FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH MASS FAILURE OF STUDENTS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH MASS FAILURE OF STUDENTS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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ABSTRACT

This study was on the factors associated with mass failure of students in the English languagein secondary schools in Nsukka L.G.A of Enugu State. Using simple random sampling procedures, the researchers drew 128 students and 50 teachers from nine state owned secondary school of Enugu State.

Questionnaires were used to elicit information from the respondents- Teachers and students on the problems associated with mass failure of secondary school student in English languagein WAEC Examinations. The questionnaire items included qualification and experience of the English language teachers, the methods they adopt in teaching the subject, the materials available to them foe use in teaching the subject, the influence of the vernacular language in student learning of the subject and home environment.

In analyzing the data collected, means scores were used to answer the research questions. The results showed among other things, that the teachers knowledge of teaching the subject is not updated often times and that there is absence of teaching facilities in most of the schools while vernacular language and home environment have negative impacts, towards the students’ the findings, recommendations were made and implications were highlighted. This was followed by suggestion for further studies, summary of the study and conclusion. 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background to the Study

          Over the years, there have been growing concerns about the attitude of students towards the study of English languagein secondary schools.  The need to adapt our education to the needs of the Nigerian society started before and after independence.  Many educational elites began to recognize that the functional inadequacies of the educational system inherited from the colonial education failed to develop positive values, attitudes and habits in our society because the English languagethey taught was British oriented and has nothing to offer to the Nigerian child.

Fafunwa (1974) observed that the present educational system instead of developing positive values in the society which the African child lives, tends to alienate him from his cultural environment.  This was the reason behind the re-evaluation of the educational system and the curriculum of the school and objectives that are relevant to the society.

          The major ideas and philosophies behind the curriculum innovation in the 1969 National Curriculum Conference according to Akinlaye (2001) were:

1.       The need to make education more relevant to the needs of the individuals and the society.

2.       The need to use education for national integration and socio-economic development.

3.       The need to develop the right societal value and;

4.       The need to make an individual responsible to the society in which he lives.

This has been the case; the National Policy on Education (2004) has in recognition the important role English language will play towards the achievement of the country’s educational aims and objectives.  Thus, English language was made a core subject. Hence, there is a greater responsibility for English language teachers in Nigeria today than the days before independence, this is because the Nigerian youths now live in an environment characterized by social ills and moral decadence which have to be curbed at all cost.  The youths therefore need English language education which focuses on the problems and issues of human beings in their changing environments and seeks to devlop desirable habits, values, attitudes and skills in order to solve them.

          Researchers have concentrated much on the cognitive aspect of teaching in our secondary schools because of the importance attached to success in public examinations; however, there is interplay between the cognitive and affective areas of teaching.  For example, Taylor (2001) and Gunsch (2005) have shown that there is a relationship between interest and developments in different school subjects, therefore, it is believed that favourable attitude towards English language may influence to a considerable extent the uptake of knowledge in English language.

          Studies relating to specific aspects of students’ attitude towards English language and other related subjects have been undertaken by several researchers.  Jekayinfa (2007) has reported that high grade in English language at lower forms is a factor that can pull students to history in the secondary schools in Nigeria.  In the study of factors associated with interest in science, Ormerod and Dukworth (2000) have also identified a number of factors like personality, home and other environmental factors among American and British High School students.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

          The poor attitude of students towards the study of English language in secondary schools in Nsukka Local Government is in an unsatisfactory state of affairs and imbalance in the educational sector in particular and the nation’s development in general.

          English language as a core subject in the junior secondary school level suggest the importance the government, parents and students themselves attach to the study.

          The phenomena increase in students’ attitude towards the study of English language in junior secondary schools should not be allowed to remain for too long unattended to.

          The need to motivate students to develop positive attitude towards the study of English language in secondary school and to create a conducive environment for studying English language is not disputable and cannot be over-emphasized.

          The unfortunate thing is that students’ attitude towards the study of English language in schools is fraught with a lot of problems.  There is a general belief that whenever students perform poorly in their courses the teacher has not really taught them well.  People hardly look at the problem from the point of view of the student’s attitude towards the courses; the problem of this study therefore is to ascertain why students have poor attitude towards the study of English language in secondary schools.

1.3     Research Questions

1.     Does cultural background affect students’ performance in English language?

2.     Does teacher – student’s relationship influence on students’ performance in English language?

3.     Does the nature of school environment affect student’s performance in English language?

4.     Does school management system influence teaching and learning process in English language?

1.4     Research Hypothesis    

H0: There is no significant influence of cultural backgrounds on students’ performance in English language.

H01: There is no significant influence of teacher – student’s relationship on students’ performance in English language.

H03: There is no significant impact of the nature of school environment where teaching is practiced in relation to student’s performance in English language.

H04: There is no significant influence of school management system on teaching and learning process in English language.

1.5     Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to know the factors associated with mass failure of students in English languagein primary schools. The following specific objectives are to guide the study:

1.     To examine the influence of cultural backgrounds on students’ performance in English language.

2.     To identify the influence of teacher – student’s relationship on students’ performance in  .

3.     To determine the nature of school environment where teaching is practiced in relation to student’s performance in English language.

4.     To examine the influence of school management system on teaching and learning process in English language.

1.6     Significance of the Study

          As Nigeria is still a developing nation, it is hoped that the findings of this research will encourage various governments to provide conducive environment, teaching aids and qualified teachers for effective study of English language in secondary schools.

          This study is of educational importance because it is believed that if English language teachers in secondary schools understand the factors which stimulate the growth of interest in English language, such knowledge may provide bases not only to make English language popular but also to make the teaching of English language humanizing.

Re-orient students with negative attitude towards the study of English language in secondary schools. Assist the government to identify students’ attitude towards the study of English language in secondary schools. Serve as a basis for other researchers who are carrying out investigation on similar problems facing the development of education in Nigeria. Help teachers and educational planners to acquire knowledge of solving problems associated with the attitude of students towards the study of English language in secondary schools.

1.7     Scope of the Study

          The scope of this study is to ascertain the Factors Associated With Mass Failure Of  Students In English language In Primary School Case Study of Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State.

1.8     Limitation of the Study

          A research of this nature requires adequate time to ensure thorough work, but the time allowed for this study was limited.

          Some respondents may not have provided accurate and sincere answers that represent the true situation required for some of the questions in the questionnaire.

          The researcher experienced a lot of problems during the process of this study which are as follows:

1.       Delay in administration of questionnaire due to public holidays.

2.       Typing and administration of extra copies of questionnaire because some respondents did not return their copies.

3.       Appealing to the principals of some of the schools used for the study due to interruption of lectures.

1.9     Definition of Concepts

The following concepts were defined:

Influence: According to the Sun Mobile Dictionary, the term influence is the "power to affect another". The Oxford Advanced learner's dictionary defines influence as "the effect that somebody or something has on the way a person thinks or behaves or on the way that something works or develops".

Environment: The Sun Mobile Dictionary defines Environment as "surrounding, things, conditions, etc." The Oxford Advanced learner's dictionary defines it as "the conditions that affects the behaviour and development of somebody or something; the physical conditions that somebody or something exists in".

Academy: The Sun mobile dictionary refers to the concept academy as a "school". A school on the other hand is a place of learning. A school is a place where children are thought (Oxford mini School Dictionary: 2007). A primary school can therefore be called an Academy.

Performance: The Oxford advanced learner's dictionary defines the term performance as "How well or badly you do something". Performance as directly related to this study can also be defined as how well or badly students of Primary schools do in their academic work.

AcademicPerformance: This can be defined as the score a child or individual obtain in test or examination based on his or her learning experiences.

Socio status: This is the total state of an individual based on inequality in terms of occupation, level of education and other societal issues defined by the environment.

Education: This is a formal instruction or training given to a child in school. According to the 6th edition of the Oxford dictionary, it is a process of teaching, training and learning, especially in schools or colleges to improve knowledge and develop skills


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