PROBLEMS OF TEACHING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE IN NIGERIA SECONDARY SCHOOL
Although English language is now the language of government, business and commerce, education, the mass media, literature and internal as well as external communication, there are still problems in the teaching of English as a second language in secondary schools. Students presume that English language is a difficult language to learn and so do not make effort to learn it. Teachers also find it difficult to cope with the heavy demand required for effective teaching and learning of English language. This research work was carried out using the twenty secondary schools in Igbo Etiti Local Government Area of Enugu state. Six boys secondary schools, eight girls secondary schools and six co-educational schools. The target population was one thousand, eight hundred and fifty four students in JS III and one thousand, eight hundred and eighty eight students in SS III and one hundred and five English teachers. Ten schools and two hundred students from both junior and senior secondary schools were used for the study. Forty teachers were also selected and analyzed using mean. Based on the findings some recommendations were made.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Origin of English language: English language originated in the North Western Europe, going by the history of the English. It is therefore said to have involved from the Germanic branch of Indo-European language family. Apart from having the widest geographical spread, the indo-European language family is spoken by the greatest number of people. The language was first spoken by various tribes in Denmark and Northern Germany.
Uchechukwu (2008) said that, the word English is used to denote the name of people. By the time of the Northern conquest (1066) English was the name for all the inhabitant of English.
Of all the heritage left behind in Nigerian by the British at the end of the colonial administration, probably none is more important than the English. English language is now the language of government, internal, business and commerce, education, the mass media, ENEH (2008) observed that, English was the name for all the inhabitants of England. He also observed that English language is the name for all subject in Nigeria except Igbo language. This observation is a reality because since we gained independence from the British people, English has been enjoying a high status within the Nigeria society.
English language is not only used in Nigeria but also has domains of usage in international levels too. Paul (2005) said that, English is flexible enough to be used for the most trivals conversation or for transacting the most important affairs of the day. Thus, it is English language that gives Nigeria opportunity to take part in the deliberation and decisions in international organization such as united nation organization common wealth of nation, world heath organization.
In Nigeria, English serves several purposes that are very important to her existence. It is the lingua franca of the country and the official language in the society due to multi ethnic groups that speak different language. For this diversity of language, Nigeria needs one language that will bridge the linguistic barriers among its component states. The choice of such language (English) has been made for Nigeria by the British colonial administration; Uchechukwu (2008) observed that, English is spoken by more than a quarter of a billion people. It is becoming increasingly popular as a second language for non-English speaking people throughout the work. Thus, English is regarded as a second language. Nigeria civil service, government establishment armed forces, the public and judiciary system English is the prescribed language of communication among the various ethnic groups with different language background. In social gathering, English is used among people for social interaction.
Uchechukwu (2008) observed that, apart from English language having the widest geographical spread, that the language is spoken by the greatest number of people. It is becoming increasingly popular as a second language for non-English speaking people throughout the word. It is a language that uses more than a million symbols. It is flexible enough to be used for the most trivia conversation or for transaction. The most important affairs of the day, it can be used for recording scientific data with accuracy and precision or for creating a poem expressing a beautiful thought in words that are pleasing to the ear.
Literature books so far produced in Nigeria are written in English. This includes, works of Wole Soyinka, Mrs. Edith Eze, Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo and so on. They are highly claimed internationally.
In education, it is used as a means of instruction in school and it is introduced as a school subject in the university level. School subjects in the first year in primary school up to the university level. School subject like, biology, history, government, mathematics and so on are thought in English. This means that scientific knowledge of the word is through English language, which he learn in the school. Thus, English language plays a role in our society. In education homes, English is used as the common language to impact knowledge to younger ones. Gradually the younger ones will develop fluent speech in English from their parents.
It is true that English is a lingua franca, the main official language and the second language (L2) for Nigerian children, but only a small percentage of the Nigerian population have access to it and use it in communication. And the small percentage of the people who use English in Nigeria, only negligible proportion of them may be said to speak and writes Standard English like the educated native speakers of the language. As Anibueze (2000) observed that at a pre-school age, native speakers have usually acquired unconsciously the basic sentence structure of English language. It may not necessarily be the standard language, but it is one in which the child is relatively competent. Since a large number of Nigeria population who use English language acquire it through the form school systems, the poor standard of their English can be ascribed in school, especially secondary school by those concern teachers and student who sat for general certificate of education examination (G.C.E) at community High School Ekwegbe (C.H.S.) in October 2009 and the data collected confirmed that ninety five percent of the students book the examination because of failure in English language.
Related to poor teaching and learning strategies adopted in school. Onyejeli 2008 states five basic principles of learning/teaching English language. Firstly, the teacher should be very clear to what he/she is teaching the students because, it is a regular usage. Secondly, the teacher should start the teaching of English from listening and speaking before reading and writing will follow. Thirdly, the teacher should tell them the important of materials because they are learning it as a second language. Fourthly, the teacher should tell them the important of revision of skill learned to identify mistakes. Fifthly the teacher when teaching should create much time and patience because he/she is teaching English language to a second language learner.
Infact, the status of English language in Nigeria and the secondary school have attracted the problems of the researchers to investigate the problems of teaching and learning of English.
The method of language teaching and learning strategies, the method and strategies used by some teachers of English pose problems to the learners of the language by the students teachers of English should understand the meaning of the word “teach” that is to acquire knowledge or to perform an act. Any methods used by the teacher should aim at enabling the child acquire knowledge of doing something. There are eight ways by which a teacher can make his student acquire knowledge, each slightly different from the other but all tending to produce the same results in varying degrees. He can make him learn it, he can inform him, instruct him, train him, lecture him or educate him. Each approach has its peculiar connotation and its effect on the relationship between the teacher and the pupils.
The methods learn it puts efforts on the student and makes the achievement more long-lasting and more effective. The other methods, especially “teach” put the responsibility on the teacher. This is why it is necessary for teacher to learn how to use different material to teach in the classroom. English language should be practiced for effective learning.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
This is a wide spread feeling that the standard of English language is rapidly a great problems to the educationists especially specialist teachers of English language. The student find it difficult to the English language as a medium of expression in many social gatherings or in their academic purposes. They make a lot of grammatical mistakes when speaking or writing English.
We have shortage of specialist teachers in the educational system cannot be over-emphasized. The successful implementation of the curriculum in each of the school subjects which depends to a large extent on availability of specialist teachers in the English has led to employment of graduates from other disciplines such as mass communication to teach English language in some secondary schools. This constitutes a serious problem to the teaching and learning of English language in secondary schools.
Since the most important factor in the teaching learning process is the teacher, there is a great need to train more teachers in English language. Teachers provide back ground experiences for their students and also determine their academic achievement.
Hence the need arises to ascertain mother tongue, physical and psychological problems, insufficient time allotted to English time table, inadequate supply of teaching material and shortage of specialist teachers of English hinder the teaching and learning of English as a second language in secondary schools in Igbo Etiti local government area of Enugu state.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study includes
i. To know if there is any problem in the time allotted to the teaching and learning of English language as a second language.
ii. Find out how lack of teaching and learning material have contributed problems in the teaching and learning of English language.
iii. To ascertain the effect of shortage of specialist teachers on the teaching of English language as a second language.
1.4 SIGNIFICANT OF THE STUDY
The study on the problem of teaching and learning of the English as a second language in secondary school in Igbo Etiti local government area of Enugu state will help the teacher of English to know the strategies to adopt in.
Improving their acquisition of skill in English language through this study too, the educational policy makers and the administration will know the resources to be provided in school so as to improve the teaching and learning of English.
1.5 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions were formulated to guide the study.
i. Does insufficient time allotted to the teaching and learning of English language in the school time table affect the mastery of English language.
ii. Does inadequate supply of teaching materials militate against the teaching and learning of English as a second language?
iii. Does shortage of specialist teachers hinder the teaching and learning of English as a second language?
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The researchers limited their study to junior secondary III and senior secondary III in twenty secondary schools, six boys secondary schools, eight girls secondary schools and six co-educational schools in Igbo Etiti local government area of Enugu state. The problems include; mother tongue interference, inadequate supply of instructional materials method used by the teachers to teach the language shortage of specialist teachers, student physical and psychological problems and insufficient time allotted to English language in the school time table.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
In the course of the researchers work, the researchers encountered some problems. One of the problems was uncooperative attitude of some respondents. The researcher found it difficult to gain access to the class room to distribute their lessons or limit the time for their lessons. Some teachers and students were reluctant in filling the questionnaire and this affected their responses. The researchers are living far away from the sampled schools and could not travel frequently to the schools to be present when some teachers responded to the questionnaire since some of them choose to do it at their convenient time.
The presence of the researchers would have helped to clarify some misconception to the respondents.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
PROBLEMS: It can be defined as something that is very difficult to deal with or understand.
TEACHING: It is a way of given lessons in a class to a learner. It is also a way to show someone how to do something.
ENGLISH: It is the language of England, use in many varieties throughout the word.
LANGUAGE: This can be said to be human or the communication of all creature through the structural use of word. It is also a system of symbols and rules for writing something.
SECOND: Learn as an imitation or learned from others.
SECONDARY: School of children from the age of 11 to 16 or 18.
LEARNER: One who gain knowledge or skill of future changes in good behavior.