The Problems and Prospect of Teaching English Language in Secondary Schools
The topic is Problems and Prospects of Teaching and Learning English in our Secondary Schools. The study is aimed at studying the problems and prospects encountered by students and teachers in the teaching and learning of English under a second language situation. Two public secondary schools under Ifako Ijaye Local Government Area of Education District 1 were purposively selected for the study. The two schools were: Sanmori Senior High School and Vetland Senior Grammar School. All in the same district. All SS3 students and the English Language teachers in the two schools were given questionnaire. In all 100 students from the two schools were selected of 25 female students and 25 male students from each school. However, all English Language teachers in the two schools responded to the questionnaire. The descriptive statistics method was employed in analyzing the data collected. The obtained frequency counts were expressed in percentage based on the total number of respondents. The analysis showed that the problems encountered in the teaching and learning of English Language in schools are numerous ranging from teachers work load, non-availability of relevant textbooks, large population leading to in attention on the part of the students. It was suggested that: teachers of English should be given fewer periods to manage per day – per week to allow them give adequate attention to every individual child in the classroom. Schools can adopt the system ofteaching aspects in English. That is: A teacher or two can be assigned to teach composition give topics out and endeavor to mark the students note to mark necessary corrections. At least, one composition should be written every week to improve the communicative competence of students. Since English Language is our Lingua Franca and every school child is expected to learn the language as the medium of instruction and the language of Education all efforts should be geared towards the easy learning of the language in our secondary schools.
1.1 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN NIGERIA
The first contact between Nigeria and English Language dates back to the 16th century when the Colonial masters started colonizing the West Coast of the Sudan. It is started by what is popularly known as Pidgin English which was used to communicate between the colonial master and the people of West Coast English Language has since then assumed a variety of roles in Nigeria.
1.2 THE STATUS AND ROLE OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN NIGERIA
The role of English as a major language in Nigeria does not require a lot of proof. Infant Bamigbose (1970) asserted that of all the heritage left behind in Nigeria by British at the end of colonial administration, probably none is more important than the English Language. This can be validated by the fact that English Language has grown over the years through its use not only as a lingua franca, but also as the language of political, economic, cultural science and technology development of Nigeria. It is also the second language, the language of governance and administration, business, communications, presently, much significant is attached to English Language both in the labour market and within the educational system in Nigeria.
English is the medium of institution from about the third year in the educational system in Nigeria. Because of its role and importance in the social, political, economic, as well as educational life of the country, its teaching and learning is therefore made compulsory in the secondary schools in Nigeria.
However, the language is not being taught neither is it being learnt properly especially at the secondary school level. This accounts for the students’ poor performance in the subjects in West Africa School Certificates Examination (WASCE) and Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE). This study is therefore to examine those problems that are responsible for the difficulties being encountered in the teaching and learning of English Language in secondary school.
One wonder, is it the annual changes of English Language teachers or wrong teaching method of the teachers that cause the poor performance of students in WASCE and SSCE Examination, there is therefore the necessity to research into the cause of the problems confronting the effective teaching and learning of English Language in our secondary schools.
1.3 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The need for good mastery of English Language schools and in the society at large can not be overemphasized hence the need for a research into the problem militating against the effective teaching and learning of English Language in secondary schools.
The problem under review is the survey of the problems and prospects of teaching and learning of English Language. Some selected secondary schools in Ifako-Ijaye Local Government Area of Education District IV Lagos.
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this work are to examine and determine the problems confronting effective teaching and learning of English Language in secondary schools in Ifako-Ijaye Local Government Area of Education District I, Lagos. It is also aimed at finding out the prospects of teaching and learning of the language. The following will be considered in this study. It will try to:
(i) Investigate the problems militating against the effective teaching of English Language.
(ii) Find out why many students usually perform poorly in English Language.
(iii) Investigate the problems facing students in the learning of English Language.
(iv) Determine the prospects of teachers and learners of English Language and also
(v) Make some suggestions for improvement in the teaching and learning of English Language.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is addressed to students, teachers, principals, educations planners and administrations those who have interest in the Nigeria educational system and particularly to the state ministry of education. It is hoped that all those who feel concerned about the poor performance of students in English Language will also find work useful to them. It is also hoped that this work will receive general acceptability if its suggestions, recommendations and solutions for effective teaching and learning of English are put into practice.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to achieve the aims of this study, attempt is made to provide answers to the following questions:
(i) What effort is governments making towards the supply of adequate and qualified English Language teachers in our secondary schools are teachers encouraged to remain within the teaching profession?
(ii) Does the school authority show much interest in the study of English Language by way of supplying its library with adequate and relevant textbooks? Are there enough and relevant teaching aids, furniture and other facilities to create a conducive learning environment?
(iii) Is the speaking of English learning in school being enforced? Are students encouraged to listen to radio and watch Standard English programmes on televisions? Is the bastardized Pidgin English discouraged among students?
(iv) What are the attitude of parents towards their children studying and speaking English? Do parents buy relevant and adequate English textbooks for their children? Are students from literate homes?
(v) What are the professional qualifications of teachers in schools? How adequate are the teachers compared to the number of students being taught?
(vi) Do teachers of English Language use suitable teaching methods? And what are their attitude towards low achievers?
(vii) Is there effective and. timely supervisions of English Language teachers by the state ministry of English Language?
(viii) What are other prospects of teaching or education of English Language?
(ix) What are other problems confronting teachers and students in effective teaching and learning of English Language?
(x) Are student’s hard working and ready to learn and pass English Language?
(xi) What view do the students hold about English providing them with job opportunities and further studies?
1.7 SCOPE AND LLIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is limited to two secondary school in Ifako-Ijaye Local Government Area of Education District I, Lagos because of the time limit and financial constraint. The two schools have got up to SSS 3 class. This study of the prospects and problems of English Language is based on questionnaire filled by both the students and the teachers of English Language in the selected schools and on material extracted from related literature.
1.8 DEFINITIONS OF TERMS
The operational following terms used in this study are defined for the purpose of clarity.
TEACHING: It is a deliberate attempt to impart knowledge skills and competence. In this case, it is a deliberate effort geared towards students mastering of English Language a facilitator of learning.
LEARNING: It is the process of acquiring and retaining knowledge skills etc which can not be attributed to inherited behaviour pattern.
LINGUA FRANCA: It has a language spoken habitually by people of different mother tongues in’ orders to facilitate communication and understanding between them. For example, English Language is used among different ethnic groups in Nigeria.
MOTHER TONGUE: It is a language of a group of inhabitants of an, area which they acquired in their early years and normally becomes their natural instrument of thought and communication. E.g. Yoruba Language, Igbo Language and Hausa Language of various groups of Nigerians. It is the first language of a child (Ll).
SECOND LANGUAGE: A language of a bilingual person that he acquired aside from mother tongue.
PIDGIN ENGLISH: A language resulting from contact between the British traders and the local people of Nigeria containing elements of the local or indigenous languages and English used for internal communication.
MEDIUM OF INSTRUCTIONS: A language used in the teaching of other subjects in the schools and colleges.
PROBLEMS: These are the difficulties confronting teachers and learners of English Language.
PROSPECTS: These are the advantages hopes for after the effective’ teaching and learning of English Language e.g. job opportunities. SECONDARY SCHOOLS: These are post primary institutions at the end of which students take the Senior School Certificate Examinations.
LINGUISTICS: Scientific study of language.
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