Influence of mother tongue on academic performance of student studying English as a second language.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

       The English languages acquire the status of second language in Nigeria after about a century of social political domination by the Britain. English language assumed the role of political common language with the British supervising this process of change. English became a second language that is after indigenous language which are term the first language (L1). It has been seen that individual mother tongue in this context remains the language that is been practice or spoken in children environment. The national policy of education (2004), made it mandatory that every child should learn his or her mother tongue as a medium of instruction in their first three years of primary education. As a matter of fact the national language center now merged with the Nigeria educational research and development center to establish a system of spelling of the mother tongue as possible and encourage the writhing of this letter and other materials in them.

       Meanwhile, at the primary level where there is a general direction of the situation of the mother tongue in which it has been change and recognize. At the secondary level the change towards the consideration of the position of the three main languages. The national policy on education made it mandatory that at junior secondary level one of the three main language should be added to the student mother tongue.   In our country today most people use their dialect like Onicha, tiv, gbayi, as a means of communication in their homes English language as a school subject, and it is the language that Nigeria has adopted as a means of communication among themselves. English language is seen and studied as a second language of administration and commerce. It is also the major language of the science. Salami (2006), has emphasized the importance of the use of English language in improving the quality of spoken and written English language among school children. Kola (2004) one of the current educational problem of the public interest is that of poor level of achievement especially in public examination. The problem of underachievement of many school students has persisted in many subject areas. Bukola (2008), this poor level of achievement in many subjects may be due to poor foundation in English language at the primary school level. Ayodele (2002), language inefficiency variably leads to poor academic performance. Iroegbu (2006), much emphasis is placed on passing English at a credit or distinction level. In addition to other subjects to enable students gain admission into Nigeria higher institution. Although English language remains it dominant position in education delivery system in Nigeria.

       The trust of educational language policy is the issue of the mother tongue or the language of the immediate community in the pre-primary and primary education. The mother tongue medium of education at the primary school level is provided in less than twenty-Nigeria throughout the country. Several scholars have addressed the problems of communicative competence in the use of English language as a second language and it is used as the main language as instruction in Nigeria education delivery process. Most school leaders do not possess the competence on the four language skills for both cognitive and communication function. There is a great diversity of variety and function of English in Nigeria, for instance it is extensively used in both print media, judiciary, the police, the air force as a lingua franca, in political mobilization and population orientation.

       This confirms the entrenchment of English as a dominant official language of Nigeria. The nagging problem however is concern with the quality of English that is taught and use in the school system. A student who have the idea of the Nigeria language and willing to learn English as a second language is bound to come across a lot of difficulties because of the interferences of the language. This is because for an Onicha child who has been listening to his parents discussion right from childhood and has become use to the sound and speech, such interference will be a problem to that child when he starts learning English as a se4cond language.

       The study of the English words he hears and sentences he came across will be very difficult for the child to pronounce at the beginning because the Onicha language he has already learnt will have an effect on his acquisition of English language. The fact that English language is a second language in Nigeria, our intention should not be to the main objectives to this study it is for us to investigate and gain insight on how the first language which is mother tongue interferes with the learning of English language which is the second language and how it influence and affect the Onicha speaker.

       This work will also fetch out the differences between students with English language background and those and those who have no prior knowledge of English language before learning the language.

Statement of the Problem

       Despite the high premium placed on English language, the number of students studying the subject have seen on the decline over the past years. The reason of this decline could be attributed to some obvious factors such as ineffective teaching methods and the use of unqualified teachers to handle the subject.

       Other attributed the poor to lack of students interest during the teaching of English language in the classroom.

       Therefore, the problem of this study postal in a question form is how can the teaching and learning effectiveness of English language improved in over government and private secondary schools, in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Purpose of the Study

       The main purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of the mother tongue on students’ achievement in English language in junior secondary schools in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, specifically this study seek to:

(a) Find out how mother tongue interferes with students in learning of English language.

(b) Find out how qualification of teachers affect the students performance

(c) Determine the factors that contribute to the influence of the mother tongue.

(d) Find out if the first language affects the second language.

Significance of the Study

       This study is considered useful because of its contribution to education. Students, teachers, government, curriculum planners and researcher in general will benefit immensely from this work.

       It will serve as a guide to teachers in order to find out the teaching method that could be used to improve the teaching and learning of English as well as to determine how instructional materials can be applied in order to improve teaching and learning English.

       The study will be of significance to government by helping them to understand the factors military against effective teaching and learning of English and also the necessary actions needed to improve teaching and learning of English in secondary schools.

       The research will also be of much benefit to the curriculum planners to reform education, improvise materials for learners and effect changes in structure of teaching in secondary schools.

       Finally, the result of the study will contribute to the research by providing research based information on the various ways of promoting an effective teaching and learning and also reference for further researches on the same or related matter.

Scope of the Study

       The research will look at mother tongue influence in the learning of English language in secondary school and as a second language in the secondary schools; it will also look at the aspect of influence perceived in Onicha Local Government of Ebonyi State. The research will also choose 5 secondary schools and 8 teachers and check on the result of the student performance and their communicative competence.

Research Questions

       The following research question will guide the study:-

(1) To what extent does mother tongue interferes with student achievement in English.

(2) To what extent does qualifications of English teachers affect the student’s performance?

(3) To what extent does social factor contributes to mother tongue interference and students poor achievement in English.

(4) To what extent does the first language have influence on the second language?

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