ERROR ANALYSIS OF THE WRITING OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN IKERE EKITI
A PROJECT WORK PRESENTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH, FACULTY OF EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NSUKKA
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AWARD OF BACHELOR OF ARTS IN ENGLISH EDUCATION
OGUNDOJUTIMI SHOLA OMOLAYO
MATRIC NO: 2011/3757
This study investigates errors analysis of the writings in senior secondary schools students in Ikere Ekiti. The main aim of the study is to identify the errors, their causes and proffer pedagogical solutions to the five randomly selected secondary schools were used for the study, the study used a survey design of descriptive type of research for the study. Findings from the study revealed that that most of the students commit tense errors. Also the students were found to represent past expression with present tense. Following the analysis and findings of this study, the following recommendation are made. There is need to accord emphasis on the teaching of grammar. It is therefore necessary to review the English language teaching syllabus of senior secondary school students to accept the importance of grammar teaching and accord it the right place in the syllabus by increasing its scope, coverage and instructional activities. Also there is need to increase contact hours for English language teaching. There is also a need to Adopt appropriate teaching method. It was also recommended that training and re-training of English teachers in the selected schools in order to keep them abreast of current development in second language learning research.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title page i
Approval page ii
Table of Content vii
Background to the study 1
Statement of the problem 4
Objective of the study 5
Research Question 5
Significance of the study 5
Scope of the study 7
LITERATURE REVIEW 8
Writing In Second Language 8
English Grammar 10
English Inflections And The Basic Word Class 15
Theoretical framework 22
Error Analysis 24
Second Language Learning Theory 26
Second Language Acquisition and Error Analysis 29
Summary of literature review 31
Research Design 33
Area of study 33
Population of the study 34
Sample and sampling techniques 34
Instrument for Data collection 34
Validation of the instrument 35
Reliability of the instrument 35
Administration of the instrument 36
Data Analysis Techniques 36
Data presentation and Analysis 37
Statement of findings 43
SUMMARY CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
Suggestion for further study 48
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Background to the study
It was from the colonial era that the importance of English had been emphasized. Today, the English Language has become so indispensable in Nigerian life that, according to Bamigbose (2001) “It could perhaps be regarded as the most important heritage left behind in Nigeria by the British, at the end of the colonial administration”. Efforts made by the colonial administration to encourage the teaching and learning of the English Language in Nigerian schools included the introduction of a system of certification into the country between 1882 and 1926 through a series of education codes. This system not only attracted Nigerians to lucrative jobs but also ensured that priority was put on English Language in all schools, for instance, a credit pass in the subject was a pre-requisite to obtaining a certificate in all examination.
The poor performance of students in English calls for urgent attention especially when we consider the crucial roles English plays in the country. The fact that (Nwogu 2003) “English Language is arguably the most significant, but most controversial subject taught in Nigerian secondary schools” need not be over-stressed. Apart from English being instrumental to getting a good job in many cases, it is a pre-requisite for post-secondary education in Nigeria. It is also one of the four official languages recognized by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is again the medium of instruction right from the “later” stage of primary school up to the university level Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN, 1998). In view of these and many other roles it plays in the country, it will be difficult, if not practically impossible, for any person to be socially reckoned with in all spheres of life without a functional knowledge of English. If English is as important as we have pointed out above, it becomes necessary for us as teachers, curriculum planners, policy makers etc. to help, in various capacities improve students’ and users’ performance in it by studying all its aspects, i.e. lexis, phonology, grammar semantics etc.
In Nigeria today, English is the usual language of government, business and commerce, the mass media and inter-ethnic communication among educated Nigerians. Besides, it is the principal medium of formal education in the country. And it is perhaps in its role in Nigerian education that the importance of the language is felt most.
The English language is widely recognized as the most commonly used language in the world today. As a result, it is very important for people who travel, conduct business, do academic and scientific research or study in an international setting to be able to use it correctly. Although
many people spend a large amount of time studying English in the classroom, a large number of them continue to have significant difficulties using the language correctly while communicating with others in real-life situations. These errors in accuracy are often related to the system of English language and some other environmental common factors.
In order to understand how and why these types of errors occur and to find ways to alleviate this problem, research into errors of English language inflection should be conducted. The findings can then be used to reduce the number and frequency of errors in inflection and to make the use of the English language more correct and accurate. Ultimately, revised methods of instruction and error correction could be applied to English language teaching programs.
Error analysis is 'a technique for identifying, classifying and systematically interpreting the unacceptable forms produced by someone learning a foreign language, using any of the principles and procedures provided by Linguistics. Errors are assumed to reflect, in a systematic way, the level of competence achieved by the learner; they are contrasted with mistakes which are performance limitations that a learner would be able to correct.
The field of error analysis in second language acquisition was established in the 1970s as an alternative to contrastive analysis. Error analysis is an approach that is applied in linguistics to predict areas of great difficulties for second language learners by using a formal distinction between the learner‟s first and target languages. However, contrastive analysis was unable to predict a number of errors in many difficult areas in which errors are expected. Thus, Error Analysis is an important instrument in first and second language learning\acquisition research. It sheds the light on the fact that learner‟s errors reflect a gap in their competence, order of acquisition and accuracy order of learning. The intralingual and interlingual factors determine the source of errors. The former involves difficulties faced by the learner because of different linguistic features of L2 itself; however, the latter involves the direct influence of L1 structures and other features on L2 (Olaoye 2012).
Statement of the problem
It is also observed despite the fact that the learning of English started at the primary and secondary school levels, many learners lack the ability when it comes to the use of basic structures in both spoken and written forms. However, despite frequent studies done on grammatical structure of English, the teaching and learning of second language, students are prone to commit errors in their writings. Based on the educational context in Nigeria, there is a need for English language learners to be equipped with good grammar knowledge since the educational system relies very much on written examination as compared to other language skills.
However, learners in secondary schools, especially, despite having learnt English language since their primary schools, tend to commit common grammatical errors in speaking and writing. Those errors are thus believed to be caused by several factors including first language interference, lack of grammar knowledge and ignorance of learners of the grammar rules. As for narrative writing, students are supposed to be aware of the appropriate tenses that they should use. Despite all that, there are still many students who are not concerned about the choice of tenses which suit the nature of narrative essay.
Objective of the study
i. What grammatical errors committed by English language learner?
ii. What are the major causes of the errors among secondary schools students in Ikere Local government area?
iii. What are the solutions to be proffer to the identified tense errors?
Significance of the study
This study is significant as it gears towards informing educators and language study material developers about the kind of inflectional errors that secondary schools students of the study make, and to show the errors’ frequency of occurrence. It is believed that if educators and study material developers become conscious of likely problem areas that face specific groups of students, they would be in a better position to put appropriate strategies in place.
Thus, this study, even though in a small scale is hoped to be useful for teachers to find out the the causes of inflectional errors which are commonly committed by the students so that possible ways for learners to improve their grammar as well as language competency based on their writing might be later considered. In addition, the learners’ performance in English examination paper is expected to be improved too. As for the school, it has always been a healthy competition between the boarding schools that they compete to be in good positions in the schools ranking. This implies that this study might also contribute to finding alternatives and remedial implementations in increasing students’ language performance in the written examination and place the school in a good ranking especially for English subject.
For syllabus and curriculum designers, this study might be a useful additional reference since it is hoped to be able to extract the grammatical aspects which need to be emphasised on the students learning in school. The same goes to educational book publishers who might want to revise their publications by publishing grammar books on certain grammatical aspects according to the students’ needs. This is due to the finding which reveals that different students encounter different difficulties and problems in various grammatical aspects. Workbooks or references published with standardized quality could also be the additional materials for students to work out on their respective aspects of grammar problems.
Scope of the study
The focus of the study is investigating grammatical errors among secondary schools students in Ikere Ekiti. The study is limited to five (5) selected secondary schools in Ikere Ekiti.