INFLUENCE OF LEARNER-CENTRED TECHNIQUE ON STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN READING SKILLS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

INFLUENCE OF LEARNER-CENTRED TECHNIQUE ON STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN READING SKILLS IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

The main purpose of teaching at any level of formal education is to bring out a significant change in the learner. Transferring knowledge requires teachers to use the appropriately method and pedagogy that best suits the learner, the objectives and desired outcomes. Most of the traditional methods teacher- centered with less activity for the learners thus making them passive. Therefore knowledge is obtained from the teacher without building their engagement level with the subject matter. The technique  is less practical, more theoretical and memorizing. Student-centered techniques  are more effective are more encouraged because they embrace the concept of discovery learning.

Consequently, reform education ideals are important for students, particularly at-risk students, because ultimately, as students become more engaged in their studies, their deep, rather than surface, understanding enhances their learning processes and consequently their achievement levels. When students are interested in the material presented to them, they begin to make connections that they previously may not have seen, they look to understand the material in the bigger picture and see its relevance to their life. Within the literature there are often many forms of engagement, ranging from social (participation in life at the school) to academic (participation in the mandated requirements of school), and more recently intellectual engagement (a cognitive and emotional commitment to learning) (Parsons & Taylor, 2011; Trowler, 2010)

Learner-centered instruction is preferred by students including teachers and has shown to improve students’ motivation to learn when introduced slowly. Although many of its characteristics are aimed at improving the dimensions of students’ engagement, this mechanism has not been fully explored either with regard to reading  or even more specifically with regard to racial group learning. Some evidence indicates that the implementation of student-centered reading  instruction reduces the racial achievement gap. (Atkinson, 2014)

Student entering college underprepared tend to be at-risk. Beyond the lack of the basic skills necessary, these students often also lack motivation for school and the skills required to make them successful, such as attendance, time management, and effective study strategies not academically succeeding in math classes is quite clearly a problem across the educational spectrums.

Presumably, educators hope to increase students’ positive sense of self, both in and outside of the classroom. And it is not without good reason; according to Haselden, Sanders and Sturkie (2012) a history of repeated failures in the classroom often leads to a loss of confidence and self-worth and can even hinder these students from becoming contributing members of society. Drago (2011) argues that, in line with other research, self-esteem has an impact on the earnings in the workplace.

The importance of English as a world language can no longer be contested. In present times, English has attained high levels than the rest of globalization and technology to dominate the world like no language has, and some linguists assume. While English is the native language of some countries, it is the second or third language of some other countries. Akinjobi (2013) refers to these three groups of users as inner, outer and expanding circles. Akinjobi further states that in some countries such as Britain, America and Australia, English is a native language (that is, mother tongue). In some other countries such as Nigeria, India, Singapore, Ghana, Philippines, it is a second language (that is, not a native language but used in schools as an official language).

The effectiveness of teaching methods on students learning have consistently raised considerable interest on the thematic field of education research (Hightower, 2011). Most of the teaching methods today have embraced modern technology and this has brought tremendous changes in the field of second language learning. The poor academic performance by majority of the students in various subject areas is basically linked to the application of ineffective teaching methods by teachers to impact knowledge to learners and therefore teachers need to be conversant with numerous teaching strategies (Adunola, 2011).

Thus, in the Nigerian context, the teaching and learning of reading as a skill has been bedeviled by a host of challenges, mostly pedagogical. In most cases, one would observe teachers using stereotyped teaching methods with negative results. Also, the teaching techniques are monotonous and teacher centred; where teachers do most of the talking. Globally, the trend of teaching productive and even receptive language skills point in the direction of active pedagogy. The vision 2030 objective reflects the use of interactive pedagogy in the classroom. In this sense, the reading exercise are mostly done by the learners through interactive activities such as action techniques, self study or discovery methods. The vision 2030 educational objective, in its document, strongly opts for a child centred strategy that would bring out the natural skill in the learner.

Learner-centred technique puts students’ interests first, acknowledging student voice as central to the learning experience. In a student-centered learning space, students choose what they will learn, how they will learn, and how they will assess their own learning.(Hannafin and  Hannafin, 2010).This is in contrast to traditional education, also dubbed “teacher-centered learning”, which situates the teacher as the primarily “active” role while students take a more “passive”, receptive role. In a teacher-centered classroom, teachers choose what the students will learn, how the students will learn, and how the students will be assessed on their learning. In contrast, student-centered learning requires students to be active, responsible participants in their own learning and with their own pace of learning. Usage of the term “student-centered learning” may also simply refer to educational mindsets or instructional methods that recognize individual differences in learners. In this sense, student-centered learning emphasizes each student’s interests, abilities, and learning styles, placing the teacher as a facilitator of learning for individuals rather than for the class as a whole.

Statement of the problem

From the past to the present day, there have been distinctive reasons for poor reading skills among senior school students. The preliminary observation by the researchers revealed that students have low enthusiasm towards reading and the majority of these students do not know how to read, and thus, they are faced with reading challenges pre-examination periods. The net outcome of students’ failure to read properly is the poor performance of most students in final examinations. From the above, it may be the case that one of the key issues standing up to students these days is not their failure to read but rather their total absence of enthusiasm for reading.

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Updated: 12th March 2021 — 5:35 am