CAUSES OF STUDENTS WRITING ERRORS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

CHAPTER ONE

BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Introduction

Science students‟ competence in written English is critical because English is the language of formal education as enshrined in the National Policy on Education (2004). It is written medium the dominant aspect used to test and determine knowledge (Shuaibu, 2008). The importance of Science in technological development cannot be over-emphasized. The National Policy on Education (1981), under secondary education section, stressed the teaching and learning of science subjects in Nigerian schools. One of the aims of the policy is to “equip students to live effectively in the modern age of Science and technology…” In line with this, science subjects are among the core subjects being taught at the senior secondary schools. Writing is a purposeful selection and organization of thoughts, facts, opinion and ideas. A high proficiency is required from the science students in writing tasks. They should be able to express themselves fluently make inquiries, understand concepts and state findings in clear terms without ambiguity. The crucial role English language plays in secondary school Education, notwithstanding effective written English is among the major problem both teachers and students continued to grapple with. This is evident in various WAEC and NECO Chief Examiners‟ Reports (2002, 2007). The general public outcry and various related academic works which describes the SS2 science students‟ performance in written English as poor testify to this unsatisfactory performance. According to Jegede (1987), some of the instructional problems perceived to be an impediment to learning of Science subjects, range 2 from inability to write, to lack of comprehension of the language used in texts. Researchers have variously described the performance of SS2 students‟ in written English as very poor, disappointing, incomprehensive and error packed (Olajide, 1980; Olaofe; 1987, Ama, 1988). This affects SS2 science students‟ performance because many of them bring their English language problems to their content subjects. The important role of English in Nigeria gives it a central position in the school curriculum as a core subject and a medium of instruction. Without it, there will be little or no education above the elementary level (Tiffen, 1970). It will be impossible for SS2 science students‟ to succeed academically without it. They must be taught the English language skills necessary for academic pursuits. Specifically, the writing skill is very important. Science students need it for many scientific processes such as laboratory reports, experimentation, collection of data, making inferences, description and so on. In science secondary schools, most subjects are tested through the writing medium, chemistry subject inclusive. There is then a need to determine reasons for lack of absolute intelligibility in writing English. An unintelligible text that is disjointed or distorted in terms of textual organization and arrangement of ideas can lead to communication break-down (Olaofe 1995.5). Writing among science students‟ across SS2 level contains varying degrees of grammatical and lexical errors (Shaughnessy, 1997). Many Science students‟ find it difficult to perform effectively in contents subjects because of their poor performance in English language. It is assumed that investigating the written English errors of SS2 Science students‟ will reveal their areas of deficiencies. 3 Teachers of science subjects fail to emphasize the writing of good text. Although, they comment on the writing errors of their students, little or no effort is made to minimize the errors. This neglect makes the students‟ not to attach much importance to written English in their subject areas. Some of the students cannot see the reason why they should waste their time learning to write good composition as long as their teachers are able to decipher what they have written, even if it is with a lot of pains. Thus, there is need for a study like this to make science teachers and students aware of errors in written English and the importance of acquiring proficient writing skill. Errors cannot be allowed to continue among science students. Kanobi (1976) observes that one step forward in improving science students‟ writing is to analyze their written work and identify areas of weaknesses. The study is constrained to analyze SS2 science students‟ written errors, find a way of minimizing the errors and improve the students‟ written English.

CAUSES OF STUDENTS WRITING ERhttps://jollertexcomputer.com.ng/index.php/2019/11/21/all-classes-of-project-materials-at-cheaper-price-6/RORS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

Statement of the Problem

It is obvious that the poor performance of science students in written English has caused a lot of concern for many people. This is reflected in studies in the area and comments on the issue. It is the same concern that has motivated the present study. The role of English language in enhancing achievements in science subjects is very important because English is the main medium through which scientific ideas; skills and information are acquired and disseminated in science subjects. Thus, it is necessary to know the students‟ writing ability and how it can be use to facilitate learning science subjects. Ideally, science students across SS levels should be able to write comprehensible compositions and master the techniques such as relevance, organization of content, expression and mechanical accuracy. Unfortunately, the written English of SS2 science students contain a lot of errors. The errors are serious; they sometimes impair communication. The researcher, having taught English to some SS2 science students in Kaduna state (2005-2009) and marked WAEC and NECO (2006-date) observes that many SS2 science students could not express themselves adequately in written English. Many of the students‟ shy away from writing because they do not like the skill. Their negative 5 attitude contributes to their poor performance in written English. Therefore, this study is expected to examine the written English of SS2 science students in English classes and in their chemistry subjects with the hope of identifying their writing difficulties

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Updated: 23rd December 2019 — 6:04 am

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