TEACHER’S PERCEPTION ON THE CAUSES OF STUDENTS’ FAILURE IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS. (A CASE STUDY OF STUDENTS IN ODEDA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF NIGERIA)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Language in any human society is an important human heritage. The significance of language in human life cannot be over-emphasized. It is indeed central not only to our social interactions and relationships, but also in distinguishing us and enabling others to ascertain the position in the society. This would explain why people with speech or hearing disabilities find it difficult to integrate and participate fully in their communities. What this means is that every language community has developed unique modes of using its language. At the same time, each language has been moulded in a special way to serve the needs of the community that speaks it. In this way, every language is a unique system and therefore, a resource for humankind. It is because of the many unique systems in each language that we talk of linguistic diversity. This linguistic diversity, like bio-diversity, is an important feature of our universe. The many languages spoken by the various world populations signify the communication problems, which human societies are likely to face in their day to day interactions.
Generally, all languages are unique in some senses because languages, the world over, are not only significant to the personal and social well-being of their speakers, but they are also valuable as a resource and constitute an invaluable heritage for humanity. This is because each human language has a unique linguistic inventory and rules, reflects its own cultural experience, expresses its own world view and manifests its own artistic peculiarities. Thus, taken together, all the many world languages have an enormous wealth of linguistic, cultural, world view and artistic phenomena to offer mankind. The complexity of human languages, has many implications for the scholastic understanding of a language that is foreign to us.
Today, as a result of globalization, there has been an increasing need to interact at both official and unofficial levels. In particular, nationals of different countries have to move from one geographical region to another, needing a language of communication. In this case, some languages such as English Language, French, Spanish, German and Arabic have become what can be described as second language in many communities of the world. In order words, they have become the language of communication, interaction and relationship. For this reason, these languages mentioned above, need to be learnt if we must develop along with others.
In Nigeria, English language has been accepted as the official language since colonial rule. In spite of this long history of English language as an official language, many Nigerians do not still communicate in the language except during official engagement. The reason for this is because English language is not the first language of Nigerians. In Nigeria, English Language exists in relation to some major national languages such as Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and many others, which total about 400 languages. In a circumstance like this and being a former British colony, English language has naturally become a means of communicating ideas and information at both official and unofficial levels. It serves a very important means of establishing and maintaining unifying relationship with other people of diverse cultures and mother tongues.
Over the year, English language in Nigeria has become diversified with emergence of some native versions such as the Nigerian Pidgin English (NPE) and the Nigerian Standard English, which are spoken alongside the local languages and national languages. With this development, it has been possible for many Nigerians to code-switch and code-mix in their day to day interactions. It is important to note that the choice of any of these varieties as a means of communication depends on the educational level of the actors in the social interactions. In spite of the existence of these varieties, the English language as handed down by the colonial masters, still remains the official language of communication, interaction and relationship in Nigeria. It is also the only one that is recognized as a subject to be taught in the Nigerian educational system.
Consequent upon the above, English Language is taught at almost all levels of educational system in the country and therefore, is introduced to students right from the pre-primary to the tertiary level. English language thus becomes a major criterion for admission into tertiary institutions and a compulsory subject that must be taken in the University Matriculation Examination conducted by the Joint Admission Matriculation Board as every candidate that sits for the examination must compulsorily take use of English as a paper, along with three other subjects. English language being a second language in Nigeria, must therefore be learnt. Learning and comprehension of any language involves proper understanding of the people’s culture, which can only be facilitated through numerous literature about the people. Learning of foreign language like English is therefore, impossible without an adequate understanding of the study about the people. It is in this context that this study theoretically examines the place of literature in the teaching and understanding of English as a second language. In order to achieve this objective, the remaining part of this study is organized to consist of conceptual issues, an overview of the problems of learning of English language in Nigeria, relationship between language and literature, benefits of using literature to teach language any language.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Nigeria is a multilingual Nation with over 400 languages. Communication among the various ethnic groups pose a difficulty. English is the official language of Nigeria and it has really enjoyed pride of place in most developing countries. It is considered as an important subject in school curriculum ranging from primary schools to higher institutions. Many students who failed English Language in Secondary Schools find it difficult to gain admission into higher institution because it is a required subject for admitting students into higher institution.
Many of the students failed English Language in secondary schools because it is not their L1 language or mother tongue.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this research is to investigate the ideas, methods and activities that are used in the teaching of English Language in secondary school classrooms, and look at the teachers´ perceptions of their English language teaching, and how it influences the teaching and learning process and the causes of students’ failure in English Language. Moreso, the roles English teachers and schooling play in an environment where they have no access to a fully functioning language of education. It will also check the measures for preventing further causes of failure in English Language.
1.4 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study shall focus on teachers’ perception in the causes of students’ failure in English Language in Secondary Schools. In this case, this study will view the plight of teachers’ perception in the causes of students’ failure English Language among some selected Secondary Schools in Odeda Local Government, Ogun State. It is hoped that this study will serve as an eye opener to assist the Educational Officers in the Ministry, Schools and other Educational bodies, to guide them against mass failure in English Language. Also, the result of this study can serve as a guide to what the situation will be in other parts of the country.
1.5 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This project work is limited to Secondary Schools in Odeda Local Government area of Ogun State, Nigeria.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTION
This research work is to provide answers to the following questions
⦁ Why do student fail English Language in secondary schools.
⦁ What are the causes of students failure in English Language in Odeda Local Government.
⦁ What are Teachers perception or attitude towards students mass failure in English.
⦁ What are the teaching methods used by secondary school teachers of English Language.
⦁ What are students attitudes towards their failure in English Language.
1.7 DEFINITION OF KEY TERMS
⦁ENGLISH: Is the primary language of several countries (including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and a second language in a number of multilingual countries (including India, Singapore, Nigeria and the Philippines).⦁
It is widely learned as a second language and is an official language of the United Nations of the European Union and of many other world and regional international organizations.
⦁ LANGUAGE: Can be defined as a human system of ⦁ communication that uses arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written ⦁ symbols. The study of language is called ⦁ linguistics. Alternative "Language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of voluntarily produced symbols."
(Edward Sapir, Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech. Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1921) "A language is a system of arbitrary vocal symbols by means of which a social group cooperates."
(B. Bloch and G. Trager, Outline of Linguistic Analysis. Waverly Press, 1942) From now on I will consider a language to be a set (finite or infinite) of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements."
⦁ TEACHER : A teacher is a person who provides education for students. Teachers also provides instruction in literacy and numeracy, craftsmanship or vocational training, the arts, religion, civics, community roles, or life skills.
⦁ STUDENT: Is a learner, or someone who attends an educational institution. It is also used for anyone who is learning, including mid-career adults who are taking vocational education or returning to university, or younger researchers or artists learning from a more experienced colleague and mentor.
⦁ SECONDARY SCHOOL: In Nigeria, secondary school is for children from ages 10 to 20. Secondary education is divided into two parts: the junior and senior secondary education. The junior secondary education is pre-vocational and academic in scope. For students to continue into senior secondary school, they have to making passing grades in the Junior Secondary School Certificate Examinations. In senior secondary school, students are allowed to choose which areas to concentrate on, be it science, arts, commercial or technical studies. All students have to sit for a Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE). There are two of this: the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) and the National Examination Council (NECO). Students must pass this before being admitted into any university.
⦁ PERCEPTION: Is the organization, identification, and interpretation of sensory information in order to represent and understand the environment. Also the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted.
⦁ NIGERIA PIDGIN: Is an English-based pidgin and Creole language spoken as a lingua franca across Nigeria. The language is commonly referred to as "Pidgin" or "Brokin". It is distinguished from other Creole languages since most speakers are not true native speakers, although many children do learn it at an early age. It can be spoken as a pidgin, a Creole, or a decreolised acrolect by different speakers, who may switch between these forms depending on the social settings.