Jamaican Students’ Confidence, Sociolinguistic Background, and Oral Performance in Standard English
This paper reports on research into the ability of students at the Edna Manley College School of Drama in Kingston, Jamaica to perform a poem using Standard English (SE). The task is important since the oral use of SE at this college level is compulsory. This study analyses the correlations between the students’ self-reported levels of confidence performing a poem using SE, their assessed oral performance, and their sociolinguistic and educational backgrounds. The data was drawn from questionnaires and an assessment of students’ oral performance of the poem. The analysis found that sociolinguistic and educational background and exposure to SE connect to the students’ level of confidence in SE. Students’ explanations revealed a relationship with SE based on technical skills. This external relationship with the standard prevents them from developing a satisfactory level of language performance at the college level.
Issue: Number 24