CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN SECONDARY.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

English is taught as one of the subjects that will enable students acquire further skills which are common and fundamental to all personal and occupational activities Inyang, (1998). The English language has significant effect on the standard of living and quality of life of the students and in the environment in which the students lives and which future generations will inherit Ekanem,(2008). Eventually, all student in Nigeria will encounter the world of English whether they work in urban or rural areas. They must be prepared to engage in English language activity with confidence and competence.

          A quantitative synthesis of over 3, 000 students showed that, nine educational variables are effective in fostering students’ learning and performance. These are ability, development, motivation, attitude, quality of instruction, clarity, enthusiasm, outcomes and environmental factors which include the home, classroom, peer group and the mass media (Fraser, Walberg, Welchand Hattie 1987).

          Good and qualified teachers are essential for efficient functioning of educational system and for enhancing the quality of learning.

          In an online forum on teacher effectiveness (Kate Walsh 2010) points out that, these “superstar” teachers are relatively rare and although good teaching is integral to students’ success. It can by itself supersede the many other factors that contribute to students’ success or failure.

          A good teacher and actions to be taken on his part in the classroom play a vital role provoking effective and efficient teaching and learning on the part of the students (Markley, 2004). Teachers also have a fundamental role in their learner’s academic achievement and their quality can highly influence student outcomes (Campbell, Kyriakides, Muijsc and Robinsona, 2004; Rockoff 2004).

          In Nigeria today, there are many English teachers but lack of competency is the problem faced by the school administrators. Taking a critical look at the overall performance of student between 1999-2003, it is evidently clear that their performance is nothing to write home about the state commissioner of education Dr. (Mrs.) NgoziOsarenren.

          English language teachers are by no means an exception and their key role in effective language learning cannot be overlooked. Special attention must be paid to this link between teachers and learners in countries like Nigeria where learning happens mainly in formal classroom setting. ( Nnoli, 2008).

          Teachers, as the main source of language input to student affects their learning directly. Although effective teachers in general share some characteristics such as good personality, friendliness and congeniality, deep knowledge and great education; but there are certain qualities that differs among them depending on the subjects and topic they teach.

          Hammadou and Bernhar, (1987) observes that, it is the nature of the subject matter that makes teacher different from teachers of their fields. Some others even go beyond this and claims that diverse subject matters are not the only distinction between teachers of various subjects Borg, (2006). Rather a teacher’s beliefs, and assumptions about teaching and teacher efficacy affect the way he or she understands and organizes instructions. Chacon, (2005). It is also important to study the perception of learners  about learning and teaching. Does their beliefs about language learning seem to have obvious relevance to understanding? Investigation of the student beliefs and about different behaviours in the language classroom is useful in informing teacher’s about different types of learners that need to be catered for (Cotterall, 1999).

          According to Tebabal and Kahssay, (2011) states that, many teaching practitioners in Nigeria widely applied teacher-centered methods to impact knowledge to learners comparative to student-centered methods.

          According to Ayeni, (2011), teaching is a process that involves bringing about desirable changes in learners so as to achieve specific outcomes. In order for the method used for teaching to be effective, Adunola, (2011) maintains that teachers needs to be conversant with numerous teaching strategies that take recognition of the magnitude of complexity of the concept to be covered.

          Ogunsaju, (2004) states that, the academic standard in all Nigerian educational institutions has fallen considerably below societal expectations. All stakeholders are concerned about why the system is turning out with poor results. To them, it is questionable whether or not teachers in the public junior secondary schools are competent to teach effectively. Blumende, (2001) corroborated this view when he purports out that, the decline in the quality of education cannot be ignored by anyone who is aware of the significant role of education as an instrument of societal transformation and development. Currently, English has dominated the context of foreign language learning and teaching in Iran. English language is considered by many as the international language. Its acquisition can guarantee the availability of opportunities to employment, traveling, higher education, and even better life (Crystal, 1997). Teaching English as a foreign language is a challenging task in developing countries in general and in our country in particular. English has been included in the curriculum of Iranian schools and universities and considerable attention has been paid to this language in our society for the following reasons: first of all, access to and use of the latest technological and scientific resources mainly written in English calls for an efficient amount of English language proficiency. Secondly, coping with the demands of the era of information explosion and the efficient use of the Internet makes learning English as a necessity. Thirdly, mastery of English facilitates cultural exchange among nations including the proposal of the dialog among civilizations. In spite of all these, some studies show that teaching and learning English in Iranian schools has not been able to satisfy the specified goals (see, for example, Bagheri, 1994; Moradi, 1996a; Rahimi, 1996b; Rashidi, 1995; Saadat, 1995; Zanganeh, 1995). Thus, due to the shortcomings of the formal EFL program at schools to fulfill the practical needs of the learners on the one hand, and the need for learning English to satisfy these communicative needs on the other hand, an increasing number of EFL institutes have been developed throughout the country. Generally speaking, primary school, junior, and senior high school are three levels of schooling in Iran. English as a compulsory course is being taught at junior and senior high school levels. Of course, the private sector has already started introducing English at lower levels such as primary school and kindergarten (Aliakbari, 2005). Teaching English starts at the age of 11, first grade in junior high schools and it continues up to university levels. In spite of studying English for a long period of time in schools (almost 7 years), students are not able to communicate in English in the real contexts. As a result, the authorities and researchers have tried to investigate the reasons why, despite all the money and time spent and efforts taken, Iranian students are not as successful in learning English as they are expected. Behroozi and Amoozegar (2014)’s paper displays the need to reassess the approaches used to teach English language in Iran. The collected data displayed that Iranian students after nearly seven years of education neither are enabled to speak fluently in English language nor interact with other people because of emphasis on grammatical structure place, with the learner becoming the pivotal element in the learning process and the teacher adopting new roles apart from the traditional ones as animator, collaborator, dynamiser, mentor, assessor and facilitator (Wright 1987). This also had its reflection on the management of the teaching/learning process with a strong focus on learning how to learn and on learner autonomy (Wenden 1991).

Statement of the Problem

          The government agencies,the public educated  elites, educational stakes holders and most importantly, the examination bodies such as West African Examination Council (WAEC), NATIONAL Examination Council (NEDO), General Certificate of Examination (GCE) etc. have come to notice the poor performance of students in English language at school level. This was caused by several contemporary issues such as poor teaching method, attitude towards English learning, political instability, changes in curriculum. Etc.  This problem, as a phenomenon, calls for intensive investigation to known the root causes of this abysmal performance so as to proffer a lasting solution to it.

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Updated: 12th March 2020 — 8:15 am

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