EFFECTS OF AFFECTIVE TACTICS VARIABLES ON ORAL ENGLISH PERFORMANCE OF SS II PUPILS IN NIGER STATE, NIGERIA

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EFFECTS OF AFFECTIVE TACTICS VARIABLES ON ORAL ENGLISH PERFORMANCE OF SS II PUPILS IN NIGER STATE, NIGERIA 

ABSTRACT

The research on Effectsof Affective Strategies variables on Oral English Performance of SS II Students in Niger State, Nigeria,is based on the premise that the affective domain is a less researched area of study as compared to the cognitive and psychomotor domains. Hence, the study investigated the effect of the affective strategies variables of interest, attitude, motivation and self-confidence, which may facilitate or debilitate students‟ Oral English Performance in the SS II class.It has been asserted that an estimate of 1.5 billion people speak English worldwide. Since English is a widely spoken language, there is the need for students in Niger State to have high Oral English proficiency.But in the language teaching practice in Nigeria and Niger State particularly, oral English has been a weak point and the target of criticism. The study was carried out based on four objectives, four research questions and four research null hypotheses. This research work is inspired by the framework of Oxford (1990; Dornyei & Noels, 2001, Nakatani, 2005, 2006, Sadighiet al.,

2011, Ali & Kumar 2014). The study was limited to zone „B‟ in Niger State. Participants were SS II students in the selected schools. Two hundred and sixteen (216) students were randomly selected out of a population of Twenty-one thousand, four hundred and ninetytwo (21,492) SS II students in the Six (6) chosen schools filled in the affective strategies questionnaire (needs analysis). The students in the three (3) experimental schools were taught in line with the selected strategies for the whole academic term, while the control group continued with their teachers. The data collected at the end of treatment was analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS), IBA version 20. Statistical procedures adopted in the data analysis included frequencies, percentages, means, standard deviation and test of correlation between variables. Hypotheses were tested with one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) at 0.05 probability level of significance. The findings from the experimental data showed that, the increased use of interest enhancing affective domain strategies had positive and significant effects on the Students Oral Performance. It also showed that students who were exposed to the affective domain strategies of positive attitude towards Oral English improved in their oral expressions. Accidental finding showed that a number of shy and truant students participated actively in oral class activities.Truancy decreased greatly in school attendance, as more students attended classes and remained till the close of school. Treatment with affective domain strategies enhanced the learners self-confidence, thereby encouraging them to speak more and for longer period.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

It is estimated that 1.5 billion people speak English worldwide (Crystal, 2000,

Tapia, 2010) as a first, second or foreign language – one of four of the world‟s population. This explosion in the use of the English language has consequently given rise to the various varieties of English, hence the need for the Nigerian English language learners to learn English (oral) in order to be able to communicate well.The ability to communicate with other people within an intelligible level outside one‟s linguistic environment in all and different spheres of life will depend largely on the individual‟s ability to speak English.

The importance of the English Language is clear from the fact that many countries of the world, including Nigeria, have made English their official language. If this be the case, Nigerian English learners must not be left behind, because they need to interact with other individuals from different socio-linguistic, economic and business

environments.Hence, the importance and place of oral performance.

Communication is key to everyday livingin the English medium.The ultimate goal of language teaching is to improve communicative competence of learners. English as a world language is playingan important role in the Nigerian communication space than before.

Encouraging and motivating students‟ engagement in English the Target Language (TL), is challenging on multiple levels of overcoming the perception of irrelevance in real world applications, especially for such learners who do not see the need to speak English. Additionally, learning language especially speaking is becoming increasingly more difficult because research suggests that language teachers tend not to use the TL exclusively in the classroom (Olaofe, 1997; 2013; Kraemer, 2006),thus discounting the notion of Comprehension Input hypothesis (Krashen, 1981).According to this theory, learners improve and progress along a natural order when they receive consistent second language (L2) input that is one step beyond their current stage of linguistic competence. Therefore, to advance L2 competence and oral English performance in students, language teachers need to maximise teacher use of the TL in the classroom and provide ample opportunities for students to speak and listen to others exclusively in the TL. By this, the learners are exposed to learning to speak by speaking with peers, teachers and others. This way they socialize by means of the language.

Guo and Wang (2013) define the affective domain as the emotional side of human behaviour that may be juxtaposed to the cognitive side.It refers to two related aspects:one which is the individual factors of learners including motivation, anxiety, self esteem, emotion, attitudeand so on. The other is the relational factors among learners and between the learner and the teacher, including teaching method, learningenvironment, interactionand so on. Theodore Roosevelt once said “To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to the society” (Morris, 2009:195). Essentially, Roosevelt was emphasizing the importance of the affective domain in learning. The term “affect” refers to the emotion or feelings, the aspects of our emotional being.

As humanistic psychology recommends, learners should be treated as “whole persons” with both intellectual and emotional needs. That way, affective development keeps pace with intelligent development. In order to keep pace with the current (L2) teaching and learning trends and beef up students‟ oral performance, affective strategies as used and popularized in Asia-Pacific nations like Malasia, China, Japan, Indonesia and the middle-east nations like Iraq, Iran and India need to be brought to fore and sustained in Nigeria.Thus, affective strategies refer to the steps learners take to develop their selfconfidence and perseverance needed to involve themselves actively in oral language learning.Good language learners are often the ones who know how to control their emotions and attitudes towards learning. Furthermore, affect refers to feelings and attitudes that individual learners bring to the learning experience and the role these play in motivation (Dornyei, 2001; Hurd, 2008). Affect can be regulated through the use of affective strategies (White, 2008, Oxford, 1990) such as reducing anxiety, encouraging oneself and monitoring one‟s emotion (Oxford, 1990). Taking the definitions together therefore, thisstudy sees the affective domain as that domain of teaching and learning that takes into cognizance, the whole human person.

Affective barriers to oral language production such as public performance. Students‟inability to speak in public, engage in face-to-face performance,being anxious, fearful, and  unable to engage in authentic self-representation which tend to complicate the language learning process. In this era of hi-technology, and globalisation, English is playing an increasingly important role as the medium of communication among people from different non-English speaking countries. Nigeria and Niger State in particularare no exceptions. English is no longer a mere subject to be learnt in the classroom but also a medium for social and practical use (Foley, 2005). English language learners still encounter problems or difficulties in their face-to-face oral communication. This may be partly due to a lack of confidence in expressing themselves in the language. Additionally, communication suffers a considerable breakdown in the absence of correct use of grammar. To deal with communication problems, the language learners tend to rely on some sort of strategies to help themconvey a message to the interlocutor or understand the message successfully. These strategies are expected to enhance language learners‟ confidence,

flexibility and effectiveness in oral communication.

But disappointedly, though, we find that the oral English learners in Nigeria remain far less desirable as quite a number of them still cannot communicate effectively.

Therefore, it is necessary to know how to help them develop their spoken English ability by assessing the effectiveness or otherwise of the use of affective variables interest, motivation, attitude and self-confidence onoral English performanceof some SS II students in Niger State. This is the bane of this study.

 

1.2       Inspiration for the Study

Learners‟ poor performance in oral English, which may arise from the lack of interest, motivation, negative attitude towards the oral use of English.The prominence given to the cognitive domain at the expense of the affective domain as a less researched area in comparison to the cognitive domain is another inspiration for this study.

Teacher‟s poor knowledge of the affective variables and how to use them to enhance oral performance. It is believed that if and when teachers are properly taught the value of the use of the affective strategies in teaching oral skills, oral English will be more interesting and rewarding as the learners will be more proficient and this will boost their confidence.

A further inspiration for this study is the international concern for affective domain in relation to teaching especially oral English which teachers neglect. This is an inspiration because when students receive treatment, their oral English skills will improve. When their learning progresses along this line, they may become proficient to the level of interacting with people from other climes.

Three phase structure of the study is a unique trend. Phase 1 – perceived affective domain needs of students, phase 2 – treatment using oral English teaching materials designed on the basis of the perceived affective variable needs of the students, phase 3 – measuring the effect of the affective variables on the development of oral English proficiency of the students.

Introducing affective variables in actual classroom situations. Most of the pronouncements on affective domain are measurements using standardized tests and questionnaires. This study combines instruments to elicit perceived affective strategies with actual experimental study of treating students using the affective strategies elicited from the students.

The seventh inspiration is tied to learners‟ motivation. Research on what motivates students to learn provides insight into why certain pedagogical practices are effective for capturing students‟ attention and changing attitude. For example, students who perceive oral English course content as having less value may show lower levels of motivation to learn it than those who show high levels of motivation. Affective domain and measurement of performance in oral English is an innovation to be injected into language teaching – a grossly neglected area.

Negative comments, like ridicule made by teachers about learners‟ learning outcomes may totally or partially „kill‟ the students‟ interest in that particular subject. Negative words do not only affect an individual in the present but may also have far reaching effects even into the future. “Positive words of encouragement are mental vitamins.  They are positive thoughts needed to balance the attack of trials and negative events as we all go through from time to time” says Kwakpovwe (2015: 75).

Finally, since this researcher is a teacher trainer, it is believed that incorporating the gains of affective strategies variables into the teaching of oral English will help train better oral English language teachers. This will in turn help the teachers become effective oral

English teachers.

1.3       Statement of the Problem

English performance in and outside the school has been a matter of public outcry and debate.Low performancein oral English has been considerednot to be the only major cause of the decline in academic achievement, but also the reason for the general falling of the standards of education. Performance in Oral English is an important factor in education performance, cutting across all disciplines. This is because proficiency in English, particularly oral English, will help students express themselves well even in other disciplines. English,being the language of instruction in Nigeria (LOI) (Olatunji, 2013).

Why is it that after twelve – fourteen years of English language learning, a learner is still foundto be so deficient in oral English? Could this be attributable to a number of factors such as not being well groomed in oral English, poorly trained oral English teachers, textbook writers, curriculum planners, learners‟ lack of knowledge of the importance of the use of affective strategies, such as: learners‟ lack of interest, motivation, and poor attitude towards oral English. The teachers‟ lack of in-depth knowledge about the place of and the use of affective strategies can be a problem in the present day teaching and learning of oral English. It is assumed that most oral English teachers did not receive training in the use of affective strategies. For example most oral English teachers just teach without finding out from the learners what really interests them, or what is their need for oral English learning.

In addition to the aforementioned problems is the teacher‟s inability to improve the necessary enrichment materials that can stimulate the desired intellectual development and communicative competence in the English speech medium.  Part of the reason for this may be traced to a sharp reduction in the number of first language speakers of English as teachers at the early stage of our education system (Olaofe, 2013).

The phenomenon of classroom population explosion in our secondary schools, especially in oral speaking classes is a huge problem to contendwith. There are some large classes that have as many as 150 students. Definitely, the teacher cannot attend to the students‟ individual oral needs in such a situation. Unless the affective domain is well developed this may bring about poor oral performance, consequently giving rise to a poor or low self esteem and confidence. This, of course,can be counterproductive to oral performance.

The neglect of learners‟ affective domain at the expense of mere cognitive development needs to be seriously and urgently looked into. As educators strive to improve the learners‟ cognitive and psychomotor domains, the affective domain in relation to oral proficiency must not be ignored.

Students who are trained in areas of affective variables, such as getting along with others, being responsible for themselves, obeying the rules of the classroom and perceiving oral English as a viable medium to express themselves are those individuals who will be confident to express themselves verbally.These are the types of individuals the society will need tomorrow. The absence of these attributes mentioned above may constitute problem(s) to the learners and even the larger society. This is not what we want for our learners.

 

1.4       Objectives of the Study

The major objective of this study is to assess the effectiveness of the affective strategies on the students‟ Oral English Performance in Selected Senior Secondary Schools in Niger State. Specifically the study sought to:

  1. determine the effect of interest enhancing strategies on students‟ oral performance;
  2. find out the effect of motivation enhancing affective strategies on students‟ oral performance;
  3. find out the effect of students‟ attitude component of affective domain on oral

performance; and

  1. find out the effect of self-confidence boosting affective strategies on students‟ oral performance.

1.5       Research Questions

The study found answers to the following questions:

  1. what is the effect of the interest enhancing affective domain strategies on the SS II students‟ Oral English Performance in Niger State?
  2. what is the effect of the motivation enhancing affective domain strategies on SS II students‟ Oral English Performance in selected schools in Niger State?
  3. what is the effect of the positive attitude enhancing affective strategies on SS II students‟ Oral English Performance in selected secondary schools in Niger State?
  4. what is the effect of the self-confidence boosting affective strategies on SS II students‟ Oral English Performance in Niger State?

 

1.6       Null Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses were postulated for this study on the basis of the research questions:

H01: Interest enhancing affective strategies have no significant effect on the SS II students‟ Oral performance.
H02: Motivational enhancing affective strategies have no significant effect on  SS II students‟ Oral English Performance in selected schools in Niger State.
H03: Positive attitudinal enhancing affective strategies have no significant effect on SS II students‟ Oral English Performance in selected secondary schools in Niger State.
H04: Self-confidence boosting affective strategies have no significant effect on SSII

students‟ Oral English Performance in Niger State.

 

 

 

1.7       Basic Assumptions for the Study

The study had the following basic assumptions:

  1. Affective domain variables were measured through perceived affective domain instrument.
  2. Students opened up to express their candid opinions about the content, their fears and frustrations of learning oral English in terms of their parents not being able to provide basic school materials.
  3. Materials have been packaged based on perceived affective domain strategies– a manual for teaching oral English in SS II.

 

1.8       Significance of the Study

This study is expected to significantly benefit the immediate Secondary Schools,

Students and Teachers.At the end of this study, the learners‟ interest in Oral English will be enhanced as the study is expected to bring out areas that interest the students. The expected result is that of improved oral performance among students.

The study is expected to encourage the students to be self-confident in their spoken English. This is by exposing them to a lot of self confident boosting oral exercises both in and outside the school. When students become self confident in the use of oral English, it encourages them to speak more, even outside the school environment.

The teachers are also expected to gain from this study because, the visible importance of the affective domain and the strategies needed to enhance this domain was brought to the fore. This was done by training the teachers in the use of affective strategies variables of teaching and learning. Teachers were expected to adopt the affective strategies brought out during the training that were found to be effective, especially those teachers of the selected classes who worked together with the researcher.

This research fosters closer relationship between the teachers and students during oral English teaching and learning activities. Teachers were exposed to strategies that are used to encourage and motivate the learners to learn Oral English. This boosted the learners‟ interest positively and enhanced their self-confidence. When these components of the affective domain are enhanced, it is believed that orally proficient learners will be produced in Niger State and by extension in the 21st century Nigeria.Senior secondary school teachers are expected to gain from this study, because they can be exposed to the benefits of the use of affective strategies through refresher courses, in-service training workshops and seminars

Textbook writers can also gain from this study by incorporating its use into textbook items. So also are curriculum planners. They can inject the strategies into the curriculum, from which teachers can break them into manageable units for classroom work.

Researchers may also gain from this work, because the work is expected to bring to fore the importance of the use of affective strategies. Thereby closing the gap created by the prominence accorded the cognitive domain.

 

1.9       Scope and Delimitation of the Study

This study covered only the following areas; Affective strategies variables of interest, motivation, positive attitude towards the acquisition of oral proficiency, and self confidence and their effects on learners‟ oral performance. This is because of the general lack of research impetus and interest in this area. The only work known to this researcher conducted in Nigeria that is related to this study is that of Ajibade and Ndububa

(2008).Their emphasis was on motivation which is a sub-set of the affective strategies. Hence, one of the reasons of interest is to close the gap in this area.

The Senior Secondary (SS II) class has been selected for the study because this cadre of students are more stable as they have left the SS I which is the first transiting class from the Junior Secondary School (JSS). The SS II is also selected because it is not yet in the SS III class which is the final examination or exit class. This class was selected because twelve weeks of class work required. This study spanned a total of sixteen weeks. Two weeks were used for conducting the perceived affective domain test and analysis, another two weeks to complete data gathering demand. The experimental teaching took twelve weeks which gave ample opportunity to work with the subjects. This period of timewas needed in achieving an in-depth research work.

EFFECTS OF AFFECTIVE TACTICS VARIABLES ON ORAL ENGLISH PERFORMANCE OF SS II PUPILS IN NIGER STATE, NIGERIA 

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