TEACHING METHOD AND CONTENT MASTERY AS YARDSTICK FOR EFFECTIVE LANGUAGE TEACHING AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL TEACHERS
Background of the Study
Language is a human and non – instinctive method of communicating ideas, feelings and desires by means of a system of vocal symbols. These symbols are in the first instance, auditory and the so – called organ of speech produces them. Robin (2014) describes language as a “communicative noise making”. Communication implies that linguistics study human sounds that make meaning. Robin explains linguistically, no language is primitive, and the vocabulary of any language reflects closely the state of the materials and more abstracts culture of the speaker. An unfamiliar language comes across to the uninitiated listener as a sequence of mere sounds, lacking meaning, or in the words of Gleason (1200), as a torrent of disorganized noise carrying no sense whatever”.
English language is not nature in Nigeria. It was brought by the colonialist and it has been incompletely domesticated (Amayo 2005, kujore 2005). English as a language came into Nigeria in the 16th century. The immediate effect of contact through trade and evangelism was the rise of pidgin English in the early 19th century (j.f Ade Ajayi, 2005). Apart from the contact with the new language, Nigerians later received formal instruction in English in missionary schools.
Learning a second language is a life long process and it is often a challenging experience for learners. English has become the second language after it was introduced to Nigeria during colonization. At present it is an international language, it is used in exchanging knowledge, it is a language of technology.
In today’s world, the most important aspect of lifelong learning and development is language, as we are experiencing the information age. Activities such as reading, writing, thinking, problem-solving, questioning, and understanding are all performed with language skills. Language is the basic tool for mental, emotional and social development. It has an important place in processes such as establishing communications, expressing emotions and thoughts, integrating with the outer world, transferring culture, and interacting with people. Language affects the characteristics of individuals, e.g., improving capacities, solving complex problems, scientific thinking, having various values, and a wider world viewpoint. This situation shows that language skills must be developed on a lifelong basis, and language development must not be limited to the education given at school. For this reason, many countries are interested in the application of new approaches and methods to develop people’s language skills (Gunes, 2011)
When we consider the history of foreign language teaching, we observe that the issue of how to teach a language has always been a subject of discussion. We may define foreign language teaching methods as the systems that show how students can become more active learners during language teaching, beyond being a mere compilation of rules. In other words, it is possible to claim that method in language learning is a teaching element that will help the student achieve the targets of the learning in the fastest and most reliable manner. It is a reality that there have been many learning and teaching approaches developed. However, we cannot claim that there is one single ideal method in any real sense. The methods used in foreign language teaching define the hypothetical bases of teaching. For this reason, it is necessary to know the basic rules, limits, limitations, usage, and characteristics of the selected methods (Memis & Erdem, 2013).
Atraditional foreign language teaching method was used at schools during the Ottoman State, which had existed since former times when teaching was carried out with a foreign language, and at foreign schools that were built later in the Westernization process. The same traditional method was used by Turkish and foreign language teachers in the Turkish schools that were opened during the Westernization process in Turkey. Language use was not taught with this method but information was given about the rules of the language. For this reason, a certain stereotypical culture has been formed in foreign language teaching from the Ottoman State until the present day, and this method has influenced foreign language applications today. Today, it is possible to see the influences of this method when the course books and the applications in the classrooms are examined. It is possible to claim that the traditional language teaching method is beneficial for foreign language studies that are not used as a means of communication or that are far from the living language. However, it is also clear that the traditional method is not beneficial in situations where living foreign languages are used as a means of communication, interaction and learning (Isik, 2008). It is not possible to speak of the existence of one ideal single method. The most distinctive criterion in selecting a method is the issue of the purpose of teaching the language. For example, there are differences in the methods that are used to teach languages in secondary schools and secondary schools. The use of “body language” is emphasized in secondary schools. “Mimics, gestures, etc.” i.e. “the actual” factor comes to the forefront at this point. In secondary schools, on the other hand, “understanding” and “explaining” are carried out by sticking to one single resource, and generally sample dialogues are made use of in recordings. For this reason, “functionality” is the basic principle in the foreign language teaching approach. Language is considered, not only as an object to be examined or a topic to be worked on, but as a means of “action”. Language is a tool that helps to use our body language (Ansin, 2006).
Statement of the Problem
Despite the proliferation of research articles and studies that have been carried out since the 1970s investigating language learning strategies, few explored the impact of teaching on the use of these strategies by non-native English speakers. As noticed by Macaro (2001) little work has been carried out to explore the impact of different teachers‟ approaches on learners‟ use of strategies. Chamot (2004) also points out that only few researchers have investigated the impact of helping the less able how language learners develop their performance through the instruction of learning strategies.
To the best of the researcher’s knowledge, no researcher has investigated the relationship between the teaching methods and the use of learning strategies in the Sultanate of Oman. The problem to be investigated in this study is the attitude of some teachers towards learning strategies employed by their learners assuming that these students are able to choose them on their own and the effect of this on their strategic learning. Still, some other teachers may not see the importance of these strategies, let alone teaching them. Therefore, it is hypothesized that the methods adopted by teachers and their beliefs about language learning strategies may have positive or negative influence on the use of these strategies. The researcher proposes that this is a result of the teaching methods that they adopt and their own beliefs in how learning takes place.
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