INFLUENCE OF CLASS-SIZE ON TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS

INFLUENCE OF CLASS-SIZE ON TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

With the abolition of slave trade in Nigeria at the beginning of the 19th century, British Colonial interest shifted to agricultural production from exportation to Europe. During this period, precisely in 1842 and 1846 {2009 Britannica encyclopedia} the first missionary stations were established in Badagry (near Lagos in the South West) and Calabar (in the South-East) respectively. Then evangelism grew sporadically to produce the first generation of students who were made up of mainly children of slaves whom the village communities thought they would not miss much. As the British Colonial government felt the needs of African who were literate in English language, who would serve both trade and colonial interests, the missionary therefore in 1880s was officially ordered to teach English language in their schools. As time goes on English language became a language of concentration for reasons such as: it was financially rewarding to study English language more than any of theindigenous languages; certification became conditional upon passing English before any recognition or consideration is given. However, this development and the need to learn English as a Second Language {ESL} necessitated the establishment of the first state school in Nigeria in 1899. It is undoubtedly obvious that English language in Nigeria has an enormous importance so much that for over a century now, it has continued to enjoy the pride of place in all spheres of the nations endeavor – educational, business, communication to mention a few (Ogbonna, 2008).

English language today has gained constitutional recognition to have served as an official language and even gaining the advantage of being the First Language {L1} over the Mother Tongue {MT}. Despite all the importance and position of English language in the country’seducational system, English language still suffers set back in its output. This has been ascertained and established by various examination bodies, government, education planners and individuals. It is highly pathetic and embarrassing that a secondary school graduate could not write an error- free sentence. Some of these students are eloquent but their reading and writing are nothing to talk about (Opeola, 2007), some of this issues that can cause this set back are teachers teaching method, poor study habit of students and large class size.

Badures(2006) opined that class size is the number of students or individual in a particular classroom.He also opined that number of the students required in particular class should be below 40.Any class that has a total of 40 and above students is large class.  The effectiveness of class size onstudents’ achievement and motivation, and its synchronous relation to teaching process and teachers' workload, attitudes and motivation, is probably the  most written about but however a least explored topic in the educational field. Yet, there is no consensus definition in literature to what constitutes a large class as material developers, teachers and students in different parts of world have various perceptions of what frames large, small or ideal classes. According to Hayes (2007) there is no numerical determination of what shape a large class as teachers’ perceptions of large classes differs from one context to another.

Badures  (2006) believed that regardless of the number of students in a class, it is a teachers' perceptions towards the class size in a certain context with particular tools and facilities which are provided that make classes either small or large. Hence, we can say that large classes are those with a specific number of students that teachers cannot handle and resources are not enough to facilitate the teaching and learning process and can pose insurmountable problems for both teachers and students. Mulryan-Kyne (2010) also shares that view and points to a large class as "a class that is too large for effective teaching to occur". Brown (2001), on the other hand, believed that an ideal class should not exceed 12 students. In another word, a class should be big enough to offer variation and allow interaction and small enough to provide students with opportunities for participating and receiving individual attention.

Finn (2003) revealed that class size has great effects on students' social and academic involvement in the class and on the teachers’ personality as well. That is to say that students in small classes, on contrary to their peers in large ones, are always under pressure to participate in class activities as “they are on the frying line”, by being more visible to the teacher and may be called upon at any time to answer questions or to participate in a class activity" (page. 346). On a similar view, Resnick (2003) claimed that smaller classes elevate students' achievement as teachers in such context pay greater attention to each and every student, leaving students with no time to either be destructive or distracted by any means. Consequently, students in small classes encounter continuous pressure to engage in various activities and become active class. On a similar view, Normore and Ilon (2006) conclude that classes of a small size positively influence the teaching process as they encourage students and teacher engagement, allow students to be more cognitively engaged, offer ample time for teachers to cover the whole materials and provide safe school environment with fewer misbehaved students.

Al- Jarf's (2006) opined that some teachers hold negative views against large classes as they believe having many students in one class can cause some problems that affect them and their students. Some commonly comments heard by teachers are: there is no communication, the class is out of control, lack of individual attention and difficult to set effective group activities. Other teachers always emphasize that it is impossible to concentrate on all students and therefore not enough reinforcement will be made to encourage all to participate in different activities. Participants in Al- Jarf's (2006) study commented that "due to the size of the class they do not have enough time to pay attention to each student or give every student a chance to speak and participate" (Kennedy, 2006). In words, such context makes some students, especially the shy or weak ones to be neglected or left behind. Kennedy & Kennedy (2006) shared similar view as they believed it is difficult to overcome all of what occur in class when the number of students exceeds a certain limit.

On the contrary, teachers in small classes are able to pay great attention to their students and the benefit from the presented activities is considered to be high. From that, we can say that it is abundantly evident that English teachers encounter great challenges when teaching large classes as they encounter difficulties in knowing all students in the class, having time for all individuals or presenting effective activities and therefore many students, especially the weak ones, tend to lose concentration. Another problem which is borne out in the words of the teachers, and hinders the learning process in large classes is identifying and controlling students who tend to distract their classmates from concentrating on the lesson.

Lazear (2003) assumed that if a student misbehaves and begins disturbing the class, the teacher has to attend the disturbance and control the noise. Such action from one student or more in a large class will block the learning of that moment and demolish the capability of others to learn. Pedder (2003) confirms: in larger classes, more time is needed for non-academic activities related to administrative and organizational procedures and to the management and control of discipline. Reductions in the quantity of learning opportunities constrain teachers from achieving the necessary pace, depth and breadth of curriculum coverage as class size increases (Pedder, 2007). Noise level of some students is also considered to be a problematic issue as it will produce disturbance and prevent their classmates from learning. AL-Jarf (2006) recorded that "large class sizes inhibit small group activities and individualized instruction, because of the noise level and lack of space in the classroom). Admittedly, some researchers have found that classroom noise is a result of students' boredom, vague instructions of activities presented in class and teachers' low voice (Harmer, 2000; Lacastro, 2001 and Zhang, 2008).

Statement of the problem

 Despite the importance of English language in our society, it still suffers set-back in all our institutions of learning, the secondary school is not left out of this language trauma. It has been discovered that most complaints by students and teachers of English language is the alarming rate which the class-size increases. The truth of the matter is that the first curriculum priority is language. Therefore, English language as far as Nigeria is concerned provides a connecting tissue by which all other subjects are pursued. It is as a result of this that the researcher needs to throw a search light on this subject matter to ascertain the fact if truly class-size affects teaching and learning of English language. More so, it shall be known at the end of this research, the ways by which teachers of English language can teach their subject effectively in an over-crowded class.

Nevertheless, a strong willingness to investigate the influence of large classes on English language teaching according to teachers' perceptions made the researcher undertake this study where the main theme of this study is to list the problems Nigeria secondary teachers/students encounter when learning English in large classes. Therefore, it is the researcher intention to draw on a selection of studies from different research to, firstly, examine the study main goal which is the influence of class size on English teaching and learning, secondly, provide personal examples culled from actual experience, thirdly, recognize the issues of concern to English teachers facing these large classes and finally, furnish some recommendations to facilitate the teaching and learning process. This is because Observations have revealed that most of our classes in secondary schools have not less than fifty students; this is an indication that for each of the classes, there would be the challenges of the classroom management, classroom control, classroom maintenance and deviance for the teacher.

Purpose of the Study

The main objective of this study is to find out the influence of class-size on teaching and learning of English Language in Senior Secondary Schools in Educational Zone.

The following research purpose have been outlined for the study

1.         To find out ways class size affects teaching and learning of English

           Language in senior secondary schools in Enugu Education zone

2.         To examine the effectiveness of policy guiding teacher-student ratio in teaching English language in senior secondary school

3.         To examine how effective is the use of instructional materials in an overcrowded classroom environment.

4.         To determine the measures to be adopted for effective teaching and learning of English Language.

Significance of the Study

The study when completed would enable the teacher to know the dangers associated with over-crowded classroom. It would assist the government and education planners on recruitment and supervision of teachers bearing in mind the expected teacher-learner ratio. The study will assist in providing a guide in the realization of one of the core objectives of Nigeria education which is to make Nigeria one of the technological advanced countries in the world.

Scope of the Study

This research work focuses on the influence of class size in effective teaching and learning of English Language in  Senior Secondary Schools located in Enugu Educational Zone.  This research work has been limited to identifying the influence of class size in effective teaching and learning of English language in senior secondary schools. The study discloses the relationship between class size and instructional materials used in teaching and learning English Language in Senior Secondary School in Enugu Educational Zone.  This means that class size affect the use of instructional materials in teaching and learning English Language in Senior Secondary Schools.  Also in this study the importance of cognitive field leaning theory and system theory in teaching and learning process cannot over emphasized.

Research Questions

1.         In what ways does class size influence teaching and learning of English Language in Enugu Education zone?

2.         How effective is the policy guiding teacher-student ratio in teaching English language in senior secondary school in Enugu Education zone?

3.         How does class size affect the use of instructional materials in teaching English language in senior secondary school in Enugu Education zone?

4.         What are the measures to be adopted for effective teaching and learning of English Language in Enugu Education zone?

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How To Write Chapter Three Of Your Research Project (Research Methodology)

  • Methodology In Research Paper


    Chapter three of the research project or the research methodology is another significant part of the research project writing. In developing the chapter three of the research project, you state the purpose of research, research method you wish to adopt, the instruments to be used, where you will collect your data, types of data collection, and how you collected it.

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