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English is undoubtedly the most important language which is being employed for communication purposes across the globe (Akinwamide, 2012).  The use of English as a tool for effective communication, study and work, as well as an important goal of secondary education is advocated in the national policy on education (FRN, 2013). The crucial role English Language plays in the Nigerian linguistic scene makes it imperative for Nigerians to show evidence of reasonable degree of competence and of more vigorous training in its use, than in the use of any other foreign language. Muodumogu and Unwaha (2013), stated that English language is a recognized medium of communication in the administration of government businesses in Nigeria. It is also the medium of instruction through which learners acquire knowledge and skills at all levels of education. However, in spite of the vital roles of the English language, most Nigerians are unable to acquire mastery in the skills of the language especially writing. Consequent upon this, there is a need to orientate quality of instruction towards utilizing competencies and essay writing skills for self- reliance and development of the society.

The mastery of writing skills is crucial since constant evaluation either formative or summative is conducted to gauge students’ acquisition of their writing skills based on their writing performance. Hence teachers adopt and adapt various strategies in the essay writing classrooms to ensure that students excel in writing. But from the existing situation of poor and low performance of students in essay writing, one can conclude that the approaches or strategies used may be faulty at one level or the other. This presupposes that more researches need to be carried out to ascertain this claim.

Teaching essay writing is usually approached with apprehension by many teachers and students because it demands the knowledge of many skills such as grammar, style, syntax and semantics in one lesson (Okonkwo, 2015). Writing is a basic tool for secondary education in Nigeria and many other parts of the world.  Writing does not come naturally as speaking but it is an activity that students and teachers cannot run away from. It must be consciously learnt and developed for it is one of the critical skills a student develops in high school.

The inspiration for this study arose from the fact that over the years, there has been   persistent rate of low performance of students in English language, especially essay writing. Students are unable to write effectively (Komolafe &Yara, 2010). This situation is not peculiar to any level, but it is more pronounced and disturbing at the secondary school level because certificates are required for higher education at this level.

The trend of general poor performance in English language is not peculiar to Nigerian students and schools alone. It is a worldwide phenomenon existing even in developed countries like America. Harwood in Alao (2011) complained about the poor mastery of essay writing skills in America. This situation pervades all levels of Nigeria’s educational ladder-primary, secondary and the post-secondary institutions. Attempts have been made severally by the Nigerian government to find how best to improve the teaching of English language and enhance essay writing skills. Despite these efforts, the skills of students in essay writing have not shown any improvement. Hence, there is need for rigorous training.

West African Examination Council (WAEC) Chief Examiner’s Report (2019) listed poor knowledge of the rules of grammar, inability to construct good sentences, lack of teachers’ exposure to modern strategies of teaching as causes of students’ poor achievement in English. Adeosun (2006: 4) lamented the inability of students to write good compositions, noting that composition tests are designed to test the candidates’ ability to use English as effective means of communication in a given situation, the ability to express oneself with clarity and coherence in a manner appropriate to the audience, purpose, topic situation, adding that most students lack variety of skills, good grasp and knowledge of basic language skills which they are expected to know effectively

  Essay writing is taught at secondary level to enable students develop writing skills to cope with their academic work, as well as develop type of writing needed both inside and outside the school situation. Students at this level depend to a large degree on extended writing skills in examinations (Adeyemi, 2012). Essay writing refers to continuous writing produced in form of any of the following: letters, speeches, articles, descriptive, persuasive, narrative and expository compositions. Increasingly, students are required to demonstrate proficiency in essay writing through planning, writing and revising an essay, summary, note taking in groups and so forth.  This study seeks to explore more modern strategies that would help provide a valuable head start to improve students essay writing thereby resulting into better grades in English especially at the senior secondary level.

  Essay writing involves more than just being able to compose correct sentences; it also involves the ability to use the lexical item appropriately in acts of communication to achieve communication ends (Alao, 2011). Evidence from students’ WAEC scripts in various subjects, shows that the skill and abilities that students need in writing, must be formally taught in order to perform the writing demands of their various subjects with some ease and some confidence. Essay writing among these students therefore deserves attention more than any other aspects of language especially at the Senior Secondary School, which is the target of this study. This is because there is need to prepare the students for the various writing tasks, which they would meet in their future academic pursuits.

The teaching of essay writing should take the communication approach that aims at helping the learners to manipulate language structures effectively since the essence of language is for communication. Adeyemi (2012) posited that in process approach, students are guided to plan, draft and revise their writing and are also encouraged “to learn to write” as opposed to “writing to learn”. This would facilitate their ability to form clear and correct concepts through the use of language to express their feelings, needs, ideas, knowledge and interests with exactness and precision. This is why Ogbu (2009) indicated that writing, which could be seen as the ability to produce correct forms of words and sentences is a very important skill of language acquisition. This study would examine a communicative and interactive approach that would help learners manipulate language structures effectively.

Participatory Writing Approach (PWA) is an instruction strategy that makes use of small, heterogeneous groups of students who work together to achieve common learning goals. It is a task-centred activity requiring students-to-students interaction in small groups as the structures and contents are organized and sequenced in essay writing. Individuals are responsible for their actions which include learning, respect and contributions among their peers. They extend their critical thinking and reasoning skills, which help in understanding of social interactions as they become involved, and take control of the learning process through participatory activities (Nwakonobi & Obiagwu, 2013). It is a strategy which has been proven to culminate positive results and outcomes (Tengku, 2007). Participatory writing between and among students should be trial-tested to see how effective they are in generating healthy discussion, and learning which encourage an effective process of essay writing.

The mastery of essay writing skills is crucial since constant evaluation either formative or summative is conducted to gauge students‟ acquisition of their writing skills based on their writing performance (Okonkwo, 2014). In view of the present ineffectiveness in the writing of students, the inability of the previous approaches to cater for the shortfall in writing pedagogy and the fact that writing has been a neglected area of English language teaching for some years (Siddique & Singh, 2016), the need for sound writing research now is greater than ever. There is therefore the need to undertake a research of this nature in order to explore modern strategies to the teaching of essay writing. It is against this background that this study sought to investigate the effects of Participatory Writing Approach on narrative essay writing of Senior Secondary School students in Mangu.


There has been general outcry on the low performance of students in essay writing. The inability of senior secondary students to write and communicate effectively in both written and spoken English based on their inability to use correct grammatical structures and present ideas in a systematic and appropriate manner gives parents, teachers, examination bodies and even students a lot of concern.  Annual results from WAEC and the Chief Examiners‟ Reports for 2017 and 2021 reveal woeful performance of students who have made enrolment for English language examination a yearly ritual. Many factors have been adduced for students’ inability to write effectively at the secondary level. These include use of inappropriate teaching methods and approaches. 

Considering the need to improve Senior Secondary School students essay writing skill, it becomes necessary to explore alternative strategies of teaching essay writing. The researcher believes that if modern interactive and participatory strategies are employed and properly implemented, this can lead to increased motivation and more positive attitude of students towards essay writing tasks. It can invariably improve students’ performance in essay writing. This study therefore investigates the effects of Participatory Writing Approach on students’ essay writing in Senior Secondary Schools in Mangu Local Government Area of Plateau State, Nigeria.


The main focus of this study is to evaluate the impact of participatory writing strategies on the performance of students in essay writing in Senior Secondary Schools in Mangu.  In order to:

  1. Examine the difference in performance of students who are exposed to participatory method and those who are not exposed to it in writing good essays.
  2. Determine the extent to which participatory strategy improves students’ performance in essay writing through the use of participatory approach.
  3. Evaluate the areas of strength in essay writing through the use of participatory method.


The study is guided by the following research questions:

  1. What is the difference in performance of students who were exposed to participatory and those who were not exposed to it in organization?
  2. To what extent does participatory writing strategies improve students’ performance in essay writing?
  • What are the areas of strength and weakness of students in using participatory strategy in essay writing?


The following hypothesis was tested at 0.5 level of significance:

H01: There is a significant relationship between participatory approach and performance of senior secondary schools students in essay writing in Mangu Local Government Area.


This study is significant because students’ performance in English language examination have continued to diminish in recent times because of social media and other related reasons. This is even more worrisome now that there is poor attitudes of students to both reading and writing habits. The need to change teaching tactics and strategies therefore becomes imperative in order to help students, especially those in the senior secondary schools to soar above the mentality of saying “English language is difficult.” This will help improve performances and achieve good grade in examinations as well as their spoken and written English outside the classroom and examination halls.


 The main thrust of this study will be to investigate the effects of participatory writing strategies on essay writing of Senior Secondary School students in Mangu. Thus, this study will be delimited to two teaching strategies namely: Participatory   writing and essay writing component of the Senior Secondary School English curriculum.  This aspect of English is viewed as one that indicates the extent to which a student is proficient in the written language.  

These schools will be sampled because they enroll students from diverse cultural backgrounds but with similar educational backgrounds. This research while using the participatory writing strategies to teach essay writing focused on content, organization, grammatical component and mechanical accuracy as sub-skills. This is because these aspects form part of the areas that are usually assessed in both internal and external examinations at the senior secondary level in Nigeria.  



Participatory Writing Strategies: This refers to writing activities that involve active participation of students in the writing process. Participatory writing strategies include peer editing, group brainstorming, and collaborative writing exercises.

Essay Writing: This refers to creative written compositions that convey ideas and arguments on a specific topic or subject.

  • 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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