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· Volume II Issue IV


This study looked into the lived experience of Grade 9 English teachers and Grade 9 learners from public Junior High Schools in the City Schools Division of Cabuyao as to the barriers in the use of the English language in oral communication. The research design used was qualitative with phenomenology as an approach. The study explored the experiences, challenges, and coping strategies of selected ten Grade 9 English teachers and ten Grade 9 learners. Using the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, the study generated eleven superordinate themes which were the English Language is Very Important, Hindrances from Learning the English Language, Various Ways to Engage in Communication, Lack of Self-Confidence with One's Ability, Negative and Positive Outlook towards the English Language, Lack of Ability and Emotional Security, Creating a Conducive and Interactive Environment, Diverse Strategies to Improve One's Skills, Various Ways to Cope with Difficulties, Continuous Professional and Academic Skills Development, and Enhanced Personal and Professional Capabilities.

The English language is indeed an essential tool for communication. The barriers they encounter have served as challenges for effective communication. They apply various strategies to cope with the challenges they face. They continuously seek improvement to enhance their skills. Lastly, they use their experience as a guide in dealing with life and challenges, which help them to be flexible enough to adapt to any situation and succeed in their paths. As an output of the study, an activity guide for teachers that will help break the barriers and address the learners' difficulties in speaking the English language was proposed.


“To have another language is to possess a second soul.” – Charlemagne

Language is a system used to express meaning. Its primary function is for interaction and communication. Humans use language to know and understand each other. As we know, God created humans in different conditions and characters, so they need to interact among people. People need communication to know each other. It is a primary human activity, and the fundamental of all human communication is language. Language has some functions in people's lives and everyday activities. In today's interconnected and globalized world, learning the English language has been an essential factor. It is the most widely spoken language and regarded as an international language. It also plays a vital role in many sectors like business, trade, commerce, and education.

Today, the English language becomes the primary language of education. It is the most studied language worldwide and is the primary language of study for every education system. Thus, learners must develop their language skills. Also, speaking is one of the four macro skills necessary for effective communication in any language, mainly when speakers are not using their mother tongue. As English is used universally as a means of communication, especially in the internet world where learners are exposed to, English speaking skills should be developed along with the other skills so that these integrated skills will enhance communication achievement both with native speakers of English and other members of the international community. Aquino et al. (2016) stated that the 21st century demands people to know how to adapt to the world's changes and survive with society's demands and trends. Chambers (2010) also mentioned that the 21st century demands people with a global perspective and can handle simple and complex problems.  Paakki (2013) stated that society in globalization requires a high level of English proficiency at this time and age. 

Furthermore, Cabigon (2015) stated that the Philippines is globally recognized as one of the largest English-speaking countries, where most people have a minimum level of fluency in the language. English has always been one of the country's official languages spoken by more than 14 million Filipinos. Language proficiency is also one of the country's advantages, which has helped manage the economy and made it the leading voice outsourcing destination globally, surpassing India in 2012. However, at a recent assembly organized by British Council Philippines, key stakeholders from the government, academe, private, and non-government sectors agreed that even if the country were doing fine in English competency, it focuses on competitive advantage. The stakeholders believed that the government needs to strengthen its efforts in enhancing the teaching and learning of English, developing it as an essential skill of the workforce. However, learning another language is no doubt demanding, especially if people do not live in a country where the language is daily and are not exposed to it daily. Hence, teachers and learners often complain.

Hence, the Department of Education strengthens the English language use according to DO 36, s. 2006 otherwise known as Implementing Rules and Regulations on Executive Order No. 210 (Establishing the Policy to Strengthen the Use of English Language as a Medium of Instruction in the Educational System. Simultaneously, the policy states that English should be taught as a second language and shall be utilized as the medium of instruction in both public and private schools. 

On the other hand, Merino (2016) mentioned that as provided by DO no. 16, s. 2012, together with the new educational system, the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) has begun its implementation in 2012-2013 in all public schools from kindergarten to grade three. The English Language is used as a medium of instruction beginning from Grade 4, strengthening the Filipinos' patriotism and unity. However, due to various dialects, teachers would often switch from English to the learners' vernacular language to explain the concept in Mathematics, Science, and other subjects taught in English. However, this is not the sole reason for the language learning struggles of the learners.

Indeed, it is never an easy task for people to use English as a second language. Likewise, it is also not always easy for any Filipino learner to speak the English language. In most cases, learners often face huge problems and barriers when using the target language. No matter how the learners claim that they understood the English lessons, they can still notice that they cannot apply what they have learned and use the language effectively. Various factors affect the use of English that teachers and learners should look into as they hinder and effectively use the English language, such as the learners' negative attitude towards using the English language and the subject itself since they prioritize other subjects more than English and using patriotism and nationalism as an excuse for them to escape the use of English, the lack of practice where learners tend to use the target language only under the teacher's supervision, their inability to habituate its use, incorrect grammar, which hinders the learners from using the language, and lack of motivation, the inadequate and incorrect learning materials that are given to the learner as well as the flawed teaching methodology of the teachers, overuse of the learner's mother tongue, and the affective factors which include shyness, fear of making mistakes and being laughed at and lack of self-confidence among learners.

Nowadays, it is observed that learners do not use the English Language inside the classroom, even in English class, and are still using their native language and cannot express themselves in English effectively. Although speaking is considered a primary language skill that students should enhance, it has been widely observed that they face many difficulties in speaking English. According to Carpenter (2019), the 2000 Census of Population and Housing conducted by the Philippine National Statistics Office showed that 63.7% of Filipinos over the age of 5 reported an ability to speak English. In comparison, 96.4% of Filipinos speak Tagalog, one of more than 150 recognized languages and dialects spoken in homes across the Philippines. As presented in an article, Valderama (2019) pointed out that the Philippines’ decline from 14th place in the year 2018 to 20th place in the year 2019 English Proficiency Index (EPI) is truly alarming that the country’s education sector should immediately address. 

With the above insights in mind and facing the same gigantic problem, the researcher, who is an English teacher, believes that these difficulties, if not addressed, may worsen in the coming years, and may affect the country’s proficiency in the English language. She arrived at this study to gain more knowledge and understand the lived experience of Grade 9 English teachers and learners as they encountered the barriers that affect the use of the English language.

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