1.1 Background of the Study
A teacher is seen as a bridge between the students and the curriculum. Teachers are the co-ordinators of all educational activities within the school system. Their responsibility is to interpret the contents of the curriculum and break them down into teachable units in order to achieve the stated goals and objectives. To achieve the objectives, the teachers’ mode of operations and their relationship with the students are of utmost important. These depend on the teachers’ perception and acceptance of the teaching job, methods and materials used and their communicative strategies during instructional process in the classroom.
The effective teaching/learning of English language in the classroom depends solely on the communication skills of the teacher. Once they communicate appropriate instructions to the students, their potentials are harnessed and creativity developed. These skills of communicating appropriate instructions to the students help inculcate into students the rudiments of English language hence, use them in the construction of readable sentences in English language. In essence, students on their own do not have better standing in understanding and applying the rudiments of English language into sentence construction until they are taught. It is on this background that Ekah (2015, p.49) stated that: learners are drilled to be able to memorise rules of language as a way of developing sufficient ability to be able to translate one language into another. Eka emphasized the use if recitation and translation in that the learners have no mind of their own, hence, they always speak the mind of their teacher.
Communication therefore, serves as the driving force in any good relationship (Hasan, 2010). Communication encourages effective classroom interaction during teaching/learning process. In this case, the English language teachers need to be well vested in the complexity of the language to be able to communicate instructions effectively to the students. The reason being that if the English teachers do not master the complexity of the language, they will find it difficult to guide the students to form sentences in the language. So, the quality and caliber of teachers and teaching of sentence formation determines the result achieved.
Communication strategies are so significant in the teaching and learning of sentence formation in that, it enhances mutual understanding between the teachers and the students in the teaching process. These strategies ensure students’ proper understanding of the instructions communicated to them by their teachers hence, participate fully in the learning process in the classroom. In other words, for students’ creative ingenuity to be developed toward sentence formation, English teachers must carefully and effectively apply the communication strategies such as rehearsal strategy, questioning strategy, oral communication strategy morphological creative strategy. In doing this, it is pertinent that the English language teachers consider what Rand, Phyllis and Edgerton (2001, p.38) said that: “Every person is unique. The creative ability of one person is not the same as the other. It is important and rewarding to find where one’screative talents lie and then polish and improve them for global relevance. We can polish and improve our creativity by learning how to think and write better”.
Rehearsal as one of the strategies for developing creativity in students deals basically with the continuous practice on sentence formation. It is through rehearsal that the students’ skills and knowledge are harnessed hence; help them function well, double their productivity and performances in sentence formation. Here, Tracy (2010, p.79,101) observed that: “Your ability to learn and remember can continue throughout your life if you keep your brain alive, alert and functioning at its best. Your ability to focus and concentrate, when you develop and hone it into a habit all by itself, will enable you to double your productivity, performance and output”. Rehearsal requires a whole lot of concentration, determination and sample to follow. This calls for the attention of the teachers to always be available in order to give the necessary guide to the students during rehearsal. This can be made possible through sound relationship between teachers and their students hence, brings about effective interaction between them. This agrees with Shulman’s interaction theory (2002) that said interaction theory is a model of helping process in which the skills of workers helps to create a positive working relationship. In turn, this relationship is the medium through which the workers influence the outcomes of practice. Clarify about one’s professional function and role in the helping process as essential for effective practice. This is so as the professional will do his/her own part and involve the workers to do their own parts.
Also, questioning strategy enhances teaching sentence formation. This involves the use of suitable interrogative statements while teaching sentence formation in the classroom. This strategy is used by both the teachers and the students during learning process. The teachers uses questioning strategy to test their student’ level of understanding the subject matter while the students use it for clarification of issues in the lesson they do not understand. According to Etim (2016, p.165) one of the characteristics of a skillful teacher is the successful use the questioning technique. Questions are asked and answered throughout a lesson. Through this strategy, students are given the opportunity to think creatively and respond positively hence, being actively involved in the teaching/learning process. Therefore, questioningstrategy is one of the best strategies that can develop creativity in students towards sentence formation in English language.
Oral communication strategy is yet another strategy that can develop creativity in students. It is a veritable strategy for communication of instructions to the students. This strategy concerns the use of verbal cues in communicating instructions to the students. Oral communication forms an integral part of the teaching and learning process in the classroom. In essence, every explanation and illustrations on the lesson taught in the class are done through oral communication. It involves both the teachers and the students (interlocutors) in an interaction that reinforces learning to occur. In oral communication therefore, the messages transmitted are done through sound symbols. This give room for students to make significant contributions to what they are introduced to learn. According to Karunaratne (2009: p.171) said that: “oral communication provides opportunity for students to contribute to what they learn and how they learn it”. So, the effective use of oral communication strategy encourages effective participation in the teaching/learning activities in the classroom which in turn develop students’ creativity in sentence construction.
Morphological strategy is also a communication strategy that facilitates the development of creativity in students toward sentence construction. It concerns words formation and the process involved in words formation. Udofot (2010) viewed morphology as “an aspect of language that deals with the internal structure of words and the rules governing the formation of words in a particular language”. This strategy helps the students to form new words, observing the existing rules of words formation in order to communicate ideas to others with the words. The words formed, will enrich the students’ word bank for use at any given time in life. With this, students will never be wanting when the need for communication of ideas through sentence arises, but rather their creativity will be harnessed towards sentence formation. Therefore, as the students learn how to create new words through the guidance of the teachers, their creativity is developed towards sentence construction.
Looking at the subject of this study, it is obvious that the students’ in ability to perform well in English language in both internal and external examination, is as a result of their in ability to communicate their ideas, knowledge or opinions in simple but correct sentences. This is traceable tothe gap created by teachers in ability to apply the communication strategies in the teaching/learning process in the classroom. The researcher therefore, is making effort to fill the gaps and encourage the teachers and students to make use of the communication strategies in order to obtain optimal result in their performances in English language.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
A critical examination of our school systems in Itu Local government Area and the activities of English Language teachers reveals the significant roles of communication strategies in the development of students’ creativity in sentence construction in English language. It has been observed that students encountered challenges in constructing sentences in English language. The reason for this is not far-fetched from the facts that students do not have adequate knowledge of the rudiment of English language in which sentences are formed and do not have enough words in their word bank to guide them in the formation of sentences. These deficiencies therefore, pose a serious challenge on students’ and teachers’ performances in the teaching and learning process of sentence construction in English language. This opens way for the researcher to carryout a research on communication strategies and students’ creativity in sentence construction in English language.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the influence of communication strategies on students’ creativity in sentence construction.
Specifically, this study in tends to:
- Determine the influence of rehearsal strategy on students’ creativity in sentence formation.
- Examine the influence of questioning strategy on students’ creativity in sentence formation.
- Ascertain the influence of oral communication strategy on students’ creativity in sentence construction.
- Determine the influence of morphological strategy on students’ creativity in sentence formation.