Background to the study
Education is a learning process of helping new generations to gain the necessary information and horizon, and to develop their personality while preparing themselves to be a part of community life (Oguzkan 2004). It is important to learn foreign language to be a part of community life in the globalizing world. After World War II, English became lingua franca throughout the world. It has become a necessity for nations to learn the world language of “English” in addition to their own language (Acat and Demiral 2002). There is no doubt that English is the international scientific language and the world language today, as well as the language of mass media, such as on computers and televisions (Eskicumali and Turedi 2010). As Acat and Demiral (2002) mentioned, the mission and vision of the school affect students’ sense and attitudes towards the English language as much as the personality traits, motivation, and concerns of students. Regarding the results of the researches of Bloom et al. in the 1950s, the learning capacity of an individual was collected under three headings: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. Cognitive entry skills include general cognitive entry skills that are essential in every learning environment, like reading comprehension and the power of using language and learning that enable or make learning new behaviours easier in a unit (Senemoglu 2005).
English being the global language plays a crucial part in order for one to fit into the real world and fit into the group of people that they are planning to communicate with. English education is meant to prepare individuals for the real world. As Hiew (2012) points out, the majority of Malaysian students are not proficient in English even upon completing the eleven years of education. This study examines how attitude affects English Language. It has been observed that many students in Akure, upon receiving minimum six years of English education in schools, are still unable to use the language proficiently. This leads to institutions of higher education, having to teach English to graduates as these graduates are having difficulties in obtaining jobs. This was reported in The Star (Hariati Azizan and Lee, 2011) that being top in class and the number of degrees that one has will not make the person good and proficient in English because the communication skill that is possessed is the one that helps in the real world. This is the issue that is worrying the employers.
The education system in Akure North has become the centre of attraction. The parents are expecting their children to perform and excel in education and the employers are getting stressed as the quality of students that graduate from local university are not able to perform because they are not prepared to face the real world as they are only good to perform well in examinations Over the years, the use of English has gradually decreased in usage. The limited use of English led to a gradual decline in English Language proficiency among citizens. Realizing the importance of English Language for the future of Akure, the government felt that a change was needed. This is when the PPSMI (Teaching and Learning of English) was introduced and with this new policy, these two subjects were taught in English beginning from the primary level. The PPSMI policy was introduced in 2003. This is a government policy aimed at improving the command of the English Language among pupils at primary and secondary schools in Malaysia. This has always been an issue argued as the government was reminded by various parties about English which is not the first language for most Malaysians.
Affective entry skills that have the capacity of explaining 25 percent of variability in achievement include concern and attitude towards a learning unit and academic self-concept (Senemoglu 2005). Affective entry skills are a student’s positive or negative emotional approach to a lesson or a topic (Yesilyaprak 2006). Affective learning includes behaviour tendencies such as concern, attitude, manner, and emotion to an object or an event (Iskender 2007). Psychomotor entry skills comprehend behaviours requiring coordination of intelligence and muscle. Psychomotor skills can be observed directly (Senemoglu 2005). According to Bloom (1979), it is necessary to level affective entry skills and cognitive entry skills for occurrence of mastery learning. Affective learning include behaviour tendencies such as concern, attitude, manner, and emotion to an object or an event (Iskender 2007). According to Bloom (1979), affective characteristicsabout a lesson is a perceptual event based on the principal of a student’s grouping of learning units. Attitudes are defined as an “acquired internal state that influences the choice of personal action” (Gagné and Driscoll 1988). For example, a person’s attitude toward the environment influences whether or not they choose to recycle. A student’s attitude toward information will influence the resources he or she chooses to use. Students must understand why it is important to select reliable, authoritative resources (Morgan 2009). There are sixteen kinds of high schools defined by the Ministry of National Education (MoNE) in Turkey; even this number can be increased when considering specific kinds of vocational and technical high schools (Kadioglu 2014).
Generally, private school students have more social activities (like arts and sports) than other school types (Erdogan 2002). One of the most salient features of the education system is that students are required to take nationwide exams when they transit from one education level to another, and they can be admitted to desired schools if they attain a minimum required score for that particular school.
Students believe that if they can attend a respected high school, they will be better prepared for the YGS and LYS (Kadioglu 2014). Today, people come across with English language in every part of their life, making it a necessity to learn. Curriculums of many developing or developed countries who feel learning a foreign language is important include foreign language courses. One or more foreign languages take part in the curriculum of many schools in akure and foreign language courses are compulsory from primary school to university. It is impossible to say that the results of the effort and time spent to teach English is enough because students cannot learn English sufficiently even if they take foreign language courses from primary school to university.
Herein, the affective domain of the students makes it important for students to take part in the learning process. The students need to have a positive attitude to take part in the learning process. This paper intends to define how the attitudes of high school students towards the English language change with regard to certain variables, and to offers solutions with the intent of developing a positive attitude. This paper expects to analyze the attitude of students towards the English language to reveal the relation of attitude and different variables, and to make contributions and submit solutions to the field of English language teaching by evaluating the results.
Statement of the problem
In order to study English as a second language and be successful at it, the students must be willing to have a grasp of the mastery of English language usage and this in turn has to do with their attitude towards English language. And the teachers must also help the students to acquire skills in fair language art. Namely speaking, reading, listening and writing.
Language is the vehicle of social interaction and requires practical everyday language use to function properly in the work place, social interaction, mobilization and indeed for functional literacy. It must be emphasized that “a person is functionally literate when he has acquired the knowledge and skills in reading and writing which enable him to engage effectively in all those activities in which literacy is normally assumed in the culture of his group. (Gray, 1969) in an analysis of the senior secondary school certificate result in English language 2005 and 2006. Olapopoo (1998) indicated that the percentage of failure was between 53.36% and 72.31%. A rich and stimulating language environment and during the early years and beyond is essential to the development and improvement of verbal and intellectual skills necessary for language learning asserted that composition writing is a difficult skill to acquire, and recommended therefore, that teachers must use a variety of meth0od for teaching English Language. Ellis and Tomlison (1980) recommended some basic skills to be taught to learners so that they can write easy proficiently, such skill includes spelling, punctuation, linguistic skills and convention of style, Reyner et al (2001:57) ascertained that “many good teachers are adaptive rather than rigid in their approach to teaching children and only loosely base their instruction and a given method. There are odds against the Nigerian students in learning English. Trifonovitch (1981) indicated that a student is automatically placed at a disadvantage when he is asked to learn another language. Majority of secondary school students in Nigeria had already mastered their mother tongue before they are admitted into school. Nigeria is reputed to have over 250 languages. With the poor performances of students and graduates in English language in Nigeria, educators, parents, employers, are worried and express great concern. The problem therefore is how the student’s attitude towards English language has affected their actual performance in English language examinations and every day proficient use of it.
Purpose of the study
This study aims to examine why, despite studying English from the primary school, many students are still not proficient in English. This study specifically looks at a group of secondary school students to examine what are their attitudes towards the use of English and English Language learning. It was noticed that the students in school prefers using mother tongue compared to English. The main objectives for the present study are:
- to examine the use of English among the group of students from Form Two
- to examine the attitude of the respondents towards English Language learning and English in general.
- to examine the relationship between language use and their proficiency in English.
Based on the above purpose of the study, the following research questions were formulated
This study addresses three research questions which are as follows:
- To what extent do the respondents use English at home and with their peers?
- To what extent are the respondents motivated to use and learn English?
- To what extent are the patterns of language use and attitudes related to their proficiency in English?