Factors Affecting Secondary School Oral English Instruction

Project and Seminar Material for Linguistics and Communication

Factors Affecting Secondary School Oral English Instruction


Abstract


This research work empirically explored the major factors affecting secondary school oral English instructions. The purpose of which is to investigate the level of oral English communication skills in the educational sector as well proffer solution to the problems of Nigeria educational system. The scope of the study is all secondary schools of Nigeria making use of student and staff of some selected secondary schools in Abaji area council of FCT, the Krashen’s Monitor Model theory was used as a framework. The research design used for this study is survey, the population targeted for this study consists of all secondary schools in Nigeria, a total of 30 schools was used as sample size consisting of 300 questionnaires administered to students and staffs and cluster sampling technique was applied. Instrument used for this study is the questionnaire.

Data collected were collected from primary sources. From the analysis of the data, the findings show that the level of student performance in oral English in secondary schools is average and needs to be raised and the provision of infrastructural facilities, reading, discussion, effective writing are major strategies to improve oral English skills. Various strategies that will help raise the level of oral English skills in secondary schools should be adopted such as employment of only qualified teachers, discussions, rehearsal, group work, narrating, free talking sessions should be adopted by teachers as methods of instructing oral English. The study concludes that improving the level of oral English skills in secondary schools has a positive impact on Nigeria educational since oral English skills make a very significant contribution to communication.


Table of Contents


Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of content

Chapter One

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background Of Study
  • 1.2 Statement Of The Problem
  • 1.3 The Purpose Of Study
  • 1.4 Research Questions
  • 1.5 Research Hypotheses
  • 1.6 Scope And Delimitation Of Study
  • 1.7 Significance Of Study
  • 1.8 Operational Definition Of Terms

Chapter Two

Literature Review

  • 2.0 Introduction
  • 2.1 Review Of Related Literature
  • 2.2 The Problem Of Model
  • 2.3 The Problem Of Teaching Techniques
  • 2.4 The Problem Of Non – Availability Of Specialists
  • 2.5 The Problem Of Poor Teaching Procedures
  • 2.6 Appraisal Of Literature
  • 2.7 Summary Of The Review
  • 2.7 Summary Of The Review

Chapter Three

Research Methodology

  • Introduction
  • 3.1 Research Type
  • 3.2 Population, Sample And Sampling Technique
  • 3.3 Research Instrument
  • 3.4 Validity Of Research Instrument
  • 3.5 Reliability Of Research Instrument
  • 3.6 Data Collection Pprocedure
  • 3.7 Data Analysis Techniques

Chapter Four

Analysis And Discussion

  • Introduction
  • 4.1 Data Analysis
  • 4.2 Hypothesis Testing:
  • 4.3 Findings:

Chapter Five

Conclusion

  • Introduction
  • 5.1 Summary Of Findings
  • 5.2 Conclusion:
  • 5.3 Recommendations:
  • 5.4 Suggestion For Further Studies
  • References

Chapter One


Introduction

In English Language, there is a strong correlation between oral language skills and achievement in the writtenlanguage among learners in schools. In Nigeria, English remains the undisputed language of school instruction, governance, administration, legislation, judiciary, international relations, unification of the country‘s numerous ethnic constituents, social prestige, and so on (Adeniran, 1980; Okedara 1997; Oluga, Adewusi, Babalola, Oyediran, 1999; FGN, 2004; Osisanwo, 2005).

English language is taught as a subject and at the same time it is a medium of instruction for other subjects in the Nigeria education curriculum.The aim and objectives of teaching oral skills in English being taught in the Nigeria education curriculum is to make the student communicate effectively and intelligently in English. It also helps the student to develop confidence in his ability to express himself in English as fluently as possible and provides an opportunity for thecorrection of mistakes in spoken English.

A good approach to oral language instruction will developsthe reading, writing and speaking skills of the student thereby making the learning of English language more effective and the learning experiences of the learners in other subjects being taught in Secondary Schools more concrete and more enjoyable.

Thisresearch seek to study and identify the factors affecting Oral English instruction in Secondary Schools in Osogbo local government Area of Osun State.


1.1 Background Of Study

The English language has become greatly valued and adorned in Nigeria’s Educational system. As remarked by Bamgbose, Banjo & Thomas (1995), “the dominance of English in formal and transactional communication is unchallengeable”. In view of the multilingual nature of Nigeria, with more than 400 indigenous languages (Ufomata 1995), English is regarded as the only feasible and realistic choice for the nation now and in the foreseeable future. The greatest efforts expended on English language in Nigeria have been in the area of the Educational system, particularly in relation to Nigerian indigenous languages of which the major ones are Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, Ibibio, Edo, Fulfulde, and Kanuri. English as the official language of Nigeria and also the former colonial language was chosen to facilitate the cultural and linguistic unity of the country. English, however remains an exclusive preserve of the country’s urban elite, and is not widely spoken in the rural areas which comprise three quarters of the country’s population.

Language planning in Africa has to take place against the background of several factors, including multilingualism, the colonial legacy, the role of education as an agent of social change, high incidence of illiteracy, and concerns for communication, national integration and development (Bamgbose, 2000: 99) Thereforelearners of English language as a second language are mostly faced with the problem of oral proficiency in terms of appropriate pronunciation of English sounds (phonemes) either by virtue of being anew language or mother tongue or first language interference. However, there has been emphasis on the quest for Standard English, hence; an English language Instructor as well as learner must aim at proficiency to a degree of the standard form (Standard English or Received Pronunciation). This enables the instructor and the learner to acquire adequate competence for practical purpose of teaching and everyday communication.

It is on this note, that much emphasis and efforts should be placed on the teaching of Oral English because it will help the learner to develop his or her pronunciation sufficiently to permit effective communication with both native speakers and non-native users. Similarly, it is obvious that common mistakes identified among the teachers and learners of English as a second language today include improper pronunciation, mispronunciation, poor intonation, as well as misrepresentation of phonetic sounds. For instance, most students misplace the qualities and length of vowels. It is in view of these problems that recent development in language teaching and learning has made the teaching and learning of oral English not only a necessity but also a pre-requisite for assessing the learner’s competence in language use and acquisition.

Therefore, since emphasis has shifted to studying varied rules aimed at the identification, interpretation and reproduction of English sounds (phonemes), there is every cause to emphasise and to review the teaching of oral English especially in post-primary schools. Furthermore, speech is regarded as persona which represents an individual’s ability to articulate phonemes according to some established norms. It also entails the ability of an individual to identify and understand the representation and meaning of English sounds. It is quite unfortunate that most of our secondary school learners do not exhibit the knowledge of oral English when using the language which could be associated with the aforementioned factors. In a nutshell, there is the need for concern.

Oral proficiency should be made inherent in both Instructors (teachers)and learners (students). Jowitt(1991) confirms that the emphasis on proficiency in spoken English was introduced in the New National Curriculum in English language for Nigerian Secondary Schools in the 1980s. It was previously neglected in the teaching of English in Nigeria as oral English was made optional for the West African School Certificate students (though a compulsory course for teacher grade II examinations in those days). Roach (2000) confirms that pronunciation teaching has not always been popular with teachers and language theorists and in the 1970s and 1980s. It was fashionable to treat it as a rather outdated activity. It was claimed that it makes learners try to sound like native speakers of Received Pronunciation, which became difficult and led to repetitive exercises, and it also failed to give importance to communication.

Jowitt (1991) comments about the negligence of oral English teaching on teachers. He stated that pupils unconsciously relied on mother tongue models when deprived them of consistent and reliable guidance from teachers, as indeed many of teachers did: assuming that there was a perfect correspondence between sound and spelling. They use orthography as their guide to pronunciation. Anthony (2001) and Uche (1998) emphasise the difficulties of acquiring oracy skills. According to Williams (1990), the factors to be enumerated could be categorised under one factor – the interference of mother tongue. It is worth noting that for the non-native speakers, the mother tongue always affects the acquisition of the second language. This has always, been a major problem in oral English or pronunciation teaching especially in Nigerian schools. Unoh (1986) also examines the situation of oral English in Nigerian secondary schools. He asserts that teaching of English pronunciation in Nigeria suffers from peculiar handicaps unknown to the teaching of English language or any other school subject (for that matter). For any subject to be effectively taught, there are at least three very important conditions that must be met:

  1. A high degree of motivation on the part of both student and teacher; and
  2. The teachers’ competence in the subject, and his or her mastery of the techniques of imparting knowledge in it.
  3. Availability of relevant books as well as standard facilities for practical.

While the aforementioned conditions are rarely achieved in the teaching of English Language, they are also hardly met in the case of the teaching and learning of English pronunciation. Okoli (2000) comments on the need to be proficient in the sound system of a new language and explains that English should be pronounced in the accent normally chosen as the standard form especially the model most often recommended for foreign learners studying standard British English and also Received Pronunciation.

The teaching of oral English in Nigerian secondary schools has previously been overlooked. However, recent development in the teaching of English Language requires greater emphasis on this aspect of English language. Oral English complements the understanding and the use of English language so as to improve the standard of spoken English. According to Idris (2001), not much has been achieved since the introduction of Oral English in our West African School Certificate and National Examination Council due to the problems associated with the teaching and learning of oral English. There are existing publications on phonology written by Linguists such as A.C. Gimson, Daniel Jones, David Jowitt, Peter Roach, among others. Recently, there is the emergence of new publications particularly on Oral English by other language teachers, researchers and scholars such as Mannell, Cox, and Harrington (2009), Akperero (2000), Enyeazu (2001), and Idris (2001). This development has gone a long way in bringing oral English into focus. Its recent inclusion in the English Language Examination Paper (Test of Orals) has drawn the attention of many teachers and students.

Consequently, the teaching of oral English is rather weighed down by various factors which have contributed to the slow pace and ineffectiveness in teaching the course.

These factors include:

  1. Poor background.
  2. Interference of mother tongue.
  3. Unqualified teachers, poor teaching methodology
  4. Lack of constant practice,
  5. Lack of orientation and facilities
  6. Shortage and limited accessibility to relevant books.

Most of the students in our secondary schools are faced with either one of the problems or the other. Some are deficient due to more than one problem especially students from rural and poor backgrounds. This study examines some of the major challenges that the teaching of oral English could be faced with in Nigerian secondary schools.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

Due to the increasing nature of poor academic performance of secondary school students especially in external examinations like WAEC, NECO, NABTEB or JAMB, many educationists tend to shift the blame on the students lack of interest in the subject being discussed, interference of mother tongue, lack of constant practice by the students, lack of orientation and facilities as well as shortage and limited accessibility to relevant books.

I wish to maintain that though efforts have been put in place to improve Oral English, a good result is yet to be seen and according to Obriri (2007), “Although many concerned pundits have charted numerous ways to simplify the teaching or instruction of Oral English, many more problems are mounting and need to be thoroughly addressed urgently as they are alarming”. The cause of this negative development is certainly because a lot of energy are being channelled only towards the learners’ problems, and not the problem of teaching.

The main concern of this investigation is to identify those problems that are negatively affecting the instruction of Oral English. The inquiry will also look at the efforts that have been put in place to tackle the problem of teaching Oral English, which however have not yielded any practical solution. The factors affecting Oral English instruction in Osogbo Local Government Area range from teacher incompetence, inadequate instructional materials, disgust for the emphasis on the British accent, poor teaching skills, poor motivation for the students, to other problems which could have been caused by school proprietors or the government. The work identifies workable solutions to the factors affecting Oral English instruction in secondary school in Osogbo Local Government Area.


1.3 The Purpose Of Study

Nigeria as a country requires a population competent in the English Language in order to keep up with the pressure of globalization which has led to the increasing use of the English Language in all sectors as well as its continued use as the official language and medium of instruction, Oral English is an important part of the language curriculum in Nigeria is also required for learners to be able to understand the structure of the English Language. Thus, it is arguable that proficiency in English is one of the greatest opportunities that the Nigerian education system ought to provide children with. The primary aim of this study is to identify the factors affecting Oral English instruction in Secondary Schools in Osogbo local government Area of Osun State.From the above this study sets out to:

Assess the methods of instruction of Oral English by teachers in senior secondary school.
Compare the effectiveness of various method being used for the instruction of Oral English by teachers of senior secondary school via their academic performance,

Examine the effect of interference of mother tongue oninstructors of Oral English in senior secondary school.
Compare the qualification of instructors on their ability to perform effectively in their field of work.
Investigate the influence of relevant books, practical facilities on the instruction of Oral English in Senior Secondary Schools.


1.4 Research Questions

Is there a significant relationship between good instructional materials and students performance in Oral English?

  1. Are practical Oral Exercises necessary in the instruction of Oral English?
  2. Do the instructors’ qualifications affects the instructions of Oral English?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

  1. There is no significant relationship between good instructional materials and students performance in Oral English.
  2. Practical Oral Exercises are not necessary in the instruction of Oral English.
  3. Noise is not inimical to the instruction of Oral English.
  4. Instructors’ qualification does not affect the instruction of Oral English.

1.6 Scope And Delimitation Of Study

First, the researcher will focus his inquiry on investigating the factors affecting the instructions of Oral English.Secondly, the researcher will limit his work to ten selected secondary schools in Osogbo Local Government Area of Osun State.

These include:

  1. Ataoja School of Science Osogbo
  2. Laro High School, Osogbo
  3. Osogbo High School, Osogbo
  4. Baptist High School, Osogbo
  5. Oroki Middle School, Osogbo
  6. St’ Charles High School Osogbo
  7. Ifeolu Middle School Osogbo
  8. African High School Osogbo
  9. Good Tidings Standard Collegiate Osogbo
  10. Gof International College Osogbo

1.7 Significance Of Study

This study will be beneficial to the following:

The SecondaryEnglish in secondary Schools in Osogbo Local Government;

  1. Ministry of Educa School Students in Osogbo Local Government Area and other students in Osun State
  2. Principals and proprietors of secondary schools within and outside Osogbo Local Government Area
  3. Teachers of Oral tion in Osogbo Local Government Area;
  4. Osun State Universal Basic Education Board; and
  5. Osun State Ministry of Education, and so on.

1.8 Operational Definition Of Terms

Factors:

Things or circumstances contributing to result.

Affecting:

Produce effect on or to bring about.

Quality:

Degree of excellence.

English:

The language, originally of England, now spoken in many countries and used as a language of international communication throughout the world.

Language:

Use of words in agreed way as means of human communication.

Teaching:

Guidance or training given to someone.

Students:

A school pupil or a person studying at a place of higher education

Secondary School:

Level of education that comes after the basic or results from the primary education.


Chapter Five


Conclusion

Introduction

The study has investigated the factors affecting Oral English instruction in Secondary Schools in Osogbo Local Government Area of Osun State and the concluding part will be discussed further below;


5.1 Summary Of Findings

The aim of this research work was to identify the problems militating against the teaching of Oral English in Secondary Schools in Osogbo Local Government Area of Osun State, and to provide ways of eliminating such problems.

Teachers of Oral English in ten different Secondary Schools in Osogbo Local Government Area of Osun State were used as the sampled population. And, to obtain information for this research, the researcher consulted library materials like textbooks, journals and the internet; and relied on responses from the questionnaire administered to teachers of Oral English in Secondary Schools in Osogbo Local Government Area.

The data collected from the respondents were put into tables showing the number of respondents and percentages. From the table, it was discovered that there was: unnecessary emphasis and preference for the British accent; a lack of language laboratories in Secondary Schools in Osogbo Local Government Area; not enough skills required of the teacher who teaches Oral English; and the problem of mother tongue interference among teachers of Oral English.
From the data collected, it is obvious that the major problem confronting the teaching of Oral English in Osogbo Local Government Area of Osun State is the lack of language laboratories.


5.2 Conclusion:

The findings reveal that mother tongue influences the students’ poor performance in Oral English in Secondary School and that there are other factors affecting Oral English Instruction in Secondary Schools in Osogbo Local Government of Osun State. Some of this factors are listed below

  1. Interference of mother tongue.
  2. Unqualified teachers, poor teaching methodology
  3. Lack of constant practice on the part of teachers as well as students,
  4. Inadequate or total lack of relevant books as well as standard facilities for practical orientation.
  5. Teachers low level of competence in the subject, and his or her mastery of the techniques of imparting knowledge in it.

The study raises some issues which deserve further consideration for the government, policy makers and schools. More effort should be placed to improve the quality of Oral English Instruction mainly because English Language is currently the official language of instruction used in secondary schools. Therefore,practical measures need to be taken by the government to ensure that the teaching and learning of English language is enhanced in order to improve students’ academic achievement.

Some of the solutions to be consideredshould include supplying secondary schools with adequate teaching and learning material for Oral English, training programs that will enhance teachers’ language skills as well as pedagogy skills, and ensuring rural secondary schools have adequate and well qualified teachers. Since most schools do not have physical facilities for Oral English instruction such as language laboratories and well stocked libraries the government should put these into consideration.


5.3 Recommendations:

Teachers of English are admonished to appreciate the components of the oral forms that helps teachers to improve reading, writing and speaking skills for the learners. The study holds the view that oral language approachestowards developing reading, writing and speaking skills provides basic principles of instruction which if applied consistently can makethe learning of English language more effective and the learning experiences of the learners in other subjects being taught in Secondary Schools more concrete and more enjoyable.

Speaking fluently will help improve writing skills if the English language is used consistently.However, more emphasis should be put on speaking and writing because they serve as end product of learning experiences.
In the light of the knowledge of the result gathered from the study, the following recommendations were made:

  1. The model of Oral English to be taught in Secondary Schools in Osogbo Local Government Area of Osun State and in Nigeria at large should be that which is spoken by the highly educated Nigerian, and not that of the British.
  2. The Ministry of Education at the State and Federal levels should prevail on Secondary School proprietors (and the government in the case of Government Schools) to set up functional language laboratories.
  3. Only teachers who have the required skills to teach Oral English should be hired to do so.
  4. Teachers who have personal difficulties and mother tongue interference must go for training and re-training.

5.4 Suggestion For Further Studies

From the discussion it is realized that in practice, many teachers do not effectively utilize the appropriate methodology, contents and learning experiences for effective use of oral language approaches. The information obtained can provide data for those concerned with English Language, teaching, researchers and educationists. In order to obtain more information on the use of oral language in Nigeria Secondary Schools the following are suggestions for areas of further research:

  1. The impact of early childhood education on performance in oral and writing skills in English subject.
  2. Integration of oral approaches and other English approaches and their effects on reading, writing and speaking skills.

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