Despite numerous initiatives by both governmental and non-governmental organizations, primary level students’ skills in English language are still below the expected level in Bangladesh (Hamid & Honan, 2012; Sultana, 2010). Our study examined reasons behind the limited participation of EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners in primary level classrooms in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. To conduct the research, we followed an explanatory sequential mixed methods design (Creswell, 2014; Creswell & Creswell, 2018; Ivankova & Stick, 2007). We collected data from 37 male and 23 female students in grades four and five through questionnaire surveys and three focus group discussions (FGDs). We also collected data from five teachers through interviews and three class observations. We found that teachers had less motivation to create an interactive learning environment for the students due to heavy teaching loads and administrative assignments. Many of the students had low academic expectations and motivation, lived in poor socio-economic conditions that required them to work, and were impacted by frequent natural disasters that interrupted their regular classes. The results of our research provide insights for educationists and policymakers related to primary education in disaster-prone coastal areas as well as other rural parts of the country.


mixed methods, primary level learner, EFL classroom, coastal areas of Bangladesh

Author Bio(s)

Md. Abu Sufian is a senior lecturer at the Brac Institute of Languages (BIL), which is affiliated with Brac University in Dhaka. Over the course of a decade, he has made significant contributions to the institution. He published research articles, in addition to actively participating in both national and international conferences where he has presented papers on topics central to his areas of expertise. His interests include Teacher Education, Technology in Education, and Challenges in ESP (English for Specific Purposes) and EAP (English for Academic Purposes). Currently, he is pursuing an M.Phil. degree at the Bangladesh University of Professionals (BUP) that will continue to deepen his knowledge and contribute to the academic community. Please direct correspondence to sufiandew99@gmail.com

Dr Sayeedur Rahman is professor and former Chairman of the Department of English Language at the Institute of Modern Languages (IML), University of Dhaka. He received his Ph.D. in English Language Teaching. He was also a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the City University of New York’s (CUNY) Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC). He has extensively worked as an ESL/EFL teacher and researcher for the last 22 years and has published widely in the areas of Second Language Acquisition, TESOL and Sociolinguistics. He has worked as a consultant and led several ELT projects with the Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC), the Open University-UK, UNICEF, Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), the British Council and English in Action (EIA). He was the recipient of prestigious Researcher Links fellowships from the British Council, UK and worked as a Visiting Fellow at the Open University, UK. He was also a recipient of the American Centre’s fellowship for Professional Development for Teacher Trainer module from Arizona State University in 2018. Dr. Rahman is a certified Master Trainer by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the British Council, Bangladesh. He is also the founder and President of one of the largest Teaching Associations - TESOL Society of Bangladesh. His expertise and research interests include academic writing in the ESL context, EFL syllabus design and materials development, socio-psychological study of EFL/TESOL, sociolinguistics, individual differences in language learning and EAP/ESP. Please direct correspondence to sayeedur.rahman@gmail.com


This empirical study received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for profit sectors.

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