The impact of the use of English on the writing skills of ESL learners. Case study: College of Technology (200) at the University of Buea
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This work set out to examine the impact of English on the writing skills of ESL learners in the Faculty of Technology at the University of Buea. The aim of this study was to investigate the difficulties in writing faced by undergraduates at the University of Buea.
It was limited to 200 level students from the Department of Technology and the focus was on the impact of writing skills on the students. In order to collect data, a survey was carried out using essay writing as a research instrument.
Our findings reveal that the majority of the students face a problem with presentational skills. We, however, a recommendation that EFL teachers should be conscious of the areas of structural presentations so as to minimize the hann on EFL learners.
This chapter presents the background to the study, the background of Cameroon, statement of the problem, the aim of the study, research questions, significance of the study, scope, definition of terms and methodology.
Background to the study
The Use of English is a requirement taken in some universities in the world. At the University of Buea, it is one of the requirements students take irrespective of their major courses. It is helpful to students as it builds up the four language skills: writing, speaking, listening and reading. Writing is a direct form of communication. That is, it is performed by two or more persons and the action is seen and gets corrective feedback.
Linguistic background of Cameroon
Before the coming of the colonial masters, Cameroonians had some languages which were used for communication, such as Duala and Mangaka. With the presence of the colonial masters in Cameroon, drastically some of the Cameroonian languages used were replaced. The Germans being one of the early explorers into Cameroon, came not just for religious and commercial reasons, but also brought along their language (German).
They used their language as a medium of communication, though they faced many challenges along the coast of Cameroon. In the year 1916 when the first world war started, Britain and France who were disgruntled with how the Germans had treated them, joined their forces together with some Cameroonians partaking as spice, soldiers and scouts and fought against the Germans who were defeated and ousted out of Cameroon, living Britain and France as the colonial masters of Cameroon.
After the defeat of the Gennans, Cameroon was partition into two with Britain having the smaller portion which she administered as part of Nigeria and using its policy of indirect rule to govern the people or territory, whereas France had the greater portion and administered it differently while implementing its policy of assimilation. Britain used the English language while France used the French language.
Before the coming of the colonial masters, Cameroon had and is still a multi-lingual country comprising two hundred and forty-seven to two hundred and fifty (247-250) indigenous languages. Britain and France as earlier mentioned were the official colonial masters of Cameroon.
At reunification in 1961, English and French later became the two official languages of Cameroon, as the country opted for official bilingualism with the creation of a federation made up of English speaking Cameroon (20% of the population) and French Cameroon made up of French-speaking Cameroon (80% of the population).
According to the 1961 constitution, French and English were recognized as official languages. The 1966 constitution is very clear in this regard: the official language of the Republic of Cameroon shall be English and French and both shall have equal status.
Statement of the problem
Undergraduate students at the University of Buea are prepared for future writing tasks. This is done by subjecting them to relevant courses which include: use of English one and two. However, it has been observed that, students panic when confronted with writing tasks that require coherence in presenting ideas.
Aim of the study
This study seeks to investigate the difficulties in writing faced by undergraduate students in the Department of Technology at the University of Buea.
Based on the problems stated above, this research seeks to answer the following questions:
- Why do students panic when presented with writing tasks?
- What measures are required to stop students from panicking?