This study looked at perceived barriers to English language learning in junior secondary schools. The study’s entire population is 200 secondary school teachers from Oredo local government in Edo state. The researcher collected data using questionnaires as the instrument.
This study used a descriptive survey research approach. The survey included 133 respondents, including principals, vice principals, administration, senior employees, and junior staff. The acquired data was organized into tables and evaluated using simple percentages and frequencies.
The study’s context
Nigeria is a country with over 400 different languages. Some of these languages are spoken by millions, while others are only spoken by a few thousand individuals. Some of these languages are likewise thought to be extinct. Following the census of 1963. The nation’s principal languages are Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba. 11.5 million people speak Hausa as their first language (LI), 9.5 million speak Yoruba, and 7 million speak Igbo. An estimated one million individuals speak each of these languages as a second language (L2).
Nigerian languages are widely used in the daily life of the people. They are utilized in classrooms, markets, offices, workplaces, and school assemblies. Most Nigerian languages have books published in them, and the major languages have newspapers, journals, and comics written in them. Traditional theatre and musical ensembles are flourishing in various sections of the country, providing entertainment in indigenous Nigerian languages.
Despite the widespread use of indigenous Nigerian languages in Nigerian society, no single Nigerian language has emerged as the dominant language of the country. This is because the vast majority of Nigerians do not speak or understand a single language. As a result, the Nigerian language situation is one in which a variety of languages coexist.
P. Obanya, Secondary English Teaching, Macmillan Nigeria Publishers, Lagos, 1982, p.1.
“Language Arts Methods” Institute of Education University of Ibadan publishing (1981) P3.
As a result of the diversity of languages, tribes, and cultures, there is a question of which tongue should take precedence over the others. There have been requests and concerted efforts to establish and adopt a common national language, but the question remains: which tongue should take precedence over the other?
Over the years, some technical jargons in various endeavors have been associated with the quest for a national language. As a result, even when two persons from the same linguistic community speed, they are forced to utilize certain English terms to make their arguments.
Because of Nigeria’s multilingualism, the English language conveniently meets some of the conditions that indigenous languages have failed to meet.
In Nigeria, the English language can be regarded to serve a uniting role. It is the only language that Nigerians from various linguistic, geographical, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds share. It is utilized to handle the nation’s various official business.
It is the language of the legislation, commerce, the mass media, and education in schools and institutions. Of course, this is in addition to the indigenous language of the local population. It should be mentioned, however, that English is the medium of teaching in senior elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions. The native language or mother tongue is taught as a topic in certain schools.
English speakers are classified into three groups. Native speakers, English as a foreign language speakers, and English as a second language speakers (L2) A native English speaker learns the language spontaneously as a young child. This is frequently because his parents communicate with him and with one other in English, and it is the language of the community in which he is growing up. It is a native language in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, among other places.
English is typically taught as a topic in high school or college as a foreign language. In this case, the speaker resides in a country where English is utilized as a second language (L2). A speaker of English as a second language frequently lives in a nation where English is not the indigenous language.
However, English is commonly used in his country as a medium of communication amongst speakers of diverse original languages. It is the language of education, business, and government. These children are frequently exposed to English. They learn and apply it in school.
In Nigeria, English is an important component of the educational curriculum that must be followed. It is a compulsory school subject, and a credit pass in it is required for admittance to the country’s higher education institutions. This is true regardless of the field of study. A pass in the usage of English is required for the award of a degree certificate at the University of Benin, Benin City.
Despite the English language’s enviable status in Nigeria, the number of individuals who comprehend it is small. It is necessary to make efforts to expand the number of persons who understand English. The model argued for is Standard English, which was formerly regulated for grammar, vocabulary, and spelling, and Received Pronunciation (E-P) for pronunciation. This could be taught through the media as well as in schools and institutions. This essay will be based on the method of teaching English and the challenges linked with it.
The obstacles related with English language education can be divided into instructional and infrastructural issues, as well as prejudices and interferences from the first language (L1). It should be recognized, however, that there is no single optimum way of teaching English. Language acquisition does not have to take the same path regardless of the goal or conditions.
The teaching of English is a praginatic enterprise that should be treated as such. The teacher must make selections about the approaches and strategies he will utilize while keeping in mind the working conditions. That is, one cannot label a method as excellent or poor without taking into account the circumstances in which it is utilized. The instructor must also consider his own qualities, the characteristics of his students, as well as the physical and other conditions under which he must work.
When learning English as a second language, the learner is taught English at school and unconsciously “picks it up” outside of school from his family and friends, the radio, newspapers, films, public speeches, and so on. However, most of the English he will be exposed to outside of school will be incorrect English because it will be spoken by people whose first language is not English.
Furthermore, he will have difficulty learning English as a result of influence from his mother tongue: for example, if his mother tongue lacks the /r/ sound, he will most likely pronounce “river” as “liver.”
Another issue in English education is the frequent usage of pidgin. It makes studying grammar difficult because the grammar or pidgin has been suggested and designed to be as close to that of some indigenous Nigerian languages as feasible.
There is also the issue of educated manpower; a student in this setting may be taught English by a teacher who does not have a high degree of proficiency in the language. The size of the class and the number of classes both play an influence on the efficiency of the teacher.
It is critical to stress that, despite the list of issues stated above, the situation is far from hopeless. To repair the condition, many strategies and methods will be used. The use of minimal pair’s audio visual aids, recorded speech, exercises, and repetitions will be beneficial in resolving the abovementioned concerns, which will be described in further detail later in this work.
People frequently complain about students’ poor performance in English language exams, both internal and external, and even in spoken usage of the spoken language. Several explanations have been suggested for this pattern. Some of these reasons include candidates’ inability to distinguish between two seemingly similar sounds and orthography; this inability to distinguish between these sounds is due to interference from the first language (L1) on the acquisition of the second language (L2) skills, which in this case is English.
a scarcity of qualified teachers Some of the issues affecting pupils’ effective acquisition of English language skills include class size, a lack of instructional resources, and their family background.
Interference from the mother tongue in an Edo youngster learning English can take the following forms, for example: Because the Edo dialect lacks the dental fricative //, no distinction is made between the English phonemes /d/ and / as in “dough” and “through.”
Another of these issues is a scarcity of qualified English teachers. When discussing the value of well-trained instructors, Tudor, P.J. stated;
The most inventive curriculum will be futile if instructors are not trained to deal with and adjust it effectively. To boost students’ performance, a highly trained English teacher is required.
Some of our secondary school classes are overcrowded. It is not uncommon to see classes with more than seventy pupils in a single arm. In a forty-minute session, it is impossible for a teacher to provide each student the particular attention required for effective language study.
Language acquisition is facilitated by instructional aids. However, practically many secondary schools lack these aids. No school, for example, has a language laboratory. Finally, pupils’ home backgrounds are another aspect that influences their performance in language acquisition.
Households with no books. These youngsters arrive at school unprepared. This writer seeks to investigate these stated challenges as well as some of the variables that may comprise the issues confronting English language teaching and learning.
Is the mother tongue a hindrance to the acquisition of English language skills?
Does the scarcity of qualified English teachers have an impact on effective English language teaching and learning?
Does the size of the class affect the efficiency of the English teachers?
Does a lack of instructional tools impair English language learning?
Does the pupils’ home background influence their learning of English language skills?
The study’s objective
The study’s aims are as follows:
Determine whether or not the mother tongue interferes with the learning of English language abilities.
To determine whether a shortage of qualified English teachers has an impact on the effectiveness of English language instruction.
To determine whether the size of the class impacts the efficiency of the English teachers.
To investigate if instructional tools influence English language learning.
To investigate whether students’ home environments influence their acquisition of English language skills.
Hypotheses for research
The researcher developed the following research hypotheses in order to successfully complete the study:
H0: The mother tongue has no effect on the acquisition of English language abilities.
H1: The mother tongue impedes the learning of English language abilities.
H02: A shortage of qualified English teachers has no effect on the effectiveness of English language instruction.
H2: A scarcity of qualified English teachers has an impact on the effectiveness of English language instruction.
The study’s importance
It is the writer’s belief that, as a result of the identified problems in secondary school English language teaching, as well as the suggested improvements, there will be an improved standard in the teaching/learning situation, and thus an improvement in the performance of both students and teachers on the field. A student’s communication skills will improve. Because English is the medium of instruction, it will also help the student enhance his performance in other subjects.
The study’s scope and limitations
The study’s scope includes perceived variables that work against English language development in junior secondary schools. The researcher comes upon a constraint that limits the scope of the investigation;
a) RESEARCH MATERIAL AVAILABILITY: The researcher’s research material is insufficient, restricting the scope of the investigation.
b) TIME: The study’s time frame does not allow for broader coverage because the researcher must balance other academic activities and examinations with the study.
1.7 TERM DEFINITION
The first language (L1) is the language that a person learns first. It is usually the mother tongue in most cases.
The language chosen by a country through administrative or judicial action is known as its second language. It could be an indigenous or local language, or it could be a foreign language.
English teachers who have completed the bed (English) and/or NCE (English).
Standard English – This is the type of English written by educated Englishmen.
Received Pronunciation (R.P)- Received Pronunciation is the most common kind of English heard among educated southerners. It is often heard in Oxford and Cambridge and is used by the majority of Londoners with academic education.
Pidgin is a combination of at least two languages. An English Phonetic Course (London, Longman, 1955), p.9. Christopherson, P.
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