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Keywords:TRENDS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE ACHIEVEMENT SCORE OF EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE STUDENTS OF NNAMDI AZIKWE UNIVERSITY, AKWA
This study which is aimed examining the trends in English language Achievement Score of Educational Foundations and English Language and literature students of NnamdiAzikwe University, Akwa.
In obtaining the data relevant to this research work, a total of 298 students scores in English Language from Educational Foundations and English Language and literature, that offered Modern Comedy (ENG281) and English Literature of Victorian Period (ENG382) during 2014/2015 1st semester in the institution were utilized.
The study highlights that Students of Educational foundation are inferior to their colleagues in English Language and literature as they performed woefully in the course Modern Comedy (ENG281) and English Literature of Victorian Period (ENG382) during 2014/2015 1st semester.
It was concluded that there are different factors that can be responsible for these underachievement in English Language among Educational Foundations students. Some of these possible factors are academic level, test anxiety and other possible factors.
1.1 Background of study
Before the coming of the colonial masters, British merchants and missionarieswho arrived in Africa earlier had gone a long way to introduce the English language into the area that eventually became Nigeria. The merchants taught the middle men at the coastlines the English language so that they could keep simple records while the missionaries introduced the formal school system when they discovered their converts would be better if they can read and write. By the time they set to introduce their government, English was already in use by a small fraction of Nigerians (Eruchalu, 2012).
Moreover, The British invaders were not keen on learning African vernaculars. As far as they were concerned, African vernaculars are of no value. Little wonder Omolewa as cited by Eyisi and Ezeukoquoted Rev M. Sunter as stating that:
These languages…(are) only interesting to the comparative philologist and never likely tobecome of any practical use to civilization… The natives must and will know English in spite of all well-meaning but diseased notions; it is the language of commerce and the only education worth a moment’s consideration. (2008:196)
Consequently, the colonialists went ahead to promote the use of English especially as theyneeded to train the personnel like clerks, teachers, interpreters, etc who will help run the fledgling government (Eruchalu, 2012). Proficiency in English became a passport to securing the much cherished white collarjobs and English became the official language of Nigeria. The contact between the European languages spoken at the coastlines and Nigerian indigenous languages gave rise to the pidgin language which is spoken as a lingua franca in some parts of Nigeria.
The importance of English Language acquisition for proficiency in all courses cannot be overemphasized because there is hardly any course that the instructions are not written in English Language in Nigerian tertiary institutions. The importance of this subject may have led the Nigerian Government to make it a compulsory subject in basic education and senior secondary schools as well as a prerequisite for admission into tertiary institutions. Students read, write and express themselves in any given tasks through the use of English Language. English language involves four skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. In Nigeria, English language is one of the core subjects taught at all levels but students seem to shy away from the subject formanyreasons,some of which could be phobia, teachers’attitude towards the teaching of English and students’ negative attitude from the assumption that English language is generally a difficult subject to study. This negative attitude could be reduced if students work together and learn from one another.
Furthermore, it was acknowledged that the Nigerian students come to school with theircultural identity. Language is an important aspect of their identity. As they struggle to learn the new language and, perhaps, the new culture, it is important that teachers understand the cultural and language diversity in the classrooms (Iwuji, 2013). To use English as the only medium in a linguistically diverse classroom does a disservice to non-native speakers of English. It could actually deter their cognitive and affective development. An understanding of the diversity in the classroom and exploring ways of helping the students understand the new language is a more efficient and appropriate approach (Iwuji, 2013).
Another consideration is that secondary education in Nigeria does not afford students adequate foundation in the four language skills in English: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Low performance and mass failure in English language has been the trend in recent history of education in Nigeria in the teaching and learning process. Following the trend in the West African Examinations Council, results in English Language test scores in Nigeria from 1988 to 1996, Olapoopo (1998) discovered a failure rate ranging from 53.36% to 72.71%. This trend has raised concern as well as awareness among stakeholders in the education of the Nigerian child. Prominent among the issues of concern is better teaching and learning of the language of instruction in Nigerian schools, that is, the English language.
There has been research to investigate the poor performance of students in English
language in Nigeria. Oyinloye and Ajayi (2008) investigated the effects of audio instructional packages on the academic achievements of students in listening skills and it was discovered that students taught with the audio instructional packages were able toproduce sounds better than those not exposed to audio instructional packages. The thrust of this research is to explore English language achievement scores of educational foundations and English and literature students of NnamdiAzikwe University, Akwa.
1.2 Statement of Problem
The failure rates in English language among students are showing an alarming trend, and research needs to clarify some of the underlying causes for this trend.
One of the major problems is that most people feel that English education students are inferior to English arts students in terms of performance. This inferiority complexhas led to underachievement in English language scores for English education students. Likewise, the lecturers seem to treat English education students with disdain which has consequently led to test anxiety, thereby leading to below par performance on the part of students.
The purpose of the study is to examine the trend in English language achievement scores of educational foundations and English and literature students of NnamdiAzikweUniversity, Akwa.
1.3 Purpose of the study
The main purpose of the study is to examine the trend in English Language achievement scores. The specific objectives are as follows;
- To examine the significant differences between English language achievement scores of Educational foundation and English language and literature of NnamdiAzikwe University
- To explore students’ beliefs about language teaching and how itrelates to their English language achievement scores
- To investigate lecturer classroom practices as it relates to students’ English language achievement scores
- To examine if there are differences in teaching students’ of Educational foundation and English language and literature of NnamdiAzikwe University
- Research Questions
Several factors might be ultimately responsible for the inconsistency and poor performance in English languageexams in Nigerian tertiary institutions. Is it the teacher’s particular training or is it their deeply ingrained beliefs? Is it something about traditional approaches to education in Nigeria, or perhaps a lack of awareness or acceptance of more recently recognized best practices in teaching English as a second language? All of these considerations lead to three major research questions and their related hypotheses:
- Are there any significant differences between English language achievement scores of Educational foundation and English language and literature of NnamdiAzikwe University?
- Do students’ beliefs about language teaching relate to theirEnglishlanguage achievement scores in NnamdiAzikwe University?
- Do lecturer classroom practices relate to students’ English language achievement scores in NnamdiAzikwe University?
- Are there differences in teaching students’ of Educational foundation and English language and literature of NnamdiAzikwe University?
1.5 Research Hypothesis
H1: There are significant differences between English language achievement scores of Educational foundation and English language and literature
H0: There are no significant differences between English language achievement scores of Educational foundation and English language and literature
1.6 Significance of Problem
The information gathered through this study would help lecturers and students in the department of Educational foundation and department of English language and literatureacross different institutions in the country.
The lecturers in both department of educational foundation and English language and literature will find the outcome of this study handy, as it will help them avoid disdain for students in these departments, thereby promoting a better understanding in teaching English Language for quality academic achievements among their students.
The study will also be of importance to students of both educational foundation and English language and literature departments, as it will help to avoid inferiority amongst students in terms of academic performance. Most importantly, the study will be of great value to students of English education in propelling them towards a quality academic achievementand not to be seen as inferior to the students of English arts in terms of academic performance.
1.7 Limitation of the study
The study was limited to Educational foundation and English language and literature of NnamdiAzikwe University, Akwa. The study is also limited by time and by years under consideration which will be 2012/2013, 2013/2014, 2014/2015.
Keywords: TRENDS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE ACHIEVEMENT SCORE OF EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATIONS AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE STUDENTS OF NNAMDI AZIKWE UNIVERSITY, AKWA
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