The Effect Of The Language Of Social Media On The Secondary School Learners Of The English Language

Project and Seminar Material for English Education

The Effect Of The Language Of Social Media On The Secondary School Learners Of The English Language


Abstract


The overall objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of the language of social media on the secondary school learners of the English language. Various control variables such as students’ exposure to social media, people students relate with on social media, time spent on social media, activities on social media, social media sites students use and others were investigated. A sample of 97 students from a population of 966 students in the study area was used. The researcher obtained the sample through convenient sampling by estimating 10% of the population. The research design maximized by the researcher for this study was the Ex Post Facto research design. The data for this research were gathered through a well-structured questionnaire and achievement test administered by the researcher to the respondents. Research questions were answered by using percentage count and frequencies while the research hypothesis was tested at 95% level of significance by the student t-test via SPSS software. Findings of this study showed that SS 2 students in the study area were exposed to social media. It was revealed that students only had accounts with Facebook, Whatsapp, Google Talk and Twitter. Students were also found to have had more relationships among themselves on social medial than they did with any other category of persons. Results showed that majority of students spent a maximum of thirty minutes any time they visit social media sites. A greater number of students, results revealed, visit social media sites to keep company with their friends who were majorly their classmates. Students admitted that social media did distract them any time they attempted combining it with their studies. The result from the hypothesis testing showed that social media use does not affect SS 2 students’ performance in the study area. The study recommended that teachers should be deliberate to make friends with their students on social media as this will help them monitor their activities there. Also, students should be guided on how to maximize social media for their assignments and other academic endeavours.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The internet, since its inception in the early 1960s by the U.S Department of defense (Schneider, Evans and Pinard, 2006 in Wanajak, 2011), has hit the ground running. A greater percentage of the world’s activities and numerous facets of human endeavours have been (to a great extent) affected by the fast advancement of the internet technology and its programmes. Internet, according to Wikipedia dictionary is a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.

As mentioned in the above definition, one of the sectors of human endeavours greatly influenced by the internet is communication. Several commination facilities have been developed on the internet to facilitate easy communication. Social media, the focus of this study constitutes one of those communication facilities.
According to Apuke (2016), social media has emerged to be one of the most vital communication means as it exists to ease communication among people regardless of the expanse, making it open to people to easily share information, files, pictures and videos, create blogs and send messages and conduct real time conversations.

By definition, according to Adebayo (2012) as cited in Asemah and Okpanachi(2013), social networks (media) is a social structure made up of individuals or organizations called “nodes”, which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of independency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest , financial exchange , dislike, sexual relationships or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige. Social media sites include: Facebook, whatsApp, 2go, Instagram, Blackberry messenger (BBM), Twitter, Google talk etc.

Social media use cuts across almost all human age groups, social status, occupations and the likes including students of different institutional levels. The secondary school level which is the major focus in this research is not in any way exempted from amongst social media users. It is no news to see or hear secondary school students making calls, receiving messages and chatting with friends or associates in the class room when the class is ongoing. They spend late hours of the night on chatting through social media when you should have expected them to be reading their books or sleeping.

The emergence of social media as a result of advancement in technology and expansion in internet software has raised eye brows among academics on its (social media) impact on studies (Asemah, E., Okpanachi, A., 2013). Many researchers have argued as touching whether social media use has or has not any impact or influence on students’ academic achievement.

Giving the analysis on the tracks of mass failure in the National Examination Council (NECO) results, Dayo Adesulun of Vanguard expressed “It is sad to note that for five consecutive years, candidates writing the National Examination Council (NECO) examination have recorded mass failures. Apparently, the scenario is worrisome to education stakeholders as nobody knows at whose door-steps to place the blames, students or NECO” (Vanguard news, April 5, 2012). The analysis reported that in 2002 at NECO’s maiden edition, most candidates passed their registered subjects including English and English language which led to the public accusing the body of awarding cheap results to students. However, after 2007 NECO November/December where 65% had credit pass in English, the analysis said, performances of candidates deteriorated every year, down to 11.3% in 2011/2012 result, a situation which the reporter said called for concern among stakeholders. During NECO June/July 2011 examination, the analysis reported that less than 25% of the 1,160,561 candidates had passes at credit level in subjects including English. This implies that more than 870,421 candidates failed English and other subjects. In a similar vein, as reported by the WAEC Head of National office, Yaba, Mr. Charles Eguridu, the result of May/June 2014 as was announced on Monday, 11 August 2014, witnessed a mass failure in English and English language (published on August 11, 2014; retrieved from https://ynaija.com). He reported that 529,425 candidates representing 31.28% obtained credits in English and other four subjects. He noted that, comparing this result to the 2012/2013 May/June result, there was marginal decline in the performances of candidates. The report stated that in 2009, 25.99% obtained credits in English and English compare to 23.5% in 2008 among the Nigerian candidates.
Whether or not social media use influences academic achievement of students is a question that remains to be answered.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

The decline in the academic achievement among secondary school students in Nigeria, especially in English, is crystal–clear to anyone who has followed the trend of events in this level of learning over the past few years. This degradation is evident in many ways, including students poor grammatical construction, poor averages in their terminal examinations, failure in external examinations such as the West African Examination Council (WAEC), National Examination Council (NECO) and of course entrance examinations such as the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination(UTME).The struggles for academic success experienced by many students newly admitted into the university, especially in their first year of study, is highly traceable to their secondary school foundation. The success of any student in English in the tertiary institution is directly a function of his/her success in the secondary school in the same subject.

Many factors have been identified to be responsible for this high rate of educational decay among the Nigerian secondary schools. One of these factors that have caught the attention of the public as regards students’ poor academic performance among the secondary schools is the advent of social media. As mentioned earlier, this research investigates the place of social media use in the academic achievement of Senior Secondary School, two (English language) students in English in Nigeria.


1.3 Objectives of the study

The general objective of this study was to determine the influence of the language of social media on, English language learners. Specifically, the objectives of this research include:

  1. To determine whether English Language students are exposed to social media
  2. To determine which social media students are exposed to
  3. To determine whether gender difference influences social media exposure.
  4. To determine the duration students spend on social media
  5. To examine the people students relate with on social media
  6. To examine what students use social media for
  7. To examine the influence of social media use on students’ academic performance in English.
  8. To proffer a possible solution to the eminent underachievement in English language by secondary school students.

1.4 Research Questions

The following were the research questions for this study:

  1. What proportion of English Language students are exposed to social media?
  2. What type of social media are English Language students exposed to that influences their achievement in English?
  3. What is the influence of gender difference on social media exposure?
  4. What time/duration do students spend on social media?
  5. Who are the people students relate with on social media?
  6. What activities do students engage in on social media?
  7. What is the effect social media have on students’ academic activities?

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study will be of great importance to both students, teachers, parents and the entire society as it will open their eyes to the subtle damage associated with inappropriate use of the social media. Students will learn how to balance their academic work – reading, assignment and so on and social media involvement. In so doing, they will become more productive academically, morally, socially and otherwise not only to themselves but to the entire society. It will be an eye opener to unsuspecting teachers and head teachers who might have taken things for granted regarding the place of social media in students’ academic achievement. This will help them define deliberate bounds on social media usage for students especially during school hours. The study will also help parents to watch their children/wards more closely, helping them at home to spend their time reasonably in reading their books and other noble courses rather than misappropriating them on the internet. It will also help them (parents) to monitor what activities their children/wards engage in on social media especially at home. This study will also help the entire academic society, especially curriculum planners, to include strategic contents that will help students maximize social media positively for academic purposes. The study will also be relevant as a source or ground for further studies.


1.6 Scope / Delimitation of the Study

This study was specifically set to examine the influence of the language social media has on secondary school English Language learners. Benue which was is the location of the study; Makurdi is one of the 23 local governments of Benue state and has Makurdi as its headquarters located along the Benue River. It shares boundaries with Guma, Gwer East and Gwer West among other local governments of the state. An unbiased sample of all secondary schools (as specified in chapter 3) in the area was used for this study. Few control variables among others were examined. The study examined the proportion of students’ exposure to social media, which social media they are mostly exposed to, the time they spend on social media, the people they relate with on social media, influence of gender difference on social media exposure and the possible solution offered for checking low academic achievements among secondary school students which may be possibly traceable to inappropriate social media use. These control variables were to help investigate the impact of the language of social media on secondary school English Leaners as earlier mentioned.

It was in the interest of the researcher to study the influence of social media on students’ academic achievement in English across all secondary schools in Nigeria since social media use and poor academic achievement of students are not only witnessed in one isolated state or local government in the country. However, due to limited resources paramount to the research, the researcher limited the study to Benue of Benue State.

It is worthy of note, the fact that, the findings of this study may not be applicable to other parts of the country or the globe. This is because different locations in Nigeria and in facts, the world over have various cultural practices and social norms that may influence students’ behaviour with regard to social media.. he researcher also worked on the assumption that the responses of all the respondents were correct and sincere. If otherwise, then the findings of this study may not be considered authentic following the same assumption


1.7 Definition of Terms

The following terms, as used in this report, were defined to ease understanding when encountered in any part of the body of the work. It should be noted that these terms were define contextually with respect to this study.

i. Social media:

These are platforms made available on the internet through which people communicate with friends, peers and relatives with the use of phones, ipads, personal computers and other communication gadgets. Examples are whatsapp, facebook, twitter, Badoo, etc.

ii. Internet:

An electronic communications network that connects computer networks and organizational computer facilities around the world.

iii. Academic Achievement:

This is a measure of how successful a student is in his academic work. It manifests through students’ examination results, communication, conduct and other means.

iv. English Language Student:

This is a learner at the Secondary School that offer English language

v. Chatting:

A means of communication whereby two or more individuals communicate one another through sending and replying of, usually short, text messages simultaneously.

vi. Questionnaire:

A list of questions, providing options for the respondent to either pick answers from or give a short answer of usually one word.

vii. Respondent:

A person who provides answers to a set of questions.

viii. Data:

Pieces of information about a population of interest.

ix. Population:

Total number of individuals, of similar attributes, living in a place per time. In this study, the population is all the students in all secondary school, two in Benue.

x. Sample:

This is a carefully selected portion or part of the population for consideration. The sample for this study was obtained by carefully selecting some secondary schools in Benue.

xi. Instrument:

The means by which data is obtained. For this study the instrument used was the questionnaire. The questionnaire is discussed in chapter three of this report.

xii. Statistic:

The statistical tool used for data analysis. The statistic used for this study is discussed in chapter three.

xiii. Hypothesis:

A tentative statement about a phenomenon, open to further investigation, which may or may not be accepted.


1.8 Organization of the Study

The first chapter contains the study’s introductory section, which includes the study background, the statement of the research problem, the study of the objective, and the scope of the study. The second chapter is a critical review of other literatures relevant to the study and its objectives, as well as the study’s theoretical framework. The third chapter discusses the methods of data collection, sampling, and data analysis used in the study. The fourth chapter focuses on the research findings, including an examination of how they relate to previous findings. The fifth chapter contains a summary of the findings, a conclusion, and recommendations based on the study objectives.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1 Summary

The overall objective of this study was to determine the influence of the language of social media on learners of English language in Secondary school. Various control variables such as students’ exposure to social media, people students relate with on social media, time spent on social media, activities on social media, social media sites students use and others were investigated.

The media equation theory was adopted in the theoretical frame work of this study and several empirical studies of scholars relating to the topic were reviewed. A sample of 97 students from a population of 966 English Language students in the study area was used. The researcher obtained the sample through convenient sampling by estimating 10% of the population.

The research design maximized by the researcher for this study was the Ex Post Facto research design. The data for this research were gathered through a well-structured questionnaire and achievement test administered by the researcher to the respondents. These instruments were validated by scrutiny and adjustments by the project supervisor and one other expert as well a secondary school teacher from one of the schools where they were administered. Research questions were answered by using percentage count and frequencies while the research hypothesis was tested at 95% level of significance by the student t-test via SPSS software.

Findings of this study showed that English Language students in the study area were exposed to social media. It was revealed that students only had accounts with Facebook, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and Twitter. Students were also found to have had more relationships among themselves on social medial than they did with any other category of persons. Results showed that majority of students spent a maximum of thirty minutes any time they visit social media sites. A greater number of students, results revealed, visit social media sites to keep company with their friends who were majorly their classmates. Students admitted that social media did distract them any time they attempted combining it with their studies. The result from the hypothesis testing showed that social media use does not affect English Language students’ performance in English in the study area.


5.2 Conclusion

By all the available proofs from the findings of this research, it is justifiable to conclude that Secondary School Students, in the study area, are exposed to social media. Students in the study area are aware of the negative impacts of social media on their academics and hence took measures to curb them as it could be seen they spend a maximum of thirty minutes on social media when they visit.

In the overall analysis, social media use does not influence the academic achievement of students in the study area. This also is obvious from the results of this study. Students were economical with their time as not to engage it unwisely on social media. This obviously spared their academics. This result implies that poor academic performance of students would not be attributed to social media but to something else.


5.3 Recommendations

In the light of the findings of this study, the following recommendations are made:

  1. Teachers should be deliberate to make friends with their students on social media as this will help them monitor their activities there.
  2. Students should be guided on how to maximize social media for their assignments and other academic endeavours.
  3. Both the positive and negative sides of social media should be spelled to students by teachers and guardians so they will not be ignorant of the advantages and disadvantages of the same.

5.4 Suggestions for Further Study

This study serves as the basis for further studies on social media and academic achievement of students.
Similar studies should be conducted in different States of Nigeria and among different categories of students so as to help them on how best to engage the social media for academic productivity. Studies should also be carried out using other variables, other than social media, which may be deemed responsible for academic deterioration in the country.


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Frequently Asked Questions


How does social media affect the English language?

Social media influences people’s lives in many aspects including education and English language learning. It has made an effect on the English language either in a positive way by adding new words to the dictionary a negative way by misusing the grammar and using incorrect abbreviated words.

Do social networks affect English proficiency on the Internet?

But there were studies stated that, the usage of social networks was strongly bonded with users’ English proficiency. Despite the huge amount of languages on this planet, English is still the most commonly used language when it comes to Internet.

Should we include social media in academic activities at school?

With the advent of dynamic technology, learners are widely exposed to social media, and those who use the language of social media networks tend to include it in their academic activities at school.

What is the impact of social media on education?

Social media has transformed and impacted on communication, learning, research and education in general. Among the vast variety of online tools which are available for communication, social networking sites (SNS) have become the most modern and attractive tools for connecting people throughout the world (Aghazamani, 2010). 

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