STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS SUMMARY WRITING

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background to the Study
The status of the English language in Nigeria has evolved over a long period of
time from the language of the colonial masters (pre-independence) to the official
language and lingua franca (post-independence). Despite the fact that the English
language is not indigenous to Nigeria, it has become the language of convenience
which has helped to weld together the various ethno-linguistic groups in the country.
Also, the National Policy on Education (FGN, 2004) described the English language
as the first official language, the language of education from the upper primary
schools to the higher institutions of learning in Nigeria and one of the core subjects in
the Nigerian educational system.
This means that the different skills of the language are taught as part of English
language curriculum in Nigerian schools and a success in the different skills is
generally perceived to be a success in the language (WAEC Regulations and
Syllabuses for West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations, 2009 –
2013). Success in the English language is very important to any student that wishes to
gain admission into and succeed in the different levels of education, especially the
higher institutions of learning in Nigeria. This is because a minimum of a credit pass
in English language is compulsory and considered a strong requirement for admission
into Nigerian higher institutions (UTME Syllabus and Brochure, 2012). Also, a good
knowledge of the different skills of the English language will enhance the effective
learning of all the other subjects that are taught with the language in the Nigerian
educational system.
Despite the importance of the English language to students‘ academic
advancement and success in the other school subjects, it is sad to note that students‘
performance in the subject especially in external examinations has been very poor.
Alaneme (2005) lamented the mass failure recorded annually by students in both the
English language and Mathematicsematics examinations and concluded that the poor
performance of students in these subjects at West African Examinations Council and
National Examinations Council‘s conducted examinations is actually a true reflection
of the low standard of education in Nigeria. Also, Komolafe and Yara (2010)
submitted that students‘ performance in the English language, as revealed in various
examinations both in the subject and other subjects examined in English, is still very
low. Fakeye (2010) observed that anyone who is familiar with English Language
examination scripts in the secondary school today will not disagree with the view that
the students‘ performance in English language especially in secondary school has
fallen.

Statement of the Problem
The high rate of failure recorded by students in English language examinations
yearly has been attributed partly to their poor achievement in and attitude to summary
writing. Studies have shown that students‘ poor learning outcomes in summary
writing are due to the continued use of ineffective teacher-dominated instructional
strategies, students‘ inability to read, comprehend, retain the gist of the passage and
rewrite it in their own words. Scholars have therefore advocated the adoption of
instructional strategies that could take care of these deficiencies and two of such
strategies are Explicit and Generative Instructional Strategies. The two strategies offer
students the opportunities to actively construct their learning through practice sessions
(in the course of classroom interactions) which incorporate the use of students‘ prior
experiences or memory recall, cognitive processing and prompt corrective feedbacks
from the teacher. Studies have shown that these strategies enhanced students‘ learning
outcomes in the sciences, composition writing and reading comprehension. However,
the effects of the two strategies on students‘ learning outcomes in summary writing
had not enjoyed much research attention.

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Updated: 16th November 2020 — 7:07 pm

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