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STUDENTS' ATTITUDE AND PERFORMANCE IN THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE


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STUDENTS' ATTITUDE AND PERFORMANCE IN THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROND TO THE STUDY

English Language is a language that was brought into Nigeria by the white men. Nathn (2005).

According to Alabi (1999), the first obstacle confronted by the visitors (White men) was the communication barrier between the natives and them. There was then a pressing need to dislodge this obstruction, hence the need to teach the Basic English for communication, business transaction, missionary activities and for other official functions.

Since the introduction of English language in Nigeria by the British, it has waxed in importance in the minds of Nigerians. In recent years, its mastery is so valued that it is consciously or unconsciously equated with erudition by Nigerians. It is apparently its equation with learning, its economic utility and the people's seemingly natural desire for proficiency in a "foreign tongue" that can explain the enthusiasm and anxiety that characterizes the study of English at all levels of education in Nigeria. Amuzie (2009).

Abraham (2005) opined that since Nigeria is a country that is rich in its indigenous cultures and has so many ethnic groups with different languages, it became imperative that the English language be used as Lingua-Franca as well as an official language. It is a language of business and communication among Nations.

Adua (2001) states that the English language has become an important resource for self- enhancement. Social and political empowerment and also, an access to educational and job opportunities.

In spite of all the importance attached to it, the current status of English is viewed as ambiguous. Idiagbon (2007). This, in the sense that the importance of English as a lingua-franca and official language is in contrast with the neglect of the English instruction and failure to upgrade the language in general, among a great portion of the population.

Mediocre teachers and lectures who are unqualified in the field are employed to teach the subject. Daniel (2008).

According to Daniel (2008), there is the lack of a standard scheme of work to guide the teaching process. The current scheme of work especially that of English is not only porous (lacking some essential Items' or topics that can enhance the students' mastery of lexical and syntactic complexities of the language) but it is also infested with some incongruous topics which do not exist in English.

Idiagbon (2007) states that there is an ethnic influence on the English language, which hinders the population from learning and speaking the standard British English.

The Hausa people seem to be least that attaches great importance or exert pressure on themselves in speaking British Standard English. They do not regard their language as a primus interpose among Nigerian languages but also see the English language as a language of Christianity. Hence, dialectical English enjoins more recognition among them.

In the eastern part of the country, the influence of Pidgin English is highly noticeable. Pidgin, for long has been adopted as a language of inter- ethnic communication. As a result, the ‘freedom' enjoyed in the speaking of pidgin is hereby transferred to the real English language, already characterized by ethnic markers. This inhibits positive attitude and performance of students from those regions.

There have been no proper measures to upgrade the English language among a larger number of the society.

Coupled with these, Trifonovitch (1981) indicated that a student is automatically placed at a disadvantage, when he already has a language of his own and is asked to learn another language.

According to Bolaji (2006), it has .been observed that since students are learning the English language as a second language (L2), after acquiring basic knowledge of their indigenous language (L1), it becomes difficult and tasking to fully understand it. The students encounter so many challenges mentally, emotionally, and psychological adapting to the new language.

Most Nigerian students are apprehensive and afraid of the subject; English language especially the grammar classes. They are afraid of making grammatical errors when reading or writing the language. This is due to the importance the English language holds in the society and the world at large. The students are aware that much is required from them in the study of the language, if they really want to fit in properly in the society but these children are not positively motivated in the study of the language due to the lack of qualitative instruction given in schools. Adejoke (2007).

The ethnic influence on the language also reduces the user's commutative competence and promotes a lackadaisical attitude of Nigerian students towards attaining a standard form of E English. Abdullahi (2007).

The objectives of teaching English language in secondary schools are for the following specific purposes:



1.      To enable learners to understand the content of their education.

2.      To prepare the learners for full participation in the life of their country.

3.      To provide learners with a means of addressing and understanding a wider world.

4.      To give learners foundational level of competence roughly equal to that of the learner for whom English is a mother tongue and a level of usage which tolerates deviation that doesn't impair intelligibility.

5.      To give learners the pleasure derived from participating in English usage activities and reading, especially literary works that is commensurate to their level of understanding and or mastery of the language.

6.      To enable students to develop proficiency in the four major language and communicative skills- listening, speaking, reading and writing to their utmost capabilities.

From the analysis above, the multi- ethnic composition of Nigeria provides a guarantee that the English language will continue to be needed for purposes of general participation and assimilation in the social process. The nagging problem however, concerns the equality- of English that is taught and the method of handling the subject in the school system.

1.2    STATEMENT OF PROBLEM

Students are negatively motivated to learn English language due to the lack of qualitative instruction in English that is taught and the method at which the subject is handled in the school system.

The general public as well hasn't improved the situation. The kind of environment the students find themselves is not encouraging enough to facilitate the learning of standard British English. Thus, they have developed a negative attitude towards learning the language and this in turn has necessitated poor performances in the subject.

1.3    PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The purpose of the study is to help teachers develop effective strategies for successful classroom pedagogies. It would reveal the problems that inhibit positive attitude and performance of students in the subject and aid the teachers in better preparation and dissemination of instruction to students. Therefore, this study will focus on:

1.      The role of teachers' characteristics in the effective teaching and learning of English language.

2.      Effects of teachers teaching method in the accomplishment of the English language objectives.

3.      Problems faced by English language teachers that affects or influence teaching of the subject.

4.      Problems faced by students that affects or influence effective learning of the subject.

1.4    RESEARCH QUESTIONS

On the basis of the stated problems and purpose of this study, the following questions will guide the study.

1.      How does the characteristics of a teacher influence or affect the effective and performance of students In English language?

2.      To what extent does the teachers' teaching method influence the performance of students in the subject?

3.      What are the problems faced by teachers which affect effective teaching of the subject?

4.      What are the problems faced by students which affects their attitude and performance in learning the subject?

1.4    HYPOTHESES

1.      There is no significant difference in the characteristics of teachers in respect to teaching and learning of English Language in the various schools.

2.      There is no significant difference in the academic performance of students in English language in the various schools.

3       There is no significant difference in the attitude of students towards the teaching and learning of English language in the various schools.

4       There is no significant difference in the teachers teaching method used in teachingEnglish language in the various schools.

5       There is no significant effect of student's attitude on students' academic performance in English language.

1.5    SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The relevance of this study is to help the teachers understand the pedagogy of the language profession, so as to help the students learn it easily as well as gain mastery and competence in it.

It would also be a yardstick to the teaching and learning of the language, which would thereby encourage the students to adopt new approaches to learning the instruction. This would expose them to conceptualize and effectively manage their own learning. Thus, reinforcing it and transferring their training to practical situations.

1.6    SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The study-is concerned with the factors that affect the attitude and performance of students as well as the effective teaching and learning of the English language.

The study will cover three secondary schools in Ifako-Ijaye Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.7    DEFINITIONS OF TERMS

The following terms are used for the purpose of this research and are defined according to content.

EL:   English Language

ESL: English as Second Language

NE:   Nigerian English

L1:   The first language acquired, which most times is the mother- tongue

L2:   The second language acquired

MT:  Mother Tongue

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE: The language accepted to be used for communication among nations and Counties.

LINGUA FRANCA: The language accepted to be used within a country by its citizens. A unified language of communication amongst people within a country.

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