The study examined poor equipped language laboratory as determinant of academic failure in oral English among secondary school students in Ogun State, a case study of four selected private and public schools in Ogun State. The study employed the survey design and the purposive sampling technique to select 450 students across S.S.S 1-3. A well-constructed questionnaire, which was adjudged valid and reliable, was used for collection of data from the respondents. The data obtained through the administration of the questionnaires was analyzed using the Pearson correlation analysis.
The results showed that there is positive and significant relationship language laboratories and adequately equipped (r=0.772; p<0.05). a positive and significant relationship exists between Language laboratory equipments and Oral English (r=.896; p<0.05). a positive and significant relationship language laboratories and academic performance (r=0.772; p<0.05). a positive and significant relationship exists between statistically significant differences and academic performance (r=.896; p<0.05).
The study concluded that poor equipped language laboratory are crucial factors and strong determinant of academic failure in oral English among secondary school students in Ogun state.
The study suggested that; bGovernment should as a matter of urgency direct her attention to the provision of language laboratories in primary and secondary schools; Outanding oral english teachers should be sent out on training outside the country (english speaking country) to see and learn how Language Laboratories are used; Regular training an re-training programs should be organized to sharpen the skills of teachers to ensure better performance.
1.1 Background to the Study
The benefits of language laboratory cannot be over emphasized without defining language and its importance. In order to use a language laboratory, students must be conversant with the term ‘language’ and its usefulness in learning. Language is the method of human communication either spoken or written consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. It is also the development, acquisition, maintenance and the use of complex systems of communication (Atolagbe, 2008; Flora, 2009). Osisanwo (2012) defined language as the human vocal noise or the arbitrary graphic representation of this noise used systematically and conventionally by members of a speech community for purposes of communication. Human language is the most useful tool of communication to mankind (Atolagbe, 2008). Okoh (2006) averred any definition of language must first consider it as a means of communication. It is not debatable that language has so many uses and importance as it cuts across all fields of study or occupation such as the language of publishing, language of medicine, language of business etc. Language learning is not similar to learning other subjects. It is not confined to writing an examination and getting a degree or award, the four skills have to be practiced, to acquire a sensibility for the sounds and rhythm of a language, a person must hear the best samples of a spoken language.
Language is a compulsory subject to be taken seriously at any level of education, However, the federal government has seen to it that not just English language but other languages such as Spanish, French etc. can be learned through various means. Although, there is still one major issue the government has failed to address and this is the issue of the poorly equipped language laboratories. Government should as a matter of urgency direct her attention to the provision of language laboratories in primary and secondary schools, the ministry of education should consider allocating funds as well as the maintenance of language labs. The need for having a language lab is being widely recognized by the English language Academia, schools and colleges across the country are opening up to the idea of establishing language labs for the future benefits of their learners. If all these problems can be solved only then can we think of implementing language lab in our curriculum. In the current digital age where we are all connected regardless of geographical distance ,advancement of technology has made it possible for students/non native speakers to learn languages correctly through audio and visual aids .As we live in a multilingual and multicultural world, Language laboratories can greatly help students learn languages of their choice at their own pace as it is a student- centered approach to learning ,they can record and assess their performance to make sure they are paying attention to all aspects of phonetics such as stress , pronunciation, accents etc.
One way language students are effectively practicing and improving their skills is by using language labs, the use of audiovisual tools opens the dimension or bridges the gap between the theoretical aspect of English and the practical aspect; the labs are designed to provide the learners with a strong platform for practical training in the language. Thayalan and Wilson (2007) opined that language laboratories are required by language learners to have a good command of the language for communicative purposes with the clarity and accuracy being vital for efficient and effective communication. language labs provide a facility which allows students listen to model pronunciations ,repeat and record sounds, listen to their performance and compare with the model and do self-assessments .This teaching technology has been going on for decades, in 1950’s ‘tape decks’ were used before it metamorphosed into computers with digital language today. In the 1950s up until 1990s they were taped based system using reel to reel or latterly cassettes, it allowed the teacher to manage and listen to students audio through hard wired analogue tape deck based systems with sound booths in fixed locations.
The language laboratory plays an important role in the learning of a language, a good English language laboratory when established and used by the institute can perform wonders for the learners, the learners develop a certain interest as it encourages and facilitates the understanding of the concepts of the language. It is a technical aid with a number of advanced features that at the long run increase students’ competence and proficiency in the language. Mambo (2007) described language laboratory as one of the foundation of language instruction, Language students often use the laboratories to do independent works such as listening and re-listening to audio recording, testing themselves on grammatical rules as well practicing vocabulary. The curriculum of the present day education system does not have or have poorly equipped language laboratories rendering the practical study of the language handicapped, scientific advancements have produced a number of gadgets to assist in the learning process such as multimedia control, wireless headsets, microphones, interactive response pads, etc. As strong communication skills are essential in almost all the professional careers, language lab can help in acquiring this important skill. The first language lab was at the University of Grenoble in 1908.
The position Nigeria accords to her language teaching in her national policy on education, 1998 edition is that language (foreign and Nigerian) are grouped under ‘A’ as a core subject made compulsory for both junior and secondary schools, this is more reason why language laboratories in Nigeria should not be neglected because of the countless advantages it renders, take for example the tertiary institutions, we have inadequate language laboratories , the most appalling is that they are either poorly equipped or out of use hindering the students from exploring .Unlike Nigeria , developed countries now teach languages through computer programs , In 1999 British broadcasting corporation (BBC) London mounted a door-to-door campaign on language teaching they captioned RADIO ENGLISH DIRECT(RED),with that program they were able to reach every nook and crannies of the third world countries in order to improve language teaching. Gifts of language learning materials such as cassette tapes, disks, and radio (that neither use battery nor electricity), were given to schools. Similar efforts were also noticed on the part of French Government who sees language as a political weapon by wanting the world population to French literate. Nigeria should tow the lines of these developed countries in improving language teaching and learning.
1.2 Statement of Problem
Language laboratories are very helpful in creating a favorable atmosphere for language learning and helping learners acquire necessary language skills useful to them in sharpening their study at present and streamlining their research and innovative activities in their further studies in the future but it is disheartening and worrisome that English proficiency is very poor especially in communicative aspects (listening and speaking skills).
This problem evolved from either the lack of language laboratories for the students to effectively practice their communication skills or poorly equipped language laboratories. Despite the fact that the ministry of education put much attention on the spoken skills specifically, level of understanding of students is still very low and some of them find it difficult to produce correct utterances.
However, the low proficiency of students in Oral English can be linked to the poor state of language laboratory in schools. Some schools do not have language laboratory and yet in some schools, language laboratory is poorly equipped. Under this condition, students will find it difficult to perform creditably well in Oral English because they are not taught with relevant equipments needed to enhance their communicative skills as well to improve their performance in Oral English.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The broad objective of the study is to investigate poorly equipped language laboratory as a determinant of academic failure in Oral English among senior secondary school students in Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State. The specific objectives of the study are:
- To ascertain whether language laboratory are adequately equipped in secondary schools in Ikenne Local Government.
- To determine the frequency of usage of language laboratory equipments in the learning of Oral English in secondary schools in Ikenne Local Government Area.
- To investigate whether language laboratory influence the academic performance of senior secondary school students in Oral English in Ikenne Local Government Area.
- To determine whether there are statistically significant differences in the academic performance of senior secondary school students in Ikenne Local Government Area taught in an adequately equipped and poorly equipped language laboratory.
1.4 Research Questions
The study attempts to provide satisfactory answers to the following research questions:
- How adequately equipped are language laboratory in secondary schools in Ikenne Local Government Area?
- How often are language laboratory equipments used in the learning of Oral English in secondary schools in Ikenne Local Government Area?
- Does language laboratory influence the academic performance of senior secondary school students in Oral English in Ikenne Local Government Area?
- Are there statistically significant differences in the academic performance of senior secondary school students in Ikenne Local Government Area taught in an adequately and poorly equipped language laboratory?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The hypotheses guiding the study, from which valid inferences will be made, is stated as follows:
- H01: Language laboratories in secondary schools in Ikenne Local Government Area are not adequately equipped.
- H02: Language laboratory equipments are not used in the learning of Oral English in secondary schools in Ikenne Local Government Area.
- H03: Language laboratory does not influence the academic performance of senior secondary school students in Oral English in Ikenne Local Government Area.
- H04: There are no statistically significant differences in the academic performance of senior secondary school students in Ikenne Local Government Area taught in an adequately equipped and poorly equipped language laboratory.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The study is of multiple benefits to students, teachers, school administrators and stakeholders/policy makers in the educational sector. The study informs students on the instrumentality of language laboratory to enhance their academic performance in Oral English. The study makes English teachers aware of the fact that they need to be competent and vast in handling language laboratory equipments so as to effectively promote the teaching-learning process of Oral English. The study will make school administrators, directors, proprietors and proprietresses on the need to upgrade their language laboratory facilities to modern standard. Furthermore, due to the importance of language laboratory, stakeholders and policymakers will be informed on the need to mandate language laboratory in all schools, before any schools become registered or accredited. In addition, the study serves as a body of reserved knowledge that can be consulted by future researchers on the subject matter.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study examines poorly equipped language laboratory on the academic performance of senior secondary school students in Oral English in Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State. The study is confined to only SS3 students in Ikenne Local Government Area of Ogun State.
1.8 Operational Definitions of Key Terms
Language Laboratory: This is a room in a school or college that contains special equipment to help students learn foreign languages by listening to tapes, CD’s or watching of videos.
Poorly equipped laboratory: These are the language laboratory that does not contain all the necessary equipment to help students achieve proficiency in Oral English.
Academic performance: This refers to the grade a student achieves in a test or an examination, which can be poor, below average, average, or above average
Academic Failure: This refers to a very low level of academic achievement. Academic failure in the context of the study implies low level of academic performance of students in Oral English.
Senior secondary School: It refers to the higher part of secondary school education.