AN INVESTIGATION INTO ACADEMIC INDISCIPLINE AND FAILURE AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND MATHEMATICS
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Language and culture are closely linked to each other that is why when somebody is learning a new language, they need to be in contact with the culture of the users of the language in order to master well and to increase both their knowledge of the language and the knowledge of the culture of the users of that language. That is probably why the immersion programme comes into existence and it aims to engross and to enthral students of French background into the Anglo Saxon system of education as well as English culture. The word ”immersion” itself is a noun derived from the verb “immerse” which comes from Middle English word “immersed”, meaning embedded deeply. “Immersed” comes from the Latin word “immerses” which is the past participle of “immergere” which is made up of the prefix im(in) + megere (plunge or dip).”Immegere” is to plunge or to engage wholly or deeply into something. Thus the immersion programme consists in plunging the students into the usage of a language both inside and out of the school campus. Students are expected to make use of language as much as they can. During immersion, students are also involved in out-class-classroom activities like internship in professional places in order to permanently use the language. This report is the record of my daily activities during the twelve weeks of the immersion programme in English Language at the University of Buea. Here in I am going to present my learning experience of English language, the activities in which I took part at UB, the experiences I acquired in different field works where I have been for internship as well as the whole life in Buea in its different aspects.
1.2 BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT THE IMMERSION PROGRAMME
Cameroon, our beautiful and lovely country, is one of the two countries in the world with Canada where English and French are used as official languages. This cultural and linguistic wealth has probably contributed to the creation of the Department of Bilingual Studies in Cameroon Universities in order to implement the policy of official bilingualism which is so precious for our togetherness. Then in consonance with the requirements and objectives of the bilingual studies degree, students undergo an immersion programme in the final semester of the Bachelor’s Degree Programme.
Initially the immersion programme was done abroad and students used to travel in Europe during that period. Students from French background used to spend their immersion programme period at the University of Leads in Britain. Those from English background used to spend theirs at the University of Besancon in France. The aim was to give the opportunity to every francophone student to be familiar with the Anglo Saxon system of education, and the francophone system of education for Anglophone students as well as to master the culture of the respective languages because as we know language and culture are closely linked to each other.
The advent of the economic crisis of the years 1990 had a negative impact on our economy and the government was obliged to suspend the immersion programme abroad. upon that situation, Cameroonian universities were obliged to come up with solutions to this issue. They started signing conventions and the last one was the MOU which was recently signed by the University of Yaounde I (UY1) and the University of Buea (UB). For a few years now francophone students travel to Buea and join their francophone counterparts of the University of Buea for the immersion programme in English. The Anglophone students of the University of Buea, on their part, travel to Yaounde and join their Anglophone counterparts of the UY1 for the immersion programme in French.
Three years ago, I graduated from high school. When I had got into the secondary school, I was not, like many other Cameroonians of French expression, attracted by English. When I reached form three (4e) in GBHS Foumbot, my new English teacher at the time, Mr Ndam Etienne, who I will never forget made me understand that English is a language to be learnt by everybody because in a near future it will be difficult for someone who do not know English to affirm himself as a citizen of the world. It is thanks to him that English became the most captivating subject or language to me. He ejected from me stereotype thinking such as “it is god who gives knowledge of English”. After the two years of teaching, I decided thanks to him to undertake a linguistic career in English: so the idea of bilingual studies which comes mainly from him, because after I asked him questions about his studies’ he let me know that he was a former student of the Bilingual Studies Department of the UY1. Curious as I was, I asked him about the requirements to integrate myself into that prestigious department. From that time, I changed all the ambitions I had for my future university studies and everything I had in mind was to enter the Bilingual Studies Department.
When I reached the class of Upper six (Terminale) in 2011/2012 academic year, I remembered all what he had told me about bilingual studies. Among all the requirements, the most difficult one was to score the required grade in English to be admitted into the Bilingual Studies Department, because it is not always easy for a francophone student to score such a grade in the” Baccalaureat” exam. As determined as I was, I decided to work hard to increase, as much as possible, my knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary which are the main elements that constitute the “Anglais paper” at the “Baccalaureat” exam; good knowledge of the basic notions of English grammar and vocabulary is very useful for a candidate to that exam who wants to have a good mark. I struggled as much as I could and my grades in English during sequence tests were far superior to those of my classmates. That was already a reason to a successful future.
After the publication of the Baccalaureat results, I was admitted but I was not completely satisfied because I had to wait for the transcripts to know the grade I had scored in English. A month later, we went to the Regional Delegation of Secondary Education for West Region to collect the transcripts. I was so excited to know the grade I had scored in English that when the Delegation’s staff of the RDSE was checking my transcript, my heart beat as if I were still waiting for the “Baccalaureat” results. When I received my transcript, the first thing I did was to check the grade that I had scored in English. When I saw that my grade was above the required grade to enter the Department of Bilingual Studies, I was so delighted because it was the first step towards my academic and professional career.
I finally achieved my objectives because few weeks later, I applied for the admission into the University of Yaounde I, the results were finally posted and I was admitted as a student of the Bilingual Studies Department. That is how I got a chance to realise my dream which was to learn English and to be bilingual as a good Cameroonian citizen.
1.3 PREPARATION TOWARDS THE IMMERSION PROGRAMME
Preparation is the act of preparing or getting ready for something. In this part I am going to tell how I got ready for the immersion programme. The preparations will be viewed in a double dimension: firstly, the preparations in Yaounde and secondly, the preparations in Buea.
PREPARATIONS IN YAOUNDE
Preparations in Yaounde will also be viewed in a double dimension: psychological preparations and physical or personal preparations.
126.96.36.199 PSYCHOLOGICAL PREPARATIONS
As far as psychological preparations are concerned, it is important to mention that the Department of Bilingual Studies of the UY1 had organized an orientation exercise in Yaounde in order to prepare us psychologically concerning life in Buea. That orientation exercise took place on Thursday 12th March 2015 at noon in the new pedagogic bloc. The teaching staff of the Bilingual Studies Department was present and the ceremony was presided over by the Head of Department Professor Djockoua. After the opening note pronounced by the HOD, lecturers took the floor alternately to advise the students. The main theme was the conduct of the students while at UB in particular, and in Buea in general during the immersion programme. The following points were raised during the ceremony:
Discipline: students were asked to behave well and to respect everybody in order not to leave a bad image after their immersion programme.
Solidarity: students were also asked to live in perfect solidarity in Buea during the immersion programme.
Work and punctuality: our lecturers of Yaounde advised us to work hard during the immersion programme in Buea because it was an opportunity for us to improve our English proficiency and to do that, we had to read as many English books and articles as possible, and to interact with people in the language. so far as punctuality is concerned, we were warned that it was one of the main virtues at UB and that during our classes there would always be a roll call and absenteeism would be penalised.
Internship report: we were advised that to write our reports well, it was important to start from the day of our trip to Buea by describing the journey and our arrival in Buea.
Other points were also raised such as love relationship between students, journeys and parties during the immersion programme, and were prohibited. Students were asked to always be well dressed, to keep good contact with the new classmates of UB and to make befriend them. Lastly we were told about the expensive nature of Buea and
lecturers recommended to us the university’s restaurant, even though the food served there was not always well done.
So far psychological preparations done in Yaounde by the Bilingual Studies department staff have been discussed. Now let us consider the physical preparations?