Environmental Variables And Students Academic Performance In English Language
Over the years, the language of instruction in Nigerian schools has been English. Thus, students’ proficiency in English goes to a long extent to determine the student academic achievement in the overall. Student’s failure to understand the English language becomes a challenge in academic achievement. Performance in English determines the performance in other subjects since it is the language of instruction in schools. This study sought to investigate environmental factors influencing performance in English among students in UrueOffong/Oruko Local Government Area. The study established the influence of the training of teachers, availability of teaching and learning materials, and student’s and teacher’s attitude towards English learning on the performance in English in schools in UrueOffong/Oruko Local Government Area. The study employed a descriptive research design. Findings were presented in tables and discussions thereof. The researcher therefore concluded that teacher training alone was not sufficient to enhance students’ performance. The research further concluded that presence of learning materials was important in enhancing students’ performance in English. The study recommended that the ministry of education should provide more training for teachers to improve on their teaching methods. Moreover, the school management boards should ensure the provision of teaching and learning materials in the schools. The study further recommended that both the school administration and the teachers should work together to help the students develop positive attitudes towards the learning of English.
1.1 Background of the Study
Education constitutes a formidable instrument for social mobilization in the society. It places very high premium in the education of the young ones as the gateway to cultural, social, political, economic and technological emancipation.
According to Nigeria philosophy of education, education is viewed as a means of building a free, just and egalitarian society, a land full of opportunities for all citizens who are able to generate a great and dynamic economy and growing into strong and self reliant nation. As a way of achieving these objectives, the federal government and various state governments have allocated substantial portion of their budgets every year to education. Also many state governments had at one time or the other embarked on free education programme.
The Federal Government in 1976 launched the Universal Primary Education (UPE). Although some of these programmes have suffered several set-backs due to political changes, it is still an indication of government interest in the education of her citizens.
Some State Government like Akwa Ibom State goes beyond, give direct financial assistance to students in form of scholarships and bursaries, pay WASSE or NECO Examination fees.
Despite these concerted efforts by some of the governments at different levels, there is therefore a public out-cry over the falling standard of education particularly as observed in student’s poor academic performance in external examinations which continue to be poor. A pertinent question to ask is whether the standard of our education is really falling. There is therefore, the need to answer these vital question by subjecting our education system to some sort of evaluation. One way of doing this, is to look into the condition under which our children learn including their various homes. The need to bring up children in an environment which is rich, stimulating and motivating has attracted the attention of many contemporary researchers. It has been an established fact that there are three factors that affect the child’s learning. These factors are the child himself, the teacher and the environment.
Environment as defined by Bello (2004) is the aggregate of all the external condition and influences that affect the life and development of an individual. An environment is not just a void space or a vaccum without other elements. Cooper (1977) postulated that environment means the total set of circumstances, that surround an individual. In cooper’s presentation he classified environment as physical and social. The physical environment consists of such elements as air, water, landforms, climate etc while social aspects of the environment are ethics, economics, a esthetics and others which crows together to affect the behaviour of individuals.
In another special classification, cooper further classified environment into the home environment which is the environment into which the child is born and bred, and the external environment which is the environment which the child must go into or have contact within order for him to be an all round individual.
An environment has a vital role to play in the life of the individuals. When children are brought up in a particular environment, they are to be moulded or shaped according to the factors operating in the particular environment. Environmental psychologists such as John Hatson believed that given appropriate environment a child could be make into anything.
Quality of the school as well as that of the teacher is an important variables in students’ academic performance. It is observed that some schools stand out distinctive in terms of the quality teaching learning facilities, such school have qualified teachers, well equipped standard laboratories, libraries, furnished classrooms, instructional aids among others. Students who passed through schools without the necessary learning resources may be negatively affected in terms of their academics performance. Parental rearing style is another major variable, because home environmental factors like parental discipline, education, occupation among others determine the quality of learning a child acquires. Eecles (1992) argues that since the primary environment of the student is the home, it stands to reason that the impact exerted by the parents or the home far out weigh and exceed that from other factors. This supports the revelation by several researchers about the tremendous impact of home environmental variables on school success. (Dempsey 2005; Reddings 2006). Maccoby (1980) stated that parents’ child rearing style certainly have influence on their children’s behaviours and values. This affect students’ academic performance in English.
School location is another variable that may influence students’ academic performance in English language. Just like any business enterprise which is affected by its location, academic performance is found to be influenced by school location. According in Nwoye(1984), Location that are disastrous to learning include industrial towns with high population pressure; areas of the town with traffic congestions, while isolated areas are relatively conducive to serious academic pursuits. Situations are observed where students battle with noise pollution due to the school nearness to busy daily markets.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Many people are becoming worried by the poor performances of our children in their certificate examinations like WASSCE, NECO, NABTEB as well as in Joint Matriculation Examinations for entry into tertiary institutions. For example, WAEC announced and described that 2015, May/June result as being generally poor. This situation gives a cause for concern. It is known that environmental variables can affect learners’ learning either positively or negatively. It is also true that one’s academic achievement can be influenced by variables such as: teachers’ quality, parenting style, school location, among others.
Some students are sometime observed roaming the streets when they are supposed to be in classes receiving lectures. In some remotely located schools some teachers to school and go out at will because they feel the location of the school may not easily attracts any school inspector to the school. Some schools without qualified teachers are observed not being able to exposed their students to the expected curriculum. These lapses may affect quality of learning by students. It is against this background that the problem of this study is to determine environmental variables and students’ academic performance in English Language in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to investigate environmental variables and students’ performance in English language in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Specifically, the objectives of the study is to examine the influence of:
- Establish the influence of teacher training on performance of Englishin primary schools.
- Establish the influence of teaching and learning materials on performance of English in primary schools.
- Examine the influence of teachers’ and students’ attitude towards learning of English on performance of English in primary schools
1.4 Significant of the Study
This study is significant in the sense that it is the first step to the amelioration of students’ academic performance. If nothing is done to halt the increasingly poor performance of our senior secondary school students, the realization of the educational goal will be an illusion. To policy makers and planners of educations, this research study will furnish a sound basis for curriculum developers that addresses individuals differences in students with respect to environmental variables. To counselors, it will yield a good basis for students counseling on education and on placement and vocational choice. The teachers will be guided to understand and appreciate the plight of students and adapt teaching method to accommodate them. It will liberate, inspire and tune parents to be aware of their influence on the language performance of the children.
To the students self concept will be elevated and academic excellence enhanced. It is envisaged that this research study will serve as a repository of information for future researchers who may wish to research further into the same topic or even closely related issues.
1.5 Research Questions
- How does the training of teachers influence English performance in primary schools?
- Does the availability of teaching and learning materials influence English performance in primary schools?
- What is the effect of teachers’ and students’ attitude towards the learning of Englishon the performance of English in primary schools?
1.6 Research Hypotheses
To guide the study, the following hypotheses were formulated:
- There is no significant influence of school’s quality on student’s academic performance in English language.
- There is no significant influence of parenting rearing style on students’ academic performance in English language.
- There is no significant influence of school location on students academic performance in English language.
1.7 Assumption of the Study
The following basic assumptions were made regarding the study:
- Environmental variables and students’ academic performance can be measured using appropriate research instrument.
- Parental rearing style of students differ among students.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
The sample was confined to the 2015/2016 SS2 senior secondary students in all the public secondary schools in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. This study was set to examine the environmental variables and students’ academic performance in English language in Urue Offong/Oruko Local Government Area.
The study was therefore delimited to the investigation of the quality of school; parental rearing style and school location.
1.9 Limitation of the Study
The main limitation in the study was the difficulty in getting the respondents’ attention to complete the questionnaire in time and to take the achievement test, because of time frame. This problem was minimized with the assistance of the class teachers.
1.10 Definition of Terms
To enhance proper understanding of this work, some terms were defined in the context of this research as follows:
Environmental variables: Are used in the study to refer to the students’ homes as they were brought up by parents, the quality of schools attended by students in terms of teacher quality, facilities and also the location of schools.
This is measured in the study through scores obtained by the students in the researcher constructed English Language Achievement Test (EAT)
Parental Rearing Style:
This is used to measure parents attitude in bringing up their children. Level of control of students’ behaviour be parents.
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations
After the data was collected and analyzed in form of both descriptive and inferential statistics, the researcher compiled a summary of major research findings. The researcher then drew conclusions from the summary of the study findings. Finally, the researcher put across pertinent recommendations in line with the effect of independent variables on the dependent variable and suggested areas for further research.
5.2 Summary of Findings
The research was to investigate factors influencing performance of English in primary schools in UrueOffong/Oruko Local Government Area. More specifically, the study sought to determine the influence of teacher training, presence of teaching and learning materials and teachers and students attitude on performance of English in public schools.
The findings were in form of both descriptive and inferential statistics. The study summarized the findings as per every objective in the study.
5.2.1 Teacher Training and Performance of English
Descriptive statistics indicated that teachers observed that training was a key requirement in teaching English in their schools, and that trained teachers produce excellent students in performance of English. These statistics also showed that in-service training helps in improving teaching methods of teachers. They were also of the same opinion concerning the qualifications of English teachers determining the performance of students, just like well trained teachers produce better student achievements in examinations. They also agreed that through training, teachers acquire confidence in the mastery of English language. However, respondents were undecided on whether the school provides training opportunities for teachers of English regularly. Correlation analysis indicated that teacher training had no significant relationship with performance of English in primary schools in UrueOffong/Oruko Local Government Area. As such, the researcher observed that teacher training has no significant effect on performance of English in primary schools.
5.2.2 Availability of Teaching and Learning Materials and Performance of English
In regard to availability of teaching and learning materials, descriptive statistics indicated that teachers agreed that availability of teaching and learning materials improves the effectiveness of teaching. They also concurred that small class sizes enables individual student attention in the teaching of English and that sufficient time is allocated for learning of English thus facilitating its improvement. In addition, teachers agreed that the presence of learning materials have built students’ interest in learning of English and that the use of a variety of materials stimulates students’ involvement in the learning process. On the other hand, they observed that the availability of enough teachers of English has improved students achievement in English. However, teachers were indifferent on whether the school has got sufficient teaching and learning materials for English and whether the class sizes of the school are small hence enhancing teacher student interaction in teaching. Correlation analysis indicated that teachers’ perceptions on availability of teaching and learning materials had no significant relationship with students’ performance of English in primary schools in UrueOffong/Oruko Local Government Area.
Additionally, students observed that they have the best teachers of English, and that the presence of learning aids makes learning of English friendly. However, they were not certain that the school provides enough textbooks for English and that there were sufficient English revisions books in the school. Correlation analysis that there was an average significant relationship between availability of learning materials among students and their performance of English in primary schools in UrueOffong/Oruko Local Government Area.
The study derived various conclusions regarding environmental factors influencing performance of English language in primary schools in UrueOffong/Oruko Local Government Area, as a result of the findings from the study. Firstly, the study concluded that training of teachers have no significant influence on the performance of students in English in WACE. Correlation analysis indicated that teacher training has statistically significant relationship with students’ performance of English in primary schools in UrueOffong/Oruko Local Government Area. Therefore, teacher training alone is not sufficient to enhance students’ performance of English.
Secondly, The study came to the conclusion that for the students, the presence of teaching and learning materials has a significant influence on their performance of English. Consequently, providing sufficient learning materials to the student is of paramount importance in as far as performance of English is concerned. However, the presence of teaching materials for the teachers has no significant influence on the performance of the students in English. As such, it is much more important to provide students with the learning materials since the same are used by the teachers in teaching.
The study came up with several recommendations from the study findings. First, the researcher would recommend that the ministry of education provides more training for teachers to improve on their teaching methods. Respondents acknowledged that well trained teachers produce excellent students’ performance in English. More in-service training should be provided to the teachers to enhance their experience in teaching. Additionally, the school management boards should ensure the provision of teaching and learning materials is sufficient in the schools. This will go a long way in improving students’ performance of English. The study’s findings showed that the performance of students in English is dependent upon the provision of the learning materials. Teachers also indicated that availability of teaching and learning materials improves the effectiveness of teaching and builds the students interests in learning English.
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