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  • Background to the Study

The English language plays an important and prominent role in Nigeria. It may be accurately regarded as the pivot around which the lives of Nigerians, both in terms of their international and their integrational connections, revolve. The English language, in contrast to the indigenous languages, does not foster racial intolerance; rather, it promotes peaceful co-existence within Nigeria’s rich cultural diversity (Olayemi & Akinbode, 2007). As a consequence of the events described above, the English Language has now emerged victorious in its bid to become the official language of the administration and government of Nigeria. English should be taught as a school subject for the first three years of primary education, and it should be used as the language of instruction beginning with the fourth year of primary education, according to the National Policy on Education (NPE), which was published in 2013. This was done to emphasise the significance of the topic even further. In addition, the policy states that every child should be required to study the English language as well as any two Nigerian languages other than those that are spoken in the context of junior and secondary schools in Nigeria. Writing is one of the key areas that are emphasised in English Language teaching practises in senior secondary classrooms in order to facilitate students’ achievement of the aforementioned goals.

Therefore, writing is a tough talent for native speakers and non-native speakers alike, because authors need to balance numerous issues at the same time, such as the content, organisation, purpose, audience, vocabulary, punctuation, spelling, and systems such as capitalization. Writing is particularly challenging for non-native speakers since it is expected of them to produce written outputs that exhibit mastery of all of those aspects in a language for which they are not a native speaker. The acquisition of a language is a challenging endeavour, and learning how to write in a language that is not one’s native tongue is even more challenging; for example, Algerian students who are learning to write in English face an even more challenging and time-consuming process. Unfortunately, the correction of grammatical and orthographic errors constitutes the bulk of the primary adjustments that a teacher makes to a student’s written work the vast majority of the time. But ultimately, the goal of writing should be to communicate with others, as this is its primary purpose. That is to say, writing is one of the four macro-skills (listening, speaking, reading, and writing), also referred to as one of the four pillars of language, which enables the learner to communicate with other people. In addition, a piece of writing is not merely a string of phrases that demonstrates only the correct use of grammatical rules; rather, it is a flow of ideas and thoughts that indicate the learner’s style of thinking, which is something that is worth reading and appreciating because of its uniqueness. As a result, teachers should not merely look at the surface level of grammatical errors and vocabulary definitions before correcting students’ work; rather, they should respond to the content first.

Furthermore, the ability to write well is essential to academic achievement, success in the workplace, and competitiveness in the global economy. It is impossible to place enough emphasis on the significance of ensuring that students be proficient in writing in today’s increasingly demanding global literacy environment. The ability to write well, which was once considered a luxury but is now an absolute requirement (Gallagher, 2006). The development of kids’ reading comprehension and writing abilities go hand in hand. In light of this, teaching students how to write effectively ought to be the top focus of any education system that is worth its salt. Gallagher made the observation that a school was failing if it instructed its students in the content of the curriculum without simultaneously instructing them in proper writing mechanics.

According to Yiljep (2018), the ability to write comes in fourth place and is the last of all the language skills. In most circles, it is considered to be one of the most challenging and intricate abilities to perfect. The first two abilities typically develop without conscious effort, particularly in L1 settings. It is a skill that involves expression. Whatever the author want to transmit to the reader, they have a feasible means of doing so through this medium. Writing, according to the same source, is further defined as the process of putting together a series of phrases in such a way as to make a meaningful description of an item or an event. Writing, on the other hand, is a skill that must be intentionally and formally mastered, in contrast to speaking, which may be picked up informally, spontaneously, and subconsciously right from the start.

However, throughout the course of recent years, there has been a discernible decline in the quality of writing produced by students, which has been continually reflected in their performance in both internal and external examinations. According to Eyengho and Fawole (2013), there has been a steady deterioration in the manner that students write, which can be seen in the numerous types of errors that they make in their written work or essays. According to the writers, candidates’ phrases are often subpar, and their vocabularies are too narrowly focused. Therefore, students’ poor writing ability has been identified as a major factor in students’ low performance in English Language tests. This conclusion was reached because students’ poor writing ability has been identified as a major issue. It was pointed out by Babalola and Akande (2002) that the writing of students, particularly those who are second language learners of the English language (L2) such as those from Nigeria, should be appropriately corrected. The vast majority of specialists in the field of language teaching are in agreement that making mistakes and committing errors is an inevitable and normal part of the process of language learning (Eyengho & Fawole, 2013). Aside from this, additional research highlight to the fact that the educational tactics that teachers use are frequently at odds with the expectations that learners have of them (Hawkey, 2006). At this point, the language instructor is a crucial variable, as he or she must ensure that the method he or she employs is one that improves students’ ability to write (Scheen,2007).

Yingliang (2008) made the observation that the discussion on how to repair errors has persisted for more than ten years. The topic at hand is whether or not students should be required to use grammar checkers in order to improve their writing correctness. According to Truscott (2007), correcting students’ errors is not only pointless but also detrimental to the quality of the work they produce. On the other hand, a number of studies that have been conducted on the topic of error correction in essays written in a second language have shown that students who get error correction from professors gradually increase their accuracy over time (Chandler, 2003 and Hyland, 2003). The process of writing involves a number of steps, one of which is error correction. Learners of a language are able to determine for themselves whether or not they are doing well in their studies by analysing the feedback they receive from their instructors regarding their performance. The indirect error correction strategy is one in which the instructor points out that a mistake has been made but gives the students the responsibility of resolving the issue and making the necessary corrections themselves (Ferris, 2002; Hartshorn, 2008). The indirect error technique involves the instructor highlighting and coding (or otherwise describing) any errors that are found in the student’s work.

In spite of the fact that the vast majority of students wish and anticipate that their instructors will proofread and improve their essays, there is evidence to show that most students like the direct metalinguistic strategy over the indirect technique (Ferris and Roberts, 2001). On the other hand, there appears to be some data that suggests indirect error correction may result in increased levels of correctness in the students’ essays. The usual way is the approach that the vast majority of English Language teachers in senior secondary schools in Nigeria choose to rectify the grammatical and spelling mistakes made by their students’ written work. The conventional method of teaching is a strategy that views the instructor as the ultimate disseminator of information, with the students serving just as spectators in the classroom and not taking part in any of the instructional activities. In other words, it is considered to be the conventional approach to instructing students. It is possible that this strategy was not producing the outcomes needed to improve students’ ability to write essays; it was not working very well. Finding out which approach to improving learners’ writing is the most successful is essential if we want to aid secondary school students in writing in a manner that is right and relevant.

When teaching English to speakers of other languages, it is impossible to avoid providing comments to students on their written faults. According to Hyland (2006), one of the most crucial things for an ESL instructor to do is to provide feedback to their students. It is intended that the students, with the help of the teacher’s input, will be able to reduce or even get rid of some of the errors that emerge in their writing. It is expected that grammatical faults that arise in the writing would be given relevance by the teacher while providing feedback during the writing process. the step in the writing process that entails making changes to previously written draughts. In the meantime, receiving comments from a teacher during the process of writing is quite uncommon in Nigeria. The focus of the professors is typically on the final product of the writing rather than on guiding the students through the process of writing. It has been observed by Purwandari (2012) in her research about the process of writing narrative essays that she mentioned that the role of the teacher is not optimal in guiding the students through the process of writing, and that the teacher also does not provide an appropriate example or writing technique before conducting writing activity.

Overall, the process of correcting written work is almost always a difficult experience for both instructors and students, and perhaps even more frustrating is the fact that it often appears to be mostly fruitless. After receiving their essays back, students read their overall grades, put their papers aside (or throw them away) so they will not remember the mistakes they made, and then proceed to do the same mistakes in their subsequent compositions. It was demonstrated that by splattering the piece of writing with red ink, any incentive that the students could have had was extinguished, in addition to the fact that it failed to pique the interest of the students. Given this, do you think that providing students with feedback on their writing actually affects their overall achievement? This study was motivated by the personal idea that if teachers changed the way that they provide feedback on their students’ writing, as well as the way that they view and teach writing, this would result in improvements to the writing of learners.

Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the impacts of feedback on senior students’ performance in narrative essay writing in a selection of Plateau State secondary schools located in the Pakshin Local Government Area.

  • Statement of the Problem

It has been observed, over the course of many years, that students have a difficult time expressing themselves on paper as a result of the various writing problems that learners exhibit in the form of misspelt words, improper sentence structure, mixed tenses, and the incorrect use of linkages and transitions (Anderson, 2017). As a result of the influence of texting on social media platforms, many people make incorrect use of punctuation marks and add abbreviations into their official writing. Once more, it has been established that the works of students suffer from a lack of clarity and structure. All of these issues with writing can be identified on various levels of writing, including the content, organisation, expression, and mechanical accuracy of the writing. It is possible that these issues are the result of an inadequate linguistic background brought on by a lack of opportunities to practise reading and speaking, both of which are likely to have an effect on how well English is used in written form. Another possible source of difficulty is interference from the first language, which manifests itself in errors in spelling and pronunciation and, in the long run, may have an impact on sentence construction, in particular the students’ practise of translating sentences directly from the first language to the second language (L1) to L2) (L2). Other reasons include a lack of acquaintance with the subject matter, inadequate knowledge of the goals of various styles of writing, and a weak culture of reading.

According to Kenboi, Andiema, and M’mbone (2014), students have voiced complaints that teachers do not discuss challenging concepts, that the teaching is boring, that there is a lack of regular practise, that they are unable to express themselves, and that some of the topics are challenging to attempt. It is tempting to jump to the conclusion that the majority of teachers do not provide feedback to the pupils in their classrooms.

Because of these issues with writing, it is necessary to implement feedback, which is more beneficial in assisting students to improve their writing habits. The writers are able to perform to the best of their abilities and produce quality content as a result of the feedback. Learners will have the ability to become aware of their errors and blunders along the procedure. The decision of whether to provide direct or indirect feedback is informed by the findings of Acuna (2018), who emphasised the effectiveness of indirect feedback to include its outstanding pedagogical reward in the development of writing skills such as sentence construction, paragraph creation, and the use of punctuation marks. The choice of whether to provide direct or indirect feedback is based on these findings. On the other hand, the many forms of feedback provided by teachers have received far less consideration. The majority of these kids are aware of the writing conventions that have an impact on them. It will not be possible to solve the problem of students’ poor performance in writing if the instructor does not point out to the pupils where they are going wrong in their written work.

It is essential for teachers to provide written feedback to students so that pupils can gain an understanding of where they are going wrong. The vast majority of educators do not care about feedback. It is little wonder that we end up producing “copy and paste graduates,” or people who are incapable of coming up with their own ideas and instead choose to replicate works that have previously been created (Iliya, 2017).

Because of the aforementioned, the purpose of this study is to investigate the impact that receiving feedback has on senior students’ performance in narrative writing in a few of the secondary schools located within the Pankshin Local Government Area.

  • Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to determine the effects of feedback on senior students’ performance in narrative writing in selected secondary schools in Pankshin Local Government Area. Other specific objectives of the study are:

  1. ascertain the effects of feedback on students’ construction of sentences in narrative writing.
  2. find out the effects of feedback on students’ paragraph development in narrative writing.
  3. discover the effects of feedback on use of punctuation marks in narrative writing.
    • Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What are the effects of feedback on students’ construction of sentences in narrative writing?
  2. What are the effects of feedback on students’ paragraph development in narrative writing?
  • What are the effects of feedback on use of punctuation marks in narrative writing?
    • Significance of the Study

            The findings of this study will hopefully benefit the following stakeholders in Education, students, teachers, curriculum planners, textbook writers, researchers, and library and internet users.

             The research study will be helpful to students who are mostly weak in composition writing. Students will be exposed to varieties of feedbacks. Through the feedback, learners will practice actual writing skills. Moreover, the feedback will assist learners to engage in the exploration of different skills of writing in the areas of idea generation, idea organization, sentence construction, paragraph creation and editing. The study will hopefully create an enabling environment where students will share ideas and thoughts with teachers which will enhance better performance in their writing. The comments in their writing will not be discouraging but they will ginger learners to use the feedback as guides to effective writing. Students will also benefit from the findings of this study as the use of feedback in the teaching of writing will boost their achievement and help to increase their retention of how a standard piece of writing should be written. The findings will also help them to develop more interest in writing, acquire and develop scientific skills which will help them in their career choice particularly those careers geared towards being secretaries, journalists, etc.

            In anticipation, the study will be beneficial to offer teachers opportunity to incorporate the right feedback in teaching narrative writing. Through it, teachers will get to know that teaching composition is based on learners’ needs, aspiration and goals. Teachers will hopefully have a true knowledge of the needs of learners through the continuous comments they make in learners’ writings. Afterwards, such needs will be carefully planned and imparted in learners in such a way that the goals of writing are achieved. Also, the findings of the study will be beneficial to expose teachers to the right skills to implement when teaching writing. Through the findings of the study and with further research, teachers will carefully identify other skills of teaching writing which they will implement in the classroom. The study will familiarize teachers with the basic truth that teaching writing is fun and full of excitement as learners express their ideas and bring it to them for comments and feedbacks. Instructors will hopefully get to develop the right attitudes to commenting on students’ work. Furthermore, the findings of this study will be of benefit to teachers of English as they will help teachers in choosing appropriate teaching writing technique capable of releasing students’ tension toward the subject. They will motivate teachers to develop interest in utilizing different techniques like feedback in teaching writing and selecting suitable teaching methods that will be a possible means towards reducing failure in English language.

            Curriculum planners will hopefully benefit from the findings of this study because it will serve as a proposal to implement the feedback in the classroom. It will give them a better focus to the types of techniques and approaches to include in the language curriculum. The feedback will be included in the current language curriculum to help teachers to effectively implement and discharge their responsibility in teaching writing. Furthermore, the findings of this study will also benefit curriculum planners in curriculum planning, as using feedback will be encouraged in the teaching of writing.

            Textbook writers will eventually have better ideas on the skills to include in the language course books. Also, the study will help writers to include the feedback with lots of exercises that will offer students at the senior level to practice writing skills.

            It is believed that the study will be a guide to researchers who may conduct a similar study in the subject area at different context. In addition, library and internet users will eventually find this study useful in their search for materials especially in the area of the feedback as one of the methods of correcting students’ writing.

Finally, if each stakeholder will play their roles effectively, it will assist the students to become better writers. The findings will as well contribute to knowledge and information and even language educators will benefit a lot. It will give education stakeholders at different levels insight on planning and organizing workshops, seminar and conferences on current teaching practice.

  • Scope and Delimitation of the Study

The researcher is aware of various writing issues, existing approaches, and other difficulties in writing as a talent; nevertheless, the focus of the current study is on the impact of feedback on the performance of senior students in narrative writing. Only a few secondary schools in the Pankshin Local Government Area of Plateau State are permitted to participate in this research. However, despite the fact that the research was only conducted in the Local Government Area that was chosen, the findings will be generalizable to other regions of the state and the country as a whole.

1.7 Operational Definitions of Terms

Effects: Refers to the changes, outcomes, or results of the independent variable (feedback) on the dependent variable (senior students’ performance in narrative writing).

Feedback: Refers to the method of providing students with feedback on their writing, which is not direct or explicit. Indirect feedback may include hints, suggestions, or questions designed to encourage students to reflect on their writing and make improvements.

Senior Students: Refers to high school students who are in their final year of secondary education, typically between the ages of 16 and 18 years.

Performance: Refers to the level of achievement or competence exhibited by the senior students in narrative writing as measured by a set of predetermined criteria.

Narrative Writing: Refers to a type of writing that tells a story or describes a sequence of events. Narrative writing may include personal narratives, fictional stories, or biographical sketches.

Selected Schools: Refers to a subset of schools in the Pankshin Local Government Area that have been chosen for inclusion in the study based on specific criteria such as academic performance, student population, and geographic location.

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