Uploaded by pshtiwan salah


Kurdistan Regional Government-Iraq
Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research
Soran University-Erbil
Faculty of Arts- English Department
The Similarities and Differences between Public and Private Schools
in Learning English Language as Second Language: Soran City
Schools as an Example
Prepared by:
Pshtiwan Salah Hasan
Supervised by:
Chia Khorsheed Faqe
This paper aims at investigating the differences and similarities between private and public schools in
learning English language as a second language: Soran city schools as an example. Throughout the paper, the
researcher used mixed methods of both quantitative and qualitative. Ten close-ended questions and two openended questions were used to collect the data. The participants were from both public and private schools. There
were 25 participants in the study: male and female teachers of English language. The results show that learning
in public schools is not acceptable and the environment is not suitable for studying. However, learning in
private schools is organized and the environment is convenient for learning the language.
Keywords: English language, similarities, differences, language learning, public schools, private schools.
Education refers to the systematic process of gaining knowledge and skills through the study and instructions.
Education has many benefits and has a positive impact in our life. (Tripathi, 2014)
In other words, education is the backbone of any country (community), and we get education from two sides, which
are public, and private schools. Yet with the development of private schools in the past few years in Kurdistan region as
whole, more specifically in Soran city, and educating/teaching children beside public schools, parents continually face
this significant query whether they have to choose a public or private school. Additionally, it is quite clear that these two
sectors have countless number of differences, advantages, disadvantages, and problems exist in both of them. Moreover,
English has become a very effective language in the entire world, especially in Kurdistan region. Therefore, parents
search for best school to opt and attend their children in.
Naved discovers that there are many factors, which make the English language essential to communication. The first one
is; it is the most common foreign language. This means two people who come from different countries use English as a
common language. Yet everyone needs to learn it to get in touch on international level. Therefore, if you speak it, you can
communicate with the entire world. (Davis, 2011, pp. 1,45,53,54)
Ellen Booth Church a New York based consultant in early childhood education states “If you want a good, general, all
around education, a really strong public school might be your best bet” (Boland, 2016). On the other hand, Kennedy and
Robert release a statement: “private school can teach whatever it likes and present it in any way it chooses. That is
because parents choose to attend their children to a specific school which has a program and educational philosophy with
which they are comfortable” (Kennedy). Yet Mark Dynarke who was a teacher in both schools says a school’s
classification as public or private does not make much difference. (Dynarski, 2014)
Moreover, (Cornell, 2016) reveals that private school is business, and business operates under the premise that they make
money. Public schools goals are incentive by test grades rather than profit, so schools want to make sure that their
students are learning enough that they will be able to pass the tests. Curriculum, in private school: it is pretty much a
guarantee that your private school is going to provide the teacher with the class materials that he/she will need to teach
their core curriculum. Public school: at a public school like a high school or college the teacher are much more likely to be
expected to create entire class plans for an entire semester. Many studies have been attempted to negotiate the differences
between both private and public schools, or which one is better; these are described in detail in the literature review.
Review of related literature
As any other country across the world, in Kurdistan region there are two places to attend learners to study. These
two places are public and private schools. Yet the English language is studied in both of them, and the importance of
English language lead the parents to think where they should attend their children, which sector is better to teach English
language, and which sector’s teachers have higher English proficiency. Due to quite far differences between private and
public schools in learning English as second language, different studies have been investigated about the similarities and
differences between these two sectors.
According to Blythe Grossberg, here are some questions in which we have to ask ourselves about the similarities and
differences between public and private schools, these questions are about class-size, teachers preparation, how schools
prepare students for universities or institutions, the activities and services that the school offers, and the attitude of the
other students in the school. (Grossberg, 2017)
In addition, statistics discover that public schools tend to have more racially and ethnically diverse student
populations. Yet, they have more students with limited English proficiency, and personal problems that interfere with
learning are more of a problem in public schools. There was another study, done by Maureen Boland in which reveals that
both schools have benefits. The benefits of public schools: teachers have more qualification, students spend more time
studying core subjects, public schools can sponsor more activities, and the student’s population tends to be more diverse.
The advantages of private schools: schools and classes tend to be much smaller, there is often less bureaucracy, and
parents involvement is strong. (VanDuzer, 2014)
Moreover, private schools are more concentrated to the children’s education. Teachers in private schools often earn
more and can be more dedicated when working with parents who are as equally dedicated to their children. In public
schools, learners often misbehave because they feel that teachers do not care about them, so they think that they can do
whatever they want. Private schools have their own curriculum, the teachers have their own style of teaching, and the
students have to follow. Yet the style of a teacher is different compared to another one. In public schools, teachers have a
certain curriculum to follow. Another conducted study reveals that there are differences between staffing of
teachers in both public and private schools by demographic and characteristics. (Allegretto, 2014, pp. 1-3)
Furthermore, according to Junius A. Davis and Norman Frederiksen, students who study at public schools, they
are from families of lower socio-economic statues compared to students who study at private schools. For them
college may be a means to enhance their statue, while for the private school students high statue of the family is
already attained and it is only necessary to maintain it. Yet, the public schools graduates in their first year of
the studying at college may not have acquired skills of organization and criticism to the extent that the private
schools graduates have. Moreover, the public school graduates improve more than the private school graduates
in such academic skills improve and appear to overachieve in the sophomore year. (By Hahn, et al., 2014)
“Seven studies of public and private school results on national and international tests in Australia have been
published in the last five years. Six of them show no statistically significant differences between the results of
public and private schools” (Chan, 2015, pp. 7-15)
Based on Sandy’s study, proponents of private education argue that private schools offer higher quality at
lower costs. Others contend that public schools are better suited to meet the national’s educational demands.
Several studies provide some empirical support of the relative efficiency of private schools in finding that
students from these schools outperform public school students on standardized tests. (Sandy, 2007, pp. 177-191)
Scheper has another view, three factors are very important for making difference between public and private
schools including teacher quality, class size, and curriculum. First, teacher quality, the classroom teacher plays a
big part in the academic success of a student. In addition, public school teachers reported participating in more
forms of professional development than teachers in other schools did. Class size, a big part of the educational
atmosphere of a school depends on the size. It is commonly assumed that private schools are always smaller.
Concerning curriculum, a school’s curriculum includes the amount of classes, the quality of classes, and the
workload required for those classes. Private schools, with limited money and teachers, may not always be able
to meet those specialized needs. Public schools often have the staff and funds to offer a larger variety of
classes. (Scheper, 2013, pp. 14-27)
The findings of the University of Queensland's research send a simple message for parents who send their
children to private schools. If you think you are getting some advantage in education outcomes from sending
your child to a private school rather than a government school, think again" (Bagshaw, 2015)
In this study, the researcher used both mixed methods of quantitative and qualitative, by using a questionnaire
in order to collect the data.
The participants who contributed were 25 English language teachers. 13 teachers were in public schools and 12
teachers were in private schools. Yet, they were in both genders male and female. Additionally, the teachers
were in different stages in primary schools, secondary schools, and high schools.
The researcher uses a questionnaire to collect date. The questionnaire hand it out among the teachers of public
and private schools in Soran city. It consists of 10 close-ended questions and 2 open-ended questions. The
close-ended questions have 5 scales which are (strongly agree, agree, strongly disagree, disagree, iam not sure).
Result of Quantitative:
Table one
Throughout the paper, the researcher came across to the following findings that illustrated below.
Sample Mean Standard Degree Sig
deviation of
freedom 0.05
Private 12
34,66 3,62
There is statistic difference between
24,38 5,25
As it is illustratedin the sample, 25 teachers have answered the questionnaire, 12 teachers in private schools and 13
teachers in public schools. Yet the mean of private school is 34, 66, and the mean of public school is 24, 38, so there is a
big difference between public and private schools. Learning is not acceptable in public schools; on the other
hand, learning in private schools is organized.
Result of Qualitative’s First Question of Public school participants.
According to the participants view to the first question "You as an English teacher, what is your teaching style to help
the students to learn English? The answer of participant 1, 2, and 3 is, we mostly teach our students new English words
during the lecture and tell them to memorize the words, and then we teach them the grammar rules and the way to put the
words in a right order, because this would help the learners to learn the language. The participant 6 and 9 say, we have
conversations and dialog every day in which learners can practice their English in that way. They also say we explain the
lecture, after that we take two students to talk about what we have covered just like a revision and speaking skill practice.
The participant 7, 8, and 10 say, we do believe daily participation is the key. Therefore, we mainly as teachers do not
speak a lot, but we motivate and help the learners to participate.
Result of Qualitative’s First Question of Private school Participants.
According to the participants view to the first question" You as an English teacher, what is your teaching style to help
the students to learn English? The respond of the majority of the participants is very similar to each other. They say the
only spoken language in class is English language; we do not use the native language except some very necessary
moments. Yet, we mostly rely on group working, because some of the students fell shy when they speak to the teacher,
but they do not feel shy to speak with their classmates. Therefore, they express their ideas and thoughts to the group, and
the group-mates get benefit from it. Moreover, we use CDs and audios to play conversations for the students to help them
develop their listening skill. Because we do not only work on one skill, we work on all the skills especially speaking
which is the most important skill in any languages. Furthermore, we have lunch with our students inside the class to build
and create a friendly environment, decrease the differences between home and school environment and in order to help
them to feel happy, secure and comfortable in class.
Result of Qualitative’s Second Question of Public school participants.
Participants view point toward second question "Could you please identify the challenges and difficulties that you
face during your teaching process? The answer of participant 1 and 2 is we do not have any difficulties during teaching
process. The respond of participant 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, is the school tools are not suitable for studying such as desk,
class size, white boards, AC etc. Yet, more than the standard number students are attended in each class-room. Moreover,
the time is not enough to explain the lecture. Furthermore, the electricity is very bad, that is why in winter we feel cold,
and we feel hot in summer. Therefore, we are not able to teach the learners well. Meanwhile, they also cannot learn and
study well. The answer of participant, 4, 5, and 13 is there are hundreds of challenges that we face during teaching
Result of Qualitative’s second question of Private school Participants.
Participants view point toward second question "Could you please identify the challenges and difficulties that you face
during your teaching process? The answer of participant 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 is we do not face any challenges and
difficulties during the lectures. The responds of participant 4, 5, 6 and 12 is there are some very talkative students that
speak a lot during the lecture. Yet, there is sometimes noise behind the classroom’s windows and doors that bother us,
especially when the other classes learners are outside and have no class.
The findings gained from this study point out that Soran city public and private schools have countless number
of differences and a few similarities. Yet, the main differences between public and private schools are in three
very effective terms, which are environment, teachers and learners. The environment of public schools is quite
different compared to the environment of private schools. In addition to that, more than the standard number
students are attended in each classroom. For example, there is a two-passenger desk, but three learners are
sitting on the desk due to the class size and lack of desks and chairs. Moreover, public schools do not provide
necessary services such as library, reading hall, sport stadium, music hall, cafeteria, rest room and many more.
Overall, they do not have teaching facilities. In contrast, private schools have these necessary things. The
second difference is about teachers. The teachers who are teaching in private schools have employed based on
some criteria and after going through by tests and phases. For instance, they have to send their CV to the
administration of the school, and then they would have an interview in order to check the ability and proficiency
of the teachers. However, in public schools, teachers have employed randomly. For example, some teachers
teach English language and they have no certificate in English language, or some other teachers who teach sport, they
have certificate in Arabic language. There are a few teachers who teach in both schools, they prepare good lessons and
give much more knowledge in private schools, because there is sort of observation. Additionally, based on the numbers
the teachers who are single teach better and prepare themselves better comare to those who are married. However, they do
not do this in public schools because there is no observation. The third and perhaps the last difference between both
sectors is learners. The students of private schools are introvert because they are from high-class families and do not
socialize and make friends easily, and taechers help the students to improve all the skills of language, not noly reading and
writing. On the other hand, the learners of public schools are sociable, because they are from middle and low classes in
which grew up in a variable atmosphere compare to high-class family students, and students’ listening and speaking
skilles are not improved in public schools. All in all the outcome of both public and private schools is quite
different in gaining education as whole, particularly in learning English language.
Recommendations for public and private schools
Based on the findings, there are many drawbacks in public schools and a few in private schools. Yet there are
many recommendations for both sectors in almost most of the terms. The first one is building more schools and
employing more teachers, this is for public schools as well as ministry of education. This helps the teachers who
have so many lectures in a week. For example, some teachers have 25 lectures per week, this make the teachers
tired, not to be well prepared and frustrated. Building more schools also decreases the number of learners in
classes in which helps the teachers and students to interact more with each other. Moreover, the second
suggestion is for public schools teachers. They should use CDs, audios, pair working, and group working, rather
than relying on the old methods and approaches such as grammar translation method and avoiding
memorization. On the other hand, the only suggestion for private schools is employing both genders, male and
female teachers because most of the teachers are female, and help the students to become sociable members of
society, developing learners’ communication skills because most of them are introvert.
Allegretto, S. A., 2014. Teacher staffing and pay differences: public and private schools. Monthly Labor Review.
Bagshaw, E., 2015. [Online]
Available at: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/private-v-public-schooling-20150416-1mm8bn.html
[Accessed 8 May 2017].
Bagshaw, E., 2015. www.smh.com. [Online]
Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/private-v-public-schooling-20150416-1mm8bn.html
[Accessed 1 MAY 2018].
Boland, M., 2016. [Online]
Available at: https://www.babycenter.com/0_public-vs-private-which-is-right-for-your-child_67271.bc
[Accessed 7 May 2017].
Boland, M., 2016. [Online]
Available at: https://www.babycenter.com/0_public-vs-private-which-is-right-for-your-child_67271.bc
[Accessed 8 May 2017].
By Hahn, S., Kim, T.-H. & Seo, B., 2014. Effects of Public and Private Schools on Academic Achievement. Seoul Journal of
Chan, M. F. a. P. C. W., 2015. Academic Outcomes of Public and Private High School Students: What Lies Behind the
Differences?. Statistics Canada.
Cobbold, T., 2015. [Online]
Available at: www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11f0019m/11f0019m2015367-eng.pdf
[Accessed 8 May 2017].
Cornell, G., 2016. [Online]
Available at: http://www.chinasquat.com/china-advice/choosing-esl-schools-private-vs.-public
[Accessed 7 May 2017].
Commons@Georgia Southern.
Dynarski, M., 2014. [Online]
Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/research/public-or-private-school-it-shouldnt-matter/
[Accessed 7 May 2017].
Dynarski, M., 2014. Public or Private School? It Shouldn’t Matter. [Online]
Available at: https://www.brookings.edu/research/public-or-private-school-it-shouldnt-matter
[Accessed 2 December 2017].
Educational Testing Service Princeton, New Jersey, p. 10.
Grossberg, B., 2017. [Online]
Available at: https://www.thoughtco.com/major-differences-between-public-and-private-2773898
[Accessed 8 May 2017].
Grossberg, B., 2017. For Students & Parents. [Online]
Available at: https://www.thoughtco.com/major-differences-between-public-and-private-2773898
[Accessed 3 january 2018].
Kennedy, R., 2016. [Online]
Available at: https://www.thoughtco.com/comparison-of-private-and-public-schools-2773903
[Accessed 7 May 2017].
Naved, Z., 2015. [Online]
Available at: https://owlcation.com/humanities/importanceofenglishlanguages
[Accessed 7 May 2017].
Eastren Economic Journal, p. 177.
Sandy, K. C. D. a. J., 2007. [Online]
Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/20642346?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
[Accessed 8 May 2017].
Schools, P. S. v. P., 2017. [Online]
Available at: http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=82351
[Accessed 8 May 2017].
Statistics, N. C. f. E., 1997. [Online]
Available at: https://nces.ed.gov/pubs97/97983.pdf
[Accessed 8 May 2017].
Tojerow, S. A. a. I., 2014. Teacher staffing and pay differences: public and private schools. Monthly Labor Review, U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, p. https://doi.org/10.21916/mlr.2014.33..
Tripathi, S., 2014. [Online]
Available at: http://www.importantindia.com/10509/importance-of-education/
[Accessed 7 May 2017].
Tripathi, S., 2014. importantindia. [Online]
Available at: https://www.importantindia.com/10509/importance-of-education/
[Accessed 15 November 2017].
VanDuzer, T., 2014. Private vs Public Schools–Which is Best for Your Child’s Future?. http://student-tutor.com.
The environment of your
school is suitable for
Your school provides
necessary kind of
services such as library,
reading hall, music hall,
sport hall, etc.
Class-room size, desks,
and other tools of your
school are suitable for
In your school, more
than the standard number
learners are attended in
each class-room.
In your school, all the
teachers who teach
English got certificate in
English language.
Strongly agree agree
English teachers of your
school speak English
during the lecture, and
they creat an English
environment for the
In your school, teachers
interact with the
In your school, teachers
use teaching facilities.
In your school, learners
have dialoge in English
at the end of the class.
10 The teachers of your
school concentrate on all
the skills.
Open ended questions:
1. You as an English teacher, what is your teaching style to help the students to learn English?
2. Could you please identify the challenges and difficulties that you face during the teaching process?