AN EXAMINATION OF PROBLEMS CONFRONTING THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ENGLISH COMPREHENSION AMONG SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS
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This research work was aimed at investigating the Problems Confronting the Teaching and Learning of English Comprehension Among Selected Secondary School Students in Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State.
Five schools were selected out of the 25 secondary schools in Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State.
Also twelve teachers and twenty-eight students were randomly selected from each school as research subject giving a total of twelve teachers and twenty eight students as the respondents.
The instrument used was the questionnaire consisted of four categories corresponding to the research questions.
Frequency counts and percentages were the statistical approaches for data analysis.
The results showed that the parents, teachers, pupils and the government have a great role to play in ensuring improvement in the learners reading and comprehend abilities.
The pupils should develop positive attitude to reading.
The teachers should be effective tolerant and up and doing in their teaching.
The parents should encourage the pupils to speak English at homes as a continuity of the language used in schools.
Background to the Study
English language can be traced from England as the local language of British
. But now a days is spoken throughout the world such as America, India, Nigeria, Ghana, Gambia, Australia and some other countries like that in the world.
English language is a medium of communication and expression of idea, fact, news, request are made known.
Hence, the speakers of the language in these countries are referred to as members of “English speech community”.
These countries came to have the language as their official language i.e. the language of government, justice education, commerce e.t.c, due to their being colonized by the British Government.
In Nigeria the origin of the first use of English Language could be traced to the period of the settlement of the Christian Missionaries in the country before the era of colonization, which were faced with communication problems between them and the natives.
Thus, the missionaries established schools alongside with the churches with the principal aim of training the converts in the art of reading and writing and to interpreted the Bible and messages to the converts as well as to teach in Sunday schools.
The acquisition of English language has assumed a wider dimension in English especially when Universal Free Primary (UPE) was introduced in 1976.
English language this day has come to play a dominant role in the linguistic development of Nigeria, however, despite the wide spread use of the local languages in the Nigerian society none of these languages has yet emerged as the country’s dominant language.
This is so because none of these languages could be spoken and understood by an over-whelming Nigerians.
Likewise, none of these languages would be willingly adopted by an over-whelming majority of Nigerians. i.e. the language situation of the country is heterogeneous.
It is therefore apparent that since Nigerian languages situation is one in which a multiplicity of language co-exist (Multilingualism), English language became an inevitable instrument for communication in the Nigerian society However, inter-ethic communication too is hard i.e no speaker of Nigeria language speaks the language in the same way an English man would speak English.
With this view, the huge gap that English language fills in Nigeria could easily be seen.
In this note, the Nigerian language situation today is a pointer to the role and status of English langue as an inevitable panacea to the problem of multiplicity of language in Nigeria.
English language helps to facilitate contact between Nigerian of diverse backgrounds.
It has thus become the official language of documentation and communication. English language plays a unifying role in Nigeria almost in the same way as other instrument of communication it is the only language which Nigerians of diverse linguistics, geographical, social, cultural and religion background have in common.
It is the language of business, social and commercial life (Obayan 1982).
English as an international language today occupies the position Latin and Greek occupied in the ancient world.
English as used in the native speakers environment reflects the cultural background of the speakers (Perpetual et al, 1989).
Social, political, geographical and attitudinal peculiarities are some of the elements super-imposed over the common background.
These peculiarities are what account for the different varieties of English, which depend on time, distance, and geographical factors.
In Nigerian society, these varieties are manifested in pronunciation, use of expressions, meanings attached to words and so on.
As a subject, English language can be divided into several parts comprising Phonology, Lexis and Structure, comprehension (reading) and others.
Comprehension being the focus of this study can be defined as:
‘The ability to interpret a message according to the circumstances or context shaping the writer’s knowledge and the reader’s expression.
In view of the above definition, the teacher, and the students have a lot to do in ensuring perfect teaching and learning of comprehension in secondary schools.
What are the prospects of achieving the perfectness in the teaching and learning of comprehension, which is a very vital aspect of English language as a means of communication leaves much to the desired in this area.
However, it should be noted that comprehension a vital aspect of English language has its impact on all other subjects taught in schools e.g. mathematics, social studies, technical subjects, sciences and other subjects.
Hence lack of good grip in comprehension is bound to have effect on the teaching and learning of these subjects since instructions on the teaching of the subjects are based on English Language.
Therefore, inability to comprehend well results into mass failure of students in their various examinations.
It is apparent therefore that the developments in the teaching and learning of English language are reflections of the dwindling standard in the performance of children in English language generally and comprehension in particular.
Thus the researcher is inspired to carry out this study due to the prevailing poor performance of children in English language and particularly comprehension and the desire to proffer a panacea to the problem among secondary school students.
Statement of the Problem
While stating the problem, the researcher is quite aware of the important role of English language as an instrument for impacting education the role it has to play in the society.
The researcher is also conscious of the place of comprehension as an integral part of English language in the total education process.
The researcher is also well aware of the dwindling nature of the performances of students in their examinations, which resulted from lack of comprehension ability.
The problem of this study therefore is fining out the problems facing effective teaching of comprehension in secondary schools with specific reference to some selected secondary schools in Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State.
Purpose of the Study
The research is aimed at finding out the divergent views of male and female teachers, trained and untrained teachers, experienced and less experienced teachers and students the problems facing effective teaching of comprehension in secondary schools.
The study was to find out whether there would be significant difference in the view of male and female teachers.
The study was to find out the extent to which lack of adequate teaching of comprehension in secondary school affects the teaching of English comprehension.
The study also aims at providing solutions to the problems confronting effective teaching and learning of English comprehension.
The following research questions are raised to guide the study:
(1) Will there be any significant difference between the view of male and female teachers of the selected secondary schools with respect to the problems facing effective teaching and learning of comprehension in their schools?
(2) Will there be any significant difference between the view of trained and untrained teachers with respect to the problems confronting the teaching and learning comprehension in their schools?
(3) Will there be any significant difference between the view of experienced and less experienced teachers with respect to the teaching and learning of English comprehension in their schools?
(4) Will there be any significant difference between the view of teachers and students with respect to the teaching and learning of English comprehension in their schools?
H01: Will there be any difference in the view of male and female teachers’ with respect to the problems facing effective teaching and learning of English comprehension in secondary schools?
H02: Will there be no difference in the view of trained and untrained teachers’ with respect to the problems facing effective teaching and learning of English comprehension in secondary schools?
H03: Will there be any difference in the view of teachers and students with respect to problems facing effective teaching and learning of English comprehension in secondary schools?
Significance of the Study
This study was undertaken with the view that it would provide. Information about the effect of poor comprehension on the academic performance of children in secondary schools.
The study will enable the teacher to re-assess himself, adopts new methods of teaching and evaluation to meet the needs of the children who are poor in reading and in understanding.
The study will encourage the students to personally get themselves in reading varieties of texts to increase their vocabulary, readability and raise their academic performance as a result of their being able to read and comprehend.
It will be useful for the students to know and master the steps to take when reading a given passage in the English language.
They will also know the errors usually committed while answering questions in the English language and guide against them.
The curriculum planners too stand to benefit from the study as information from the study will enable them to prepare for the use of a well planned curriculum on English language which will guide textbook, writes and publishers with respect to the patterns they should adhere to in writing and publishing books.
Such books should be able to guide pupils from easy to complex reading particularly in comprehension texts and ease the problems of teaching and learning comprehension texts and ease the problems of teaching and learning comprehension in schools.
It is therefore apparent that this study will be immense value to the overall development of education in Nigeria.
The study will be useful to the parents as they will be enlightened concerning the advantages of exposing their children or wards to several reading texts as this will increase their readability, improve their vocabulary and accelerate their academic performances.