EFFECT OF ICT ON THE READING SKILLS OF JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
Background of the Study
Reading is an essential tool for lifelong learning. It is important for everyone to develop the rudiments of reading and the culture of reading always so as to survive in life. Reading according to Holte (2008) adds quality to life and provides access to culture and cultural heritage. He pointed out that reading empowers and emancipates citizens and bring people together. Okeke (2000) reaffirms that the art of reading is a priceless instrument for everyone. It is one of the most important activities of life through which we enter into the life and experiences of others and extend our knowledge, scope of experience and enjoyment. It has critical role to play in the overall development of an individual and the nation at large. Reading experience can be obtained in the library.
The school library is a gateway to knowledge and will serve as a starting point or road map to reading and the promotion to reading culture. The library provides books and other resources which will help shape thoughts and influence the actions of students throughout life with active supervision by an experienced librarian. Due to technological development, reading habits are changing. In our society today, while technology is slowly taking a steady control over individual lives, the reading habit is fast vanishing into thin air (The Hindu, 2004).
Students now lack the skill of reading. Instead they spend more hours on electronic media. Browsing the net, playing with funky handsets and passing non-stop SMSs seem to be the order of the day, thereby, making reading a book or any other piece of written material in a quiet or peaceful corner of a library or home become an archaic idea for most school children and adults (The Hindu, 2004). Obama (2008) in his speech pinpoint that children cannot achieve unless they raise their expectations and turn off television sets. Shabi and Udofia (2009) note that active learning from books is better than passive learning such as watching televisions and playing games.
Students rarely have interested in reading for pleasure and enjoyment instead they read only to pass examination. The declining interest in reading culture among our children (especially those in primary and secondary schools) is a cause for alarm and a challenge to all and something need to be done to alleviate this yearning problem. Unfortunately, reading is not taught or included in school curriculum. Reading is not a subject and cannot be taught separately as most other subjects in the curriculum rather it is subsumed in every other subject and is regarded as a tool facilitating many other types of learning.
Nowadays, due to the rat race syndrome, parents pay little or no attention to their children’s reading ability, parents, themselves lack the skill and the culture of reading in the sense that that some do not read to their kids. Mefor (2010) urges all Nigerians schools to launch a readership promotion campaign which will help to inculcate the culture of reading in children. It is also important to start early to inculcate the culture of reading early enough in a child. Also Olukemi (2010) advised Nigerian youths to imbibe the reading culture in all their endeavours.
She lamented that lack of reading culture among youths nowadays has greatly affected quality of graduates being produced by the nation’s higher institutions. It is against this background that this study tries to investigate on the influence of electronic media on the reading habits of pupils in homes and schools. Improving access to relevant information and promoting a reading culture are prerequisites for strengthening literacy skills, widening education and learning opportunities, and helping people to address the causes of poverty (Makotsi, 2005).
Wendelin (2009) observes that secondary school teachers typically are not instructed on how to intervene appropriately or adequately when they find non-readers in their classrooms. Whenever two or three good learners can read, comprehend and answer questions, these teachers feel they have satisfactorily accomplished their purpose. From the evidence-based research on text comprehension instruction (Nolan, 2001; Trei 2004), it was suggested that: teacher directed text comprehension can be improved by instruction that helps readers use specific comprehension strategies, and students should be taught how to use the comprehension strategies (IsuigoAbanihe, 2001).
Researchers have confirmed the fact that many secondary school students cannot read and comprehend simple English passages (Unoh, 2005; Jiboku, 2001; Kolawole&Ajayi, 2004). Again, Stanovich (2006) asserts that students who experience these difficulties often suffer what has been called the “Matthew Effects” which is a gap between good and poor readers that widens through the grades. Idogo (2003) quoting Tunner (2006) asserts that Matthew Effects are a combination of two types of effects – positive ones for the good readers and negative ones for the struggling readers. On the positive side, children who have had advantageous early reading experiences are better equipped with reading skills that provide a basis for further growth in reading and other academic areas.
On the negative side, poor or struggling readers receive less practice in reading, reading becomes less pleasurable, and so they avoid reading, and the resultant lack of practice relative to his or her peers widens achievement deficits (Stanovich, 2006). Perhaps, all these problems have influenced the high rate of dropouts from primary schools and some secondary school students’ involvement in examination malpractices.
However, some other studies have recognized poor teaching methods as another possible cause of students’ reading inability (Adepoju, 2002; Ayodele, 2001; Adegbile,2009; 2001, 2002; Ofodu, 2003; Lawal and Adegbileje, 2005). Lawal and Adegbileje (2005) observe that reading instruction in most Nigerian secondary schools is confused and has no well-informed direction.
Also, Isiugo-Abanihe (2002) asserts that reading comprehension is grossly misunderstood and mishandled by teachers. To her, teachers more often than the learners talked about the text while learners especially the average and poor readers had little opportunity to interact with the text. Udosen (2006) adds that one reason for this attitude is that most teachers developed a bottom-up view of reading while they were in school and thus have not changed.
This view sees reading as consisting of sub-skills that must be mastered individually and the reader’s business is to retrieve information passively from the text. In a study conducted by Ofodu (2003) on the interaction patterns of teachers and students in reading comprehension lessons, findings showed that the approaches teachers adopted were the reading and the read and explain methods. The difference between the two approaches is that in the read and explains method, the teachers made effort to read and explain to the students.
Again, findings indicated that there was teacher-student interaction, teacher-text interaction, student-text interaction but there was no place for student interaction. In terms of discussion, there was no interaction on group or pair work basis. Thus, this informed the investigator’s search for instructional methods that could facilitate the teaching of reading comprehension in schools. In another vein, Ohia and Adeosun (2002), state that the teaching strategies for reading comprehension in most language textbooks are not learner-centred.
According to them, there are lots of rooms for practice without adequate provision for instructional guide to learners. Jegede, Onukaogu, Arua and Inyang (2003) lament that one serious defect in the reading performance of students is that they do not want to task themselves to think. One reason advanced for such phenomenon is that the Nigerian culture does not permit young people to question their elders; and teachers are seen as elders because of their wealth of knowledge. Thus, teachers do the thinking for students and students do not want to exert themselves to think. English Language is a secondary school subject.
It is also Nigeria’s lingua franca in which official businesses are transacted. It is the medium of teaching virtually almost all subjects in post primary schools and higher institutions. English language has four fundamental skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. A number of fundamental relationships exist among these skills. Very central to these skills is the fundamental place of comprehension. English comprehension is an integral part of the language learning process.
Much of what people learn comes from their understanding or interpretation of oral interaction through listening. It is through listening comprehension that learners acquire the vocabulary and syntax of the language. Speaking activities pave way for future reading and writing abilities.
To listen and read efficiently, learners must understand the meaning of words. Comprehension goes beyond getting the facts straight. Comprehension includes interpreting and critically analyzing points raised, making judgments, and appreciating the content and style of presentation. Comprehension is not peculiar to English Language alone. Its importance embraces all fields of knowledge. Students need to read and comprehend their lessons, listen to instruction and understand the notes they copy, the textbooks they read, examination instructions and questions in order to attain the best in English Language (Russell & Russell (1979). Perhaps student’s poor performance in English Language may be closely linked with their poor comprehension level.
It is a diverse set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, and to create, disseminate, store and manage information. Communication technology includes all media employed in transmitting audio, video, data or multimedia information such as cable, satellite, fibre optics, wireless,(radio, infra-red, Bluetooth, wi-fi).
Net-work technologies include personal Area network (LAN) Wide Area Network (WAN), Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) and the internet. Computer technologies include all removable media such as optical discs, disks, flash memories, video books, multimedia projector, interactive electronic boards and continuously emerging state….of…the….art programme counters (PCS) Mobile technologies comprise of mobile phones, PDAs, Palmtops etc. These technologies have information as their material object. Information is not reserved for use in isolation, but rather communicated among users. Information and communication technology (ICT) has spread in almost every facet of lives including English language teaching. Educational authorities in Ekiti state have taken concrete steps to encourage the use of computer to enhance teaching and learning.
Implementation of this is done through two phases of master plan (MPI and MP2). Target of MPI is how students would have access to technology in learning. In the English language teaching classroom the goals of the MPI translate into a vision of integration of ICT to enhance the English language teaching experience. The aim of MP2 is to make effective use of a variety of tool in the learning and application of English language teaching. Since the implementation of MPI, there are technological change and increase in the number of studies on the use of ICT in the teaching and learning of reading skills in secondary schools. Hence, this research work intends to investigate the the effective of ICT on the reading skills of junior secondary school students in Ikere-Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti state
Statement of Problem
Today’s students are expected to learn about and use digital technology in English Language to prepare them for their future, the work force and the challenges of everyday life. However, international studies show that secondary English Language teachers are still not effectively integrating computer technology in their classroom. Despite the value and importance of English Language in secondary school, the subject still seems to be difficult for the students as evidenced in their low performance in the subject especially at the external examination such as West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE)
Aremu (2003) 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. The question therefore is what is the cause of this fallen standard and poor academic performance of students in English Language? Is the fault entirely that of teachers or students or both?
Purpose of the Study
The main objective of the study was to investigate the effective of ICT on the reading skills of junior secondary school students in Ikere-Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti state. Specifically, the study aimed on the reading skills at identifying the following:
- the activities pupils engage in at home.
- the number of hours the pupils devote to reading books, magazines, playing games, watching television, chatting with friends and listening to music.
- the influence of electronic media on the children’s reading hours.
- the influence of electronic media in the homes and school libraries on the pupils’ reading ability.
- the number of times children visit their school library.
Significance of the Study
It is neither an understatement nor an over-statement to say that English language and reading skills play a pivotal role in communication and interaction among people. It is therefore believed that the outcome of this study might help in focusing on the need to introduce information and communication technology to secondary school students so as to get acquitted ICT usage in developing reading skills among junior secondary school students. The study might also help in improving the performance and interest of students in the learning of comprehension and reading of literature books..
Moreso, the study would allow students to communicate more easily with research readers through e-mail and other online discussion group. In addition, the findings of the study could create more interest in English Language as a subject in the minds of the students and when this is done, the impact of reading culture and effective communication will be felt the more in our society.
The study would enable parents to help in fostering the education of their wards right from homes when they introduce ICT to their wards through their computers. Furthermore, the study hoped to provide educational policy makers, curriculum developers as well as text-books writers some information which are recent and which will update them on the subject. It would enhance the delivery and access to knowledge and improvement on the curriculum, providing richer learning out comes compared to education without ICT.
The study could form the basis for the federal and state ministries of education to organize seminars, conferences and in service training for English Language teachers on how to teach students with the view of improving student’s performance in the subject.
Scope of the Study
This study is limited to all junior secondary school students in Ikere-Ekiti Local Government Area. It is based on the effective of ICT on the reading skills of junior secondary school students in Ikere-Ekiti Local Government Area of Ekiti state. The study covers the student in ten (10) schools in local government area. The research work involves one structured questionnaire. It involves the independent variable of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), dependent variable of reading skills. The analysis of data is done using descriptive statistics of frequency and simple percentage
To achieve the above stated purpose of the study, the following research questions were raised
- What are the reading activities performed by school students at home?
- What is the number of hours put in by students in reading books, magazines, playing games, watching television, chatting with friends and listening to music?
- To what extent do the ICT influence the students’ reading hours?
- How do the electronic media in homes and school libraries influence the students’ reading skills?
- How often do students visit their school library?
The following hypotheses are generated ton guide the study:
- There is no significance difference in the reading activities performed by school students at home.
- There is no significance difference the number of hours put in by students in reading books, magazines, playing games, watching television, chatting with friends and listening to music.
- There is no significance difference in the ways ICT influence the children’s reading hours.
- There is no significance influence of the electronic media in homes and school libraries on the students’ reading skills?
- There is no significance difference in the attendance of students in their school library.
Assumption of the study
The followings are the assumptions of the study:
- It is assumed that Information and Communication Technology is used in teaching and learning of reading skills.
- It is assumed that the English teachers in the selected schools are ICT oriented.
- It is assumed that all the schools selected have ICT facilities.
- It is assumed the students involved are also computer literate
Definition of Terms
The following terms are operationally defined:
Teaching: This is the process of transferring ideas through methods by the teacher to the students’ in order to ensure learning.
Learning: This is the process of acquiring new ideas which involve change in behavior after acquiring new concept.
Students: someone who is studying at a university, school etc
Classroom: a room that you have lessons in at a school or college
Teacher: someone whose job is to teach, especially in a school
School: a place where children are taught
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