Perceived Factors Militating Against Learning Of English Language In Junior Secondary Schools

Project and Seminar Material for English Education

Perceived Factors Militating Against Learning Of English Language In Junior Secondary Schools


Abstract


This study is designed to look at the perceived factors militating against learning of english language in junior secondary schools in Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto State; Implications for language Educators. The study looks at the difficulties student encounter in the learning of English language and which could be the reason for their lack of proficiency in Oral and written English.

This study was conducted at the time when Junior secondary schools of wamakko local government area of sokoto state were facing the challenge of having students who have difficulties in learning English language. Hence, at the initial stage, most of them were not motivated. Some took it as a challenge and perform well while others graduate without learning the proper usage of reading, speaking and writing in English language or even become drop-outs. This is not good for the future of education in Nigeria.

It was concluded that teacher’s ability to teach effectively, qualitative and competent teacher with interest, self efficacy and teaching skill influences the learning difficulties of English language among Junior secondary school students.


Table of Content


  • Title Page
  • Certification
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Table of Content
  • List of Tables
  • Abstract

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the study
  • 1.2 Statement of the problem
  • 1.3 Objective of the study
  • 1.4 Research questions
  • 1.5 Significance of the study
  • 1.6 Scope of the study
  • 1.7 Limitation of the study
  • 1.8 Definition of terms
  • 1.9 Organizations of the study

Chapter Two:

Review of Literature

  • 2.1 Conceptual Framework
  • 2.2 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.3 Empirical Review

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Population of the Study
  • 3.3 Sample Size Determination
  • 3.4 Sample Size Selection Technique and Procedure
  • 3.5 Research Instrument and Administration
  • 3.6 Method of Data Collection
  • 3.7 Method of Data Analysis
  • 3.8 Validity of the Study
  • 3.9 Reliability of the Study
  • 3.10 Ethical Consideration

Chapter Four:

Data Presentation and Analysis

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Analysis of Data
  • 4.3 Answering Research Questions
  • 4.4 Interpretation of Result

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendation
  • References
  • APPENDIX
  • QUESTIONNAIRE

Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background to the Study

Nigeria is a country with about four hundred different languages. Some of these languages are spoken by millions of people while others are spoken by only a few thousands persons some of these languages also are believed to have gone extinct. Following the 1963 census. The major languages of the nation are put at Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba Hausa is used as first language (LI) by some 11.5 million persons, Yoruba by 9.5 million persons and Igbo by 7 million people. Each of these languages is also spoken as a second language (L2) by an estimated one million people.

Nigerian languages are used as a great deal in the every day lives of the people. They are used in schools market places, in offices, in factories and at school gatherings. Books are published in most of the Nigeria languages and the major languages have newspapers, magazines and comics written in them traditional theatre and musical groups are fund in many parts of the country, entertaining, using the indigenous Nigerian language.

Inspite of the widespread use of indigenous Nigerian language in Nigerian society, no single Nigerian language has yet emerged as the country’s dominant language. This is because no single language is spoken and understood by an over whelming majority of Nigerians. The Nigerian language situation is thus one in which as multiplicity of language co-exist.

Obanya, P. secondary English Teaching (Lagos, Macmillan Nigeria Publishers (1982) P1.

Institute of Education University of Ibadan publication “Language arts methods” (1981) P3.

As a result of this multiplicity of languages and consequently tribes and culture there is a problem of which language should be given prominence over the other languages. There have been calls and concerted efforts towards the development and adoption of a common national language, but the question still persists; which language should be given prominence over the other? Over the years one has come to associate the call for a national language some technical jargons in various endeaviours have not been development. Because of the, even when two people from the same language community speed, they are forced to resort to some English words in other to drive home their points.

Based on this multilingual nature of Nigeria English language readily tends to meet some of the conditions which the indigenous languages have failed to meet.

English language can be said to be playing a unifying role in Nigeria. It is the only language which Nigerians of diverse linguistic, geographical, social and religious backgrounds have in common. It is used to conduct the various official business of the nation. It is the language of the legislature commerce, the mass media as well as the language of instruction in schools and colleges. This is of course in addition to the indigenous language of the local community. It is to be noted however that English language is the medium of instruction in the Junior primary, the secondary school and in tertiary institutions. In these schools the native language or mother-tongue is offered as a school subject.

Speakers of English language fall into three categories. The native speakers; speaker of English as a foreign language and speakers of English as a second language (L2) a speaker of English as a native language acquires English naturally as a young child. This the does usually because his parents use English as their normal means of communication with him and with each other and it is the language used by the community in which he is growing up. It is spoken as a native language in Britain, the united State, Australia, and New Zealand e.t.c.

As a foreign language, English is usually taught as a subject as school or college. A speaker in this situation lives in a country where English is used as a second language (L2). A speaker of English as a second language usually lives in a country where English is not the native language of the indigenous in habitants. However, in his country, English is frequently used as a means of communication between speakers of different native languages. It is the language of education, commerce and politics. These children are often exposed to English before. They learn and use it at school.

In Nigeria, English is an important item in the school syllabus which is prescribed and which must be followed. It is a compulsory school subject and a credit pass in it is a pre-requisite for admission into institutions of higher education in the country. This is of course irrespective of the course of study. At the University of Benin, Benin City a pass in the use of English is a pre-requisite for the award of a degree certificate.

Inspite of the glorious position occupied by English language in Nigeria, the number of people who understand the language is limited. Efforts have to be made to increase the number of people who understand English. The model advocated for is the Standard English which until recently is the model prescribed for Grammar, vocabulary and spelling and the Received Pronunciation (E-P) as the model for pronunciation. This could be taught through the mass media of through schools and colleges. The method of teaching the English language and the problems associated with each shall form the basis of this essay.

The problem associated with the teaching of English language can be classified into instructional and infrastructural problems as well as biases and interferences from the first language (L1). It is to be noted however that there is no single best method of teaching the English language. Language learning does not have to follow the same part whatever the objective and circumstances. The teaching of English language is a praginatic business and should be judge as such. The teacher faced with decisions on the methods and techniques that he has to use and bear in mind the conditions under which he will be working. That is to say that one cannot brand a particular method as good or bad without taking the circumstances in which it is used into consideration. The teacher also has to take into account his own qualities and the characteristics of his pupils and also physical and other conditions in which he has to work.

In learning English in a second language situations, the learner in taught English at school and unconsciously “picks it up” out of school from his family and friends, from the radio, from Newspapers, from films, from public speeches e.t.c most of the English he will be exposed to out of school will be incorrect English because it will be spoken by people whose first language is not English. In addition, he will face problems in learning English as a result of interference from the mother tongue: for example, if the mother tongue does not contain /r/ sound he will probably pronounce “river” as “liver”.

Another problem area in the teaching of English is the widespread use of pidgin. It makes the learning of grammar difficult because the grammar or pidgin has, in most cases, been implied and made to come as near as possible to that of some indigenous Nigerian languages.

There is also the problem of trained man power the student in this situation might be taught English by a teacher who has not attained a very high level of competence in the language. The size of the class and the number of classes equally has a role to play in teacher’s efficiency.

English language teaching in schools covers the following areas: Vocabulary, reading, writing, speech and grammar. These areas also have associated problems.

It is important to note that despite the catalogue of problem listed above the situation is far from hopeless. Various techniques and methods are to be adopted to remedy the situation. The use of minimal pair’s audio visual aids, recorded speech, drills and repetitions will be useful in solving the stated problems and these would be discussed in fuller details later in this work.

It is common to often hear people complain about the poor performances of students in English language in both internal and external examinations, and even in the verbal usage of the spoken language. Various reasons have been advanced for this trend. Some of these reasons include the inability of candidates to differentiate between two apparently similar sounds and orthography, this inability to differentiate between these sounds is as a result of interference from the first language (L1) on the acquisition of the second language (L2) skills which in this case is the English language.

Learning is relatively permanent change in behavior as a result of exposure to condition in the environment. Also learning is an inference from some performance of the organism manifesting change of behavior, change in behavior must be permanent and this implies gain to the organism for his/her survival. However, the concept of learning is the relatively permanent change in behavior or capability that results from experience. It is concerned with relatively stable change that occurs in an individual behavior as a result of interaction with his environment.

The reasons that cause student difficulty in English language learning are due to learners, lack of efficiency of the school, and the insufficient parents’ promotion of the language. Moreover, Alderman (2004), observes on the students’ poor performance in language learning affected from a lack of effort, lack of effective learning strategies, whereas a good language learner is a highly motivated student and a successful user of a large number of different strategies (Trawinski, 2005). So, teachers have to help them improve the motivational belief and language learning strategies in order to find ways that reach to their academic achievement.

English language teaching involves appropriate selection of graded materials which are within the ability level of the students concerned just like any other school subject. It also involves careful preparation of scheme of work and lesson plans with relevant details. The choice of method, techniques and aids must be suitable for the subject (English language).

Methods and techniques refer to the ways of giving information on how to get something or training a student in particular skills which he can then utilize for him or herself. This study is concerned with finding out the causes of student’s difficulty in learning English language in areas such as grammar, composition and oral English. The study is to find out measures to develop student language skills so that those difficulties will be minimized and to enable the students to communicate in English, write in it and gain mastery of it.

Teachers of English have to vary their teaching methods bearing in mind that there are individual differences with regards to teaching/learning processes. Some students are slow learners while others are fast learners. The teacher as a result of this has to derive a means of reaching the needs of the students in such situation.

By using a comparative approach of individual students’ and to identify the various difficulties that can be important for English language learning, with a view to finding possible solution to the difficulties identified.


1.2. Statement of the Problem

This study has been undertaken in order to survey some difficulties Junior secondary school students of Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto State face in learning English language and to look at implication for language Educators.

It has been observed that Junior secondary school student experience difficulties in areas such as grammar-lexis and structure, composition-letter writing, oral English-comprehension to mention just a few. This could be the reason for very low proficiency in Oral and written English.


1.3. Research Question

The research questions for the study are to examine: To what extent do:

  1. Junior secondary school students of Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto State have difficulties in Grammar.
  2. Junior secondary school students of Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto State have difficulties in Composition.
  3. Junior secondary school students of Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto State have difficulties in Oral English.

1.4. Objective of the Study

The following are the objective of this research which are to find out what are:

  1. Those difficulties in Grammar faced by Junior secondary school students of Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
  2. Those difficulties in Composition faced by Junior secondary school students of Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto State.
  3. Those difficulties in Oral English faced by Junior secondary school students of Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

1.5. Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be relevant to the government, parents, teachers, language educators and students. It will relevant to the government in providing good working atmosphere through good communication skills, direct interpretation and better understanding of the use of language. To the parents, it will be relevant to them in reducing exam failure in their children which leads to school drop out, drug abuse and unemployment. It will be relevant to teachers in making the students understand what they are taught and pass examination effectively which will make parents send more children for effective learning.

It is hoped that the findings of the study will help the language users, journalist, news casters, and civil servants to have better service delivery as English language is the medium of communication. This is hoped to reduce the difficulties students face in learning English language among students of Wamakko Local Government Area of sokoto state.


1.6. Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The study is limited to finding out causes of difficulties faced by Junior secondary school students of Wamakko Local Government Area of sokoto state in areas of grammar, composition and oral English with a view to finding out possible solutions to them.

The schools are:

  1. Government day Secondary School Wamakko
  2. Government Day Secondary School Dundaye
  3. Government Day Secondary School Arkilla
  4. Government Technical College Farfaru
  5. Government Girls College of Art, Science and Islamic Studies Arkilla
  6. Sani Dingyadi Unity Secondary School Farfaru
  7. Ahmadu Bello Acadamy Farfaru

1.8. Operational Definition of Terms

L1: (Language one) meaning first language or native language, it is the first language acquired by an individual which could be the mother tongue.

L2: (Language tw0) meaning second language is a language that is not native language of the speaker, but that is used in the locale of the person. In contrast, a foreign language that is learnd is an area where that language is not generally spoken.

ESL: meaning English as a second language is a traditional term for the use or study of the English language by non-native speakers in an English-speaking environment. That environment may be a country in which English is the mother tongue or one in which English has an established roles.

EFL: English as a foreign language or English as a second language which is used among native speakers
Lingual Franca: also known as a bridge language, common language, trade language or vehicular language, is a language or dialect systematically used to make communication possible between people who do not share a native language or dialect, in particular when it is a third language distinct from both native language.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

5.1. Introduction

This chapter consists to summary of the study, conclusion, implication of the study and suggestion for further studies.


5.2. Summary of the Study

Chapter one of this works was the introduction that dealt with the background to the study, what prompted the study, research questions, and objectives of the study, where the study was carried out, the scope and delimitation of the study. In the background, there was an overview of English language learning. As well as causes of students difficulties in learning English language. Chapter two reviewed literature related to the study. It consists of the conceptual framework, areas of difficulties in learning English language, causes of difficulties in learning English language, causes of student difficulties in learning grammar, causes of student difficulties in learning composition, causes of student difficulties in learning oral English, measures for improving the learning of English language. Other influential difficulties in learning English language were also reviewed as well as uniqueness of the study identified.

Chapter three dealt with the methodology by which the study was carried out. It included research design employed for the study, population, sample and sampling techniques, instrumentation, method of data collection and technique used in analyzing the data. Chapter four dealt with data presentation, analysis and discussion. It essentially involved interpretation of the findings of the study. The final part of work consisted of the summary of all the chapters of the study which gave a brief highlight on all the chapters of the study, followed by conclusions and recommendations. Also highlighted were implications for language educators.


5.3 Conclusion

This study was conducted at the time when Junior secondary schools of wamakko local government area of sokoto state were facing the challenge of having students who have difficulties in learning English language. Hence, at the initial stage, most of them were not motivated. Some took it as a challenge and perform well while others graduate without learning the proper usage of reading, speaking and writing in English language or even become drop-outs. This is not good for the future of education in Nigeria.

The following conclusions were made based on the findings of the study:

  1. Teacher’s ability to teach effectively, qualitative and competent teacher with interest, self efficacy and teaching skill influences the learning difficulties of English language among Junior secondary school students.
  2. Grammar difficulties such as ambiguous rules, meaning of words, understanding structure of sentence influence the students in learning of English language.
  3. Composition difficulties such as lack of reading and writing materials, bad spelling of words, lack of expression influence the students in learning of English language.
  4. Oral English difficulties such as inability to pronounce phonemes correctly, lack of interest in speaking English, fear of committing errors in speaking influence the students in learning of English language.

5.4 Recommendations

Based on the findings and conclusions of this study, the following recommendations were made:

  1. Schools should try and make the speaking, writing and reading in English language effective to all students. This will motivate and influence the students in learning of English language.
  2. The Federal Government as well as the state government should try to effect some excellent policies designed to make learning of English language attractive. This will help in influencing the students in learning of English language.
  3. Motivation and freedom of speech should be provided to the students to function well in learning English language.
  4. Teachers should improve their teaching strategies to cause an effective learning to the students which will help in effective learning of English language.

5.5. Implications of the Study for Language Educators

The findings of the study among other things revealed difficulties influencing learning of English language among Junior secondary school students in Wamakko Local Government Area of sokoto state. This will enable students to have proper usage and of the language.

Although, grammar difficulties, composition difficulties and oral English difficulties were found to be strong enough to influence the learning difficulties of English language among Junior secondary school students of Wamakko Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

Language educators can improve in understanding structures of a sentence, meaning of words and proper usage of the words, writing skills, spelling of words correctly, good expression of oneself in writing, speaking skills of the student, correct pronounciation of words and being competent to speak in English without fear or being shy of making mistakes.

Language educators should give courage and motivate learners having pleasure for a second or foreign language learning when they receive motivation, especially internal motivation because it could be well predicted by perceived second language ability and independence. Moreover, if language educators are strongly motivated, they will enjoy learning language, need to learn the language and attempt to learn the language. Motivation has usually been considered to be the key concept in the learning of foreign language.

Language educators should help in improving the learning strategies (the method that learners use to obtain information, normally high achievers learners use more learning strategies than lower achieving learners). They can facilitate specific aspects of the learner’s competency such as communicative, and individual’s emotional state that relate to the learning process. Language educators should be able to help learners overcome their weakness in some learning styles, especially in grammar, composition and oral English with suitable strategy training, and learning strategies can influence student’s learning achievement.

It is hoped that the findings of the study will help the language users, journalist, news casters, and civil servants to have better service delivery as English language is the medium of communication. This is hoped to reduce the difficulties students face in learning English language among students of Wamakko Local Government Area of sokoto state.


5.6. Suggestions for Further Studies.

The following are areas suggested for further studies:

  1. It is suggested that a thorough work on survey of causes of student’s difficulties in learning English language among Junior secondary school students in Sokoto State: implications language for educators. Be carried out
  2. Factors causing students low English language learning: a case study in Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto.
  3. Speaking difficulties encountered by young primary school language learners and possible ways of resolving them.
  4. Problems facing secondary school students in learning English language among students of Ribah local government area of kebbi state.

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