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  • Background to the Study

The English language is a language Nigerians inherited from the British. Nnaji (2009) pointed out that the English Language was introduced in 1842 by the first batch of missionaries who arrived in Badagry for education and evangelization. In order to bridge ethno-linguistic barrier. The colonialists implanted the English Language in Nigeria. Today, it is absolutely an essential medium of interaction amongst the different ethnic groups in Nigeria that have no known national language. It is a compulsory subject at both primary and post primary school levels in Nigeria. The study and use of the English language are taken serious amongst students and school authorities of various higher institutions of learning through the Use of English Unit –General Studies. Examination bodies such as WAEC, NECO, and JAMB recognize the great importance of the English Language for their candidates and make it compulsory in their examinations.

It is pertinent to state here that a good mastery of any language is measured by the standard of the language: both spoken and written form. According to Nnaji (2009), without oral and written English Language skills, students hardly learn and demonstrate the knowledge of mathematical reasoning, science skills, social studies concepts and so forth. Students who lack proficiency in English are at a decided disadvantage in school. The WAEC Chief Examiner’s Reports of November/December (2016) states that candidates’ Performance was poor in the English Language and that generally; the performance of candidates was not impressive. In this report, the main weakness observed in the students’ scripts ranged from insufficient exposure to the skills of writing, lack of familiarity with the required formats, construction of loose sentences, transliteration from mother tongue and abuse of basic rules of grammar. The report further advised that candidates read novels, good magazines, and journals. The WAEC Chief Examiner’s Report of May/June, 2017, confirmed a similar observation. However, this report advised that:

  1. i) Schools should drill candidates on essay writing skills;
  2. ii) Candidates should be encouraged to read literature books for examination purpose as well as to improve their command of the English Language.

Besides, Nnaji (2009) points out that despite all the changes introduced in the secondary school English Language curriculum, students have continued to perform poorly in the language. According to him, the greatest shortcoming of these students are in their inability to express ideas correctly in English. The level of academic achievement for students with limited proficiency in English is lagging significantly behind. One congressionally mandated study reports that these students receive lower grades, are judged by their teachers to have lower academic abilities, and score below their classmates in standardized tests of reading and mathematics (Moss & Puma, 2005). Writing is invaluable for effective and efficient diplomatic ties. For the fact that very few students who write the Senior School Certificate English Language Examination obtain credits or distinctions make it a thing to worry about. Many Language teachers often use essay writing while assessing students’ literacy development over time since it tests the ability of the students to use English as an effective means of communication to express themselves with clarity and coherence in a manner appropriate to the situation. The process of learning to write clearly and effectively is not a simple matter of acquiring information or memorizing rules. It requires a parallel and simultaneous process of learning to read with more sophistication. Because reading and writing are related activities, learning to write entails a complex interaction between the writer and the reader: students write; teachers respond. But a teacher’s response must be more than “correcting” and more than perfunctory grading. Evaluations must involve a detailed reaction, often in conference with the student; to each piece of writing.

Good teachers want to teach as many students as they can teach well. But if teachers are forced to respond to the writing of more than sixty students weekly, they will necessarily oversimplify their responses. Students will regard their own writing as a mere exercise, unworthy of careful attention or serious thought (Anyebe, 2017).

Language teaching is an art. It is teaching man to communicate with the verbal tool in which his uniqueness rests. The formal teaching of a language takes place in the classroom, even though in the modern computer world, the electronic media may take teaching outside the conventional classroom. Language teaching audience could vary from one to several people. This means that a language class could be (i) Small (ii) normal (iii) large (Nnaji, 2009).

Before the Nigerian Civil War and indeed the oil boom period, which brought about the Universal Primary Education (UPE), language classes were normal. At the moment, there seems to be no controversy about normal language class size. But certainly, some concerns have been expressed about large language classes (Otagburuagu & Enuesike, 2001).

The ever-growing world population and the craze for education mean that classes will continue to grow. Ngonebu and Oluikpe (2000) maintain that the introduction of UBE into the nation is one of the steps geared towards improving the literacy level of Nigerian citizens. This is because UBE is directed towards sustainable and efficient education of all cadre of the Nigerian populace – the young and the adults. The broad objective is that there would be increased enrolment in the school system. In other words, the implementation of UBE will lead to an astronomical rise in educational enrolment. This rise in the number of school children will mean an increase in class size, thereby, a rise in the pressure on the class teacher. Ngonebu and Oluikpe (2000) state that a common feature in institutions of learning is the large number of students taught by a single teacher. With such a high teacher-student ratio, the teacher has no option but to adopt self-help measures, which are in no way ideal or adequate for appropriate Language learning. This is why; the researcher wants to investigate effect of class size on the performance Senior School Students in narrative essay writing in English language. At the University level, the government advocates an admission ratio of 60:40 in favour of the sciences. This shows that English Language classes have also witnessed an increased enrollment across all the educational levels. Nnaji (2009) points out the fact that before 1970, English Language classes at all levels of the educational system in Nigeria hardly exceeded 40 students per class; but between 1970 and 1990, an explosion occurred in enrolment in educational institutions without a corresponding rise in academic staff and materials. The result was that the average class size, whether for the teaching of English Language or any other subject for that matter, grew significantly to challenge the managerial expertise of the teacher.

Researchers over the world are now showing a growing interest into the investigation of large class size as it affects learning and achievement. Coleman (2009) contends that there is a growing need to study the large class phenomenon as it affects teaching and learning. Consequently, the present researcher has seen the need to investigate effect of class size on Senior Secondary School students’ performance in narrative essay writing in English Language. In Nigeria, the average class size varies from one level of education to another and at the tertiary level from one discipline to the other. The National Policy on Education (NPE) recommends a class size of 20 for the pre-primary level, and 30 for the primary level. The policy was silent on secondary education, but the practice has been to have a class size of 40. It then follows that anything in excess of the recommended number is abnormal, and if the excess is more than 10, the class can be regarded as large.

It is in the light of the above discussion that this study seeks to determine the effects of class size on the teaching of narrative essay in selected secondary schools in Pankshin Local Government Area.

  • Statement of the Problem

English Language is not only Nigeria’s official Language, but also the medium through which Nigerians interact with the outside world. It is also the medium of instruction at secondary and tertiary institutions. This has made it so important that it has remained a subject of constant examination and analysis. However, many students fail the English Language examinations because of a number of reasons. This prompts the researcher’s choice of effect of class size on Senior Secondary School Students’ Performance in Narrative Essay in English. Writing is said to be a highly sophisticated and individualistic activity. Since writing is a solitary affair, it is likely to be affected by the writer’s disposition and competence in writing components. The experiences of several teachers suggest that the phenomenon of large class is widespread, and might have influence on students’ narrative essays. The question, which this study seeks to provide answer to is “What is the effect of class size on Senior Secondary School Students’ Performance in Narrative Essay in English Language in Senior Secondary Schools in Pankshin Local Government Area?

  • Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to investigate the Effect of class-size on the teaching of narrative essay in selected secondary schools in Pankshin, Plateau State. Other specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To determine the performance in narrative essay of students who are taught in large class.
  2. To evaluate the performance in narrative essay of students who are taught in a small class.
  3. To find the mean differences in performance in narrative essay between students who are taught in large and small class sizes.
    • Research Questions

The following questions have been formulated to guide the study:

  1. What is the performance in narrative essay of students taught in large class?
  2. What is the performance in narrative essay of students taught in small classes?
  3. What is the differences in mean score between students taught in large class and those taught in small classes?
    • Significance of the Study

A study such as this will be beneficial to make educational stakeholders such as students, teachers, government, curriculum planners.

There is going to be a great improvement on the part of the students who learn the English Language. This is because the findings of this study will go a long way in giving the government the picture of how large class affects students and they will take measures to curtail it.

On the part of the teachers who teach the language, they will now know the acceptable workload, which will be reasonable enough to guarantee that every student receive the time and attention needed for genuine improvement.

This study will be of great value to schools and educational administrators in their educational planning and reformations. Teachers in urban schools where there are a great number of teachers would release some to very remote towns where there are extreme large classes but with a small number of teachers, and vice versa.

Besides, textbook writers will use the findings of this study to update their work on the most recent methodologies for effective teaching of narrative essays in English in large classes.

When the copies of these findings are made available to schools through the school authorities, a sure remedy shall have evolved in language teaching.

The work when completed would serve as a reference material to future research who would want to replicate the research or carry out research under the same field.

Finally, the study is very important as it might create jobs for unemployed English language teachers. The government might realize the needs for more hands with regards to recruitment of many language (English) experts who would be deployed to areas of need.

  • Scope/Delimitation

This study covers effects of class-size on the teaching of narrative essay in selected secondary schools. The study is limited to two selected Senior Secondary Schools in Pankshin, though the findings of the study are restricted to the selected Local Government, but it can also be applicable to other parts of the state and the country as well.

  • Format: ms-word (doc)
  • Chapter 1 to 5
  • With abstract reference and questionnaire
  • Preview Table of contents, abstract and chapter 1 below

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