Background Of The Study
English language teaching and learning need four skills. There are four components to this: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. According to Elugbe (2000), listening and speaking are given less emphasis than the other three language skills in a majority of Nigerian schools, from primary to tertiary institutions. Certain education designers, implementers, and classroom instructors seem to be unaware that each of these language skills is an integral component of the language. According to Ogugua (2006), a lack in one of them has a detrimental effect on one’s competency with another component and, eventually, the whole language.
Oral English, as the spoken component of the English language is frequently referred as in Nigerian schools, is a critical component of the English language. Oral English is a significant exam in the West African School Certificate English Language Examination, according to Idowu, Segbesan, Adofo, Burgess, and Burgess (2003). As such, it should be treated with the same seriousness as the other two publications. Oral English, on the other hand, receives insufficient emphasis in the classroom. According to Elugbe (2000), it is presented to students belatedly in many schools. Even once it is presented, its teaching does not use a variety of methodologies, resulting in pupils’ low performance. According to Ogugua (2006), students are seldom exposed to brief dialogues, conversations, narratives, or other activities that allow them to practice and assimilate what they are learning.
The skills necessary for effective oral English performance are not the sole domain of phoneticians. These skills (identification of phonetic symbols, appropriate articulation of sounds, use of stress and intonation, and so on) are also available to anybody who needs to connect with another person through speech. Unfortunately, many students lack the necessary skills to function effectively in oral English. As a consequence, their oral English performance is subpar. According to the Chief Examiner’s report (2005), applicants struggled with responding questions based on sound systems, which resulted in poor oral English performance, which finally impaired their performance in the English language in general. According to Achebe (1994), the quality of English spoken in Nigeria has been deteriorating significantly and would deteriorate more in the coming years. This is mostly due to the fact that oral English is not given sufficient emphasis in classroom teaching. Further emphasizing pupils’ low oral English performance, Eyisi (2002) believes that oral English seems to be at the heart of our educational issues. Certainly, the issue is not just about students’ apparent low performance in the English language as a subject of study, but also about their overall lack of communication skills and the resulting decline in educational standards throughout the education. Again, pupils’ low performance in oral English is a result of their insufficient exposure to oral English in secondary school. This is because instructors continue to put a higher premium on written English, depriving students of oral English education and practice. As a result of the preceding, it is apparent that oral English teaching and learning have deteriorated significantly in senior secondary schools. This results in students doing poorly in oral English, which has a knock-on performance on their overall performance in the English language. In view of the above, this study examines an approach for improving senior secondary school students’ oral English performance.
Statement of the Problem
The English language is the official language of Nigeria. It is the primary means of communication between Nigerians and the rest of the globe. Additionally, it is a required topic in Nigerian secondary schools. The oral English component of the English language is important. However, the teaching and learning of oral English have encountered a number of problems. Several of these problems include a shortage of competent instructors, teachers’ incorrect use of oral English teaching approaches in senior secondary schools, an insufficient supply of teaching materials, and students’ lack of interest (Melta, 2013). As a consequence, many senior high school students are unable to develop the necessary skills to perform effectively in oral English (Menya, 2017). As a result of their incapacity to learn the skills, they do poorly in oral English, which has a knock-on performance on their overall English language performance. As a result of the above, there has been much concern over the best techniques to teach oral English successfully in order to enhance students’ academic performance in the subject. However, prior research has not been directed especially towards offering this answer. Thus, this study focuses on the approaches that may be employed to enhance senior secondary school students’ oral English performance.
Objectives Of The Study
The overall aim of this study is to critically examine the method to improve senior secondary school students in the performance of Oral English. Hence, the study will be channeled to the following specific objectives;
- Ascertain whether lack of qualified teachers contribute to students poor performance in Oral English.
- Ascertain whether use of inappropriate techniques in teaching Oral English contribute to students poor performance in Oral English.
- Identify possible ways through which students academic performance in Oral English can be improved.
The study will be guided by the following questions;
- Does lack of qualified teachers contribute to students poor performance in Oral English?
- Does the use of inappropriate techniques in teaching Oral English contribute to students poor performance in Oral English?
- What are possible methods through which Oral English can be effectively taught in secondary schools?
Significance Of The Study
This study which tries to find out the method to improve senior secondary school students in the performance of Oral English is hoped to provide succour for Oral English teachers by empirically providing an instructional technique that will improve students’ achievement in Oral English. This is very important because the use of a teaching technique that appeals to the students will increase the learners’ active participation in the lesson which consequently leads to an overall improvement of students’ performance in Oral English.
It is hoped that the findings of the study will enhance the teachers’ achievement of the objectives of the lesson in Oral English. Additionally, subsequent researchers will use it as literature review. This means that, other students who may decide to conduct studies in this area will have the opportunity to use this study as available literature that can be subjected to critical review. Invariably, the result of the study contributes immensely to the body of academic knowledge with regards to the method to improve senior secondary school students in the performance of Oral English.
Scope Of The Study
This study is structured to generally examine the method to improve senior secondary school students in the performance of Oral English. However, the study will further ascertain whether lack of qualified teachers contribute to students poor performance in Oral English, ascertain whether use of inappropriate techniques in teaching Oral English contribute to students poor performance in Oral English, and identify possible ways through which Oral English can be effectively taught in secondary schools.
This study will be delimited to some selected secondary schools in Aba Abia State.
Limitations Of The Study
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.
In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.
More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.
Definition Of Terms
English: The language, originally of England, now spoken in many countries and used as a language of international communication throughout the world.
Language: Use of words in agreed way as means of human communication.
Teaching: Guidance or training given to someone.
Students: A school pupil or a person studying at a place of higher education
Secondary School: Level of education that comes after the basic or results from the primary education.