Strategies for Improving the Methods of Teaching English Language in Some Selected Secondary Schools in Sabon Tasha Educational Zone
This research work seeks to evolve strategies for improving the methods of teaching English language in some selected secondary schools in Sabon Tasha educational zone. Three research questions were formulated to guide the investigation. The study was carried out in government secondary school, Kantiaga, Government secondary school Ungwar Baro, Sabo and Baptist high school Ungwar Baro, Sabo. Questionnaire containing twenty (20) items were distributed to 20 teachers including the students. Data collected were analyzed using mean statistics. The result revealed that insufficient methods of teaching English Language, overpopulation of students in a class, lack of enough books to consult before teaching in the classroom, inadequate teachers, lack of qualified English Language teachers and the students inability to get the recommended textbooks during the teaching are responsible for the negative effect on the overall performance of the English teachers. Recommendations have been made based on the findings of the study.
1.1 Background of the Study
English language, which has become Nigerian official language, is so much central to our educational system today. The attention paid to it is far more than the one paid to other Nigerian language. English language is learned in addition to our mother tongues. It is the language of instruction as well as the official language in Nigeria. The government employs English language in its day-to-day official relations, business and transactions. It is also used by the government to present budget speech and to address the nation.
This is corroborated by Asubiojo (1999), who says that English language is accorded a much more evitable status than any indigenous language like Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo. This is so because it is a unifying force bringing together all the various strands we call states and tribes in the nation of Nigeria.
The two major problems confronting the continued use of English in Nigeria according to Asubiojo (1999) are:-
- The problem of the learners’ inability to acquire the required level of proficiency in the language.
- Striking a good balance between achieving good education, which is believed to be much easier through the mother tongue on one hand and acquiring high or required proficiency in English language on the other.
These problem however, fall short of the advantages of the goals of adopting the language in the first place. The teaching of English in Nigeria has some basic objectives to achieve. These objectives according to Williams (1990) are related to the acquisition of certain skills which are as follows:
- The ability to listen and understand simple conversation spoken in English at normal speed
- The ability to speak fluent and acceptable English
- The ability to read and comprehend contemporary written English
- The ability to write clear, functional and acceptable English.
In Nigeria today, English language is used for both social interaction and academic purpose. Students learn English in Nigeria for instrumental purpose e.g. to gain admission to higher schools. According to Mohammed (1995), it is disheartening and discouraging to observe that a good number of secondary school students in Nigeria cannot express themselves adequately either in spoken or written English. For some years now in Kaduna south, no discussion about students performance in the school Certificate Examination has been more topical than the persistent poor performance in English language. (See chapter two)
This is because English language is the language of instruction in the school. It is the “key” to the understanding of other subjects as a medium of expressing and so forms the bedrock or foundation of the teaching/learning interaction process.
It has been argued by scholars Banjo (1989), Mohammed (1995), Ubahakwe (1979) and Williams (1990) that very many students fail the overall senior secondary certificate Examination not because they are dull or unintelligent but because of their poor level of English language. This makes it difficult for them to understand examination question: as a result they find it difficult to express themselves clearly in their answers.
Because of the significant roles and status English language occupies in national development. It now takes a very important position in Nigeria education. The importance of English language can be seen from Ubahakwe (1979) who said that:
It does not matter to the parents whether his child is able to develop nuclear energy for Nigeria
Or invent a mechanical device that could revolutionalized the way of life in a community. As long as the child does not speak the English language with the golden voice of late Tafewa Balewa or write the poignancy of Thomas Paire he is considered uneducated in the Nigerian context.
The above quotation emphasis the perception of a typical Nigerian parent toward his child who must take the learning of English language very serious.
In Nigeria society, English language over the years has become an official language for politics, commerce, law and social interaction. It has become a link between the various ethic groups in the country and beyond. It enjoys a lot of prestige as a language over and above other Nigerian languages be it the majority or the minority. According to Jowitt (1995), English has come to an unparallel importance in the national context. According to Mohammed (1995), a good pass in English language has become mandatory for transmission from primary to junior secondary, senior secondary school and vice versa for admission to all levels of higher education in the country.
In effect, English language is the second language in Nigeria and very essential for success in educational pursuit. Despite the attention and resources devoted to its teachings in Nigerian schools, there has always been persistent mass failure for the past years, Mohammed (1995), confirms that, the rate of failure in English language in the past years has been in the region of 70-75% annually which is very disturbing and unacceptable. Besides being taught as a subject, it is the medium of instruction in teaching other subjects. Banjo (1989), states that many failure in other subjects are really failure in English language. It will amount to a sweeping generalization that those Nigerian children are intelligence deficient. Therefore, we must assume that the causes of this mass failure are to be found in issues of that border on the policies of government, principles, teachers and student. Also the important issues is the method of teaching it.
It is believed that at the end of the study, strategies such as the provision of adequate methods and resources for teaching English language and motivating the teachers adequately will be seriously looked into. The researcher strongly hopes it will help in improving the performance in English language in senior secondary school certificate examination.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
It can be deduced from the background of the study that students performance in English language in senior secondary school certificate examination is poor. Scholars like Ubahakwe (1979), agreed that the methods of teaching is one of the major factors that contributes to the students poor performance in English language in the senior secondary certificate examination.
However, studies such as Banjo (1989), Ubahakwe (1979), Williams (1990), and Mohammed (1995), showed that there are identified problems of teaching English language which have been the reason fore student poor performance in secondary schools. These scholars however, have not shown empirical data suggesting how these problems will be solved. Therefore, the problem of this study was hoped to ask, what were the strategies to be used to improve teaching of English language in some secondary schools in other to boost the students performance in the examination.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study was to identify the strategies to be used to improve methods of teaching English language in some selected secondary schools in Sabon Tasha Educational Zone, Kaduna state specifically, the study was to:
- Identify whether there were adequate resource for teaching/learning of English language in the secondary schools.
- Find out the difficulties the teachers face in teaching English language in secondary schools
- Find out the methods adopted by the teachers in teaching English language in secondary schools
- Find out the teachers attitude towards teaching.
1.4 Significance of the Study
When strategies to improve methods of teaching in secondary schools in Sabon Tasha Educational Zone, Kaduna, were identified, the government, teachers and students will benefit from this study. It was to help the government to improve the curriculum of English language. It was also help identify areas of lapses and the steps to be taken to remedy it.
The teachers will benefit when all new methods for teaching are adopted and also, when all the facilities required for teaching are made available, the students will benefit when new and better method needed for learning are introduced and used in teaching them in the school.
1.5 Research Questions
- What factors were responsible for inadequate resources for teaching/learning of English language in the secondary schools?
- What was the difficulties teachers face in teaching English language in secondary schools?
- What were the methods adopted by the teachers in teaching English language?
- What were the attitudes of teachers towards teaching?
1.6 Scope of the Study
In order to evolve strategies for improving teaching methods in English language in some selected secondary schools, the study was to investigate the causes of students” failure in English language and the method used by the English teachers in the schools; the study could not cover the view of the parents and the general public in this matter, but only on the teachers and students of three of the selected secondary schools.
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