Introducing the competency-based approach to ESL instruction in Cameroon: A Freirean reading


  • Kiwoh Terence Nsai Department of English, University of Buea, Cameroon
  • Chia Kaki Jude Department of Linguistics, University of Buea, Cameroon


Freire, Dialogical, Top - Bottom


Education is not a banking process where all-knowing teachers stuff passive learners with static facts, but a dialogical process by which teachers also learn and learners also teach (Freire, 2000). In February 2013, the government of Cameroon through the Ministry of Secondary Education organized nation-wide week-long induction seminars for teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL). The goal was to get the teachers of ESL to understand the nature of and how to apply the Competency-Based Approach to English Language Teaching (CBAELT). The seminar was pedagogic in that the participants comprised ‘teachers’ (Regional Pedagogic Inspectors) and ‘learners’ (teachers of ESL). This study set out to, first, assess the relationship between the principles of the Competency-Based Approach to Language Teaching (CBALT), and the basis of Freire’s Dialogical Model of education, and, second, examine the extent to which the introduction of the CBAELT was dialogical. Data were obtained through participant observation and the CBAELT seminar document, and analysed using content analysis, interpretation and argumentation. The findings reveal that the principles of the CBALT largely align with Freire’s Dialogical Model of education. However, the top-bottom manner in which the CBAELT was introduced does adequately respond to the demands of Freire’s dialogical model of education.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

  • Kiwoh Terence Nsai, Department of English, University of Buea, Cameroon

    Terence Nsai Kiwoh holds a PhD in Sociolinguistics from the University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon. He currently lectures in the Department of English of the University of Buea. He has been a visiting lecturer of English and French linguistics to a number of universities in Central and West Africa since 2011. He also served as a Senior Researcher at the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, Cameroon from 2011 to 2020. His areas of research interest include English / French language teaching, Language Policy and language policy management, Contact linguistics and Translation issues.

  • Chia Kaki Jude, Department of Linguistics, University of Buea, Cameroon

    Jude Kaki Chia is a PhD. student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Buea, Cameroon, where he is also a Part-time Instructor on the Use of English Programme since 2016. He also teaches English as a Foreign Language and English for Specific Purposes to learners in higher institutions of learning in Cameroon. His research interests are English Language Teaching and sociolinguistics.


Auerbach, E. R. (1986). Competency-based ESL: One step forward or two steps back? TESOL
Quarterly 20(3): 411 – 415.

Docking, R. (1994). Competency-based curricula – the big picture. Prospect 9(2): 11 – 15.

Freire, P. (1970) Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum Books.

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed (M. B. Ramos, Trans.). New York, NY: The
Continuum. (Original work published 1968).

Garet, M.S., Porter, A.C., Desimone L., Birman, B.F., Yoon, K.S. (2001). What makes
professional development effective? Results from a national sample of teachers.
American Educational Research Journal, 38(4)915-945.

Ginsburg, M. (2012). Teachers as learners: A missing focus in ‘Learning for all.’ In S. Klees,
J. Samoff, and N. Stromquist (eds.), The World Bank and education: Critiques and
alternatives, pp. 83-94. Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Kazepides, T. (2012). Education as dialogue. Educational philosophy and theory, 44(9), 913-

Ministry of Secondary Education, Cameroon (2013). English language programme of study for
Anglophone secondary schools in Cameroon: the observation sub cycle (form one and two).

Newton, J. E. (2018). Teachers as learners: The impact of teachers’ morphological awareness on vocabulary instruction. Education Science 8, 62-7 doi:10.3390/educsci8040161.

Nkwetisama, C.M. (2012). The competency-based approach to English language education
and the walls between the classroom and the society in Cameroon: Pulling down
the walls. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 2 (3), 516-523.

Nouri, A., & Sajjadi, S. M. (2014). Emancipatory pedagogy in practice: Aims, principles and
curriculum orientation. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 5(2), 76-87.

Siéwoué, M. B. (2014): Competence-Based English Language Teaching in the Menoua
Division: a Teacher’s Perspective, unpublished Master of Arts dissertation, Dschang

Shih, Y. (2018). Rethinking Paulo Freire’s dialogic pedagogy and its implications for
teachers’ teaching. Journal of Education and Learning. 7(4) 230-235.

Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching
(Second Edition). Cambridge: CUP.

Soames, C. (2010). Using realia in the classroom. Retrieved May 20, 2020 from–Realia-in-the-Classroom&id=3937314

Vasquez-Martinez, C. R., Giron, G., Dela-Luz-Arellano, I. & Ayon-Bañuelos, A. (2013). The
effects of educational reform. Education Policy, Reforms and Leadership, 3, 254-258.







How to Cite

Introducing the competency-based approach to ESL instruction in Cameroon: A Freirean reading. (2021). International Journal of Research and Scholarly Communication, 4(1).