INFLUENCE OF DIFFERENT METHODS OF TEACHING ENGLISH LANGUAGE ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
Background of the study
Educationis a light that shows mankind the right direction to follow. The purpose of education is not just making a student literate but to add rationale thinking, knowledge and self-sufficiency. When there is willingness to change, there is hope for progression.
English is the language of the people of England. It originated from the Jute, Angles and Saxon who are the early settlers in Britain. It is part of the Germanic branch of the Indo European language family. At the initial stage English was confined to British alone. Later, it grew within the British Empire as a prestigious core language among all other European languages in the upper classes of London, Oxford, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Cambridge and England. It further developed and got to other people of the world. It spread to Asia, Germany, Africa and other continents as a native language or foreign languages
In Nigeria, English language is a second language and an official language and also a lingual Franca. This means that it is the language of unit, communication, economy, national pride, low, press, trade and education. As the language of instruction, it is an essential prerequisite for an advancement and career succession in the country. It means a lot in the life and progress of a learner as it is a key subject with profound influence on all the school subjects.
The key elements of the course are designated to cover the four basic language skills, which are: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing.
Teaching method of teaching is a proactive approach to improve or to integrate new teaching strategies and methods into a classroom. They are essential tools in the English language classroom. It improves the standard or quality of teaching, they allow student to interact with words, images, and ideas in ways that develop their abilities in reading, listening, speaking, viewing, thinking, writing and using media and technology.
A primary motive of using teaching method in teaching English language is to encourage the students to engage more in the learning process. When students interact with teachers and peers they gain more practical experience and retain more information from a class.
One finds it difficult to speak or learn the second language. As Wilkins (1972:101) puts it the effort of the second language learner to make utterances in the language is influenced not only by the sound of his mother tongue, but also by his structures.
Learning a second language needs some skills and components to be mastered. Among those skills and components, English language is one of the most crucial ones in language learning without which communication is not possible. Harmer (2001) argues that “if language structures makes up the skeleton of language, then it is English language that provides the vital organs and the flesh” (p. 24). Wilkins (1972) “Without grammar very little can be conveyed. But without English language nothing can be conveyed” (p.111, quotes in Lewis, 2000).
English language is a very important means to express our thoughts and feeling, either in spoken or written form. Indeed, neither literature nor language exists without English language. According to John (2010), he says that words are the bricks with which the poetry and the literature of the world have been built. It is mainly through using words that we compose and express our thoughts to others. We can tackle our own task through words. It shows words are powerful tools. Famous imperialist poet, Rudyard Kipling says that words are the most powerful drug used by mankind. Those who are rich in English language can speak and write English correctly. Therefore, the study of English language is at the center while learning a new language. English being a second language or foreign language, one needs to learn English language in the systematic way. In fact, withoutEnglish languagecommunication in a second or foreign language is not possible in a meaningful way. McCarthy (1990) argues:
‘No matter how well the student learns grammar, no matter how successfully the sounds of L2 are mastered, without words to express a wide range of meanings, communication in an L2 just cannot happen in any meaningful way'.
English language is needed for expressing meaning and in using the receptive (listening and reading) and the productive (speaking and writing) skills. It should be considered as an internal part of learning a foreign language since it leads the way to communication. Teachers are one of the main sources who can help their learners enrich and increase their English language. To do so, they employ wide variety of techniques for teaching English language.
Method means different things to different people, but to teachers, methods means a set of teaching procedures to follow in delivering lessons. It could mean the avoidance of certain pitfalls inherent in a given procedure. The difference in the definitions of various methods of teaching you have come across lies essentially in the way materials to be taught are selected, graded, presented, repeated, and evaluated, by individual teachers. In other words, the similarities of different methods out weight their differences, in essence, all language teaching methods involve a special selection of materials, graduation of the materials selected, presentation of the materials, and evaluation of what has been presented to determine whether the goals were achieved. Selection is necessary because one cannot teach every aspect of the language at a time, so the teacher has to pick and choose what to teach in a lesson.
There are many methods from which to pick and choose when preparing a lesson. Some methods could be effective for teaching some aspect of language, while ineffective for others. The language teachers have, therefore to evaluate the methods he wants to use before making use of them. The process of determining the effectiveness of a method has been formulated by Larsen-Freeman(1980).In the process the teacher determines his goals, and those of his learners, the nature of activities during the lesson, teacher/students interaction. Other things the teacher must determine about the methods to determine their effectiveness or otherwise include the feelings of the students, the language and language skills that are emphasized, and the role of mother tongue.
Finally, the teachers determine also the handling of students’ errors and the best way to evaluate teaching-learning outcomes. The teachers of English have a task before them to make a choice of method to use. The essence of the principles and process of determining the effectiveness of the method is presented to enable the teacher to decide which method or a combination of methods to use for their lesson. The important thing is for the teacher to acquire the knowledge about these methods, their applications in day- to- day teaching is solely his responsibility. However they should not lose sight of the sole aim of learning English in Nigeria.
Statement of the Problem
There has been an alarming rate of students’ failure in English language in external examinations conducted by West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO) in recent times. This trend has posed a serious concern to stakeholders in education industry. Nigeria is a country blessed with abundant human and materials resources; yet, there is nothing to show for it in terms of students’ academic performance.
However, many people including authorities of Ministry of Education were pointing accusing fingers to so many factors of which methods of instruction are very much involved. There are a lot of teaching methods used by instructors but the researcher wants to find out which of them will be found worthy. It is against this backdrop that this study is picked.
Purpose of the study
The main purpose of the study is to investigate the influence of different methods of teaching and learning of English language in Awgu local Government Area.
Specifically, the study intends:
i. to find the extent off the use of different methods in teaching and learning of English language.
ii. to find ways teachers can improve on their use of different methods of teaching in Awgu Local Government Area.
iii. to find out influence of gender in the use of different methods of teaching.
Significance of the Study
The study would be of importance to teachers of the English language, educational administrators, researchers and the public.
To teachers of the English language, the study would bring to light the various teaching methods in teaching English language. It will help them to improve in using teaching methods effectively in teaching since it affects students’ performance.
Educational administrators which include principals would appreciate the work because it would help them to know what goes on in the classrooms. They can easily correct the teachers during teaching and learning process to use the appropriate method of teaching since they are in position to do that.
Students and scholars who are engaged in research would find the work significant. It would serve as a reference material. The work would be of interest to the public for it would help them to know the important use of teaching methods in teaching.
The researcher believes that if the importances of teaching methods are identified and teachers improve in using them effectively, the relevant authority will help to promote its use in teaching and learning.
Scope of the study
The study was conducted among the teachers in some selected senior secondary schools in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu state. The work was limited to finding out the influence of different methods in teaching and learning of English language.
The teachers were selected for the work because through the performance of the learners in class and beyond they can be able to identify the most suitable methods in teaching and learning the English language.
The following questions guided the study:
1. What is the extent of the use of different methods of teaching and learning of English language?
2. What are the ways teachers can improve on their use of different methods of teaching?
3. To what level does the use of different methods of teaching and learning of English affect male and female students?.