EFFECTS OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS ON THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The influence of instructional materials in promoting students’ academic performance and teaching and learning in educational development is indisputable. The teaching of English language in Nigerian secondary schools needs to be properly handled. The materials used by teachers to teach and drive home their subject points at the primary and secondary school levels of our education system is incontrovertibly a paramount issue in practical classroom interaction and successful transfer of knowledge from the teacher to the learners. Instructional materials are materials which assist teachers to make their lessons explicit to learners. They are also used to transmit information, ideas and notes to learners (Ijaduola 1997). Instructional materials include both visuals and audiovisuals such as pictures, flashcards, posters, charts, tape recorder, radio, video, television, computers among others. These materials serve as supplement to the normal processes of instruction.
English Language is an important and fundamental subject that must be credited by students before gaining admission into any tertiary institution. The importance and technicality of this subject makes it necessary that relevant instructional materials should be used to teach it to the learners.
This fact is supported by Macaulay (1989) who asserts that visual aids make lesson come alive and help students to learn better. It is against this background that this study attempts to examine the extent to which the utilization of instructional materials could advance junior secondary school students performance in English language.
Poor academic achievement in English Language could be attributed to many factors among which teacher’s strategy itself was considered as an important factor. This implies that the mastery of English Language concepts might not be fully achieved without the use of instructional materials. The teaching of English language without instructional materials may certainly result in poor academic achievement. Franzer , Okebukola and Jegede (1992) stressed that a professionally qualified English teacher no matter how well trained, would unable to put his ideas into practice if the school setting lacks the equipment and materials necessary for him or her to translate his competence into reality.
Bassey (2002) opined that art of teaching is resource intensive, and in a period of economic recession, it may be very difficult to find some of the electronic gadgets and equipment for the teaching of English language in schools adequately. A situation that is further compounded by the galloping inflation in the country and many at times, some of the imported sophisticated materials and equipment are found expensive and irrelevant; hence the need to produce materials locally.
Obioha (2006) and Ogunleye (2002) reported that there were inadequate resources (Teaching aids inclusive) for teaching in most secondary schools in Nigeria. They further stated that the available ones are not usually in good conditions. There is the need therefore, for improvisation. Adebimpe (1997) and Daramola, (2008) however noted that improvisation demands adventure, creativity, curiosity and perseverance on the part of the teacher, such skills are only realizable through well-planned training programme on improvisation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The art of teaching is fundamentally concerned with passing ideas, skills and attitude from the teacher to the learner. In Nigeria, for example experience has shown that spoken words alone in the communication of ideas are grossly ineffective and inefficient in producing desired learning outcomes. Every year, when the results of public examination are released, there has always been mass failure in English language. The reason for this could be ascribed to the fact that teaching English language as a second language (ESL) in Nigeria pose serious problem of comprehension to students.
The effects of mother tongue interference also poses challenges to learners, this subject cannot be taught effectively without the use of relevant instructional materials to make the learning practical rather than purely theoretical.
On the foregoing, Mutebi and Matora (1994) have emphasized the effect of instructional materials utilization on teaching and learning. According to them, we learn and remember 10% of what we hear 40% of what we discuss with others and as high as 80% of what we experience directly or practice. However, the questions here are: does the use of instructional materials really influence students’ academic performance? Is teaching effectiveness enhanced by the use of instructional materials? Could students’ learning be advanced by the use of instructional materials? Finding answers to these questions and more summarizes the entire problem of this study.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY/OBJECTIVES
The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of instructional materials on the teaching and learning of English language in junior secondary school students in Nigeria.
The objectives of this study are:
1. To find out what instructional materials are used by English teachers in Junior Secondary Schools.
2. To identify what areas of language do teachers use instructional materials
3. To ascertain what stage of the lesson do teachers introduce these instructional materials
4. To assess the constraints to using instructional materials in schools
5. To Suggest ways to improve the effective use of instructional materials
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to achieve the objectives of this study, the following research questions were raised to guide the investigation:
1. What are The Instructional materials used by English teachers in junior secondary schools?
2. What areas of language teaching do teachers use instructional materials?
3. When do Teachers make Use the instructional materials during the English lesson?
4. What are the constraints to using instructional materials in schools?
5. What suggestions can be made to improve the use of instructional materials?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The use of instructional materials gives the learner opportunity to touch, smell or taste objects in the teaching and learning process. Consequently, knowledge passed unto the students at different levels of educational instructions should be well planned and properly allied with relevant instructional materials for clarity and comprehensibility. Hence the significance of this study to the students, teachers, curriculum planners, educational system and the society at large. To the students, the effective use of instructional materials would enable them to effectively learn and retain what they have learnt and thereby advancing their performance in the subject in question. This is because according to Nwadinigwe (2000), learning is a process through which knowledge, skills, habits, facts, ideas and principles are acquired, retained and utilized; and the only means of achieving this is through the use of instructional materials. The study would help enhance teachers’ teaching effectiveness and productivity. This is in line with assertion of Ekwueme and Igwe (2001) who noted that it is only the teachers who will guarantee effective and adequate usage of instructional materials and thereby facilitate success.
Consequently a teacher who makes use of appropriate instructional materials to supplement his teaching will help enhance students’ innovative and creative thinking as well as help them become plausibly spontaneous and enthusiastic. Oremeji (2002) supportively asserts that any teacher who takes advantage of these resources and learns to use them correctly will find that they make almost an incalculable contribution to instruction. He further says that instructional materials are of high value in importing information, clarifying difficult and abstract concepts, stimulating thought, sharpening observation, creating interest and satisfying individual difference.
The study is also significant to the educational system and society at large. This is because when teachers solidify their teaching with instructional materials and the learners learn effectively, the knowledge acquired will reflect in the society positively. Students will be able to understand the functioning of the economy, interpret government’s economic policies and activity and perform economically better in the choice of life and work.
1.6 THEORITICAL/CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
This study is focused on investigating the effect of instructional material utilization on advancing junior secondary school students’ performance in English language. Due to time and financial constraints, this study is limited to some selected junior secondary schools in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State. This is because the researcher resides in this local government area and as such had the opportunity of having a comprehensive knowledge of the area and its environs.
This study intend to adapt a theoretical framework in the same manner, Moronfola (1982) carried out a research in Ilorin Local Government Area of Kwara State. She used questionnaires to collect data on the material resources available for the teaching of some selected subjects in ten secondary schools and related these to students’ achievements in each of the selected subjects and to the amount of resources available for the teaching of the subjects.
1.7 DELIMITATIONS AND LIMITATIONS.
This study is basically restricted to investigating the effects of instructional materials in the teaching and learning of English language in junior secondary schools in Jos North LGA, it does not include Senior Secondary Schools in the same study area, the study basically ascertain the types, time and methods of usage of such instructional materials to impart the right English language skills on junior secondary school students in the study area.
The only limitation faced by the researcher in the course of carrying out this study was the delay in getting data from the various respondents. Most respondents were reluctant in filling questionnaires administered to them due to their busy schedules and nature of their work. The researcher found it difficult to collect responses from the various respondents, and this almost hampered the success of this study.
Of the thousands of languages (estimated between four thousand and five thousand) in the world, English is the most prominent, the most important, and indeed, “the world’s most widely used language” (Quirk and Greenbaum, 1972). The emergence of English as the bride of the world is predicated on a number of factors which include political, social, commercial, religious, technological and educational. Education, which Good (cited in Lawal 2004), defines as the art of making available to each generation the organized knowledge of the past the process by which the tradition and culture of a society are passed on from one generation to another, from the old ones to the young ones, certainly plays a crucial role in the globalization of English. The English language is so pervasive that when the term “communicative competence” is evoked, especially in Nigeria, it is often understood as “communicative competence in English. The quest for improved communicative competence in Nigeria had led to the emergence of communicative skills project (COMSKIP/COMSKIPTECH) Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in Nigeria in the 1980’s.
The review of relevant literature to the present study was carried out in turn as indicated below. This is to further lay a solid foundation for the study..