS SCOLAIRES DES APPRENANTS DANS LES COLLEGES D’ENSEIGNEMENT GENERAL DE COTONOU 

 

Florentine Adjouavi HOUEDENOU

Université d’Abomey-Calavi

houedenou1@gmail.com

Abstract

For decades, the problem raised by school failure continues to be a central concern in educational debates. This research work raises questions about the teachers’ classroom practices and the academic performance Secondary school learners in Cotonou. The methodology used for carrying out the research calls for both quantitative and qualitative method paradigms. The elaborated survey questionnaire and interview guide are administered to a sample study population of 6,925 including male and female respondents. The findings show that a smooth atmosphere in class practices stands as a genuine factor students’ comprehension and participation in the course. It also reveals that a good attitude and good classroom practice without any insult and harassment are the keys to success of educational relationship for a good classroom management.

Keywords: Verbal practice, teacher performance, academic performance, Cotonou’s CEG.

Résumé

Depuis quelques décennies, le problème de l’échec scolaire constitue le centre des préoccupations dans les débats sur l’éducation. Cette recherche questionne les pratiques de classe des enseignants et le rendement scolaire des apprenants des collèges de Cotonou.Elle montre que les prestations verbales de l’enseignant affectent la trajectoire scolaire des apprenants. La démarche méthodologique adoptée comprend une dimension descriptive portant sur des analyses qualitatives et quantitatives. Pour réaliser cette recherche, un questionnaire d’enquête, un guide d’entretien et une grille d’observation ont été utilisés à l’aide d’un échantillon de 6925 personnes. Les résultats ont mis en évidencela nécessité d’un bon climat comme facteur et atout pour la compréhension et la participation au cours. De même, l’analyserévèle qu’une bonne attitude ainsi qu’une pratique de classe sans injures, insultes et harcèlement représentent  la clé de réussite de la relation éducative pour une meilleure gestion de la classe.

Mots-clés : Pratique des enseignants, prestations verbales, performance scolaire, CEG de Cotonou.

 

 

Introduction

L’éducation, clé de voûte de tout système éducatif, demeure le facteur du développement ducapital humain. En effet, s’« il n’est de richesses que d’hommes, investir dans le capital humain est donc crucial » (Bodin, 1576 : cité par V.E. Sokou, 2012 : 37). L’éducation, un droit fondamental fait partie intégrante de la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme et de la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant. Dans cette optique, l’ONU (2010)[1] dans ses Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement a prôné l’accès à l’éducation pour tous afin d’universaliser l’éducation. Des efforts considérables ont été faits dans ce sens par les pays africains en général, comme en témoignent les taux de scolarisation appréciables (O. Balema, 2011 : 2-8 cité par K. Lapin, 2013 : 47). Si la plupart des Etats africains souscrivent aux principes fondamentaux relatifs à la réalisation du droit à l’éducation, force est de constater que la législation interne relative à l’éducation dans ces Etats n’est pas toujours en parfait accord avec les exigences requises pour la réalisation du droit à l’éducation et la qualité dans l’enseignement (R. Elobo, 2016 : 94).

Dans les collèges au Bénin, bien que le droit à l’éducation soit reconnu à travers les principaux textes juridiques réglementaires de l’institution scolaire, l’exigence sur la qualité de l’enseignement ou les pratiques pédagogiques de classe posent problème. On observe néanmoins et, de façon spécifique à Cotonou, que le personnel enseignantse heurte à certaines réalités d’ordre pédagogique. De même, la question de la qualité de l’enseignement, des performances scolaires des apprenants et le manque de réalisme menace l’enseignement. Ces pratiques influencent négativement la vie des apprenants et interpellent plus d’un. C’est dans cette ligne que la note Circulaire N° 100 du Ministère de l’Education et celle du N° 232/MEMB/DGM/DEMB interdisent ces pratiques.

Par ailleurs, les résultats des admis à l’examen national du brevet d’études du premier cycle (BEPC) du secondaire sont peu reluisants soit, 49% en 2013 ; 47,57% en 2014 ; 30,16% en 2015 ; 16% en 2016 et 50,56% en 2017 (DEC, 2017)[2]. Ces statistiques montrent que la réussite des apprenants dans les collèges est sujette à la pratique de classes et dépend des prestations verbales des enseignants. Ces statistiques sont similaires à celles du BAC (DOB, 2017)[3]. Ils nous permettent de déduire, a priori, que la performance scolaire au secondaire serait fonction, entre autres, du capital humain. Ce capital connait son développement chez les apprenants lorsque les enseignants prennent en considération les caractéristiques personnelles de l’apprenant, des facteurs du milieu socio-économique et familial.

Soulignons également que l’ensemble de l’attention accordée à ce qui se passe à l’intérieur de la classe, la prise en compte des variables psychologiques, psycho-sémantiques, cognitives et socioaffectives de la classe, sont fortement associées à la réussite scolaire (Houédénou, 2016 : 15). A cet effet, plusieurs variables propres au milieu scolaire telles que les attitudes verbales et les gestes de l’enseignant, la relation pédagogique et un climat positif de classe contribuent significativement à la réussite des apprenants au secondaireselon L. Fortin et al, (2006 : 2). Ces éléments impactent la vie des apprenants et procurent la joie de savoir et le bonheur de comprendre. Mais force est de constater que le manque de maîtrise de soi et de la non prise en compte de certaines variables intervenant dans la communication avec les élèves influencent les rendements tant au niveau des enseignants que celui des apprenants.

Or, les enseignants jouent un rôle très important sur plan de l’adaptation sociale et scolaire des apprenants (A. Lessard et al, 2008 cité par B. Guédjezoun, 2015 : 13). C’est pourquoi leurs prestations verbales peuvent conduire à l’échec ou au faible rendement scolaire. Dans cette optique, quelques questions de recherche s’imposent. Dans quelle mesure les attitudes et prestations des enseignants affectent la performance scolaire des apprenants des cours secondaires de Cotonou ? A partir de ce questionnement, la recherche poursuit l’objectif qui consiste principalement à montrer que les prestations verbales des enseignantsaffectent la trajectoire scolaire des apprenants.

Pour ce faire, des réponses aux préoccupations contenues dans la problématique de cette recherche montrent que les prestations verbalesconstituent l’un des éléments clés de la performance scolaire et du rendement scolaire.

  1. Cadre conceptuel de la recherche

Le cadre conceptuel de cette recherche prend en compte les concepts tels que : violence verbale, échec scolaire, relation enseignant-apprenant ainsi que leur impact sur les résultats des apprenants.

  • Notion de violence verbale dans la pratique de classe

La violence est un concept polysémiqueen général. Elle signifie« agir sur quelqu’un ou le faire agir contre sa volonté, en employant la force ou l’intimidation »[4].Pour F. Raynal et A. Reunier (2002 : 1519), la violence est une force physique ou verbale dont on use pour contraindre quelqu’un à faire ou à ne pas faire quelque chose ou pour créer de désagrément à celui qui subit la violence.

La violence verbale selon R. Legendre (2005), désigne une autre forme d’incivilité. Cette violence est à la fois le fait que les apprenants et les enseignants, et va de l’injure aux menaces envers les autres apprenants. Elle s’exprime à travers les moqueries, les railleries, les dérisions de l’enseignant qui malheureusement humilie l’apprenant concerné et le plus souvent devant la classe. Il nous semble intéressant d’étudier par quels gestes se manifeste cette violence afin de  proposer des solutions. Il ressort de ces repères sémantiques que parler des violences verbales revient à évoquer plutôt des « pratiques verbales négatives ». Elle est une expression synonyme de la violence verbale mais surtout dans la relation enseignant-apprenant en situation de classe. Il s’agit dans le cadre de cette recherche, d’un ensemble des désagréments comme les intimidations, le chahut permanent, les menaces, l’absence d’écoute, les railleries, les moqueries, la brutalité, l’humiliation, l’insulte… qui viennent empoisonner l’ambiance de travail dans une classe et dégradent toutes les relations, que ce soit entre apprenants ou entre enseignant et apprenants. Les violences verbales sont sources de pratiques verbales.

  • Pratiques verbales comme source de l’échec scolaire

Selon le dictionnaire Encyclopédique de l’éducation et de la formation (Ph. Champy, 2005 : 294-297), l’échec est le résultat négatif d’une tentative, d’une entreprise. C’est le fait pour un apprenant de n’avoir pas pu, faute de succès suffisants, parvenir au terme du cycle d’étude entrepris. Quant au Dictionnaire de Pédagogie, la notion d’échec scolaire concerne « les apprenants qui ont des carences considérables dans les apprentissages de base et qui sont démotivés ou en complet rejet de l’école »[5]. Cette notion signifie l’« expression par les dons où le handicap socioculturel a fait place à l’étude des processus qui, dans l’école, transforment des difficultés cumulatives en échec »[6].PourM. Nomaye et D. Gali (2000 : 21), l’échec scolaire est défini comme : « la déperdition scolaire se rapportant à des élèves qui n’achèvent pas leur scolarité dans les délais prescrits soit parce qu’ils abandonnent définitivement l’école soit parce qu’ils redoublent une ou plusieurs classes ».Cette définition interpelle alors les enseignants à une plus grande prise de conscience professionnelle dans la gestion de la classe.

SelonPh. Meirieu (2008) cité A. Hachémè (2017 : 42), cette notion semble être une tâche difficile, étant donné le nombre important de facteurs entrant en jeu. Mais, il précise que l’échec scolaire est défini comme « la difficulté pour quelqu’un de s’approprier des savoirs scolaires ». En effet, un élève ayant besoin de plus de temps pour assimiler des connaissances ou ne parvenant pas à se motiver pour apprendre se trouve en situation d’échec. Ainsi, la question de l’échec scolaire est devenue assurément l’un des phénomènes scolaires les plus visibles, un problème social complexe qui préoccupe un nombre croissant et diversifié d’acteurs sociaux. C’est ce qui motive cette réflexion sur les causes de l’échec scolaire à travers les prestations verbales des enseignants dans l’acte pédagogique. Puisque l’examen du phénomène de l’échec scolaire a révélé sa complexité et ses multiples effets dans plusieurs domaines.Les enseignants doivent adopter un nouveau paradigme permettant de réduire considérablement les effets négatifs des échecs sur le parcours scolaire des apprenants. Cela permettra d’éviter le nombre considérable d’élèves qui, pour une raison ou pour une autre, ne réussissent pas à acquérir l’ensemble des compétences enseignées à l’école. Alors, que retenir des facteurs susceptibles d’entraver la pratique de classe au secondaire ?

  • Facteurs internes à l’apprenant

Les facteurs propres à l’apprenant font partie des éléments influençant les prestations verbales des enseignants au secondaire. Plusieurs auteurs ont souligné que les apprenants adolescents présentent en classe des attentes, des attitudes et des comportements ayant un impact sur la relation qu’ils entretiennent avec leur enseignant (H.A. Davis, 2003 cité par A.E. Houannou, 2015 : 11). Le contexte familial dans lequel ces adolescents évoluent représente une source d’influence importante dans l’établissement de la relation enseignant-apprenant et dans le vécu de ces derniers à l’école.

Selon H.A. Davis (2003) cité par A.E. Houannou, 2015 : 11), la qualité de la relation enseignant-apprenant est directement reliée à la qualité de la relation parent-enfant (J.H. Kennedy et C.E. Kennedy, 2004 : 45 cité R. Dassoundo, 2015 : 19). Un apprenant dont la relation avec son parent estmarquée par de nombreux conflits se comporte avec méfiance dans ses relations avec les autres. Les répercussions d’attachement se maintiennent dans le temps et agissent comme un facteur distal qui influence la perception du jeune de sa relation avec son enseignant (H.A. Davis, 2006).

Par ailleurs, le niveau d’éducation des parents, la composition de la famille ainsi que la considération de la famille face aux réalités du milieu scolaire et de l’importance de l’école influencent la perception qu’a l’apprenant de son enseignant (N. K. Bowen &G. L. Bowen, 1998 : 7 cité N. D. Soglohoun, 2013 : 31). Ces auteurs rapportent que les apprenants cumulant de nombreux facteurs de risque dans leur environnement familial perçoivent un plus faible niveau de soutien de la part de leurs enseignants. Ce qui génère un effet négatif sur leur engagement et leur rendement scolaire.Alors, les enseignants doivent tenir compte des facteurs internes de leurs apprenants dans leurs prestations verbales.

Notons aussi que leretard scolairechez un grand nombre de ces jeunes affectenégativement la relation enseignant-apprenant (B. Galland et P. Phillipot, 2005 : 18). De plus, les caractéristiques personnelles, notamment le sexe et l’âge des apprenants, semblent avoir une influence sur la relation enseignant-apprenant (K. Fredriksen et J. Rhodes, 2004 citée V. Fandy, 2014 : 53). En ce qui concerne le genre, les garçons ont une perception plus négative de leur relation avec leurs enseignants (B. Galland etP. Phillipot, 2005 : 21). La compétence sociale de l’apprenant semble favoriser la qualité de la relation enseignant-apprenant. On peut donc dire que les apprenants présentant de bonnes habiletés sociales ont une bonne interactionen classe. Cela permet aux enseignants de mettre en œuvre une bonne relation pédagogique.

  • Facteurs propres à l’enseignant

Les caractéristiques de l’enseignant influencent de façon cruciale la relation enseignant-apprenant (K. Fredriksen et J. Rhodes, 2004 citée V. Fandy, 2014 : 48). Le lien existant entre la qualité de l’attachement qu’a vécu l’enseignant au cours de son enfance joue sur sa capacité à établir des relations avec ses apprenants (K. Fredriksenet J. Rhodes, 2004 citée V. Fandy, 2014 : 21). En effet, tout comme l’apprenant, l’enseignant aborde sa classe avec sa propre attitude relationnelle. Il déploie des stratégies motivationnelles à l’image de son propre style d’attachement. Par exemple, un enseignant ayant un style d’attachement évitant, maintient une distance émotionnelle dans ses relations avec ses apprenants. Ceci peut être interprété comme un manque de sensibilité et de soutien (J. H. Kennedy &C.E. Kennedy, 2004 cité par A. Hachémè, 2017 : 34). Ainsi, la maîtrise de la distance culturelle de l’enseignant doit passer par la communication et la relation entre un enseignant et les apprenants d’origines sociales diverses. C’est dans ce sens que s’impose la prise en compte de l’attention aux effets et aux  poids de mots de la communication (verbale et non verbale), de l’acceptation de l’autre, de l’affectivité, des affinités. Il ne s’agit pas d’individualisation organisée, mais de la maîtrise de la distance culturelle et du conflit. Dans ce sens, l’échec scolaire découle des situations didactiques. Certains apprenants échouent non pas faute de moyens intellectuels, mais parce qu’ils ne trouvent pas leur place en classe et de plus n’établissent pas de relation avec les enseignants (R. O. Aka, 2014 : 57). Notons que les représentations mentales des enseignants face à la relation qu’ils entretiennent avec ces apprenants sont prédictives du rendement et de l’ajustement scolaire des apprenants.

  1. Démarche méthodologique

La démarche méthodologique adoptée intègre à la fois la démarche quantitative et celle qualitative dans une dynamique descriptive. Elles’est déroulée à Cotonou, précisément dans les Collèges d’Enseignement Général de Sainte Rita, collège de Gbégamey, Collège Père Aupiais, C S Protestant et Collège de Zogbo. Laplus grande ville du Bénin, seule ville que compose le département du Littoral et situé au sud du Bénin regorge plus de cours secondaire. Cotonou a vu son poids démographique passer de 9,8% de la population totale en 2002 à 6,8% en 2013 au profit des communes limitrophes d’Abomey-Calavi, de Ouidah et de Sèmè-Kpodji qui sont devenues de véritables cités dortoirs (INSAE, 2013).

La population cible retenue est constituée des apprenants du premier cycle, notamment ceux des classes de 6ème en 3ème. Ceux-ci représentent la cible la plus vulnérable des pratiques verbales. Ils se situent entre dix (10) et dix-sept (17) ans dont 53% de sexe masculin et 47% de sexe féminin et de leurs enseignants. Le choix de l’échantillon de la population cible s’est d’abord fait grâce à la formule de Lokesh (1972) qui stipule qu’ « en sciences sociales, l’échantillon de 20 jusqu’à 30% est approprié pour une recherche scientifique ». Ensuite, nous avons pris 30% du total des apprenants du premier cycle desdits collèges soit 6.750 apprenants. Enfin, cette recherche a été également étendue aux enseignants de ceux-ci. Ici, nous avons choisi interroger au hasard 175 enseignants toujours dans le souci de les amener à prendre conscience des conséquences de ces pratiques sur les apprenants et d’en faire une analyse minutieuse pour proposer des solutions adéquates.

La collecte des données a été réalisée à l’aide des instruments tels que : la recherche documentaire, l’observation directe, l’entretien semi-directif et l’enquête par questionnaire.En effet, la recherche documentaire a permis d’exploiter la documentation écrite existante sur le problème. Ainsi, à l’exception du questionnaire adressé aux apprenants, celui adressé aux enseignants est suivi d’un guide d’entretien afin de recueillir les expériences de travail au sujet des éléments liés aux pratiques verbales.Il a permis de recueillir des renseignements sur les enquêtés etcomporte quatre questions.

L’enquête par questionnaire a permis de recueillir les données inhérentes aux éléments liés aux prestations verbales qui participent à l’échec scolaire des apprenants ainsi que les raisons liées au manque de motivation scolaire en vue de concrétiser le sondage. On trouve dans les questionnaires trois grands types de questions (les questions ouvertes, les questions fermées et les questions à choix multiples).

Conscients des limites des questionnaires, des observations ont été faites lors de quelques séquences de classe de certains enseignants du premier cycle. Ceci permet de percevoir les réalités liées à la relation enseignant-apprenant dans les situations de classes. Les situations de classe désignent des pratiques de classe ou un ensemble d’activités d’enseignement/apprentissage au cours desquelles s’affichent des comportements et des interactions dans une salle de classe (N’da, 2002 : 6).

En outre, en ce qui concerne les techniques de traitement des données,une fois les questionnaires rassemblés, un premier contrôle, sous forme d’un dépouillement, a été effectué afin de s’assurer de leur recevabilité pour le traitement. Tous les questionnaires étant bien remplis, l’étape suivante a été celle du codage des questions suivi de l’encodage (J-M. de Ketele et X. Rogiers, 1996 cité F. A. Houédénou, 2016 : 10) des données à l’aide du logiciel SPSS. Ce qui a permis de générer des statistiques. Les données qualitatives ont été transcrites manuellementpar le logiciel de MicrosoftWord Office version 2013 de traitement de texte. Ce corpus de verbatim a été structuré et organisé en unité de sens en fonction de l’objectif de la recherche. Tout ceci permet d’aborder l’analyse des résultats.

 

  1. Présentation et analyse des résultats obtenus
  • Déterminants des mauvaises pratiques de classes

De l’analyse des données, on constate que les personnes enquêtées ont une perception négative de la compréhension des cours. Cette analyse montre que des déterminants entrent en jeu dans la pratique de classe selon les enquêtés. En effet, 51,15% des apprenants attestent que les enseignants manquent de motivation et d’ambiance dans la pratique de classe, 34,08% affirment que les cours ne sont pas vivants et 14,77% disent que les enseignants aiment insulter, faire de bruits et humilier devant les camarades : « … l’environnement scolaire n’est pas vivable et il y a manque d’attention chez les enseignants à leur égard » (apprenants, 2017). En d’autres termes, nombreux apprenants n’apprécient pas le climat qui règne pendant la pratique de classe. Dans cette ligne, un apprenant affirme ce qui suit :

« J’ai déjà demandé à mon père de me faire le transfert sur un autre collège. Je n’ai jamais manqué 15/20 de moyenne depuis la 6ème mais cette année, je ne pense pas être admis au BEPC à cause des injures, mines et menaces des enseignants. La classe de 3ème n’est pas difficile mais les enseignants nous frustrent et compliquent la vie à travers leur comportement » (Apprenant, 2017).

Une autre dit : « mes parents ne me crient pas, ne m’injurient point…  Parfois, les enseignants vont jusqu’à nous dire ‘’vous allez lamentablement  échouer’’ » (Apprenante, 2017).Alors, en ce qui concerne les prestations verbales dans la gestion de la classe, 78,57% des enseignants reconnaissent porter d’injures, de menaces, decoups de bruits,… sur les apprenants contre 21,43% qui déclarent le contraire.Il en est de même au niveau des résultats au plan qualitatif. Il ressort de cette analyse que les enseignants doivent recevoir des formations en psychopédagogie pour une bonne gestion de classe.

  • Déterminants liés à la compréhension des activités scolaires

A propos des déterminants de la compréhension des activités scolaires pendant la pratique de classe, 69,67% des apprenants considèrent qu’un bon climat dans la pratique de classe constitue le meilleur facteur permettant la compréhension et la participation. En fait, « je suis très heureuse quand les enseignants font les cours avec ambiance car, si je ne suis pas ennuyeuse, j’ai toujours de meilleures moyennes » (Apprenante, 2017).

Dans la même logique, concernant la compréhension des activités scolaires, 53,21% des enseignants estiment qu’un bon climat en classe profite et motive les apprenants dans la compréhension des apprentissages. Notons que 38,57% considèrent qu’il facilite la pratique de classe et rassure l’enseignant tandis que seulement 8,22% d’entre eux considèrent les pratiques verbales négatives et punitionscomme une bonne pratique de classe : « … nos apprenants sont têtues et paresseux.Sans les pratiques verbales négatives, ils ne cherchent pas apprendre. Il faut des menaces pour redresser nos apprenants. Je ne peux gérer ma classe sans utiliser cette pratique » (Enseignants, 2017).

  • Conséquences de bonnes attitudes et pratiques verbales

Au sujet des conséquences des attitudes et pratiques verbales sur la trajectoire scolaire des apprenants, 59,78% trouvent qu’une bonne attitude ainsi qu’une bonne pratique de classe sans injures, insultes, harcèlement… représentent des clés de réussite des apprentissages. De même, 32,17% les trouvent importants dans la mesure où elles aident les apprenants à être performants en classe. En revanche, 8,08% seulement estiment qu’elles facilitent la maîtrise des apprentissages : « … nous travaillons et réussissons dans toutes les activités scolaires quand nos enseignants font preuve d’une bonne attitude et prestation verbale. Les injures et menaces nous découragent et déconcentrent en classe » (Apprenants, 2017).

Dans le même sens, concernant les conséquences des attitudes et pratique verbale sur le parcours de apprenants, 57,64% des enseignants reconnaissent qu’une mauvaise attitude et pratique verbale entravent la trajectoire scolaire des apprenants. De plus 37,26% estiment que les pratiques verbales endiguent la performance scolaire des apprenants. Seulement 5,1% d’entre eux disent le contraire des précédents. Tout ceci permet de comprendre l’appréciation des pratiques verbales.A ce propos, il convient de noter que les enseignants doivent accompagner les apprenants dans leur difficulté afin de leurpermettre de bien apprendre et de réussir leur apprentissage.

  1. Discussion des résultats

Au niveau des apprenants et des enseignants, il a été révélé que plusieurs déterminants explicatifs s’observent lors des pratiques de classe dans les collèges d’enseignement général de Cotonou. A l’origine, il est expliqué que, 51,15% des apprenants attestent que les enseignants manquent de motivation et d’ambiance dans la gestion de classe, 34,08% affirment que les cours ne sont pas vivants. Cette proportion est restée presque identique avec celle des enseignants soit (78,57%).Ceci corrobore les travaux de (A. H. Davis, 2003 cité par A.E. Houannou, 2015 : 11 ; D. Andenas et K. Lapin, 2013 : 47) lorsqu’ils déclarent que : « La qualité de la relation enseignant-apprenant serait directement reliée à sa performance scolaire. Et, les répercussions d’attachement se maintiennent dans le temps et agissent comme un facteur distal qui influence la perception du jeune dans sa relation avec son enseignant ». Par ailleurs, la réussite ou l’échec scolaire d’un apprenant dans ses apprentissages dépend de sa relation avec son enseignant (A.E. Houannou, 2015 : 11). On peut dire que les pratiques et prestations verbales négatives de l’enseignant en situation de classe influencent négativement le vécu scolaire des apprenants. Ceci contredit selon J. Hounkpatin& F. Houédénou (2017 : 91-98) les rôles de l’enseignant en tant que guide ou vérificateur du degré du développement des compétences  c’est-à-dire celui qui aide et amène l’apprenant à préciser les raisons de ses réussites ou de ses difficultés (effort, méthode utilisée, attention soutenue et attitudes personnelles).

En outre, l’enquête menée sur le terrain par rapport aux déterminants de la compréhension des activités scolaires pendant la pratique de classe démontre nettement que 69,67% des apprenants considèrent un bon climat dans la pratique de classe comme le meilleur facteur permettant leur compréhension et leur participation au cours et approximativement uniforme avec les résultats des enseignants soit (53,21%). Ce résultat est superposable à ceux de J.H. Kennedy et C.E. Kennedy (2004 : 45) cité par R. Dassoundo (2015 : 19) lorsqu’ils disent que : « Les représentations mentales des enseignants quant à la relation qu’ils entretiennent avec leurs apprenants seraient prédictives du rendement et de l’ajustement scolaire des apprenants ».

Dans la même logique, certains enseignants interviewés ont prouvé que « les relations enseignant-apprenant influencent sur le degré de compréhension, de participation ou de réussite scolaire des apprenant » (Enseignants, 2017). Sur le plan pratique, la relation enseignant-apprenant, est fortement associée à la réussite scolaire et au risque de non décrochage (M-C. Cossette et al, 2004 cité par E. Hachemè ; 2017 : 56). Renforçant ces résultats, le modèle explicatif du faible rendement scolaire (Fortin et al, 2006) met en relief plusieurs variables propres au milieu scolaire telles que les attitudes verbales de l’enseignant et un climat de classe peu propices à l’engagement scolaire.

L’analyse des données qualitatives vient confirmerla recherche des travaux de Ph. Perrenoud (1991) lorsqu’il dit que : « Tous les lièvres que courent les enseignants méritent d’être courus, et cela d’abord dans l’intérêt des apprenants ». Au vu de tout ceci, on peut conclure que la bonne pratique de classe lors des différentes activités scolaires contribue à la performance scolaire des apprenants des collèges de Cotonou.

Conclusion

La présente recherche a été réalisée dans le but de montrer que la pratique verbale de l’enseignant affecte la performance scolaire des apprenants des collèges d’enseignement général de Cotonou. En réalité, l’analyse des données quantitatives et qualitatives a permis de démontrer que 51,15% des apprenants et 78,57% des enseignants ont affirmé que la pratique de classe manque de motivation. Ensuite, 69,67% des apprenants et 53, 21% des enseignants considèrent qu’un bon climat dans la pratique de classe comme le meilleur facteur permettant la compréhension et la participation au cours. Enfin, 59,78% des apprenants et57, 64%des enseignants ont trouvé qu’une bonne attitude et une bonne pratique de classe sans injures, insultes, harcèlement sexuel représentent des clés de réussite des apprentissages au cours secondaire. En ce sens, les enseignants sont des vecteurs indispensables responsables devant créer un milieu d’apprentissage propice aux apprenants. M. Postic (2010 : 99-125) en souligne l’importance pour la réussite de la relation éducative.Ils sont appelés à proposer des activités d’apprentissage pertinentes et des pratiques de classe qui insufflent à chaque apprenant le désir d’apprendre et les inciter à l’engagement cognitif.

En somme, la bonne pratique incluant une prestation verbale adéquate dans la gestion des activités scolaires constitue un excellent outil pédagogique et éducatif par excellence. Son application appropriée contribue à la réussite de la pédagogie et de la qualitéde l’enseignement/apprentissage.

 

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Cossette, M-C. ; Potvin, P. Marcotte, D. ; Fortin, L. ; Royer, E. et Leclerc, D. (2004). Le risque de décrochage scolaire et la perception du climat de classe chez les apprenants du secondaire. Revue de psychoéducation.

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Hounkpatin J. & F. Houédénou. (2017). Pour l’enseignant professionnel. Repères pédagogiques et didactiques, Volume1, Cotonou, Editions Francis Aupiais.

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[1] ONU : Organisation des Nations Unies

[2] Direction des Examens et Concours.

[3] Direction des Offices du Baccalauréat.

[4] Dictionnaire Le Robert micro poche, subverbo violence, Paris, Rey, 2013, p. 1519, 2ème colonne.

[5] Dictionnaire de Pédagogie, subverbo échec scolaire, Paris, Louis, et al. 1996, p.91, 1èere colonne.

[6] Dictionnaire de didactique du français, subverbo Echec scolaire, Paris, Jean-Pierre Cuq, 2003, p. 77, 2ème colonne.

Article n°22- Rilale-Uac/ Volume 1, Issue n°1

SOCIAL INTERACTIONS AND INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES AMONG ENGLISH AS FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHERS:  LESSONS FROM TRENDS IN BENIN REPUBLIC

 

 

Arlette J. Viviane HOUNHANOU

Université d’Abomey-Calavi

Arlette1970@hotmail.com

Codjo Charlemagne FANOU

Université d’Abomey-Calavi

Chcodjo@yahoo.fr

 

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Abstract

This study examines Social Interactions on Instructional Practices among EFL Teachers in some secondary schools in Benin Republic. The methodology guiding the research is induced by the study typology. It considers a sampled population of seventy- seven 77 respondents made up of male and female teachers of English. The data collection tools adopted to operationalize the research are questionnaire and interview guide. Data emanating from the questionnaire harvest are disaggregated along the frequency and percentage lines. As for the interview data they are analyzed against the backdrop of the research questions. The findings of the study reveal four interactions types among EFL teachers. Those are mainly collaboration, individualism, contrived collegiality and balkanization. The study also comes up with the view that EFL teachers’ instructional practices are significantly influenced by social interactions. Therefore, it is important that educational authorities promote social interactions among teachers in order to enhance effective teaching and learning of English language.

Keywords: EFL teachers, social interactions, Instructional Practices, balkanization.

 

Résumé

Cette étude examine les interactions sociales sur les pratiques instructionnelles au sein des enseignants d’anglais langue étrangère, dans certaines écoles secondaires en République du Bénin. De façon simultanée, l’architecture de la recherché prend en compte la considération méthodologique de l’étude. Un échantillon de soixante-dix-sept (77) enseignants d’anglais a été utilisé. Les instruments utilisés pour la collecte des données sont le questionnaire et l’interview. Les données obtenues par le questionnaire sont classes par fréquences et pourcentages alors que les données obtenues par l’interview sont analyses selon les thèmes sur les questions de recherche. L’étude a révélé qu’il y a quatre types d’interaction au niveau des enseignants d’anglais. Celles-ci incluent la collaboration, l’individualisme, une collégialité force et une balkanisation. L’étude a aussi établi que les interactions sociales ont une influence positive sur les pratiques instructionnelles de l’enseignement de l’anglais. Il est important pour les leaders de l’éducation de s’assurer que les interactions sociales entre les enseignants continuent d’être utilisées pour renforcer l’effectivité de l’enseignement et l’apprentissage de la langue anglaise.

Mots clés: enseignants d’anglais, interactions sociales, pratiques  instructionnelles, balkanisation.

  1. Introduction

In the school system, teachers always interface between curricular documents and classroom practices. Thus, teachers translate curriculum decisions and plans as outlined in the curriculum document into practical activities to bring about desired changes in students (Elmore, 1999). In an attempt to implement curricular policies, teachers mediate formal curriculum principles by adjusting curriculum directives in ways that they believe would benefit students. For instance, in most cases, teachers re-conceptualize the content and organization of curriculum document, the methodologies of implementing curriculum policies and the stipulated assessment techniques to reflect the contemporary needs of students. This means that teachers serve as filters through which mandated curriculum pass to students (Marsh& Willis, 2003). Wang (2002) affirms that teachers are not simply implementers of policies that are handed down to them but they interpret, modify and edit the formal curriculum prior to implementation. Several studies have shown that the interpretations and modifications done by teachers in curriculum documents are shaped by subject professional development meetings in the school system (Little, 1990; Siskin, 1994, & Harris, 2000). These studies have also shown that the subject professional development meetings have a considerable influence on teachers and can either make or mar teachers’ conception of the formal curriculum. Further, it has been established that how EFL teachers individually and collectively perceive and enact the curriculum document is conditioned by the practices existing in the subject professional development meetings, a claim McLaughlin (1994) had earlier made. He indicated that the subject professional development meetings have the potential to impact on what is taught how it is taught and assessed. This means that the nature and character of the subject professional development meetings determine teachers’ interpretational stance towards a curriculum document.

This study would like to explore the social interaction among teachers of English and its impacts on curriculum enactment in Benin Republic.  Its aim is to undertake investigations that might shed light on this state of affairs in the educational sphere.

  1. Previous Studies
    • The social network theory

The theoretical framework used for the study is the social network. The social network theory is a theoretical concept that is concerned with the relationships between individuals, groups, institutions, or even entire societies. As Scott (2000) notes, the social network theory comprises two or more individuals that are bound together by a common objective. The individuals may be a group or an organization and the objective may constitute one or more relations such as ‘seeking advice from’ or ‘works together with’, ‘depends on’ and so on (Chung, 2011).

In the context of this study, the group is EFL teachers teaching in the same secondary school. The objective of professional development meetings is to plan and implement the curriculum at that level of schooling. The objective may constitute one or more relations such as seeking advice from colleagues to prepare lessons, work together to prepare schemes of work, depend on others for the teaching of certain topics, among others. This theoretical approach is necessarily relational. However, a common criticism of social network theory is that individualism is often ignored (Wenlin, Anupreet, Amanda, &Thomas, 2017).

The objective among the individuals during professional development meetings has important behavioural, perceptual, and attitudinal consequences for both the individual units and for the system as a whole (Knoke et al., 1992). Thus, the theory provides mechanisms and processes that interact to yield certain outcomes for the individuals as a unit.  Individual benefits could be in the area of professional growth as a teacher, ability to improve planning and teaching as well as an effective teacher identity. Every member of the group has a right to benefit from the social interaction, irrespective of their contribution to its creation or maintenance (Katz, Lazer, Arrow,& Contractor, 2004). For the unit, there could be an appropriate image building, an improvement in the teaching and learning of the English language, and also a healthy social engagement in the meetings. These benefits reflect mutual interest and collective action. Its main premise is that shared interests and the likelihood of benefits from coordinated action often outweigh individual self-interests. (Marwell, & Oliver, 1993).

The intent of the social interaction and collective action of EFL teachers suggest that the outcome of the social interaction would maximize the exchange value between individual teachers. The motivation to forge ties and interact is to further maximize their collective ability to leverage instructional practices and mobilize for collective action. Such collective action is made possible because the teachers, each with their own set of skills, knowledge and expertise, develop communication networks that help them identify and leverage the skills and expertise of others. As the skills, knowledge and expertise of individual teachers play out in the interactions; EFL teachers’ curriculum enactment would be influenced.

  • Teachers’ Interactions

Several authors have different classifications of teachers’ interactions. For Taylor (1967), there are two types of teacher interactions: interpersonal interactions and intrapersonal interactions. Hargreaves (1992) presents four kinds of interactions expanding on Taylor’s classification. These include fragmented individualism, collaboration, contrived collegiality and balkanization. Hargreaves’ classification has been the basis of contemporary studies on teacher interactions. Some studies present evidence supporting the forms of teachers’ interactions. In a study on “Teachers’ workplace”, Rohenholtz (1993) reports that teachers planned, designed and prepared teaching materials together. Such interaction was also characterized by help-giving, emotional support and collectiveness. Lieberman (1994) also reveals the existence of collaborative interaction among teachers. This interaction among teachers was administratively regulated, rather than development-oriented; and meant to be predictable rather than unpredictable in its outcome. As administrative requirement, novice teachers in the schools were expected to consult the most experienced teachers when taking critical decisions related to lesson planning.  These decisions ranged from selection of teaching methods to assessment of students’ learning. Teachers in such schools were required to work together to improve practice.

Wang (1995) reports that teachers participated in smaller sub- group interactions within the school community. Thus, teachers were ‘balkanized’ into different cliques with different ideological demarcations. The first faction represented those who were receptive to changes. They took initiatives to formulate strategies in order to meet students’ needs. These teachers were likely to plan their lessons to meet the broad spectrum of learning styles and needs that learners come to class with (Oppong, 2009). The other faction of teachers was apparently isolated-oriented. They were conservative and kept themselves away from the imposed innovations. These teachers may be susceptible to new ways of planning instructional practices. In the end, modern approaches to instructional planning may not be adhered to.

De Lima’s (1997) study also reveals that teachers’ interactions was more of support-giving; joint planning and enquiry-based teachers’ interactions. Supportive planning included group planning of lessons, joint development of materials for use in the classroom and deliberations on teaching practices and instructional strategies that elicit students’ critical thinking skills. This collaboration among teachers is likely to improve instructional practices of teachers. One will, therefore, expect that improved instructional practices will also possibly elicit students’ analytical and synthetic skills. Similarly, Munthe (2003) shows that teachers in their attempt to implement changes in the curriculum had a round table discussion on what ought to be included in the syllabus and the irrelevant topics in the syllabus; the appropriate pedagogies that appealed to students’ needs and how to develop the thinking abilities of students. The findings of the study demonstrate that teachers shared and developed their expertise through the round table interaction. The findings of the studies reviewed above show that teachers’ interactions could be collaborative, isolated-oriented, or administratively regulated. Apart from these, it could be deduced from the literature that teachers engage in sub-group interactions.

  • The Influence of Teachers’ Interaction on Curriculum Enactment

The existence of social interaction among teachers may influence teachers’ instructional decisions. For instance, several authors (Lieberman, 1994; Pennel, & Firestone, 1996; Vukelich, & Wren, 1999) indicate that true collegial and collaborative interactions are those which have impact on teachers’ practices. Talberts’ (2001) observes that collegial support and interaction helped teachers to adopt appropriate methodologies for new topics, relevant learning aids and effective strategies before classroom implementation.  The study also shows that collegiality influenced the motivation and career commitment of teachers to the extent to which they were willing to modify the methodologies and teaching and learning resources that were selected in the lesson preparation. Cohen and Hill’s (1998) indicate that teachers were able to reconstruct their practice to align with the principles of new professional standards for teaching. Cohen and Hill conclude that teachers gained experience from their participation in content-focused interactions with their colleagues. This suggests that collaborative interactions influence teachers’ curriculum enactment. This observation emphasizes the belief that, how teachers interpret and further enact the curriculum would be somewhat dictated by effective collegiality. It is, therefore, useful to note that the implementation of the formal curriculum in any classroom situation may allow the discussion of teaching methods, instructional resources and other issues by teachers (Sosu, 2018). Shah (2012) surveys elementary teachers’ professional relationships in Kuala Lampur and found that professional interactions with colleagues enhanced teachers’ knowledge and pedagogical skills needed to teach specific content areas. The study confirms that constructive feedback from colleagues enabled teachers to get a holistic understanding of a planned curriculum document.

Sato and Kleinsasser’s (2004) study, however, show how interactions among teachers could be problematic for teachers’ curriculum enactment practices. It was reported in the study that teachers became confused on what method was deemed appropriate, the best teaching and learning aids to use and the best way to meet the diverse needs of students. The study concluded that collaborative interactions hinder teachers’ innovations in the classroom practices. Similar observations have been reported by Leonard (1993) and Johnson (2003). These authors detailed in their research reports how collegiate interactions could stifle teachers’ initiative and creativity in curriculum enactment. The outcomes of these studies suggest that interaction among teachers for purposes of curriculum enactment could be negative oriented. The literature, therefore, is not conclusive on the issue. That is, the literature seems to be a mix-bag. The social interaction among EFL teachers during professional development meetings may help confirm or refute the claims in the literature. Perhaps, as noted in the focus of the study the current study may help shed more light on the state of affairs. The current study examined how the social interactions that exist among EFL teachers influence syllabus enactment before classroom implementation in Benin. Given that no such study has been conducted in Benin, the different socio-cultural settings may lead to variation in the findings in previous studies. This provides the reason to focus this research in a Beninese context.

 

  1. Objectives of the Study

The current study seeks to examine social interactions among teachers of English and their impacts on Instructional Practices in some secondary schools in Benin Republic. The following research questions have thus been raised:

  • What interactions exist among EFL teachers during weekly professional development meetings?
  • How does EFL teachers’ social interaction influence their instructional practices?
  1. Methodology

The concurrent research design was used for this study. The design was deemed appropriate for this study because it allows the collection of different but complementary data on the same topic on one field visit (Morse, 1991). The sample for the study was made up of seventy-seven (77) purposively selected EFL teachers from public and private secondary schools in Littoral region in Benin . The selection of these teachers was informed by the fact that they had taught the subject for a long period of time in a particular school which put them in the position to know the influence social interactions have on EFL teachers’ enactment practices.

Questionnaire and interview guide were used to collect the relevant data. The questionnaire items were designed on two-point Linkert scale format: ‘‘Agree’’ and ‘‘Disagree’’. The questionnaire data were put into frequencies and percentages with the use of SPSS. Interviews were audio-recorded from 18 teachers and transcribed verbatim. To create manageable units for analysis, transcripts were divided into two area units related to the research questions. An inductive approach to develop codes was employed. Broad categories were developed based on the information gathered in response to the questions posed. These categories responses were repeatedly refined, augmented, eliminated, and further refined until the final narratives emerged.

  1. Results and Discussion

This section is organized under the two research questions, namely (i) the interactions that existed among EFL teachers during professional development meetings and (ii) how the interactions influenced EFL teachers’ curriculum enactment.

  • Teachers’ Interactions

The first objective was to find out the kind of interactions EFL teachers engage in their departments. The quantitative result is presented in Table 1.

Table 1 : Teachers’ Interactions
Statements

Agree

F (%)

Disagree

F (%)

Teachers discuss their academic work with their colleagues (88.9) (11.1)
Teachers participate in sub- group interactions with their colleagues (16.7) (83.3)
Teachers are mandated to work together (22.2) (77.8)
I do not discuss my academic work with my colleagues (33.3) (66.7)

The results in Table 1 indicate that the majority (16, 88.9%) agreed that they do discuss their academic work with their colleagues while only few teachers (2, 11.1%) disagreed.  Again, few (3, 16.7%) respondents agreed that EFL teachers work in cliques while most of them (15, 83.3%) disagreed. Very few (4, 22.2%) of the respondents indicated that teachers during professional development meetings are mandated to work together while the majority (14, 77.8%) indicated otherwise.  Lastly, on the statement that teachers did not discuss their academic work with their colleagues, six (33.3%) respondents agreed while twice this number (12, 66.7%) of teachers disagreed. The data point to the fact that, in general, even though some EFL teachers did not collaborate in their department, a considerable portion of teachers engaged their colleagues for academic work. The results, therefore, suggest that some EFL teachers, at least shared ideas.

Findings from the interview revealed that respondents had varying views on the kind of interaction (s) existing during meetings. For example, some of the respondents admitted that they engaged in collegial exchanges which may or may not be regulated. Two quotes illustrate this:

“I will say our interaction is cordial and voluntary; we interact both as teachers and learners. Out of genuine interest, we share stories, plan instructions and even assist beginning teachers specifically, during their first years in the classroom”;

 “The head of Professional development meeting has established teams of two or three teachers with specific responsibilities… The greatest concern with this arrangement is that we have no say in the formation of the teams… my team is tasked with co-planning of lessons and thematic teaching.”

The first comment shows that EFL teachers engage in collegial exchanges and joint planning of activities. The second comment also shows that teachers’ collegial exchanges are mandatory. In such a situation, teachers’ interactions are regulated by the authority, which Wang (2002) describes as the ‘Balkanized System’ within the school community. Others noted that they made use of the ‘inquiry group’ of (2-4 teachers) cohorts. The respondents gave responses like:

“I prefer consulting my colleagues rather than hold (sic) on to my own way of thinking, so do my colleagues”,

“… teachers are supportive… we offer instructional support to each other even though everyone belongs to a learning community which meets regularly outside to discuss students’ progress”.

The existence of sub-group interaction among EFL teachers indicates that teachers experienced collegial engagement differently. It appears that collegial collaboration is common in most secondary schools. This is noteworthy because the teachers displayed a general lack of knowledge about individualism during professional development meetings.

From the responses to the questionnaire, one can reasonably assume that EFL teachers engage in mandated interactions, collegial collaboration, and individualism and sub- group interactions. But the interview data, to some extent, contradict this assumption. While the questionnaire data revealed that some teachers plan their academic work in solitude, during the interview, all the teachers demonstrated a general lack of awareness of individualism. Given the lack of corroboration between the questionnaire and interview data, it maybe that the wording of the questionnaire made it easy for teachers to select any response. But after much probing in the interview, these teachers were unable to adequately account for their engagement in the perceived interactions. In this respect, the interview data served as an effective mechanism for cross-referencing teachers’ knowledge of the information on the questionnaire.

Notwithstanding the differences in the findings, the collaborative culture finds support in the perspective of Dillenbourg (1999) that in supportive and trusting collaborative environment, it is difficult to recognize any form of isolation. Again, if, in reality, only few teachers engage in sub-group interactions as the findings suggests, it can be assumed that differing ideological demarcations or group compositions do not exist in most professional development meetings. Indeed, in adaptable and successful schools, interactions about teaching tend to be inclusive and homogenous (Cole, 1991).This implies that collegial conversations and exchanges improve teachers’ classroom practices. The teachers may perhaps collaborate not only to improve teacher performance, but to also improve student performance. The engagement will put the EFL teachers on the same page in terms of planning and delivery of instruction. That practice will motivate teachers to engage in positive interactions with their colleagues. These benefits of collaboration among teachers confirm Ronfeldt, et al.’s (2015) study, which concludes that teachers’ collaboration has positive effects on teachers and their students.

It should also be noted that interaction is not always a concept that is welcomed with open arms as the questionnaire data revealed. The data suggested the existence of individualism though, as noted, the interview data did not confirm. Albeit the lack of confirmation, some teachers who have had success working in isolation may view collaboration as an invasion of their pedagogy and a waste of time. Such teachers are likely to be accustomed to their individualism regardless of the benefits of collegial interaction.

  • The Influence of Teachers’ Interaction on Curriculum Enactment

The study further sought to find out how social interaction among EFL teachers influenced instructional practices. The responses of teachers are shown in Table 2

Table2. The Influence of EFL Teachers’ Interactions on Curriculum Enactment
Statement Agree

F (%)

Disagree

F (%)

Social interactions influence my choice of assessment techniques (77.8) (22.2)

 

Social  interactions help me choose  relevant instructional resources (83.3)

 

(16.7)
Social interactions expose me to relevant content knowledge (88.9) (11.1)
Social interactions help me know how to formulate realistic lesson objectives (66.7) (33.3)
I get to know  appropriate methodologies for each topics when I engaged in positive interactions with my colleagues (94.4) (5.6)

 

Social interactions help me plan my lessons to reflect current trends in the teaching industry 13(72.2)

 

5(27.8)

 

Interactions with my colleagues enable me plan lessons in more practical manner 14(77.8)

 

4(22.2)

 

Social interactions enhance my knowledge in instructional strategies 17(94.4)

 

1(5.6)

 

Social interactions  widen my knowledge of the purposes , values and philosophical ground of the subject history 11(61.1)

 

7(38.9)

 

 

The majority of the respondents in Table 2 agreed that social interactions influenced how they enact the curriculum. For instance, 17 (94.4%) teachers agreed to the statement that collegial exchanges help them to select relevant methodologies during lesson planning. Another 17 (94.4%) of them indicated that the social engagements in the department exposed them to varied instructional practices in the planning of their lessons. The agreement levels of all the items suggests, to a greater extent, that interactions influenced EFL teachers’ curriculum enactments at that level of curriculum planning. This implies that the social interaction among EFL teachers enhance their lesson preparation.

From the interviews, it was noted, generally, that the social interaction among EFL teachers had an influence on the planning of their lessons. The respondents provided comments that social interaction in the departments afforded them a better orientation on the nature, and the purposes of the subject. One of the responses reflects this position:

“I think the engagements in the department with my colleagues widen my scope of knowledge on the principles and nature of the subject”.

This means that respondents acknowledged that interactions enhance their subject matter knowledge. Besides the content issues, the interviewees indicated that social interactions influenced their selection of, for example, appropriate assessment instruments, relevant instructional materials, and student-centered strategies and methodologies. One teacher puts it as:

“The discussions we have in the department help us identify suitable assessment strategies”.

Another had this to say

 “The ideas we share as colleagues influence my selection of appropriate instructional practices. In fact, these practices have ensured students involvement during lessons”.

These engagements have therefore improved teachers’ lesson planning. For instance, the comments that:

 “Our interaction as teachers have ensured that we formulate realistic and achievable lesson objectives and make lesson more practical” and

 “Sharing views in the department makes our lesson plans more comprehensive with different ideas across board”

suggest that the social interaction influence and benefit teachers’ curriculum enactment at that level in the school. This observation makes teachers’ interactions very critical in curriculum enactment process.

The two data sources, the questionnaire and interview data, converge on the same point. Both established that social interactions influence teachers’ practices of curriculum enactment. Given this level of corroboration, it appears that EFL teachers are inclined to pedagogical influence through social interactions. It implies that teachers’ ability to enact the English curriculum is somewhat determined by collegial engagements. This argument confirms the social network theory which views authentic teamwork as very influential to members’ understanding of a task and the performance of it. For instance, Cole (1991) attests that collective generation of ideas and suggestions enhance teachers’ development of varied and high quality instructional resources. Again, holding fast to the finding that social interactions widen EFL teachers’ content knowledge, teachers believe that inter-collegial exchanges enhance their understanding of the subject matter, skills or the substance of what is taught, a position that reflects the thinking in the social network theory. As noted in the theory, social interaction and collective action of EFL teachers suggested that, the outcome of the social interaction would maximize the exchange value between individual teachers. The motivation to forge ties and interact is to further maximize their collective ability to leverage instructional practices and mobilize for collective action.

It could, therefore, be argued that for EFL teachers to achieve the laudable objectives of the subject, and improve on instructional planning and delivery, their interactions in the area are critical. Perhaps, positive interaction with their colleagues will enable them exploit the usefulness, essence and benefits of each topic in the syllabus. This argument finds support in the words of Miller (1980). The author notes that social interactions influence teachers to an extent that they are able to understand the purposes of their educational practices. Several studies (e.g., Cole, 1991; Hargreaves, 1992; Shah, 2012) provide similar findings. All these studies concluded that social interactions play a vital role in augmenting teachers’ instructional practices. Even the essence of discussions of any curriculum document is to give ears to teacher’s classroom problems and also proffer solutions to such problems so as to improve instructional delivery. As Little (1978) argued earlier, collegial discussions increase teachers’ capacity to reflect on instructional challenges for remediation. Social interaction among EFL teachers is, therefore, beneficial for curricular discourse.

Others have also argued on the limitation of social interaction in schools. For example, Sato and Kleinsasser (2004) observe that interactions among teachers could be problematic for teachers’ curriculum enactment practices. Leonard (1993) earlier suggested that collegiate interactions could stifle teachers’ initiative and creativity in curriculum enactment practices. These arguments seek to advance the course of individualism over the social network theory. One common criticism of social network theory is that individualism is often ignored although this may not be the case in practice (Wenlin et al., 2017).The lack of initiative and creativity may be perhaps associated with introvert teachers, because any discussions among teachers should enable individuals share their innovations and not otherwise. However, the elements of initiative and creativity could possibly be stifled when the interaction among teachers is not receptive. One mechanism that can hinder initiative and creativity of individuals is reciprocal altruism (Trivers, 1971). Conventional knowledge suggests that a group should have important effects on the development of cooperation by mutual altruism.

Regardless of the fillip side of social interaction in any association, it is evident in this study that interaction among EFL teachers influence curriculum enactment practices for the benefits of the teachers. The current study therefore re-echoes the quintessential nature of social interaction in curriculum enactment. The findings provide a firm confirmation of the literature that suggests that social interaction is important for curriculum enactment discourse. Perhaps the socio-cultural settings of the current study and those previous studies bear semblance.

  1. Conclusion

This study set to examine social interactions among teachers of English and their impacts on Instructional Practices in some secondary schools in Benin Republic. It has been established that various interactions exist among EFL teachers in the various secondary schools where the study was conducted. These include mandated interactions, collegial collaboration, and individualism and sub-group interactions. The existence of these forms of interactions indicates that curriculum enactment may not take place in a vacuum. However, it is important that these interactions are regulated professionally to avoid any negative effect on teachers’ professional work. Again, the concept of individualism should be managed properly to avoid isolationism while ensuring that teachers’ initiative and creativity are not curbed.    The study further recognized that the social interaction among EFL teachers influenced curriculum enactment practices at that level of schooling. This implies that EFL teachers’ classroom practices are usually informed by the social engagements that take place during professional development meetings. It is, therefore, important for instructional leaders to ensure that those engagements among teachers continue to be appropriate to enhance the effective teaching and learning of the English language.

 

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Article n°20- Rilale-Uac/ Volume 1, Issue n°1

THE ROLES OF SONGS IN TEACHING ENGLISH TO EFL BEGINNER LEARNERS: THE CASE OF SOME SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN BENIN REPUBLIC

 

 

Ulrich O. Sena HINDÉMÈ

richdeme11@gmail.com

Pédro Marius EGOUNLÉTI

pedmareg@yahoo.fr

Evariste KOTTIN 

kottinevariste@yahoo.fr

Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Bénin

 

TELECHARGER VERSION PDF

Abstract

This paper aims at exploring effective and sustainable solutions to address the issue of beginners’ increasing demotivation to learn English as Foreign Language. The research has been designed so as to probe the role of songs in teaching English to EFL beginner learners. Literary research on songs has helped to highlight the importance of songs in teaching EFL beginners to develop communicative skills. In this regard, data are collected through a questionnaire administered to the study population made up of 65 randomly selected EFL teachers. The findings analysis shows that songs are barely used to develop learners’ language skills but rather for entertainment purposes. The ongoing research work suggests that EFL teachers should be trained on the effective use of songs in English classes. Moreover, secondary schools should be provided with songs teaching materials. Those measures appear to be vital to motivate students to learn English and develop communicative abilities.

Keywords: Roles, songs, teaching, EFL beginners

 

Résumé

Afin de résoudre durablement les problèmes liés à la démotivation grandissante des apprenants de l’Anglais langue étrangère, la présente étude a été conduite pour examiner le rôle des chansons dans l’enseignement et l’apprentissage de l’anglais, langue étrangère. La revue de littérature relative à l’utilisation des chansons aux cours d’anglais a permis de mettre en exergue leur importance dans développement et la maitrise des capacités des apprenants à communiquer en anglais. Des données ont été collectées grâce aux questionnaires adressés à 65 enseignants de l’anglais choisis au hasard .L’analyse des résultats indique que les enseignants d’anglais utilisent rarement les chansons pour développer les capacités des élèves à parler l’anglais mais plutôt à des fins ludiques. Il a été donc recommandé que les enseignants d’anglais soient formés à l’utilisation effective des chansons pour motiver les apprenants et leur enseigner les compétences nécessaires pour communiquer.

Mots-clés: Rôles, chansons, enseignement, anglais, débutants.

                                                                                                                 

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Article n°11- Rilale-Uac/ Volume 1, Issue n°1

ANALYSING IDEOLOGICAL POINT OF VIEW IN BEN AKPONINE-SAMUEL’S A HOLIDAY TO REMEMBER: A SYSTEMIC FUNCTIONAL APPROACH.

 

Sévérin M. MEHOUENOU

mehouenous@gmail.com

 Innocent Sourou KOUTCHADE

koutchade2@yahoo.fr

 Université d’Abomey-Calavi

 

Abstract

This article aims at exploring the ideological point of view in Akponine-Samuel’s A Holiday to Remember. The concept of ideology is understood as the system of beliefs, values, and categories that guides the way an interactant views the world. Through this system, language plays an experiential or ideational function realized through the transitivity system as ingrained in the grammar drawing on the contextual properties of field. The process for successfully conducting this study has considered selecting two extracts from the novella on purpose of quantitative and qualitative analyses. This has helped to uncover how the different transitivity patterns interact to convey children’s ideological point of view not only about how religion has become a hot bed of boredom but also about criminality. The work concludes that the literary work unveils the socio-criticism position of the narrator and as a matter of fact, it is suggested that Africans should find resources in their institutions to overcome these social flaws.

Key words: Experiential Function, Ideology, Religion, Criminality, World view, Psychology.

 

Résumé

Cet article vise à explorer le concept d’idéologie tel que développé dans l’ouvrage A Holiday to Remember de Akponine-Samuel. Ce concept est compris comme le système de croyances, de valeurs, et de catégories qui guide la façon dont un interlocuteur conçoit le monde. A travers ce système, la langue a une fonction expérientielle réalisée par la transitivité qui a pour base les propriétés contextuelles du champ. Pour conduire avec succès ce travail, deux extraits ont été sélectionnés de la nouvelle et une analyse quantitative et qualitative en a été faite. Ceci a permis de découvrir comment les différents procédés de transitivité s’interposent pour transmettre le point de vue idéologique des enfants non seulement sur comment la religion est devenue un lit d’ennui mais aussi sur la criminalité. Le travail conclu que l’œuvre littéraire dévoile la position sociocritique adoptée par l’écrivain et par conséquent il est suggéré que les institutions africaines trouvent les ressources nécessaires pour lutter contre ces fléaux sociaux.

Mots clés : fonction expérientielle, idéologie, religion, criminalité, point de vue, psychologie.

 

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