Full Project – Factors affecting teaching and learning the English language in Nigerian secondary schools

Full Project – Factors affecting teaching and learning the English language in Nigerian secondary schools

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  • Background of the study

English language originated in the North Western Europe, going by the history of the English. It is therefore said to have evolved 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 England.

Of the entire heritage left behind in Nigeria 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. 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 trivial 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 health 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, Aliyu Kamal 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 arethought 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 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 writesStandard 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).

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 importance of materials because they are learning it as a second language. Fourthly, the teacher should tell them the importance 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.

In fact, 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.

  • Statement of the problem

There is a wide spread feeling that the standard of English language is rapidly a great problems to the educationist especially teachers of English language. The students 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 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 Kumbotso local government area of Kano state.

  • Objectives of the study

The objectives of this study includes

  1. To find out if there is any problem in the time allotted to the teaching and learning of English language.
  2. To find out how lack of teaching and learning material have contributed to the problems in the teaching and learning of English language.
  3. To ascertain the effect of shortage of qualified teachers on the teaching of English language as a second language.
    • Research questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study.

  1. Does insufficient time allotted to the teaching and learning of English language in the school time table affect the mastery of English language.
  2. Does inadequate supply of teaching materials militate against the teaching and learning of English in secondary schools?
  3. Does shortage of qualified teachers hinders the teaching and learning of English as a second language?
    • Significance of the study

The study on the problem of teaching and learning of the English as a second language in secondary school in Kumbotso local government area of Kano 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.




  • Scope of the study

The researchers limited their study to junior secondary III and senior secondary III in twenty secondary schools in Kumbotso local government area of Kano state. The problems include; mother tongue interference, inadequate supply of instructional materials method used by the teachers to teach the language, shortage of qualified teachers, student physical and psychological problems and insufficient time allotted to English language in the school time table.

  • 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 researchers 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 presence of the researchers would have helped to clarify some misconception to the respondents.

  • 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.

Learner: One who gain knowledge or skill of future changes in good behaviour.




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Full Project – Factors affecting teaching and learning the English language in Nigerian secondary schools