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  • Background to the Study

Literature is the window through which readers see the world; their knowledge of that world provides the basis by which they assess the worth of their own lives and come to a better understanding of themselves and their society. Literature is a useful tool in the socialization and education of the individual because a literary text is a compendium of information and knowledge about humans and their social experiences. Proficiency in reading literature text is as important as being proficient in the use of language. Language and literature are important aspects of culture. They are also means of communication, though their focus differs in some ways. While literature is concerned with the literary aspect of communication, language is concerned with all forms of person to person relationships and interactions in the conduct of human affairs (Ayebola, 2016). By this submission, the study of literature does not only bring learners into contact with functional varieties of English which they need in actual communicative situations, it demands that learners apply their knowledge of language to read, understand and appreciate literature (Ogunsiji, 2013).

According to Williams (2016), prose sharpens students’ awareness of life as they share in the imaginative experience of the author. Secondly, it is believed that prose is simple and easier to read because its linguistic structure is closer to the language of everyday life. Prose makes students aware of the possibilities of language use (Lawal 2016) and provides them a greater opportunity for reading due to its simplicity of language. One implication of this is that some teachers of literature in Nigeria assume that students can read and understand prose even when they are not taught. Based on this assumption, some literature teachers in Nigeria do not employ effective teaching methods (Ogunaike 2012). Such teachers focus on story narration, vocal reading and treatment of past examination questions. Meanwhile, effective instructional procedure is aimed at helping the Nigerian student who has chosen to study literature to achieve desired expertise and independence in the reading of a text; build up a lifelong love for reading as well as achieve improved cognitive and affective skills in literature and reading.

Second language learners lack the basic language skill needed to appreciate literature (Chief Examiners‘ Report, 2017). Thus, they are predisposed to becoming resistant readers; lacking both literary and linguistic competence to read and understand prose literature texts or texts in other genres. Research has shown that when students encounter texts written in a language that is not familiar to them, they tend to struggle with the linguistic problems associated with such texts and Nigerian students are not an exception (Lawal 2016). Chamot and O‘Malley (2014) also assert that the most critical task facing second language learners is learning to read a text written in a language in which they have limited proficiency. The researchers observe that the second language learners whether learning to read for the first time or trying to transfer reading skills already learnt in the native language encounter an inordinate amount of unfamiliar language even in beginning texts. Lawal (2016) posits that part of the problems that students encounter in reading and understanding written literature in Nigeria are twofold, first is the complex and subtle nature of the English language itself; second is that the English language learners are exposed to is limited in scope and function to specific purposes, which are educational. Emphasis is on linguistic competence to the detriment of literary competence. Therefore, they lack exposure to the creative use of language needed to understand and interpret literature texts in English. These problems can frustrate the actualization of the objectives of teaching literature in schools.

In spite of the objectives and the profound values of literature, its teaching and learning in secondary schools have continued to undergo setbacks, resulting in the recurrent poor performance of students in the subject as indicated in the 2014, 2015 and 2017 May/June SSCE Chief Examiners’ Reports. Most often, these reports reveal that students display absolute lack of knowledge of the texts, understanding of the questions asked and good mastery of the English language needed to respond to the texts. There is also the indication that students do not read the set texts. For instance, the SSCE Chief Examiners’ Report for May/June 2014 noted that candidates could not adequately interpret the questions due to lack of expected in-depth knowledge of the texts. As a result, when they had points to deliver, they were mostly vague and shallow (Pg. 42).

According to Beach, Appleman, Hydns and Wilhelm (2016), innovative teachers are moving away from teacher-centred approaches where meaning is imposed on students to the student-centred approaches which expose students to activities that encourage personal response to the text. Crandall, Jaramillo, Olsen and Peyton (2012) believe that learning strategy is very important in the learning of concepts and teachers can employ various strategies to help students see how ideas or concepts relate to one another and help them develop a well-structured mental picture about the content they are learning. Exposing students to effective learning strategy helps to deepen their understanding of the content. Chamot and O‘Malley (2014) assert that students who have a storehouse of strategies to draw from consciously or unconsciously monitor their own learning and do better than students who do not have such strategies. Therefore, teachers can use a variety of strategies to ensure students’ active engagement with the prose texts they are reading and make personal responses to the texts too. Allington and Cunningham (2016) advocates for strategies which offer students opportunities to read literature that appeal to them and their interest and to which they will respond in unique ways. Stringer, Reynolds and Simpson (2013) emphasize strategies that allow children to learn by doing and take ownership of their learning through opportunities that lead to freedom of choice and social interaction. By inference, researchers are advocates of child-centred and sociocultural strategies that promote students’ active participation in the learning process.

Unfortunately, as research indicates learners are not exposed to these student centred strategies probably because teachers lack knowledge of these approaches and strategies or they do not consider their use of any importance (Ogunaike 2012). Teachers resort most often to the easiest strategy of ―take your book and read, making literature teaching in secondary school a teacher-centred activity. One way to enhance students’ performance in prose literature is by the use of instructional strategies that promote students’ active engagement with texts and provide opportunities for sharing what is read with others which the prevalent teacher-centred strategies used in the teaching of literature have not been able to achieve (Anyaniyi 2019). Teachers spend more time reading and narrating the story without much of students’ participation in meaning construction.

The basic idea of interactive teaching is that students must be active. Interactive teaching takes into account that learners have experience and knowledge that they bring to each situation. The first thing to realize about interactive teaching is that, it is not something new or mysterious. If a teacher asks questions in class, assigns and checks homework, or holds class or group discussions, then the teacher already teaches interactively. Basically, interactive teaching is just giving students something to do, getting back what they have done, and then assimilating it, so that the teacher can decide what would be best to do next. However, it is important to note that English language facilitates the learning processes and effectively promotes our intellectual development, since all other disciplines hinge on it. Hence, efficient learning of English language in our schools as a medium of communication certainly promotes the general understanding in other subjects.

The researcher observed that interactive teaching technique is an integration of teaching technique that demand high student participation at all levels of learning process. The teacher guides and the students perform different learning tasks in groups based on the three levels of interaction patterns in the classroom students-teacher interaction, student-students interaction or students-community resources interaction. 

Williams (2009) notes that universities are dissatisfied with the low standard of many entrants who have scored reasonable marks in the examination but are handicapped in their university studies because of their inability to read with understanding or write clearly. Adekola (2010) says that the secondary level of education has for some time been receiving much attention in West Africa because it is the immediate reservoir of potential middle and high level manpower. But it is at this level that a lot of wastage in manpower potential occurs because of so many factors one of the most important being the language problem. Admission to this level of education and successful completion of the courses depend very much on the students‟ proficiency in English Language, which is the medium of instruction. 

It is in the light of the above discussion that this study seeks to examine the influence of interactive strategy on the performance of Senior Secondary Schools in prose in Pankshin Local Government Area.

  • Statement of the Problem

Literature is expected to promote reading for pleasure – it encourages the development of reading skills. However, many students in secondary schools do not possess the necessary cognitive and affective skills needed to read and understand texts in literature. Hence, students’ performance in WAEC literature in English examination has not been much to reckon with. Several factors affect students’ performance in literature.

They include factors associated with learners’ home background, low level of interest in reading, poor language proficiency, poor comprehension skills and the instructional strategies used by teachers. Although Previous studies have been carried out on student-centred strategies like discussion, reading-questioning techniques, outlining and advance organizers with regards to enhancing students’ performance in literature but much empirical studies have not been carried out on influence of interactive strategy on the performance of Senior Secondary School students in Prose in Pankshin Local Government Area.

  • Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine the influence of interactive strategy on the performance of Senior Secondary School students in Prose in Pankshin Local Government Area. Other specific objectives of the study are:

1: To determine the difference in the pretest mean scores of control and experimental group.

2: To measure the difference between the post test mean achievement scores of student taught with conventional method and those taught with interactive strategy.

3: To discuss the difference between the mean achievement scores of male and female students  taught prose with interactive strategy.

  • Research Questions

            The following research questions were raised to guide the study:

1: What is the difference in the pretest mean scores of control and experimental group

2: What is the difference between the post test mean achievement scores of student taught with conventional method and those taught with interactive strategy?

3: What is the difference between the mean achievement scores of male and female students  taught prose with interactive strategy?

  • Significance of the Study

The fundamental roles of literature in the making of the enlightened and educated mind and exposing readers to important human values and human condition cannot be fully achieved without qualitative instruction in the teaching of prose literature. Hence, the findings of this study would be useful to students and teachers of literature, curriculum planners, textbook writers, policy makers and other individuals interested in the teaching of literature-in- English. Specifically, it is hoped that the study would improve the way literature is taught and learnt through the strategies employed. This would in turn influence students’ interest in reading and increase achievement in literature. It would also help to foster independent reading skills in students. It would likely make teachers aware of alternative and more effective instructional strategies for teaching literature, especially the ones used in this study.

            Again, the findings would equally be useful to textbook writers who may wish to incorporate these instructional strategies into their texts so that schools, individuals and interested groups may adopt them for schools and for private study. The result of this study would probably be beneficial to the general public because it would enable learners and teachers to see reading as a fun-filled activity, through the atmosphere of play pervading the classroom during interactive strategy, thereby raising the reading interest of students which is presently considered to be low. This will also help to improve the low literacy level being experienced among students. The study would serve as basis for further research on the use of other student-centered strategies in the effective teaching of literature in senior secondary schools.

  • Scope of the study

The researcher is aware of other problematic areas confronting the teaching and learning of literature in secondary schools. However, this study will be basically concerned with senior secondary II students. The study is restricted to influence of interactive strategy on the performance of Senior Secondary School students in Prose in Pankshin Local Government Area. The prose text that will be used Asare Konadu’s A Woman in her Prime. The dependent variable is performance in prose literature. Despite the fact that the study is restricted to the selected local government area, its findings will be generalized to other parts of the state and country at large.

  • Definition of Terms

Instructional Strategies: These are the various purposeful activities designed for the purpose of this study to enable students effectively read, comprehend, and interpret the prose literature texts used in this study.

Achievement in prose literature: This is what the student has learnt after undergoing a course of instruction as determined by the score of a test designed to measure what has been learnt. In this study, the achievement would be determined by the pre and posttest scores.


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