EFFECT OF LANGUAGE OF IMMEDIATE ENVIRONMENT ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS OF ENGLISH IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

 EFFECT OF LANGUAGE OF IMMEDIATE ENVIRONMENT ON THE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS OF ENGLISH IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

CHAPTER ONE

1.0 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Language is the most distinctive human quality and attribute. Language is characterized by a set of vocal sounds which can be decoded. Language does not exist in a vacuum. It is always contextualized. There is also a relationship between language and society. The importance of the relationship between language and society cannot be over-emphasized in the education of a child. Language is a guide to social reality. English language is one of the languages used in Nigeria and it is the language of immediate environment (LIE) for the larger Nigeria populace

English language has become a valuable legacy of the British which has provided Nigerians with yet another means of expressing their culture. English language is Nigeria’s official language (Adedimeji, 2013). English language performs numerous functions in Nigeria. It serves as lingua franca. It is the language of instruction, language of constitution, language of nationalism, media, Government, education among others. This is because Nigeria is a multilingual country and English language serves as a link among the people.

The importance of English language acquisition as a stepping-stone for proficiency in other school subjects cannot be over emphasized. The knowledge is important both for educational, economical and national development of a country.

The importance of English language as a school subject derives mainly from its utilitarian value to the larger Nigerian society. English is the official language of administration and commerce. It is the major language of science. Above all, Salami (2012) had emphasized the importance of the use of English language in improving communication among the various ethnic groups in Nigeria. He further highlighted the need for improving the quality of spoken and written English language among school children.

However, one of the current educational problems of public interest is that of poor level of achievement especially in public examinations (Kolawole 2017, Kolawole and Dele 2017). This problem of underachievement among school children has persisted in many subject areas such as Mathematics, English and Science (Ivowi, Okebukola, and OlIkeretun, 2016; Falayajo, 2017). This poor level of achievement in many subject areas may be due to poor foundation in English language at the primary school level. There are also several research reports, which support the view that language inefficiency invariably leads to poor academic performance (Ayodele, 2015; Falayajo, 2017). No wonder why today, according to Iroegbu (2016) much emphasis is placed on the passing of English language at credit or distinction level in addition to other subjects to enable any candidate gain admission into any Nigerian Higher Institution of learning or be placed well in a good white collar job.

In recognition of the importance of English language for enhancing educational attainment as well as for improving communication ability of citizens, the government had made the subject a core subject (FGN, 2004). It is also compulsory for students to have credit in English language before entering the university. This also explains why many parents go off their way to see that their children pass at credit level or above in English language.

A home (immediate environment of the child) is a place where student’s live with their parents or guidance and it is the place where they are groomed. It is a place where the student’s begin to learn the norms and values of the society in which they find themselves. The family is a social unit in any society and it is the source of early stimulation and experience in children (Collins, 2015). The home effects the child at the most possible time of his life at a time when his mind is most receptive. It provides the first impression which may last through the whole of the child’s life. The child often sees the parents, siblings and things in their immediate environment to be most significant and they are capable of promoting or diminishing him in self-worth and academic performance (Ekanem, 2014). The environment is the immediate surroundings in which the student’s find themselves. It is also refer to as the physical and psychological conditions that affect children (Durojaiye, 2016). The parents or guidance of these students are responsible for providing the right home environment that will facilitate effective learning for their wards. Furthermore, in student’s home environment some factors that affect their academic performance in English Language include: parental educational background, background, parental economic status (At least an average financial status), parental marital status and parental home location.

Here, the researcher focuses on how the language of immediate environment (L.I.E.) affects the academic performance of Secondary student’s in English Language. This aspect considered majorly the effect of parental involvement and awareness of the student’s involvement in educational activities right from home. This could also be seen in the way parents and other educated people in the home get involved in encouraging these students to learn how to speak good English, teach and guide the student’s in doing their homework in English language, pronounce words correctly and practice how to make correct sentences in English Language with these student’s. This will help in laying a good foundation for self-expression, confidence in speaking good English in the public and good understanding of Basic English concepts in the school. On the aspect of parental economic status as it relates to student’s academic performance in English Language, much emphasis was laid on the ability of the parents to provide necessary facilities or materials that can help in making the learning of English Language easy for the student’s. This involves the provision of mini library for children which include English textbooks, story books, and picture books and spelling charts which will help the student’s to learn words identification, correct spellings, correct sentences, master the use of correct tenses in line with pictures, (United State Department of Labor, 2006).

Azikwe (2012) maintained that the implementation of the reform/innovation cannot do so much if the basic instructional materials are in short supply. This aspect helped the researcher to compare the academic performance of student’s from low, average, as well as high income parental background. Student’s from average/high income home environment that have some educative media in their homes such as Computer, Television Set, Radio, Tape Recorder may be at an advantage in their performance in English Language because these media will help them to listen to good speeches in English Language, watch educative programmes on television such as junior debate, Cartoons, tales by moonlight, all these exposures will certainly reflect on the student’s performance in English Language at school.

In assessing the parental marital status on student’s academic performance in English Language, much attention was given to sound human relations, as the home environment that is tensed due to divorce or unhealthy atmosphere of quarrelling, fighting due to polygamy cannot favour learning, in the home as the mind of the student’s will not be settled in order to give room for creativity.

Ekanem (2014) stated that harmonious home create emotional stability in the child at home and subsequently throughout his school life. Hence, the researcher was also concerned with the careful study of the effect of single parenthood due to broken home, death, widowhood and intact home on the academic performance of student’s in English Language.

In terms of the effect of home location on the academic performance of student’s in English language, the researcher was concerned with the socio-metric factors such as the kinds of social activities around the home environment of the student’s. For instance, a student that lives near the market square will adopt the language of the people around him which is pidgin. This could affect the child in learning good English at school. Likewise, a student that lives in a communal compound where pidgin is the order of the day would also be affected negatively in the learning of good English at school.

Furthermore, student’s from homes located in an environment where there is noisy traffic, noisy sound of machine from ply-wood industry and market square will be affected negatively in their performance in English because in that the noisy environment will disturb them from concentrating while reading their novels, English text. Story books and even in listening to educative radio programmes. Hence, Durojaiye (2016) maintained that physical and psychological conditions of the home environment affect the children academically. Oglan (2012) had criticized the domineering nature of traditional teaching strategy which renders learners passive in class. Kolawole (2012) also confirmed that performance of students of English language was very poor. They stressed further that the standard was poor due to a number of other reasons such as:

1. The use of tribal language in the school.

2. Some students do not understand grammar because their teachers themselves do not know it and

3. In most cases English language teachers in junior secondary schools resort to these language of immediate environment to teach and explain the English language even up to the senior school level.

These researchers are of the opinion that there should be a review in the language policy on education. The review according to them should contain recommendations that will make pupils to have exposure to subject quite early from the junior secondary school irrespective of the advantages of language of immediate environment. They further suggested that teaching and learning of English should be more practical in our schools and also the number of years of study and teaching periods should be increased. Ogunsanwo (2003) had a different view of the use of English language in the early years of the junior secondary school. He opined that the effect of language of immediate environment in the process of teaching and learning in the early years helps, not only to preserve and value ones culture but also to develop it lexically. According to the author, the use of English language in the early primary school makes the average junior secondary school students unable to be sufficiently literary in either the language of immediate environment or English language.

He felt that to use English language at that level will lead to the children having a mental translation of all concepts presented in English language to their language of immediate environment in order to gain sufficient meaning of the concepts presented. The researcher believes that a citizen that is literate even only in the language of immediate environment will be sufficiently equipped to live a useful life in the fast changing world. So if permanent literacy is to be promoted in the primary schools the use of the language of immediate environment as the medium of instruction in schools ought to be encouraged.

At this juncture, it is very imperative to look at whether language of immediate environment has bearing on the English language stage among the junior secondary school students. It is important to draw attention to the presence of the problems and on the basis of what will be found out recommend what could be done to reduce them if they cannot be totally eradicated.

1.2 Statement of problem

There is no doubt that secondary school students in Nigeria are being faced with the problem of language of immediate environment (LIE) effects on studying English language. The oral aspect of English language is the main focus of this research. The effect of the language of immediate environment (LIE) on the pronunciation of English words is one of the problems in Ikere Local Government of Ekiti State which has become a complex in the State. This study, therefore, sought to determine if this language of immediate environment affects the academic performance of Secondary students in English Language.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to examine the effects of the language of immediate environment (L.I.E.) on the academic performance of Students of English in selected junior secondary school students in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State. Specifically, the purposes of this study are to determine:

· the effects of English as the (LIE) i.e. language of immediate environment language on students’ academic performance.

· the effects of language of immediate environment (LIE) and the relationship between home environment and students’ academic performance.

 

1.4 Significance of the Study

The findings of this study would be of immense benefit to student-teachers, students, teachers, stakeholders and Government. This would be facilitated by making the study available in places where the public could gain access to it, for example; the library, internet and print media houses.

The essence of this study is to examine the results of the effects of the language of immediate environment (LIE) English language on the academic performance of the students. The study will help the teachers of English language to know the measures to be taken in order to help students minimize the negative effect to immediate environment effect on their performance.

1.5 Research questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study:

· What are the effects of (LIE) language of immediate environment on English students’ academic performance in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State?

· What effects does (LIE) language of immediate environment has on the English students’ academic performance in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State?

· How has language of immediate environment (LIE) has impacted on the students’ academic performance?

1.6 Research hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated to guide this study:

· There is no significance difference on the effects of (LIE) language of immediate environment on English language and the students’ academic performance in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State?

· There is no significance difference on the effects of (LIE) language of immediate environment has on the English students’ academic performance in English in Ikere local government area of Ekiti State?

· There is no significance difference about how does language of immediate environment (LIE) has impact on the relationship between home (immediate) environment and students’ academic performance?

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study is limited within (5) selected secondary school in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

 

 

 

1.8 Definitions of Terms

Factors: - This refers to the conditions that affect the behaviour and development of the physical conditions that exist in the student’s learning environment.

Parental: relating to, belonging to, or provided by the parents.

Environment: all the external factors influencing the life and activities of people.

 



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