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  • Background to the Study

English, with its increasing status in this period of globalization, has become an important tool without which it is impossible to open the door of many opportunities. The lubricants and characteristics of globalization technology and the domineering position of the English language in the new world order. To participate in the global world, nations, institutions, groups and individuals have to prove that they qualify. And the competence in the English language, and other criteria like requisite training and Information and communication technology (ICT) literacy, are somewhat linked to English proficiency. It is important to be proficient in it in order to meet up with the demands it requires to achieve one’s aims in life (Abas & Bakir, 2013).

English is an international language. It is widely used in all the countries of the world. In fact, to make the best of globalization, one has to be able to understand, speak, read and write in English. English is thus becoming the world’s lingua franca, despite spirited fight by other international languages and efforts being made to preserve local languages, and there are local languages that impede the mastery of English language. The most pressing issue in our education system is to correct the falling standard of the language by teaching it adequately in schools. This is because the low – level English proficiency in Nigeria is depriving us access to knowledge in hard and digital forms, even as globalization poses challenges for the teaching of English. English proficiency is important in a knowledge – based world because English is the major language of science and technology, which drive development (Yen, 2008). Graddol (2000) opines that English is the language of trade and computer and is increasingly a necessity for job placements.

For some nations, English is their first and native language while some have it as their second and official language. In Nigeria, for example, it serves as a second and official language. And as an official language it is used as language of commerce, law, mass media, administration, medium of instruction in schools etc. The Use of English programme has been established in our tertiary institutions so as to improve the status of the language in the country.

English Language is a major core subject of study in the Nigerian education system from primary, secondary to tertiary institutions. Because of the importance attached to English Language as the basic language of formal education in Nigeria, official language of government and private administrations, communication, business transactions and that of written textbooks in all subjects taught in primary, secondary schools and tertiary institutions, the teaching and learning of the language is given prominence in terms of period allocation daily (Clifford, 2000).

Emphasis is placed on both oral and written media as a way of encouraging the learners to internalize the rules in order to be competent in general communication. National Policy on education in Nigeria (2004) stipulates that primary education is to inculcate permanent literacy and ability to communicate effectively in English, while the policy on secondary education states that secondary education shall prepare the individuals for useful living within the society and higher education as well as inspire the students for self improvement and achievement of excellence. It also provides the opportunity to raise a generation of people who can think for themselves, respect the views and feelings of others, respect the dignity of labour and foster national unity with emphasis on the common ties that unite us in our diversity.

One of the objectives of National Policy on Education in Nigeria give prominence to English language. This accounts for why a credit pass in English language is made compulsory at the school certificate level for those aspiring to gain admission into tertiary institutions in Nigeria. It has recently been discovered that the teaching of English language in junior and senior secondary schools is deficient in terms of methodologies applied during the lessons by the teachers. As a result, many students perform woefully in public examinations and general communication. In order to check the trend especially at the senior secondary school level where the subject has changed over the years, because of the abolition of five years straight secondary education and the introduction of 6-3-3-4 system of education, English has not been given effective teaching and proper attention it deserves, by teachers of English (Mustika, 2016).

Olaniyan (2015) defines ‘teaching’ as “the action of someone who is trying to assist others to reach their fullest potentials in all aspects of development”. However, teaching according to Peters (2003: p. 15) can be “a way of sharing power or convincing people to value what you value, or explore the world with you or through you” This is an all-encompassing definition and can be analyzed as “sharing”, which connotes two people-dividing phenomenon, which in this case, may be knowledge. This means that the teacher and learners (students) are contributors to the ability of knowing things, which Peter refers to as “power”. Another point that can be deduced from this definition is “conviction”. Here, a teacher’s thought or belief is being impacted through persuasion or imposition because the teacher wants to ‘sell’ his values to the learners. This is more or less related to science where teachers and students explore the world through laboratory experiments. Therefore, the same thing applies to teaching in an English language classroom.

Despite the significant role played by secondary school teachers and curriculum planners to give students a good foundation in English language, studies point out that secondary school students lack basic English skills. Barasa (2008) asserts that universities have voiced concern about “freshers who are unable to speak, read, write or hold discussions in English”. The National Examination Council (NECO) Report (2012) states that students are weak in spelling, reading comprehension, oral English and stylistic skills of writing. They are also weak at punctuation, word choice and make frequent construction errors . The WAEC Chief Examiners Report each year confirms this. In 2012, the report states that:

This paper was well within the experience of the candidates and the standard compared favourably with those set in the previous years. The candidates’ performance however was generally disappointing.

From a number of continuous assessment and examinations conducted by writers like Oluwole (2019) it is indicative that students over the years have manifested a number of errors and deviant forms in English language. Such errors among others include:

  1. a poor knowledge of tenses and sequences of tenses;
  2. weakness in concord

iii. winding constructions due to illogical thinking

  1. wrong use of prepositions
  2. direct translation from mother tongue thought process to English;
  3. inability to apply appropriate reading speed to reading material etc.

These problems could be largely attributed to numerous factors in which teaching is among them.

Furthermore, under-achievement in English at the secondary levels is a noticeable phenomenon in Nigerian educational system. The most noticeable indication of poor performance is in the WAEC conducted SSCE English Examination. The situation becomes worse every year.

According to Almubark (2016) developing students’ English language skills can be a challenging task for any teacher. It is particularly so at the secondary school levels. To become a competent user of the English language, one must focus on both productive and receptive skills. Writing and speaking are the productive skills, while listening and reading are the receptive skills. All skills are in fact important regarding communication. However, Browker (2007) argues that writing, in particular, is a skill that is required in many contexts throughout life.

For instance you can write an email to friends either local or overseas, or write essays for your homework. In school, writing is a way of life with which learners pass the subject; “without some ability to express yourself in writing, you don’t pass the subject” (Brown, 2000, p. 339). It is also the most used skill in evaluating students’ performance in almost all levels of education (Afrin, 2016). More importantly, for secondary school students in Nigeria, writing is one of the requirements for someone to get a scholarship, gain admission, pass an exam, etc.

Some works have been done in the area of teaching writing to EFL students, responding to the difficulties of teaching English. For instance, Abas & Bakir (2013) postulate that using traditional methods results to passive and monotonous classroom activities. Instead, they suggested blended activities being integrated as part of the blended learning outcome.

From the above discussion, it is not out of place to say that there are different problems faced by teachers in teaching English as a second language generally, therefore, it is in the light of this that this study sets out to examine the barriers to teaching and learning English as a second language in senior secondary schools in Langtang North.

  • Statement of the Problem

Over the years, researchers and education stakeholders have constantly hipped blames on students, government and curriculum planners for the poor performance of students in English language, however, only less attention has been paid to teachers as causes of these students’ mass failure.

 English occupies the status of an official language in Nigeria. Learning English as a second language is not an easy task, the learners of English face several difficulties while learning the language, this is because most second language teachers and learners find it difficult to speak or write good English.

The learning of English among Nigeria students is on the decline despite learning English for several years. Sawfish (2000) states clearly that the problems that students are bound to encounter would be weak vocabulary and inappropriate use of grammar in sentences.

Paradowki (2008) observes that English is one of the rapidly changing languages in the world and one of the identified reasons for this is the fact that new speakers of the language are not passive but are actively shaping it. He concludes that the inevitable consequence of these is that natural speakers are losing relevance.

With the above in mind, this research work examines the barriers to teaching and learning English as a second language in selected senior secondary schools in Langtang North. This is to find out the problems and difficulties possible suggestions of how to reduce them.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate barriers to teaching and learning English as a second language in selected senior secondary schools in Langtang North Local Government Area of Plateau State.

Other specific objectives of the study include:

  1. To find out the barriers to teaching and learning English.
  2. To determine the effects of these problems.
  3. To find the possible solutions to the above problems.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study.

  1. What are the barriers to teaching and learning English as a second language?
  2. What are the effects of these problems?
  3. What are the possible solutions to the above problems?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The importance of this study hinges around the fact that the world as a global village uses English as a means of communication on platforms like social media, academics and official purposes. Therefore, it will be of benefit to education stakeholders which include government, curriculum planners, teachers and students. 

The government shall benefit from this study as the problems faced by teachers in teaching English language will be brought to light and the recommendations that will come at the end of the study will serve as measures and guidelines for them.

To the curriculum planners, they will understand that teachers face some problems in the course of implementation of the curriculum, therefore they will structure learning experiences to cater for these limitations or problems.

The study will also help administrators  to know the resources to be provided in school so as to improve the teaching of English.

This study will help teachers of English to know the strategies to adopt in order to improve students’ acquisition of skills in English language. They will do this by using appropriate teaching method, suitable instructional materials and improvise where necessary.

To the students who are at the centre of this research, it shall benefit them as measures taken by government, curriculum planners and teachers based on the outcome of this study will enhance their English language skills and make them better users of the language.

1.6 Scope of the Study  

This research work covers barriers to teaching and learning English as a second language. The study is limited to selected secondary schools in Langtang North local government area of Plateau state. Despite the fact that the study is limited to the selected local government and schools, its findings can be generalized to other parts of the state and country at large.

1.7 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.

  • Format: ms-word (doc)
  • Chapter 1 to 5
  • With abstract reference and questionnaire
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