The study examined the evaluation of English Language Curriculum implementation on primary school pupils in Ikenne Local Government.
The study employed the survey design method. 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 study revealed that there is State of available resources has significant effect in the implementation of the curriculum. The implementation of the curriculum does equip pupils to develop their English performance. Teachers’ mode of teaching has significant effect in classroom. Teachers do encounter challenges during the implementation of the curriculum.
The study concluded that English Language Curriculum implementation has significant impact on primary school pupils learning growth in Ikenne Local Government. The study further recommends that; Teachers need an urgent reappraisal. Primary school pupils need to be engaged with new updated curriculum. The teachers must become contextually relevant to primary school pupils in Ikenne Local Government. The ministry of education needs to develop good governance principles for teachers which will help develop a set of guiding principles and policies that will define there direction and ethics. The primary schools needs to establish an accountability board that promotes financial integrity and ethical practices, a board made up of financiers that can guide and discipline teachers and pupils as required.
1.1 Background of the Study
In this modern time of civilization, the acquisition of a second and even third or fourth language is of utmost importance than it was before. This significance attributed to the learning and teaching of foreign languages has been given recognition by the educational authorities, and foreign language courses have however taken their places in the core curricula at different school levels across the world. Among the several types of languages, English is seen as the most preferred not only because of its acceptance as a global language but also due to its widespread use. As stated by Crystal (2014) around 570 million people use English either as a native or second language the world over.
Throughout the history, the value that has been placed to the teaching and learning of English has brought about the development of different methods and approaches having direct impact on syllabus design, classroom practices, and assessment and evaluation procedures. The individual and social aims for learning English and the theories on second language acquisition have had a significant effect on the existence of these approaches and methods, (Adekola, 2012).
These methods and approaches are listed under the three basic views of language. The first view talks about the “structural view” explaining the aim of language learning as the mastery of the structurally related elements in the form of phonological, grammatical and lexical units, and the methods listed under this view includes; “Grammar Translation Method”, “Direct Method” “Audio-Lingual Method”, “Total Physical Response” and “Silent Way”. The second view talks about the “functional view” explaining that language is a medium for the expression of functional meaning from which “Communicative Language Teaching” and “Task Based Instruction” are derived. And lastly, the third view talks about the “interactional view” perceiving language as a tool for the creation and maintenance of social relations to which “Suggestopedia” and “Community Language Teaching” relate, (Richard, 2015).
These approaches and methods mentioned above have affected the syllabuses of English courses. Although, the related literature presents two main categories of syllabuses in English language teaching and learning, this includes “product-oriented” and “process-oriented” syllabuses (Fakeye, 2013). In “product-oriented syllabuses,” the importance is on the knowledge and skills that the learners would gain as a result of instruction. In such a syllabus, content is represented in the form of “structures” meaning the grammatical rules that the students are expected to achieve, or in the form of “functions” and “notions” (Fakeye, 2013). Functions are referred to as the communication purposes of the language which includes requests, offers and complaints. In contrast, Notions are conceptual meanings which include time, sequence, frequency and location (Wilkins, 2015). On the contrary to “product-oriented” syllabuses, in “process-oriented” ones, the attention is however on the processes by which knowledge and skills will be gained by the learner (Fakeye, 2013). In these syllabuses, content is viewed in the form of tasks, activities and themes that the students will have to deal with in classroom.
The English language is mainly considered as the backbone of all other subjects that are taught in primary school, simply because English language is the medium of instruction and communication across all forms of formal learning in Nigeria. In fact, the English language is one of the very few core subjects that is been recommended for primary schools in the National Policy on Education (National Policy, 1981). Therefore, it is a vital pre-requisite for further education. Presently in Nigeria, at least a credit pass (C6) in English is a requirement even for science based students who wants to further education simply because of the emphasis placed on passing English language ‘0’ level in the Nigerian educational system, it is therefore essential that the language is well taught in order that pupils can have effective mastery of the subject. In addition, our political and social circumstances make the use of English language crucial not only as a foreign language but as an official language.
Actually, the related literature stresses the importance of constant inquiry of any curriculum to reach at better conclusions about the effectiveness of its approach, method and syllabus (Fakeye, 2013, Schriven, 2012). However, this issue calls for the consideration of how the inquiry will be conducted and who’ll be involved in this inquiry process. Though, the correct explanation of curriculum is provided by dividing the notion into groups such as “planned curriculum,” “observed curriculum” and “experienced curriculum” (Faniran & Olatunji, 2011). In this regard, a detailed definition of planned curriculum is provided by Öztürk, (2013) as what that has been set out in guidelines or syllabus documents prepared by the relevant educational authorities. The “observed curriculum” is however the one in which people see when they’re in a classroom. Then again, the American National Council (as cited in Öztürk, 2013) clearly defined the experienced curriculum as the planned curriculum tailored and shaped by the interactions of students, teachers, materials and daily life in the classroom.
Nonetheless, these definitions of curriculum originate from the fact that, there can be differences between what is aimed by educational authorities and what is experienced in the classroom. Although, planned curriculum is mostly either unseen or unreal (Fakeye, 2013), therefore inquiry on any curriculum should consider what is experienced in the classroom. In reality, teachers are the key individuals who’re responsible for interpreting the planned curriculum and giving life to it in the language classroom by means of their instructional and evaluation strategies. In addition, it is a fact that the audience or recipient of any curriculum is the students, as they’re the main figures who’re affected by the curriculum. As a result, such an inquiry should certainly involve teachers and students. Moreover, as Fakeye (2013) states there can be differences in what teachers believe occurs in classroom and what actually happens. Therefore, such investigation should compare the teachers’ and learners’ perceptions. It is on this premise that, this study will seek to evaluate the English Language Curriculum implementation on primary school pupils in Ikenne Local Government
1.2. Statement of Problems
There has always been public concern in regards to the poor performance of students in external English examinations (Akeredolu, 2007). There have as well been incidents of mass failure been recorded at both primary and junior secondary examinations conducted across the country. Furthermore, at the senior secondary and tertiary levels, there have also been reports on the continual failure of students in English and these have been attributed to their faulty foundation. This continual release and increase of poor results by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) has engendered general interest and research into this problem in order to ascertain the reasons for this failure, (Adekola, 2012).
It has been observed by Adekola, (2012), Ajayi, (2012), and Fakeye, (2013) that, the causes of the poor performance across the country has been attributed to parental, teachers’, students’ and governmental factors, with emphasis being on the teaching strategies employed by teachers. However, the attention has shifted to the skills and adequacy of the training of English language teachers (Faniran & Olatunji, 2011).
Prior researches had identified students’ academic achievement as a correlate of the quality of teachers (Darling-Hammond, 2000 & Anderson, 1991, cited in Fakeye, 2010). Furthermore, it has also been noted by (Fakeye, 2010) that effective teaching could be measured by the teachers’ level of subject matter competence. Also, this view was corroborated by Ajelayemi (2012), who commented on problems or challenges affecting secondary schools in Nigeria, and suggested that, the teacher factor has been identified as the most crucial and indirectly, the teacher education programs have been indicted.
Likewise, Faniran and Olatunji, (2011) asserted that the alliance between Nigeria Teacher Institute and the British Council has identified that effective teaching by teachers will significantly enhance students’ performance in the language. Furthermore, there’ve also been cases of the lack of interest among teachers in training due to the low status accorded the teaching profession (Osunde & Izevbige, 2012).
Finally, one main factor in the positive academic achievement of students is the expertise of teachers and not the methods of teaching. Therefore, it is in line with this thought that this study seeks to bridge the gap by evaluating the English Language Curriculum implementation on primary school pupils.
1.3. Research Objectives
The main objective of the study is to evaluate the English Language Curriculum implementation on primary school pupils in Ikenne Local Government. The specific objectives are to;
- find out the state of available resources in the implementation of the curriculum
- examine how the implementation of the curriculum equip pupils to develop their English performance
- investigate the mode of teaching the teachers use in the classroom
- examine the kinds of problems encountered by the teachers during the implementation of the curriculum.
1.4. Research Questions
The following research questions were posed for the study.
- What is the state of available resources in the implementation of the curriculum?
- How does the implementation of the curriculum equip pupils to develop their English performance?
- 3. What mode of teaching do teachers use in the classrooms?
- 4. What kinds of problems are encountered by the teachers during the implementation of the curriculum?
1.5. Research Hypotheses
In view of the above objectives, the hypothesis will be presented in their null forms.
- State of available resources has no significant effect in the implementation of the curriculum.
- The implementation of the curriculum does not equip pupils to develop their English performance.
- Teachers’ mode of teaching has no significant effect in classroom.
- Teachers do not encounter challenges during the implementation of the curriculum.
1.6. Significance of the Study
It is however hoped that, this study will be of significant in several areas. At first, it provides feedback for the implementation of the English curriculum of primary schools in Nigeria. In other words, it provides feedback on how the planned curriculum is viewed and implemented by the teachers, and how the implemented curriculum is practiced by the students in the classroom. Hence, it will also help the curriculum developers to envisage how their decisions are interpreted and practiced by the teachers in the classroom. It will also be of significance to the teachers to see how the curriculum implementation is perceived by the students. In turn, what is and isn’t implemented alongside with what is and isn’t experienced can be determined and the reasons for the disparities among the intended, perceived, implemented and experienced curriculum can be identified.
Furthermore, this study will also help to identify the problems or challenges faced in achieving the goals of the present English curriculum from the views of teachers and students in order to ensure that the authorities can have a possibility to consider these issues in their attempts to enhance the English language curriculum. This study is significant as it’s been conducted at the time when utmost importance is given to the teaching and learning of English, at various levels in primary schools and when the Ministry of Education is in an attempt to reconsider and make changes in the current English language curricula at various levels. Therefore, the results obtained from the present implementation strategies, the challenges or problems encountered and suggestions made by the teachers and students are expected to give useful information for the specialists in their future attempts.
The findings related to the problems in curriculum implementation will also be of importance, as it’ll help teachers to improve their performance and instructional strategies and can also be used as a reference study in not only English language teaching methods courses in universities but in addition pre-and in-service training programs offered by the Ministry of Education.
Lastly, this study will be of significance as it will help to contribute to the existing literature. In line to this, a close examination of the curriculum implementation in the Nigeria context and the recognition of the background issues can provide point of view for other similar education systems.
1.7. Scope of the Study
The study focuses on the evaluation of the English Language curriculum implementation on primary school pupils in Ikenne Local Government. This study will however be restricted to selected schools in Ikenne Local Government, while the study will also be limited to the use of questionnaire as a primary source of data to gather the opinion of the respondents.
1.8. Operational Definition of Terms
English Language Curriculum: English language curriculum refers to the curriculum that has been planned by the Ministry of Education and implemented in all levels of education in Nigeria.
English Language Teaching: English language teaching refers to the teaching and learning of English as a foreign language in primary schools in Nigeria.
Curriculum Implementation: The process of carrying out the English language curriculum by the teachers and students in the classroom. It includes both the curriculum and the instructional practice with respect to achieving the expected outcomes.
Primary School: Primary School is an institution where children in Nigeria receive the first stage of compulsory education.