An Investigation Into The Misuse Of Prespositions Among Students Of Some Selected Junior Secondary Schools In Epe Local Government Area Of Lagos State

Project and Seminar Material for English Education

An Investigation Into The Misuse Of Prespositions Among Students Of Some Selected Junior Secondary Schools In Epe Local Government Area Of Lagos State


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine the misuse of prespositions among students of some selected junior secondary schools in Epe local government area of Lagos state. The study was specifically carried out to assess the level of students knowledge of English prepositions, ascertain whether students level of knowledge of preposition contributes to their misuse of preposition, ascertain whether teachers knowledge of preposition contributes to students misuse of preposition, find out the extent interference of mother tongue influence the misuse of preposition among students English preposition, and determine whether English teacher’s competence influence the misuse of preposition among students English preposition. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of English teachers and students of some selected secondary schools inEpe local government area 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 students frequently misuse English prepositions in Junior Secondary Schools.The study also revealed that the students level of knowledge of preposition contribute to their misuse of preposition. Therefore, it is recommended that the teachers should encourage the students and try to change their negative attitudes in learning in preposition. A space must be given to the students to realize their errors in an uncomplicated way. Affective and creative teaching must be given to the student. This teaching should include proper material which helps the students to improve their understanding in the use of preposition. To mention but a few.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

The performance of the learners in writing skill performance-based assessment tasks such as the constructed-response in essay mode is often evaluated by the language experts. Most commonly used rubrics to assign a score to writing in performance-based assessments (PBAs) are analytic, holistic and primary traits rubrics (East & Young, 2007). But for the purpose of this study, the researcher has used analytic scoring technique because it can upgrade (Xi & Mollaun, 2006) reliability among measures. Each linguistic feature is assigned a separate score in analytic scoring technique. In a writing skill assessment task, it provides sufficient diagnostic information of the underlying ability of the learners.

The present study focuses on prepositions and grammatical accuracy to analyze the writing skill of junior students. Keeping in view the nature and purpose of the study, it is important to explain what is meant by ‘misuse’. The words and sentences used by the learners during their writing task are checked by language instructors in the process of evaluating junior students writings. They are commonly termed as errors, mistakes and slips. The presence of errors refers to the learners’ inability to employ properly the semantic categories, structure of grammar and other linguistics units. The terms ‘mistakes’ and ‘errors’ are repeatedly confused and interchanged with each other with the notion of their being synonymous for each other. Actually they are not semantically synonymous; there is a lucid and clear line of difference between these two terms.

According to Brown (2010) mistakes allude to the failure in order to use a system that is known by the learners in an approved manner. He further precedes his argument that it is a performance error. Finally, we can infer from Brown’s point of view that in his native language, a native speaker can make a mistake but he cannot make an error which non- native learners typically commit. To Edge (2009) an learner can correct his mistakes by himself/herself but to correct his errors, he definitely requires the supervision of some competent language instructor. From aforementioned discussion, it is quite vivid that errors are the result of lack of knowledge with regard to the language rules.

A learner has to go through a complicated, hit and trial process to learn a second language. In Nigeria education system, English language teaching has always occupied a superior status. Students are scarcely conscious towards the process of English language writing skill in Nigeria because particularly at college level there is not any systematic procedure and implementation of error analysis system. Besides, in this regard lecturers hardly make any committed effort. Consequently in English language writing skill, learners go on making errors and mistakes. Lecturers do not rectify these errors and as a result they become a constant feature of learners’ writing skill in the long run. The linguist is seriously concerned with the errors of the learners in modern languages pedagogy because the analysis of the errors of learners provides useful information to lecturers about the problematic areas that require to be rectified. On students writing skill, an integral part of second language instruction is the feedback. It supports in knowing how far the students have been able to steer on the road of amelioration in their writing skill. Perhaps on the part of lecturers, this is estimated to be one of the most vital responsibilities. No doubt, the feedback given by the teacher affects of how learners should move toward the writing skill process and make revisions to their writing for improvement (Hedgcock & Lefkowitz, 2004).

Prepositions are always considered as the most crucial elements in teaching English particularly in the teaching of speaking and writing skills (Mukundan & Norwati, 2009). A preposition expresses a relation between two entities, one being represented by the prepositional complement of the various types of relational meaning (Quirk et al, 1985). These relationships include those of time, place, direction, and various degrees of mental and emotional states. Studies have shown that the preposition is one of the most problematic categories that students encounter in learning English (Ravina, 1982). (Thahir, 1987) claims that prepositions can cause a problem for Arabic learners of English. What makes it harder for Arab learners of English to master English preposition usage is that Arabic prepositions are more limited in number than those of English. On the other hand, (Hayden, 1956) claims that English has fifty seven prepositions. Researchers on different languages with which English is in contact have attested to learners‟ difficulty in learning and using prepositions (Al-Marrani, 2009; Tahaimeh, 2010; Bukhari et al., 2011; Jalali and Shojaei, 2012). (Grubic, 2004) concluded that speakers of English as a foreign language encounter three problems with prepositions: using the incorrect preposition, or deleting the necessary preposition or using an additional preposition. Some teachers do not pay much attention to these set of words especially in a second language setting (Delija et al., 2013), because English preposition is just as hard to teach as it is to learn! According to Boquist (2009:5) “one cannot really explain a preposition without using one or two more prepositions in the definition … soon both the teacher and student are caught in a spiral whirlwind of prepositions and their still vague meaning”. The errors which deal with prepositions are the most common mistakes done by the non-native speakers especially in their writing. This could be due to a wide range of linguistic functions that prepositions serve, hence learners may feel discouraged to learn and master this grammar topic. For example, in choosing the appropriate preposition, one has to know and understand the context as well as “the intended meaning” (Tetreault & Chodorow, 2008)


1.2 Statement of the Problem

From school and college level, English language is taught as a compulsory subject. Conversely, in spite of its being taught for so many years, the learners at graduate level still have problems in their second language especially in prepositions and grammatical accuracy. The learners have to face many difficulties of how to write accurately in accordance with syntactic rules. They even cannot develop meaning between sentences. They cannot write an essay accurately with the correct use of prepositions. In writing skill, linguistic features are of great significance. In this feature, the lack of competence brings about a great detriment to their educational performance. So this study was conducted to investigate this problem.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The general aim of this study is to examine the misuse of prespositions among students of some selected junior secondary schools in Epe local government area of Lagos state.

Specifically, this study will;

  1. To assess the level of students knowledge of English prepositions.
  2. To ascertain whether students level of knowledge of preposition contributes to their misuse of preposition.
  3. To ascertain whether teachers knowledge of preposition contributes to students misuse of preposition.
  4. To find out the extent interference of mother tongue influence the misuse of preposition among students English preposition.
  5. To determine whether English teacher’s competence influence the misuse of preposition among students English preposition.

1.4 Research Questions

The study will be guided by the following questions;

  1. What is the level of students knowledge of English prepositions?
  2. Does students frequently misuse English prepositions in Junior Secondary Schools?
  3. Does students level of knowledge of preposition contribute to their misuse of preposition?
  4. Does teachers’ knowledge of preposition contribute to students misuse of preposition?
  5. What is the extent the interference of mother tongue influence the misuse of preposition among students?
  6. Does English teacher’s competence influence the misuse of preposition among students English preposition?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

Ho: The misuse of prepositions is not common among Junior secondary school.

Ha: The misuse of prepositions is common among Junior secondary school.


1.6 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study would be beneficial to the lecturers, researchers, Ministry of Education, educational policy makers. The findings would provide useful information to the lecturers on the appropriate teaching strategies to be adopted that will bring about effective learning outcomes among students.

The significance of the study will be of great value to the teachers of English to give prepositions much time, more attention and considerable time for exercises. Syllabus designers are to choose best ways to improve using prepositions through enriching syllabuses with prepositions activities.

Finally, the outcomes of this research would to be of immense benefits to students of Faculty of Education and Educational policy makers because its revealed information on lecturers’ teaching strategies and their corresponding imparts on students’ academic performance in social studies.


1.7 Scope of the Study

The study was delimited to make an investigation into the misuse of prespositions among students of some selected junior secondary schools in Epe local government area of Lagos state.


1.8 Limitation of the Study

In every research work, it is likely that the researcher may encounter some limitations. The researcher encountered some challenges during the period of carrying out this research. Some of these challenges include the dearth of materials for a proper and effective research work constituted a major limitation. Again, how to get the true and required information from the students through questionnaire also constituted a constraint in the study.

Finally, there was the problem of convincing the students on the primary objectives of the questionnaire so as to give the true and required information. However, the intervention of the class REP in the selected department who took time to clear the air and convince his students helped the investigator to administer the instrument successfully.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Preposition

A preposition is one of the eight parts of speech. Specifically, a preposition is a connector: its function is to connect a noun or pronoun (called the object of the preposition) to another noun or pronoun in a sentence.

Errors

Errors are deviations from the standard or violations of the standard.


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 misuse of prespositions among students of some selected junior secondary schools in Epe local government area of Lagos state. The chapter consists of summary of the study, conclusions, and recommendations.


5.2 Summary of the Study

In this study, our focus was onthe misuse of prespositions among students of some selected junior secondary schools in Epe local government area of Lagos state. The study is was specifically set to assess the level of students knowledge of English prepositions, ascertain whether students level of knowledge of preposition contributes to their misuse of preposition, ascertain whether teachers knowledge of preposition contributes to students misuse of preposition, find out the extent interference of mother tongue influence the misuse of preposition among students English preposition, and determine whether English teacher’s competence influence the misuse of preposition among students English preposition.

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 areEnglish Language teachers and students of some selected secondary schools in Epe local government area of Lagos state.


5.3 Conclusions

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

  1. Students frequently misuse English prepositions in Junior Secondary Schools.
  2. The students level of knowledge of preposition contribute to their misuse of preposition.
  3. The teachers’ knowledge of preposition contribute to students misuse of preposition.
  4. The interference of mother tongue influences the misuse of preposition by students.
  5. English teacher’s competence influences the misuse of preposition among students English preposition.

5.4 Recommendations

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

  1. The teachers should encourage the students and try to change their negative attitudes in learning in preposition. A space must be given to the students to realize their errors in an uncomplicated way.
  2. Different types of preposition must be given to the students. It will help them to clear their confusion in that. Practice will make them perfect.
  3. Clear explanation must be given to the students about rules of English for preposition. Careful attention must be given of prepositional type and its aspects.
  4. Affective and creative teaching must be given to the student. This teaching should include proper material which helps the students to improve their understanding in the use of preposition.
  5. Teaching strategy should be modified. Teaching aids should use in an effective way.
  6. As preposition learning is a boring thing, students may be given some interesting stories and they may be asked to find out the prepositions used in the story and asked to explain why they are used in such positions.

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