An Investigation Of Sex Difference In Language Learning Among Primary School Pupils In Yakurr Local Government Area

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An Investigation Of Sex Difference In Language Learning Among Primary School Pupils In Yakurr Local Government Area


Abstract


This study was carried out to examine investigating sex differences in language learning among primary school pupils in Yakurr Local Government Area, Cross River State as a case study. The study was carried out to determine whether there is an effective language learning practices among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area, ascertain whether there is a significant gender difference in pupils active participation in language learning, determine whether gender difference influences the effectiveness of language learning practices among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area, determine whether there is a significant gender difference in pupils performance in language learning among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area. The survey design was adopted and the simple random sampling techniques were employed in this study. The population size comprise of Language teachers in selected primary schools in Yakurr Local Government Area, Cross River State. In determining the sample size, the researcher conveniently selected 41 respondents and 35 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 there is an effective language learning practices among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area. The study also revealed that gender difference influences the effectiveness of language learning practices among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area. Therefore, it is recommended that it is also important to note that males and females have different goals in mind when learning a language. The few exceptions in certain languages can likely be explained by the field of work that the learners choose to enter. Because of this, it is evident that languages are somewhat gendered. To mention but a few.


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Discourses on gender are extremely numerous and can be found in many different areas. Studies on it become one of the important and crucial things in society. According to James and Berger (1996:273), gender is ‘the most extensively investigated constructs of the social sciences’. This is also in line with Eckert (1998:64) who states that gender differences can be found in ‘different cultures, places, and groups’.

‘Sex’ and ‘gender’ are controversial terms. Some scholars distinguish between the two, using ‘sex’ as a biological category that serves to differentiate males from females and ‘gender’ as a social category that refers to social attributes given to men and women as well as to a grammatical distinction in language. Others use the terms indistinguishably, as if they were two sides of the same coin. These inconsistencies are mainly due to the difficulty in establishing a clear boundary between the two terms.

Traditionally, sex has been studied as a factor of variation in sociolinguist- ics. Research in this field has brought to light the existence of differences in language use depending on the sex of the speaker and the listener. For instance, in mixed-sex interactions, women on average ask more questions, use more polite speech forms and interrupt less frequently than men, and, contrary to the widespread myth of talkative women, research findings suggest that men listen less and talk more than women (Thorne & Henley 1975; Fishman 1980; West & Zimmerman 1983; Holmes 1988, 1994).

Sex difference in communication has become important topics for discussion recently since the notion about ‘women’s language’ was elaborated by Lakoff (1976) and followed by Tannen (1990, 1994). This notion emphasized that girls and boys have different styles in using a language to communicate. Numerous studies on it then flourished in many different countries such as in Arabic language (Hassan 2000) and in Japanese language (Itakuro and Tsui 2004). In Indonesia, gender research had been done in Java (Keeler 1990), in Wayewa, Sumba (Kuipers 1990), in Yogyakarta (Berman 1998), and in Bugis society (Mahmud 2008. 2009).

Learning strategies have become widely recognized as the central element in several models of language learning. The increasing awareness of the behaviors which learners consciously or unconsciously employ while learning a foreign language has been probably one of the most important outcomes of the movement in its transition towards a learner- centered approach to language learning. This change has been reflected in various ways in language education, ranging from the instructional materials to the curriculum characterized as the learner-centered curriculum (Nunan, 1988).

It is obvious that this growing recognition came with the emergence of cognitive psychology within which learners are seen to be actively involved in the process of learning. It is in direct response to the behaviorism theory of language learning which dominated the early part of the century. From the cognitive psychology perspective (Brown, Bransford, Ferrara, & Compione, 1983; Oxford, 1990), learners are perceived as capable of developing control over existing knowledge, adopting an active approach to learning by altering, modifying, replacing, making specific choices and taking various actions to internalize new information or to cope with task demands. All these behaviors are considered as deliberate and goal oriented and geared by the learners to cope with learning tasks.


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Sex as a variable has received little attention in the fields of second language learning/teaching. An example of this gap is clearly revealed by introductory textbooks to these fields: sex is barely included among individual factors of learning, and when it is included, only a few lines are devoted to the issue (Jiménez Catalán 2000). As far as journal articles are concerned, some research related to sex and individual factors has been published over the last two decades; for instance, sex and language achievement (Burstall et al. 1974; Ekstrand 1980), sex and attitudinal factors (Burstall et al. 1974; Powell & Baters 1985; Kaylani 1996), sex and learning styles (Reid 1987; Willing 1988; Ehrman & Oxford 1989) and sex and language learning strategies (Oxford, Nyikos & Ehrman 1988; Oxford 1993). However, studies specifically designed to study sex as a variable in language learning are few compared with research on other factors such as motivation, age or personality.


1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this study is to investigate sex differences in language learning among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area. Other objectives of this study is to:

  1. Determine whether there is an effective language learning practices among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area.
  2. Ascertain whether there is a significant gender difference in pupils active participation in language learning.
  3. Determine whether gender difference influences the effectiveness of language learning practices among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area.
  4. Determine whether there is a significant gender difference in pupils performance in language learning among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area

1.4 Research Questions

These research questions will be answered in this study:

  1. Is there is an effective language learning practices among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area?
  2. Is there a significant gender difference in pupils active participation in language learning?
  3. Does gender difference influences the effectiveness of language learning practices among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area?
  4. Is there a significant gender difference in pupils performance in language learning among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypothesis will be tested in this study:

  • Ho: Gender difference does not influence the effectiveness of language learning practices among primary school pupils.
  • Ha: Gender difference does influence the effectiveness of language learning practices among primary school pupils.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study on the problem of sex differences in language learning among primary school pupils will help teachers of language to know the strategies to adopt in for the different sexes. Improving their acquisition of skill in language through this study too, the educational policy makers and the administration will know the resources to be provided in school so as to improve the teaching and learning of language and bridging the gaps between the sexes.


1.7 Scope of the Study

This study focuses on investigating sex differences in language learning among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area. Specifically, this study focuses on determining the extent language learning is carried out in primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area, determining whether sex differences affects academic performance of primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area and determining whether sex differences affect teaching methods used in Language learning.


1.8 Limitations of the Study

In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents. However, the researcher were able to manage these just to ensure the success of this study.

Moreover, the case study method utilized in the study posed some challenges to the investigator including the possibility of biases and poor judgment of issues. However, the investigator relied on respect for the general principles of procedures, justice, fairness, objectivity in observation and recording, and weighing of evidence to overcome the challenges.


1.9 Definition of Terms

Sex Differences:

Sex differences refer to the differences in how males and females behave and think. Sex differences are driven by actual biological gender disparity, rather than by differing environmental factors (nurture), and affect our cognition and behavior.


1.10 Organization of the Studies

The study is categorized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, objective of the study, research questions and hypothesis, the significance of the study, scope/limitations of the study, and definition of terms. The chapter two covers the review of literature with emphasis on conceptual framework, theoretical framework, and empirical review. Likewise, the chapter three which is the research methodology, specifically covers the research design, population of the study, sample size determination, sample size, and selection technique and procedure, research instrument and administration, method of data collection, method of data analysis, validity and reliability of the study, and ethical consideration. The second to last chapter being the chapter four presents the data presentation and analysis, while the last chapter(chapter five) contains the summary, conclusion and recommendation.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Introduction

This chapter summarizes the findings on investigating sex differences in language learning among primary school pupils in Yakurr Local Government Area, Cross River State as 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 investigating sex differences in language learning among primary school pupils in Yakurr Local Government Area, Cross River State as a case study.The study is was specifically carried out to determine whether there is an effective language learning practices among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area, ascertain whether there is a significant gender difference in pupils active participation in language learning, determine whether gender difference influences the effectiveness of language learning practices among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area, determine whether there is a significant gender difference in pupils performance in language learning among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area.

The study adopted the survey research design and randomly enrolled participants in the study. A total of 35 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent wereLanguage teachers in selected primary schools in Yakurr Local Government Area, Cross River State.


5.3 Conclusions

Based on the findings of this study, the researcher concluded that;

  1. There is an effective language learning practices among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area.
  2. There is a significant gender difference in pupils active participation in language learning.
  3. Gender difference influences the effectiveness of language learning practices among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area.
  4. There is a significant gender difference in pupils performance in language learning among primary school pupils in Yakurr local government area.

5.4 Recommendations

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

  1. Language teachers should consider the different learning styles of male and female learners.
  2. Teachers should implement more activities involving visual aids or auditory exercises so that the both gender are given a fair chance.
  3. Given the drastic differences in the numbers of female and male language learners, it is clear that the language education system is in need of a change. It is quite unfortunate that language has become so feminized in societies across the world, but this does not mean that males cannot be as effective learners as females. Teachers should take the initiative to change their instruction methods so that males have a fair chance of closing this language acquisition gap
  4. It is also important to note that males and females have different goals in mind when learning a language. The few exceptions in certain languages can likely be explained by the field of work that the learners choose to enter. Because of this, it is evident that languages are somewhat gendered.

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