THE EFFECTS OF ENGLISH TEACHER QUALIFICATION ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ EXTERNAL EXAMINATION PERFORMANCE
1.1 THE STUDY’S BACKGROUND
The quality of instruction in classrooms is directly related to the quality of education. Academic qualifications, subject matter knowledge, competence, and teaching skills, as well as the teacher’s commitment, all have a significant impact on the teaching-learning process (National Education Policy 1998-2010). Education quality improvement is dependent on proper teacher training.
Teachers cannot play any of the roles unless they have been properly trained (Yadved and Singh, 1988). The performance of students, particularly in external examinations, goes a long way toward demonstrating the level of preparedness of the student by qualified teachers.
Teaching is an art form. Training and practice can help to improve it. The availability of qualified teachers is critical in the educational system’s reconstruction. English has been designated as a global language (Crystal, 1997). With the growing need and importance of the English language in all walks of life, English has been made a compulsory subject in Nigeria from the start of the academic career. This is increasingly requiring high-quality initial training for non-native speaker teachers in the school system (Cullen, 1994).
English is taught as a compulsory subject, and the entire teaching and learning process is conducted in English. In other words, English is also used in Nigerian schools as a medium of instruction. This allows students at these schools to learn English in an environment where the majority of interactions between the teacher and the students are conducted in English (Fuller & Clark, 1994). As a result, students at these schools are more fluent in English and perform well in external exams.
However, English is taught differently in some schools, and students’ proficiency in the language is inadequate. The traditional grammar translation method is preferred by teachers, and there is little exposure to English language inside or outside of the classroom. The majority of the activities in class are conducted in the vernacular or mother tongue. Even the English language is explained using Urdu or vernaculars (Al-mutawa & Kailani, 1989). Students rely on memorization and cramming.
The teacher facilitates examinations rather than learning. Students memorize, translate, and retranslate information or knowledge before reproducing it in external examinations. This type of teaching experience results in no creativity on the part of the students (Baumgardner, 1993). The reason for this is that the teachers are not qualified or competent to teach English effectively.
This leads to poor English results, eventually leading to the highest failure rate in English at external examinations. As a result, English becomes the most difficult barrier (particularly for students from rural areas) to obtaining higher education and key administrative positions. In its annual report, the Federal Public Service Commission (1998) stated that using English as the medium of expression in external examinations prevents students from some low-income institutions from competing with their counterparts from more prestigious institutions.
English, as a language, plays a variety of roles in Nigeria’s socioeconomic, political, and cultural development. The continued decline in students’ English language performance in external examinations is cause for great concern not only for teachers, but also for all stakeholders in the education business. This is especially concerning given that English serves as both a medium of instruction in Nigerian schools and our linquafranca.
The central role of English cannot, therefore, be wished away. However, the failure pattern has revealed that the incidence appears to be higher in some schools than in others. A number of factors have been linked to the courses, but the issue of teacher qualification is more important.
This is critical because, in the business of teaching and learning, teachers can only offer what they have; you cannot offer what you don’t have. The qualifications of teachers involved in teaching and learning play significant roles in student performance, and this study aims to discover these effects. Chomsky (1972) asserts that “one cannot truly teach a language but can only present the conditions under which it will spontaneously develop in the mind in its own ways.”
1.2 THE PROBLEM’S STATEMENT
The primary focus of applied linguistics has been language teaching. Formal education does not operate in a vacuum. The school environment, teacher qualifications, curriculum and instructional approaches, and a variety of other factors all work together to improve students’ academic skills and knowledge. There is enough empirical evidence to suggest that students’ academic performance is heavily influenced by the teachers they are assigned.
Classroom-based research is reliable enough to determine whether or not students are receiving appropriate content instruction. According to Pennington (1989), the quality of teaching must be considered when determining what results can be expected. He goes on to say that teachers make classroom management decisions based on student achievement gains.
Thus, findings about the relationship between teacher characteristics and student academic performance scores are important in determining teacher policy. It is assumed that only those with professional English teaching training should teach English. The English teacher should be someone who is competent and proficient in all aspects of the language. However, is not deficient, particularly in written and conversational English.
The English teacher should be well-versed in both current usage and theoretical aspects of English. Today, most students in secondary schools, and even in universities, lack the ability to communicate effectively in English, both orally and in writing.
This is still a major issue for English students today. It is therefore critical to determine whether the English teachers’ qualifications influence students’ performance in written and spoken English in external examinations.
1.3 THE STUDY’S OBJECTIVES
The following are the study’s objectives:
1. To investigate the effects of English teacher qualification on secondary school students’ performance in external examinations.
2. To investigate the requirements for producing a qualified English teacher.
3. To identify the factors that can improve secondary school students’ academic performance in external examinations.
1.4 QUESTIONS FOR RESEARCH
1. What are the effects of English teacher qualification on secondary school students’ performance in external examinations?
2. What are the requirements for a qualified English teacher?
3. What are the factors that can improve secondary school students’ academic performance in external examinations?
HO: There is no statistically significant relationship between English teacher qualification and secondary school student performance in external examinations.
HA: There is a significant relationship between English teacher qualification and secondary school student performance in external examinations.
1.6 THE STUDY’S SIGNIFICANCE
The following are the significance of this study:
1. The purpose of this study is to inform the Ministry of Education about whether teacher qualification has any effect on student performance in the senior secondary school certificate examination (SSCE). The findings will also be useful as a reference for those who wish to conduct similar research.
2. This research will also serve as a resource base for other scholars and researchers interested in conducting additional research in this field in the future, and if applied will go so far as to provide new explanations for the topic.
1.7 STUDY LIMITATIONS
Financial constraint- Inadequate funding tends to impede the researcher’s efficiency in locating relevant materials, literature, or information, as well as in the data collection process (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will conduct this study alongside other academic work. As a result, the amount of time spent on research will be reduced.
N. Al-Mutawa and T. Kailani (1989). Methods for Teaching Arabic Students English Longman, Harlow
Robert J. Baumgardner (1993). Pakistan’s English Language Oxford University Press, Karachi.
D. Crystal (1997). Cambridge University Press, English as a Global Language.
R. Cullen (1994). ELT Journal, 48(2), 162-172. Incorporating a Language Improvement Component in Teacher Training Programs.
Annual Report: Federal Public Service Commission, 1998. Federal Public Service Commission, Islamabad
B. Fuller and B. Clark (1994). Ignoring Culture While Raising School Effects? Conditions as well as the Impact of Classroom Tools, Rules, and Pedagogy The Review of Educational Research, 64(1), pp. 119-57.
D. D. Yadred and D. J. Singh (1997). The Impact of Teacher Degree Level on Educational Performance Developments in School Finance, edited by W.J. Fowler, National Center for Education Statistics, Washington, D.C.
Nigerian Government (1998). 1998-2010 National Education Policy Ministry of Education, Islamabad
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