AN INVESTIGATION IN FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR POOR PERFORMANCE IN JSCE ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXAMINATION
BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
English language plays an important role in the development of Nigeria, of all the heritage left behind in Nigeria by the British, at the end of colonian administration non is more important than the English language. It is now the language of government, business, commerce, education, media mass, literature as well as both internal and international communication. The importance of English Language as a second language (L2) cannot be overemphasized. It is the language of education up to the University level; besides, there are some other roles attached to it which shall be fully discussed in this research work. Thus it should be noted that the standard of education most especially in English language has felled. Many teacher believe that the falling standard is due to various factors traceable to both the school (that is the teachers and Students) and the home.
English language is a major core subject of study in the Nigerian education system from primary, Secondary schools to tertiary institutions. Because of the importance attached to English Language as the basic language of formal education in Nigeria, official language of government and private administrations, communication, business transactions and that of written textbooks in all subjects taught in primary, Secondary schools and tertiary institutions, the teaching and learning of the language is given prominence in terms of period allocation daily.
Emphasis is placed on both oral and written mediums as a way of encouraging the learners to internalize the rules in order to be competent in general communication. National Policy on Education in Nigeria (1998: 13) stipulates that primary education is to inculcate permanent literacy and ability to communicate effectively in English, while the policy on Secondary education states that Secondary education shall prepare the individuals for useful living within the society and higher education as well as inspire the Students for self improvement and achievement of excellence. It also provides the opportunity to raise a generation of people who can think for themselves, respect the views and feelings of others, respect the dignity of labour and foster national unit with emphasis on the common ties that unite us in our diversity (1998:16).
The Coconut of national policy on education in Nigeria give prominence to English language as the basic language that all the objectives of the various levels of education can be achieved. This accounts for why a credit pass in English language is made compulsory at the school certificate level for those aspiring to gain admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria. It has recently been discovered that the teaching of English Language in primary and Secondary schools is deficient in terms of methodologies applied during the lessons by the teachers, as a result many pupils and Students perform woefully in public examinations and general communication. In order to check the trend especially at the Secondary school level where the subject has changed over the years, because of the abolition of five years straight Secondary education and the introduction of six-three-three-four system of education, literature has not been given effective teaching and proper attention it deserves, by teachers teaching English studies.
At the Secondary school level the subject is known as English Studies, which is a combination of English and literature. Previously, in the 1960s and early 1980s, English Language was taught from class one to class five as a separate subject from literature. During this period too, literature from class one to class five was taught as a separate subject with specific periods allocated to it in the time table which resulted in elaborate and effective teaching and learning of both English Language and literature in English by the Students. The Students were able to read and communicate fluently in English because of the knowledge and skills acquired through reading of literature.
In support of the teaching of literature as a separate subject in Secondary level Okolie (2007:143) states that literature has contributed immensely and most profitably to the education and development in Nigeria, through the expressions of Africans world and lives in the writing of various nationals in Africa. It also helps the Africans to unfold themselves, analyse their dreams and aspirations, implement, their visions and project their image and personality. Therefore to teach literature as a separate subject from English will enhance the expression of African cultural values, focus and visions which the Students must inculcate at an early stage in their educational programme so as to appreciate the society that they live.
With the integration of English Language with literature as one subject and tagged English studies at the Secondary level, it does not provide the teachers with proper opportunities to teach literature exhaustively, as most teachers are interested in teaching English language, using all the available periods for English studies. What can be deduced from this aspect is that literature and English language are two broad subject areas as such both cannot be combined for effective performance if the lessons are to benefit the Students. Undoubtedly, lack of serious study of literature affect Students’ communicative competence because they have not been exposed to varieties of styles in language usages, vocabularies and expressions which is only possible through the study of literature as a separate subject from English Language.
Okolie (2007, 150) further postulates that reading of African novels gives one opportunity to slip imaginatively into circumstances and conditions of life beyond one’s immediate milieu. Writing or reading a novel implies widening of the imaginative capability of the reader, the writer and the audience. Literature also increases the mobility of the individuals mind by widening his experience and imaginative capacity to enter into new situations. According to Jenkwe (2007: 165) literature is a fictive exploration of human experience both as educative and morally edifying field of knowledge. This assertion qualifies literature as a major field of study that should be given province in the Secondary school.
Another major challenge facing the teaching of English studies at the Secondary school level is lack of a single standard text book that comprises both literature and English as what we have in integrated science which is a combination of physics, chemistry biology. This lack of texts in English studies hinders the teaching of literature while promoting the teaching of English Language because only English language tests books are available. Teachers prefer the teaching of English language while neglecting the literature aspect to the detriment of the Students. The teachers also concentrate in the teaching of grammatical rules which encouraging the Students to read prose and drama literature texts for the mastering of communicative competence from stories and actions in literature books. Grammar is defined by Hornby (1981: 28) as the study of the forms, rules and usage of words in sentence. Therefore teaching English language alone cannot take the place of literature aspect in the Secondary level, since literature entails cultures and traditions of human societies and their relationships with people and other natural things in their societies
Today, all the problems facing the learning and teaching of English language were caused by the Students, the parents and the community, the English language teachers and the government. Problems simply means factors affecting the teaching of English, or factors militating the teaching of English. It could also, be define as factor hindering or disturbed the teaching of English. Prospects means future optimistic of teaching profession especially the teaching of English language in Secondary Schools. If we compared and juxtapose the two words “Problems and prospects” we could simply deduced that, we are going to discuss in this project the problems that arises in the teaching of English language, on the part of teachers who is to teach, and learners Students who are to receive instructions from instructors. The problems does not limits to these two people alone. It could cut across the role of the government societies, parents, non-governmental organization communities, and other international bodies like UNESCO, National University Commission (NUC), publics and private schools, sandwich progammes and other societies affiliated to education. In the case of prospects for teaching profession, it is highly optimistic that if some measures are taken into considerations, there is a great prospect for teaching profession in the areas of English language and other subjects. In the first instance lets discuss factors responsible for the problems of teaching of English language in schools either private or publics in Ifo local government area . A state without education is a novice society, a society that is stagnant not ready to move forward in term of development, science and research. It is estimated in UNESCO research that countries that has enough resources like oil, and other mineral resources could not develop in the areas of human resources management and personnel development, because attention and orientation will be shifted from educating the children, in the country to mining of these natural resources to give immediate money as IGR to the country. That is why most oil producing countries does not have enough or adequate man power and human resources management. That reminds me of one of the factor that affects the teaching of English in our societies. As we all know that English is a lingua Franca the language of communication in ministries and parastatals, we need to take the teaching of English to be more effective and efficient in our Secondary schools be it public and private. In addition since English language is use to teach other subjects in the school either science, commercial. Arts and technology we need to make it effective in Secondary schools. Our orientation in Nigerian societies has been shifted from learning to grabbing of National Cake, The idea of getting rich quick syndrome, couples with negative attitude to reading culture in our societies due value orientation to join politics and make money quickly has cause havoc in the effective teaching and learning of English in our societies. Charity begins at home. An average Briton often start teaching his child how to speak good English at an early stage. English language should start at the elementary schools. I mean, from pre-nursery, Secondary gradually to Secondary schools. The inability of Students to learn how to speak English at an early stage will affect them in Secondary and tertiary schools. I think it is better to start from bottom to the top and not from top to bottom analysis. Since the foundation is poor, at an early stage, most of our Students finds it difficult to speak good English when they get to Secondary schools. No wonder you see a graduate of other disciplines find it difficult to communicate effectively in English. It has even come to a stage that, when you see professors in other disciplines apart from English speak a jaw breaking grammar that have concord disagreement.
We should know that English is an official language in Nigeria, and whatever you want to do you have to communicate in English. As a result of this you cannot escape English language throughout your lives in your career of choice. If you want to study engineering, lawyer, medicine, accounting and other subjects in the university English language is compulsory as a prerequisite for entering with the university. English and the use of English is compulsory in Jamb for all candidates seeking admission into the universities. That is why it is
compulsory for English language learning seriously serious at the beginning of one education. Most of the problems that affect the teaching of English arises from the fact our government, could not train adequate English experts to be teaching English in most of our Secondary schools. Imagine a teacher of history teaching
English. It is a belief that teachers of arts subjects like History, Government, CRS, Yoruba, French should be able to teach English effectively. This is an erroneous notion since most of these people does not know the structure of English, the syntactic, phonetic phonological aspect of pronouncing English currently. Research have shown that Ghanaian people are good in pronunciation of oral English than any other countries in West Africa including Nigeria. May be English teachers are scarce so says one Professor in one of the Nigerian Univeisties. That is why Students fail in English. The question arises who is responsible for the employment of teachers. We have enough graduates of English roaming about the street of Nigeria without being employed.
Our government could be blamed on one areas, which I think they are faulty. Like one anonymous professor who put the apportion blame of mass failure of English, on planes of parents and children in schools coupled with the economic status of parents often determined their success in academics are equally right.
Poor academic performance according to Aremu (2003) is a performance that is adjudged by the examine/testee and some other significant as falling below an expected standard. Poor academic performance has been observed in school subjects especially Mathematics and English language among Secondary school Students s (Adesemowo, 2005). Aremu (2000) stresses that academic failure is not only frustrating to the Students and the parents, its effects are equally grave on the society in terms of dearth of manpower in all spheres of the economy and politics.
Education at Secondary school level is supposed to be the bedrock and the foundation towards higher knowledge in tertiary institutions. It is an investment as well as an instrument that can be used to achieve a more rapid economic, social, political, technological, scientific and cultural development in the country. The National Policy on Education (2004) stipulated that Secondary education is an instrument for national development that fosters the worth and development of the individual for further education and development, general development of the society and equality of educational opportunities to all Nigerian children irrespective of any real or marginal disabilities.
Morakinyo (2003) believe that the falling level of academic achievement is attributable to teacher’s non-use of verbal reinforcement strategy. Others found out that the attitude of some teachers to their job is reflected in their poor attendance to lessons, lateness to school, unsavory comments about pupil’s performance that could damage their ego, poor method of teaching and the likes affect Students’ academic performance.
The content of Nigeria education must reflect the past present and future of the dynamic Nigeria society in terms of the roles the individual is expected to play in the resent modernalization process. The Nigeria formal education system is the organized and structured aspect of the education which takes place within the four walls of the school. It however has to be noted that, all emphasis in terms of government budgetary allocation and general planning, is usually placed on formal education.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The teaching and learning of English language in junior Secondary schools has received much attention of late in the Nigerian educational system. It is pertiment to understand that the so – called academic performance of Secondary school Students is a Cankar worm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of our Secondary school today. However, in environment where such an ugly situation is found, tention, conflict and anarchy dictate the tone of relationship between Students, the teachers for a smooth and effective school management. Since the end of the Nigeria Biafra Civil War in 1970, academic excellence has been on the decline. This appears to be more pronounced in the Secondary schools. Poor academic performance has constituted a big problem not only for schools but the dynamic Nigeria society. The Secondary schools in Ifo local government have been faced with the problem, which is mostly reflected in common Entrance Examination Results. Millions of Naira being pumped into education in Nigeria in general and in Ogun State in particular not withstanding this issue of poor performance in education has continued to persist.
The question therefore is what are the factor militating against effective teaching and learning of English language in ifo local government area of Ogun state. Is the fault entirely that of teachers orStudents or both of them? Is it that Students of today are non-achievers because they have low intelligent quotient and a good neutral mechanism to be able to act purposefully, think rationally and deal effectively with academic tasks? Or is it because teachers are no longer putting in much commitment as before? Or is it in teachers’ method of teaching and interaction with Students? Or is the poor performance of Students caused by parents’ neglect, separation and poverty? The present study therefore sought to find out the factors militating against effective teaching and learning of English Language in some Secondary schools in Ifo local government area
Objective of the Study
The broad objective of this study is to investgate the factors responsible for poor performance in junior secondary certificate examination English Language
To be able to achieve this objective the following specific objective are considered:
- To investigate if teachers’ attitude have effect on Students academic performance in English Language?
- To determine if teacher qualification and teaching environment affect performance in English Language?
- To investigate if the use of instructional materials affect teaching and learning of English language
- To determine the major factor responsible for poor performance in English Language
This study thus attempts to find answers to the under mentioned research questions and find out where the problem lies:
- What effect does teachers’ attitude have on Students academic performance?
- To what extent does teacher qualification and teaching environment affect performance in English Language?
- Does the use of instructional materials affect teaching and learning of English language
- What are the major factor responsible for poor performance in English Language?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study would be of immense help to the present and prospective policy makers of the Nigeria educational system in the areas of planning and effective utilization of resources. The study is knowledge and therefore would be of help to pupil and other researchers who might be interested in this and or other related areas of this study.
The findings of this study shall be beneficial and of immense help in identifying the possible factors responsible for this educational problem. From the study appropriate recommendations, answers to the issue of poor academic performance will be provided. Educational planners and Administrators, parents, the school and the Secondary school child who is directly involved will realize the appropriate roles they have to play for this issue of poor academic performance to stop.
Scope of the Study
This study is design to investigate the factors responsible for poor performance in JSCE English examination. Five selected Secondary schools and 25 student each from the selected schools will be used for the study.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The research were confronted with a number of obstacles during the course of this study. Some of these limitations are discussed below:
- Respondents: Some of the respondents exhibited negative
character. Some bluntly refused to full our questionnaire or
answers basic questions posed on them. Some of them reluctantly accepted to respond with some reservations and maintained that they were not in the best position to respond when actually they were.
- Finance: There was a problem of inadequate finance to
transport the researchers from their houses to places and the schools were information could be obtained. Inadequate finance restricted the researchers from obtaining certain necessary and useful resource materials. Thus, for a successful research work, money is a motivator.
- Programme of Getting Accurate Statistical Data: It was
difficult on the researchers to get accurate statistical data since there were different levels of teachers with diverse work experience from different fields and endeavours of life, and in different categories in positions from the selected Secondary schools.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
- Education: is defined as the aggregate totality of all the
process by which a child or the young adult develop his ability, attitude, knowledge, skills, competencies and other forms of behavior which are of positive value to the society in which he lives.
- Monitoring: is the act or a relationship where one person
(teacher) guides the other (student) in developing a philosophy of or a way of life.
- Performance: is the act of achievement. It is a process
where the student carryout the activities they have been taught and have been guided on what to do normally by the teacher.
- Examination: is a device adopted for measuring and
evaluation learners success in the teaching learning process etc.
This Project is is available for the below list of Nigerian State capitals.
Abia Umuahia, Adamawa Yola, Akwa Ibom Uyo, Anambra Awka, Bauchi Bauchi, Bayelsa Yenagoa, Benue Makurdi, Borno Maiduguri, Cross River Calabar, Delta Asaba, Ebonyi Abakaliki, Edo Benin. Ekiti Ado Ekiti, Enugu Enugu, Gombe Gombe, Imo Owerri, Jigawa Dutse, Kaduna Kaduna, Kano Kano, Katsina Katsina, Kebbi Birnin Kebbi, Kogi Lokoja, Kwara Ilorin, Lagos Ikeja, Nasarawa Lafia, Niger Minna, Ogun Abeokuta, Ondo Akure, Osun Oshogbo, Oyo Ibadan, Plateau Jos, Rivers Port Harcourt, Sokoto Sokoto, Taraba Jalingo, Yobe Damaturu, Zamfara Gusau, FCT Abuja.
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