The Factors Affecting The Students In Teaching And Learning Of Oral English Among Junior Secondary Schools (A Case Study Of Eredo Local Government Of Lagos State)

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The Factors Affecting The Students In Teaching And Learning Of Oral English Among Junior Secondary Schools (A Case Study Of Eredo Local Government Of Lagos State)


Abstract


This study was carried out to assess the factors affecting the students in teaching and learning of Oral English among junior secondary schools using Eredo Local Government of Lagos Stateas a case study. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of Oral English teachers and students of some selected secondary schools in Eredo Local Government of Lagos State. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 200 respondents and 150 were validated. Self-constructed and validated questionnaire was used for data collection. The collected and validated questionnaires were analyzed using frequency tables. While the hypotheses were tested using chi-square statistical tool. The result of the findings reveals that mother tongue interference affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English. The study also revealed that students attitude affects them during the teaching and learning of oral English. Therefore, it is recommended that positive attitude is of paramount importance in all human endeavours, Oral English language teachers should develop positive attitude and interest in the teaching of Oral English as this will automatically have a positive effect on the students’ attitude to learning of Oral English. To mention but a few.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the 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:

  • A high degree of motivation on the part of both student and teacher; and
  • The teachers’ competence in the subject, and his or her mastery of the techniques of imparting knowledge in it.
  • 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:

  • Poor background.
  • Interference of mother tongue.
  • Unqualified teachers, poor teaching methodology
  • Lack of constant practice,
  • Lack of orientation and facilities
  • 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 the factors affecting the students in teaching and learning of Oral English among junior secondary schools using Eredo Local Government of Lagos State as a case study. 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 teaching in Eredo Local Government of Lagos State 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 Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of this study is to find out the factors affecting the students in teaching and learning of Oral English among junior secondary schools using Eredo Local Government of Lagos State as a case study, specifically the study intends to:

  1. Ascertain whether mother tongue interference affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English.
  2. Ascertain whether students attitude affects them during the teaching and learning of oral English.
  3. Find out whether conversant/frequent use of Pidgin language affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English.
  4. Determine whether teacher ineffectiveness affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English.
  5. Ascertain whether lack of adequate language learning resources affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English.

1.4 Research Questions

This study will answer the following research questions:

  1. Does mother tongue interference affect students during the teaching and learning of oral English?
  2. Does students attitude affect them during the teaching and learning of oral English?
  3. Does conversant/frequent use of Pidgin language affect students during the teaching and learning of oral English?
  4. Does teacher ineffectiveness affect students during the teaching and learning of oral English?
  5. Does lack of adequate language learning resources affect students during the teaching and learning of oral English?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses will validate this study:

H01: Mother tongue interference and conversant/frequent use of Pidgin language do not affect students during the teaching and learning of oral English.

H02: Lack of adequate language learning resources and teacher ineffectiveness do not affect students during the teaching and learning of oral English.


1.6 Significance of the Study

First, the researcher will focus his inquiry on investigating the factors affecting the students in teaching and learning of Oral English among junior secondary schools using Eredo Local Government of Lagos State as a case study. Secondly, This study will be beneficial to the following: Secondary Schools in Eredo Local Government of Lagos State, and other schools in Lagos State. Principals and proprietors of secondary schools within and outside Eredo Local Government Area. Teachers of Oral English in Eredo Local Government Area. Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, and Lagos State Ministry of Education, and so on.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study borders on the factors affecting the students in teaching and learning of Oral English among junior secondary schools using Eredo Local Government of Lagos State as a case study. This study focuses on ascertaining whether mother tongue interference affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English, ascertaining whether students attitude affects them during the teaching and learning of oral English, Finding out whether conversant/frequent use of Pidgin language affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English, and determining whether teacher ineffectiveness affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English. The respondent for this study will be obtained from oral English teachers and students of some selected secondary schools in Eredo Local Government of Lagos State.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

This research project, like all human endeavors, had some challenges that threatened to derail the study’s completion. One of the reasons is that the time allotted for this work was so limited that the researcher did not have enough time to complete the task thoroughly. During data collection, the researcher also had to put forth extra effort to understand the respondents’ interview schedules, several of whom fell into the incomprehensible age group. Also, there were financial and transportation constraints to deal with. Insufficient funds tend to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire, interview).


1.9 Definition of Terms

English language:

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

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.


1.10 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows.

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study.

Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations:

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on the factors affecting the students in teaching and learning of Oral English among junior secondary schools using Eredo Local Government of Lagos Stateas a case study. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was on the factors affecting the students in teaching and learning of Oral English among junior secondary schools using Eredo Local Government of Lagos State as a case study. The study is was specifically set to ascertain whether mother tongue interference affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English, ascertain whether students attitude affects them during the teaching and learning of oral English, find out whether conversant/frequent use of Pidgin language affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English, determine whether teacher ineffectiveness affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English, and ascertain whether lack of adequate language learning resources affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 150 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are Oral English teachers and students of some selected secondary schools in Eredo Local Government of Lagos State.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher made the following conclusion.

  1. Mother tongue interference affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English.
  2. Students attitude affects them during the teaching and learning of oral English.
  3. Conversant/frequent use of Pidgin language affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English.
  4. Teacher ineffectiveness affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English.
  5. Lack of adequate language learning resources affects students during the teaching and learning of oral English.

5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations are proffered.

  1. Teachers should be conscious of the fact that the experience of written language can be built up extensively outside normal lesson but contact with Oral English in most situations can only be improved upon within the classroom. Students should be motivated and stimulated so that fossilization does not occur. Apart from this, students identified with pronunciation interference should be given special attention as well as extra drilling and word practice in order to improve on their deficiencies.
  2. It is imperative that provision of language laboratory is an essential ingredient of Spoken English as a result; government should make adequate provision to schools so as to boost Spoken English teaching and learning.
  3. Teacher in a Oral English class should teach components of Oral English in context of usage, tapping examples and teaching aids from the child’s linguistics environment and cultural realities of the students.
  4. The habit of introducing Oral English at the senior secondary classes is not in the best interest of the students. Students should be exposed to Oral English right from primary education level.
  5. To crown it all, positive attitude is of paramount importance in all human endeavours, Oral English language teachers should develop positive attitude and interest in the teaching of Oral English as this will automatically have a positive effect on the students’ attitude to learning of Oral English. To this end, Oral English language teachers are to encourage the students to always speak Oral English language within the school so as to promote effective use of the language among the students.

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