Language gives a unique distinction to a person, a sex, a group (as in different professions, assemblies etc) and a nation. The focus of this project is on the performances of male and female students in English language. Investigations were carried out in the area of English language performance between male and female. Through questionnaire was adopted to determine the performance of male and female students in English language. The sample for the work consisted of 100 students of Senior Secondary School. Twenty five students were selected from each four schools selected and purposive random sampling techniques were used in the process of data collections.
The data collected were subjected to both descriptive statistics of frequency counts and simple percentages. The outcome of investigation in this work revealed that male and female (gender) had no significant influence on students’ performance in English language. It is therefore recommended that both sexes should be given equal opportunity in any language programme. The uninformed belief that one sex can naturally perform better than the other should be discountenanced. Both sexes should be given equal exposure to the right method for good performance in any language programme.
Background to the Study
English language was introduced in Nigeria in the early 19th century by the British colonial administration. Although English language is a foreign language to Nigeria, in the sense that is not indigenous but widely used in Nigeria as the second language. Ever since it was introduced in Nigeria, it has survived many decades and still survives to date as it assumes a more vital status in Nigeria. Bamgbose (2005) sees English language in Nigeria as one of the leagues of colonial administration, which has succeeded in eliminating the problems of multiple language in Nigeria.
English language has played a major role in Nigeria which could be seen in our education, government, business, commerce, mass media and most of internal and external communication. Above all, English language has played the role of the language of political unity.
In recent time, English has been rated as the world most popular language which is characterized by active communication from one continent to another, especially by the indigenous owner of the language. Formal education in Nigeria today is a product of English language. Without English, there is the possibility that there may not be anything more than the elementary formal education in Nigeria. Despite the importance of English language, the performance of students over the years, has been on a down world, trend. Media reports show that the performance of students in written, reading and spoken English is not encouraging.
Obayan (2006), was of the opinion that “spend and gender (sex) have a lot to do with the performance of students in English language. He also said that females tend to be more favourably disposed to the study of English language and other linguistics courses than the male gender.” Doglas (2001) discovered that male children perform better than their females counterparts in the study of science.”
Although gender has been said to be the major determiner of the level of proficiency of students in English language by many scholars and grammarians, but there are several other factors that could under mind the performance of students in English language such as background of students, teachers, interest, government and attitude towards academic works. It is very important to emphasize here that the qualification of English teachers whose sole responsibility is to teach English language, will enhance good or poor performance of students. In order to ensure for accuracy, create motivation and interest, a good qualified English teacher should be placed in charge to teach the students. Government negligence and failure to provide the necessary teaching aid, has also contributed to the poor performance of students in English language; ethnic groups with over 450 languages, English serves as a second language. It is the responsibility of the government to provide the necessary instructional materials to help in the teaching of the language to students of various levels of education. This should be done, so as to avert the influence of mother tongue on English.
The various problems have come to be as a result of poor performance of students in English which has given rise to what it called varieties of English language. It is the intention of the researcher to investigate whether gender has an influence on students performance in English language studies and also prospects of problems affecting the performance of secondary schools students in English language. The performance of students in English language basis on gender is another essential part of this study. Admittedly is the fact that women are hypercorrect in speech, they (women) also use succulent words while their male counterparts are coarse and husky.
As observed by Nwobia (2007) “The differences between male and female are visualized in varied ways. For instance, the male exhibit verbal skills which are different from the female: likewise the voice pitch of the females are usually higher than that of the males.” She also examines that “in reading ability, females tend to read better and more fluent than males; this could be socio-culturally conditional as there is no proof that males are less intelligent than females.”
In the view of Wardaugh (1998) “captures the view of various authors (like De Klerk 1992 and Hughes 1992, baron 1986) on the distinctiveness of male and female speeches, but summarized that such claims lack solid evidential report, hear him “any view too that women’s speech is trivial … gossip-ladden, corrupt, illogical, idle, euphemistic, or deficient is highly suspect; nor is it necessarily nor precise cultivated, or stylish or even less profane than men’s speech.”
Wardaugh (1998) notes that “phonological differences exist between the speeches of men and women in some languages.
Statement of the Problem
Many people have stressed the place of male and female students’ performance in English language. As argued by Obayan (2006) that females tend to be favourably disposed to the study of English language and other linguistic courses than the male gender. This is contrary to the African belief that male children are more superior to female children, which has equally been extended to the classroom learning situations, where the boys are assume to perform better than their female counterpart. The argument goes further that male children perform excellently well in other subjects than English and that the females are more brilliant.
Therefore, this study is undertaken to find out whether male children perform better than their female counterpart in English language or in the study of English language.