The Influence Of Gender In The Use Of English Language Of 400 Level Student Of Sokoto State University

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The Influence Of Gender In The Use Of English Language Of 400 Level Student Of Sokoto State University


Abstract


The work used the ex-post-facto design to deepen our understanding of the relationship between gender and students’ academic achievements in English Language. The sample comprised 200 staff of the department of English in higher institutions in Sokoto state drawn randomly from selected institutions of higher learning in Sokoto State, Nigeria. Two instruments were used: questionnaire administered to the lecturers and sample of semester result in English Language. These items were obtained from English Language lecturers. The data were correlated and analyzed using chi-square statistics to derive the research measure. The result showed a no significant relationship between gender and students’ achievements in English Language. The study therefore recommended that lecturers should embark on their duty with unbiased notions of gender among learners in their various disciplines.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Gender is a broad analytical concept which highlights women roles and responsibilities in relation to those of men. It refers to all the characteristics of men and women which a particular society has determined and assigned each sex. Gender, according to Mershall (1994), refers to socially-constructed aspects of differences between men and women. Since its introduction as a social concept, it has been extended to refer not only to individual identity and personality but also at the symbolic level, to cultural ideas and stereotypes of masculinity and femininity. The differences in the behaviour of males and females are learned rather than being the inevitable result of biology. Scholars have tried to determine the contribution of students’ gender to their academic achievements. Inyang and Archibong (1998) studied effects of gender and order of treatment of related mathematical principles on students’ performance in Chemistry Quantitative Problems.

The study investigated the effects of exposing senior secondary school students of different gender to selected mathematical principles on their performances in quantitative problems in Chemistry. Subjects were exposed to three different instructional models. Those in the control group were exposed to treatment of chemistry quantitative problems with related mathematical principles; those in experimental Group 1 were exposed to quantitative problems in Chemistry before treatment of related mathematical principles while those in experimentalGroup 2 were subjected to related principles before treatment of quantitative problems in Chemistry. Post-test data in Chemistry Quantitative Ability Test (CQAT) collected and analysed using independent t-test revealed that an instructional model in which related mathematical principles were taught first before chemistry quantitative problems was most effective in understanding quantitative problems in Chemistry irrespective of gender. Akpama (2007) studied the gender influence on perception and attitude to HIV/AIDS prevention among secondary school students in Cross River State, Nigeria.

The author formulated the null hypothesis: there is no significant difference between male and female adolescents in terms of their perception and attitude to HIV/AIDS prevention. 900 adolescents (450 males and 450 females) constituted the sample. A 20-item questionnaire was used for data collection. Data collected were analysed using independent t-test. The result showed that males and females did not differ significantly in their perception and attitude to HIV/AIDS prevention. It showed that the knowledge of the means of transmission and prevention was high among both male and female adolescents. According to Donahue, Veolki, Campbell and Mazzco (1999), some correlations appear to exist between gender and some academic achievement e.g. reading.

They noted that disaggregation of the 1998 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading results based on gender rather than other variables revealed that females outperformed males in 4th, 8th and 12th grades, as they also did in 1992 and 1994; that at the 4th grade level, the males made a significant gain over their 1994 score while the females remained the same. They reported a similar trend in the North Carolina end-of-grade test administered in grades three to eight of the North Carolina State Department of Public Instruction (2000). Baharudin and Luster (1998) asserted that in US some of these gender differences could be explained by a national survey of reading attitudes conducted with 18,185 children across country among the first to third grades. They advanced that girls as a group possessed more positive attitude than boys at all grade levels, both towards recreational and academic reading.

Similarly, Eccles, Wigfield, Harald and Blumenfield (1993) affirmed in a four-year longitudinal study of elementary school children in Michigan that girls valued reading significantly more than boys. But Baharudin and Luster’s study of 1998 using gender as a predictor of Mathematics achievement of six to eight-year-olds emerged again as significant in favour of females sub-group. Females, in general, as reported in a study supported by Campbell and Beaudry’s (1998) longitudinal study of American youth data, revealed less confidence in their mathematical ability and greater exertion of effort in mathematical classes than males. According to Fennema, Carpenter, Jacobs, Franke and Levi (1998), mathematical ways of thinking may differ by gender. This team of researchers studied children as they progressed from first through third grades. They identified gender differences in strategy use that was evident from the beginning of the study and persisted through the end. Girls, they said, tended to use more modelling or counting strategies, while boys tended to use more abstract strategies such as derived facts or invented algorithms.

By the third grade, girls used significantly more standard algorithms than did the boys.The natural traits that distinguish individual user of a language can never be denied .It has never occurred in the world history that two persons speak the same way even though they use the same language. The language behaviour of different users of a language spells out the unique language identity. Eloquence, power of oration and ability to acquire the necessary tools of communication in a language may vary from person to person. Heredity may play a vital role in the learning and acquisition of a language. But this notwithstanding, the theory of nurture through which the necessary cultivation of language behaviour is observed can make a difference in language performance. Language as one of the natural phenomenon has its complex peculiar characteristics but the ability to cope with all its features is given to man. This is controlled through proper nurture in a particular linguistic situation within a language region.

Human being is given the power to acquire any language with different individual distinctions: language competence and language performance could be blind to gender variation. The uses of a language are based on individual language acumen rather than the sex. In the process of language acquisition and language learning, every creation (human) has equal opportunity to perform. Apart from illness, accident and some abnormalities, all human beings have equal opportunity of using the tools of communication effectively. The theory of navitivism according to Chomky (1968) suggests that nature had provided every linguistic paraphernalia needed by any man to acquire the necessary tools of communication in human language. The number of human languages in the world is infinite yet there are common cores. The natural features are similar and every normal person has the potentials to use the features for social interactions.

Though the mentalist theorists do not believe in the concept of learning language through stimulus- response, their claim in language learning processes does not deny exposure to language culture as being practised in the environment of the learner/ child. The crux of the matter in acquiring the needed tools of language of communication is exposure. The correct language habit is formed through exposure to the right language model .Good language habit is developed as the child/learner imitates the linguistics tit-bits which the mature speakers often demonstrate before him. The drama is carried out through repetition, recapitulation and replication. In language pedagogy, the best methodology is explored in order to develop the standard and globally acceptable linguistic norms in the child/learner as regards the Language of Wider Communication (LWC).


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Despite the importance attached to the English Language, and efforts made by stake holders in the educational sector to optimize the learning of English Language as a school subject, students’ achievement in English Language has not commensurate to the investment made in it. There has been a fall in students’ academic achievement in English Language over the years as compared to other subjects in the school system. Evidence abounds that students have not been doing well in English Language.

Nigeria as a country, has been suffering from a disgustingly high rate of students‘ failure in key subjects (Eze, 2011) among which is English Language, the language of administration in government and medium of instruction in Nigerian schools. This failure rate has attracted the attention of educators, educationists and educational researchers in investigating its causes Unfortunately, not much consideration has been given to the gender factor in streaming students as a possible vital variable that can impact on students‘ academic performance in Nigeria‘s educational system. This factor is often conspicuously absent in such enumerations. Consequently, of recent, a deliberate and drastic shift from coeducation, much more to single gender education is fast gaining ground and has prompted several studies, especially outside the shores of Nigeria.

This shift to single gender system today in other parts of the world is attributable to a number of research findings that that male and female genders are different in several respects such as the rate of brain development (Lenroot et. al. 2007), brain lateralization (Harriet, Robert & Marvin, 1999, Burman, Tali & James, 2008), brain tasks execution strategies (Gomez, 2011), seeing and hearing endowed capabilities Corso in Algoe 2012), and activeness in the brain. Other differences reported include learning strategies or styles (Vernon-Gestenfeld, 1989 &Hodgins, 2008); and classroom learning climatic conditions (Hodgins, 2008). Each of these poses some pedagogical challenges and consequently, constraining students‘ academic performance if not addressed. This research, therefore, investigated the influence of gender in the use of English language of 400 level students of Sokoto state university.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to ascertain the influence of gender in the use of English language among 400 level students of Sokoto state university; in order to aid the completion of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following specific objective;

  1. To ascertain the influence of gender disparity on the use of English language among student of Sokoto state university
  2. To investigate the relationship between gender disparity and student eloquence in English language
  3. To examine the effect of gender on student academic performance in English language
  4. To ascertain the effect of gender differences on the failure rate in English language

1.4 Research Hypotheses

To aid the completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

  1. H0: there is no significant relationship between gender disparity and student eloquence in English language in Sokoto state university
    H1: there is a significant relationship between gender disparity and student eloquence in English language in Sokoto state university
  2. H0: gender disparity does not have any effect on the use of English language among student of Sokoto state university
    H2: gender disparity does have an effect on the use of English language among student of Sokoto state university

1.5 Significance of the Study

At the completion of the study, it is believed that the findings will be of great importance to English lecturers in higher institutions as the study seek to explore the influence of gender disparity on student eloquence level among 400 level student of Sokoto state university In Nigeria, it is clear that the government does not give much attention to the issue of gender type when it comes to the matter of streaming or placing students into senior secondary school level or when allocating classes to them in schools. In most cases, government‘s concentration is on career/professional predictions such as arts, science, technical or vocation aptitudes, and day or boarding variables.

The exploitation of gender streaming strategy for academic performance implications is never viewed with much seriousness. Therefore, since this study is designed to investigate whether or not streaming students according to gender composition can significantly impact on senior secondary students‘ academic performance particularly, in English Language, its findings may help teachers, school administrators and managers, school counselors, curriculum specialists, teacher trainers and teacher re-trainers.


1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers the influence of gender in the use of English language of 400 level students of Sokoto state university. But in the cause of the study, there were some factors which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Finance:

The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.


1.7 Operational Definition of Terms

Gender

Organisms of many species are specialized into male and female varieties, each known as a sex. Sexual reproduction involves the combining and mixing of genetic traits: specialized cells known as gametes

English language

English is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and is now a global lingua franca

Eloquence

Eloquence is fluent, forcible, elegant or persuasive speaking. It is primarily the power of expressing strong emotions in striking and appropriate language, thereby producing conviction or persuasion

Student

A “student” is a learner or someone who attends an educational institution. In the United Kingdom, those attending university are termed “students” while “pupil” refers to an attendee of a lower educational institute; the same was typically true in the United States previously where student was considered a more lofty and ambitious title, one who was actively seeking knowledge, not just learning it because they were required to.


1.9 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), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its 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, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain the influence of gender in the use of English of 400 level student of Sokoto state university.

In the preceding chapters, relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of gender in the use of English among student of Sokoyo state university


5.2 Summary

The result of the hypothesis in this study showed no significant gender differential in students’ academic performance in English Language. It thus adds to the corpus of existing literature on this subject (Vernon 1996, Akpama, 2007, Denga, 1996). It is, however, at variance with Dennis and Dennis (1996) and Oladele (1998). The plausible reason for this is that various personality attributes influence performances and these includes anxiety, dependence, aggressiveness, attitude, interest and motivation. Many girls are, however, denied access to education because the parents of such girls consider girl education wasteful since they would be married. Girls are thus socialized to accept their primary roles as procreation and family management. This obnoxious practice violates the rights of women. Apart from the early socialization which tends to keep women in predominantly female-oriented jobs, women are also constrained by demands on their time and energy by domestic labour and child care. These prevent them from participating in forms of employment for sustainable development. Nigerian women are thus disempowered and forced by the above scenario to come under heavier burden of poverty, inequity and other forms of economic ineptitude. Angya and Okpe (2005) note that the intransigence of cultural beliefs and other related values that put menfolk up there and the women far below has intensified the perpetuation of injustice thus impeding women’s contribution to national development even in civilized democracies like the U.S, Britain, France etc. Women are subjugated and made to encounter occupational and attitudinal biases which prevent them from reaching their full potential. The strength of the finding of this research suggests that female students and male students have equal academic potentials and, if given the chance, both male and female can contribute to national development. According to Okeke in Okwoche and Omachi (2008) since women make up more than half of Nigeria’s population, no worthwhile development can be achieved without their contribution


5.3 Conclusion

In conclusion, learning environment and appropriate methods of teaching all will go a long way at helping the learners to perform better in language programmes. The curriculum must be so enriched to the point of providing enough work on language of instruction. The language that plays the major roles in one’s life must not be placed on an artificial terrain. English language is vital to every Nigerian. Its teaching must be made practical without allowing any issue like sex to hinder students’ good performance and good performance must be enhanced through the natural acquisition of its toolsThe idea that sex plays prominent role in students’ performance in the language as a school subject should be dropped into the junks. It had been discovered in Nigeria schools that Lecture Method was the commonest and the most popular method used by the teachers not only in English language but also in all other school subjects. This make the teaching teacher centred. In the process of carrying out the work, it was discovered that Audio-tape Mediated Discussion Method had the highest contribution to students’ knowledge followed by Discussion and Lecture Methods in their orders. The results derived from the study exonerated students from academic failure especially in oral English. It has been discovered that instructional method could be responsible. The results therefore strongly supported the idea of learning language by participation and competence through recapitulation. Good and appropriate methods could mount monuments that can facilitate good memory. Therefore, regardless of sex, a combination of well graded linguistic inputs with the right method produces a better result.


5.4 Recommendations

Haven completed the study, the researcher is of the opinion that Learners must be helped to develop the right attitude through effective teaching programme that will obliterate wrong self perception. There are other important factors that must be considered which have nothing to do with sex; factors that affect language learning and language acquisition programmes may include: intelligence, Maturation, Readiness, Aptitude and Incentives. In conclusion, learning environment and appropriate methods of teaching all will go a long way at helping the learners to perform better in language programmes. The curriculum must be so enriched to the point of providing enough work on language of instruction. The language that plays the major roles in one’s life must not be placed on an artificial terrain. English language is vital to every Nigerian. Its teaching must be made practical without allowing any issue like sex to hinder students’ good performance and good performance must be enhanced through the natural acquisition of its tools.


The Influence Of Gender In The Use Of English Language Of 400 Level Student Of Sokoto State University


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