Omotadowa Abiodun

                                 English language in Nigeria

       English language, in any setting in Nigeria is known as the second language. However, in some exceptional cases, it can serve as the first language of some bilinguals in Nigeria, due to the environment of their upbringing, socio-economic factors and status in the society. For instance, many contemporary parents conceived that communicating with their children through the local languages will reflect negatively in their education that is tailor-made in Queen’s language, which represents Nigeria official language. Education and the inferior complex majorly brought about these attitudes of accepting and developing English language in Nigeria. Even Ndimele (2006), confirms that, the English language is the language of education in Nigeria. So, no parent wants to build weak foundation by letting their children communicate in local languages. Supporting this saying with the idea of Obuasi (2006), Nigerian problems can only be solved through a purpose loaded education in English language that is desired by all and sundry. 

       As result of this, many natives feel highly encouraged to learn English language and to incorporate the culture of using it among members of their families. Basically, on language standardization (accessibility, acceptability, recognition, grammaticality) English language, as medium of communication, has gained sufficient acceptability and much comparative rate of adoption among the several languages employed all over the world. For instance, various innovations and inventions coming from the field of science and technology, which forms the bedrock of contemporary civilisation, are coached in the Queen’s language. It is worth knowing that even the use of information and communication technology, as vital tools for making research and publication of research—many of which are made available through the aid of search engines such as Google, Yahoo and several related electronic research— derived majorly from the ideas of people whose cultural background are rooted in English. For instance, the widely used language in United State, which currently has a global hegemony, is English language. These given expressions above, having known the position of English language in society, it vastly predict the place that English language will hold in Nigeria. English is equally the language of nationalism, Hanna (2008). The love of a country has to be manifested through the language that everybody can understand lest the ethnic agenda be implied. Nigeria, being multi-lingual society would need one prevailing language, that is acceptable, widely use and grammatical buoyant just to serve the very populated country. Due to these, Nigeria fully adopts English language. Adegbite (2004: p. 56.), says, “There is no gain saying the fact that English has become a Nigerian language”; the language has become an invaluable legacy of the British colonial masters.  The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is written in English to create a level playing ground for all Nigerians. The National flag, the National Anthem, the National Independence Day, the National Associations as well as several national monuments are designed in English and all of these “assert” that English language is the foundation of the giant structure called Nigeria.

Despite all these roles and functions that English language performs in Nigeria, government still records poor performance in English language in secondary schools, Ondo State.  It is apparent that candidates’ performance in English language is on the whole not sufficiently sound to equip them for further studies at the tertiary level. The examination bodies such as the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and others have now come to notice the poor performance of students in English language at the senior secondary school level, in their oral and written English examination which invariably culminates in their incessant mass failure in their final examination. Performances of students in English language classes depend on teachers’ variables, though, not all.

It is disheartening that students’ perform poor in English language in secondary school in Ondo State at public examinations in recent times. Many factors accounts for this poor performance. Factors which could be, unavailability of textbooks, lack of instructional materials and inadequate period of teaching but I believe that teachers’ variables could be one of them.

Scholars like Essien (2004) and Aji (2006), argued that teachers’ variables have significant effect on students’ performance in English language. It is therefore necessary to study the influence of teachers’ variables on students’ performance in English language in secondary schools. 

Students’ failure has been explained as a major cause of teachers’ variables.  Teachers’ variables under investigation are: Teachers’ qualifications, teachers’ gender, teachers’ year of experience and the way teachers plan lessons in classroom (teachers’ teaching methods, style and strategies), because all these are the variables under research.

Firstly on teachers’ variable is the qualifications that teachers hold, researches demonstrate clearly that among the factors that lead to students’ poor performance are qualities of teachers (Harmer 2003; Mosha, 2004). Teachers’ qualification entails the basic training acquired by a teacher to enable him or her practice in the teaching profession. 

Inadequate qualified English language teachers also cause poor performance in English language in our secondary schools.

Another variable that influence students’ performance is the teachers’ gender. Gender is a variable that plays an important role in learning. Ashford Locrory (2001) sees gender as the social definitions of male and female. The studies carried out by Okoye (2003), Onyegegbu (1999) agree that there is a significant difference between the performances of male and female teachers. 

Also, teachers’ year of experience and teachers’ influence students’ performance. Teachers’ year of experience and student achievement is difficult to interpret since these variables are highly affected by so many conditions or motivation to work. The term teachers’ year experience is used here to denote the number of years a teacher has been practicing the act of teaching. A well trained teacher just going into teaching will still experience some difficulties in the first few days or even months but as he/she progresses, he/she begins to get adjusted to the process and becomes more confident. 

The importance of experienced teachers in schools has been highlighted by many researchers (Akinleye, 2001; Ogundare 2001). Researchers have also given different opinions about teaching experience and students’ learning outcomes in schools (Al-methen, 1983; Schuler, 1984; Waiching, 1994). Their arguments centered on the fact that experience improves teaching skills while pupils learn better at the hands of teachers who have taught them continuously over a period of years (Ijaiya, 2000).

Lastly, teachers’ attitudes towards innovation, use of instructional media and teaching methods, styles and strategies also influence students’ performance in English language. Ya’u, (1993) categorically said that successful achievement of stated objectives in teaching and learning is always associated with using the right technique. Therefore, it is clear to us that poor attitude of teachers toward innovation and use of instructional media or materials influence students’ performance in English language in Ondo State. 

Author: Abiodun O.

Editorial is not responsible for the content of blogs, they are the personal opinion of the author

Other articles of the tutor