STUDENTS ATTITUDE TOWARDS LEARNING OF ENGLISH IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL IN IKOSI ISHERI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF LAGOS STATE

STUDENTS ATTITUDE TOWARDS LEARNING OF
ENGLISH IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL IN IKOSI ISHERI LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF
LAGOS STATE
CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background to the Study
 Education is the powerful tool which helps to modify the behavior of the
child according to the needs and expectancy of the society. Student’s attitude
is an integral part of learning and that it should, therefore become an
essential component of second language learning pedagogy. Attitudes toward
learning are believed to influence behaviors such as selecting and reading
books, speaking in a foreign language etc. Especially in Education, if the
students have positive attitude towards any subject, they can achieve many
things in that specific area. There is an interaction between language learning
and the environmental components in which the students were grown up. Both
negative and positive attitudes have a strong impact on the success of language
learning.
“Attitude is determined by the
individual’s beliefs about outcomes or attributes of performing the behavior
(behavioral beliefs), weighted by evaluations of those outcomes or attributes.
Thus, a person who holds strong beliefs that positively valued outcomes will
result from performing the behavior will have a positive attitude toward the
behavior. Conversely, a person who holds strong beliefs that negatively valued
outcomes will result from the behavior will have a negative attitude.” Attitude
concept can be viewed from these three dimensions. Each one of these dimensions
has different features to bring out language attitude results.
          The
relationship between student attitudes and their academic achievement is well
documented in both pedagogical and psychological research. Gardner (2005)
defines attitude as an evaluative reaction to some referent or object, inferred
on the basis of the individual’s beliefs or opinions about the referent.
Emphasizing the evaluative nature of attitude, Eagly and Chaiken (2003) define
an attitude as “a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a
particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor”. Albarraacin, et.al.
(2005) stressed the same idea by pointing out that “an attitude is a
psychological tendency to view a particular object or behavior with a degree of
favour or disfavor.” As known, attitudes are reflected by an individual’s
positive or negative behavior toward the referent or object. Thus, one can say
that attitudes come in between two aspects: positive and negative. Abdulsalam
et al. (2012) state that attitudes are in between totally agree (positive) and
totally disagree (negative), they come from individuals and the surrounding
situation. Attitudes can also be defined as a combination of emotion and
behavior. For example, student attitude towards English language learning means
their behavior towards English language learning in the light of their emotion,
motivation, and perceptions. According to Pickens (2005: 44) “attitudes
might help us to define how students can see the different situations, how they
behave in these situations and reflect their feelings, thoughts, and
actions”.
Psychologists and sciologists define
attitude as a term by refering to relation between attitude and behavior. For
psychologists, if behavior is to change, attitude change must come first.
Sciologists mentioned that attitudes can be measured and used to predict
behavior but not change behavior. Chaiklin (2011) points out “a
psychological definition of attitude identifies a verbal expression as
behavior. Those who use a psychological definition of attitude attempt to do
the things by changing attitudes. A sociological definition of attitude looks
at verbal expression as an intention to act. Those who use a sociological
definition of attitude attempt to do the things by changing behavior. It is
necessary to change attitude before behavior can change, it is enough just to
change behavior, or must one deal with both simultaneously.
With respect to the importance of
attitudes in the education domain, one may obviously recognize the importance
of attitude from its definition. Its importance mainly relates to the impact of
attitude on behavior. In a language learning situation, attitude directs
student behavior and achievement. As Saracaloğlu (2004:39) mentioned,
“most of the researches on the issue have concluded that student’s
attitude is an integral part of learning and that it should, therefore, become
an essential component of second language learning pedagogy.” He sums up,
“attitude refers to our feelings and shapes our behaviors towards
learning.” Not only is student achievement influenced by attitude but also
their desire to learn in general. Kim & Mcgarry (2014:28) stress
“attitudes generally relates to a person’s desire to study and
interest.” Teachers should pay more attention to student attitudes as they
affect student success, as Al-Tamimi & Shuib (2009:33) emphasize
“attitudes play a very crucial role in language learning as they would
appear to influence students’ success or failure in their learning.” In
the Soleimani & Hanafi (2013:3816) study, “It is recommended that
teachers should be responsive to learners’ attitudes and value their students’
attitudes and preconceptions, as it can affect their success in foreign
language learning.” Particularly in teaching English as a foreign language
(TEFL), Alseweed (2009:10) points out that “In the context English as a
foreign language (EFL), the ‘attitude’ of the students towards the achievements
of English language has got a queen position and one can hardly ignore it in
such a situational study. Gardner and Lambert (1972) claim that ‘positive
attitude’ enhances second language learning whereas ‘negative attitude’ does not
serve the purpose. Similarly, Shah (1999) agrees with that in his findings that
the lack of a positive attitude contributes towards low achievements to the
students. Hassan (1996) also shows a significant correlation between attitudes
towards English and English achievement.
Generally, an attitude comprises
three main components: affective, cognitive and behavior. The three components
are closely related to each other. Emphasizing this, Fazio & Olson (2003)
point out “attitudes can be based on either affective, congnition, or
behavior, and the existence of an evaluation based on one of the elements need
not imply the existence of the other two elements.”
Attitudes come in different
strengths, and like most things that are learned or influenced through experience,
they can be measured, and they can be changed. Regarding theses three
components Hogg &Vaughan (2005) state that “an attitude is a
relatively enduring organization of beliefs, feelings, and behavioral
tendencies towards socially significant objects, groups, events or
symbols.” To explain the different components, attitudes are defined as
enduring systems of beliefs that can be examined on three different levels:
cognitive (how we think or reason through an attitude), emotional (how we feel
regarding an attitude), and behavioral ( how we act on an attitude)
(www.cybersisman.com). Thus, attitude has an affective domain plus behavioral
and cognitive domains. Highlighting the importance of the affective component,
Brown (2001: 61) stressed that attitude is characterized by a large proportion
of emotional involvement such as feelings, self, and relationships in
community. Moreover, Mcleod (2014) provides more illustration for attitude’s
components. He states that “attitudes structure can be described in terms
of three components: affective component: this involves a person’s feelings,
emotions about the attitude object. For example: I am scared of spiders.
Behavioral component: the way the attitude we have influences how we act or we
behave. For example: I will avoid spiders and scream if I see one. Cognitive
component: this involves a person’s belief/ knowledge about an attitude object.
For example: I believe spiders are dangerous. This model is known as ABC model
of attitude.” Oladele (2014) added “we often expect the behavior of a
person to be consistent with the attitudes that they hold”
          Functions
of attitude are well documented in teaching and learning literature. Thus, it
is common that attitudes are crucial to direct behavior. According to Pickins
(2005) “attitudes influence our decisions, guideour behavior, and impact
what we selectively remember (not always the same as what we hear).” In
addition, attitude is the starting point to achieve goals and outcomes.
Fabrigar et al. (2005) in Moussu (2006:82) explains that “creating and
holding attitudes helps “individuals to achieve desired goals and avoid
negative outcomes” such as avoiding being taught by a nonnative English
speaking teachers (NNEST) if it is believed that it will not help achieve
proficiency in English.”
Of special importance, the function
of attitudes in language learning is illustrated by Abidin, et al. (2012:121)
who concluded that “attitude concept is considered as an essential
component in language learning. So, a positive attitude should be the umbrella
of language learning. EFL teachers should respect and think about students’
feelings, beliefs and behaviors before the cognitive abilities. English
curriculum and classroom activities should involve affective aims according to
the students’ needs and their individual differences to build up positive
attitudes towards English. It is so important to study learners’ personalities.
Cognitive performance can be achieved if the EFL learners possess positive
attitudes and enjoy acquiring the target language. For that reason, the
affective perspective, especially attitude, should be considered in language
research.” Furthermore, previous studies confirm the importance of the
role of attidues in teaching/learning in the EFL context
In Nigeria, English remains the
undisputed language of school instruction, governance, administration,
legislation, judiciary, international relations, unification of the country‘s
numerous ethnic constituents, social prestige, and so on (Adeniran, 1980;
Okedara 1997; Oluga, Adewusi, Babalola, Oyediran, 1999; FGN, 2004; Osisanwo,
2005). Without a credit pass in English Language, a candidate‘s hope of
securing admission to any course in a Nigerian tertiary institution is baseless
(Olatunji, 2000; Osisanwo, 2005). Olatunji (2000) observes that English has
remained the country‘s practically sole official language in spite of the
elevation of French as second official language in 1998.
The mass failure in English Language
that has become endemic among Nigerian students at all levels of education is a
topic of discussions and focus of research, a source of worry to many
stakeholders (Ayodele, 2001; Aduwa-Ogiegbaen, 2006; Adekola, 2007; Kolawole and
Olatunji, 2006). The general deficiency in the all-important language is also
reflected beyond the classroom or examination. People of different
socio-economic status and age commit unpardonable phonological, semantic,
syntactic, and lexical blunders in their day-to-day uses of the language.
This should not come as a surprise
since English is not a native language in Nigeria though many Nigerians are
trying to make it their children‘s first language by adopting it as medium of
communication within their families. The ugly truth is that most of such
parents succeed only in transferring Limited English Proficiency Syndrome
(LTEPS) to their children. After al the parents themselves are inhibited by the
same circumstances of second language environments. This challenge is not
peculiar to Nigeria. As observed by Karahan (2007), many Turkish learners fail
to attain desired English language proficiency in comprehensive and or
productive skills in spite of early and consistent long-term exposure to the
language at all levels of schooling.
The bottom line is that native-like
command of a language in a second language learning situation is almost
impossible. In fact, it is impossible to attain a native-like command of a
second language without an opportunity to live among native speakers for a
considerably long period of time. Kperogi (2010) too testifies that no Nigerian
who was educated at home, including those who deride Nigerian English, can
avoid speaking or writing it either consciously or unconsciously. Therefore,
the idiolects of Nigerians are far from the Standard British English to varying
degrees.
One of the
attempts at helping Nigerians attain native-like command of the English
Language is the publication of several books containing catalogues of ―bad
English‖ expressions common among Nigerians against prescribed Standard British
English versions. Expectedly, attempts to master many of such prescribed
expressions and lexical items result in confusion, arguments, and frustration
since the students hardly have opportunities to practice what they are
struggling to learn. This confirms Thater-Braan‘s (2007) assertion that
particular ecologies give rise to definite languages. The ecological factors
surrounding a typical Nigerian residing in a typical Nigerian environment do
not lend themselves to native speakers‘ kind of English language mastery.
Statement of the Problem
          English
language has a lot benefits to offer to the 
student, but most of these students frequently, are turning a negative
attitude towards it due to the lack of their interest in it. Enligh language is
an official language that aid communication in Nigeria, because the psychology
and linguistic reason for teaching it is to create wisdom and also to motivate
the students in different varieties like lecture, discussion, small – group for
presentation, drama and other varieties which can easily lead to successful
attainment of proficiency, but, most of those students are not motivated to
have interest in English Language at all, that is the second language, not to
even talk on having interest  in reading
English Literature texts. Whereas, higher level of motivation and positive
attitude is part of the major things that can produce more successful second
languages learner.
          Moreover,
many students are not motivated in reading. As a result, they felt that they
are forced to learn the subject and so, they learn it just to pass the
examination. Many students especially in the rural areas are facing
difficulties in learning english due to the language and cultural barrier. Due
to their inability to Comprehend the texts; they are not able to proceed to
mere cognitively challenging activities.      
At present, the issue is whether
student are interested in learning English. The question that have always been
pondered upon are how much literature and reading text should be included into
the curriculum as well as the cultural and linguistic barrier that must be
overcome to facilitate a successful second languages learning environment,
while other studies had been conduct to find out student motivation and
attitude toward  English  learning. This study looks into student
perception of their motivation and attitude toward learning English in
secondary schools.
Purpose of the study
The major
aims of the study is to examine secondary school students attitude towards
learning of English language in Ikosi Isheri local government area of Lagos
state
The  specific objective is to
i.                  
To find out the attitude of secondary school students
towards English language
ii.                
To find out if teacher attitude contribute to
effective teaching of English language
iii.             
To determine the impact of teacher qualification in
teaching English language
Significant of the Study
The findings of this study will provide
insight for English teacher who are teaching the literature to reflect on
whether the approaches that they are implementing in their classrooms are
effective and beneficial to their students. Apart from that, teachers will be
able to understand their students perceptions, motivation and attitude toward
learning  English  By knowing these, teachers will be able to
select a more appropriate method or techniques to teach English in order to
make it interesting and fun for the students.
In this wise, the finding of this
study provides information for curriculum developers as to whether the reading
materials of the english in the syllabus motivate the students and whether it
caters for the students needs and interests.
 Thus it is hoped that through the finding of
this study, teacher are able to cater to the student  and interest in learning English so as to
improve on their motivation and shape their attitude positively as these will
affect their success in second languages learning.
Research Questions
The study is designed to provide
answer to the following questions.
1.                
what
are the attitude of secondary school student towards  learning of English language
2.                
does
teacher attitude contribute to effective learning of English  
3.                
does
teacher qualification has effect on teaching English
4.                
What
are the new steps to be taken by the teachers to motivate the student
towards  English
Delimitation of the study
This research work is delimited to Ikosi
Isheri Local Government Area of Lagos   State. The study is delimited to students in
secondary. The study will comprise of 70 selected secondary school students and
30 english teachers
Limitation of the Study
Among the limitations encountered in
the  course of this project was lack of
adequate funds, I really had financial problems throughout the process of the
project.
Also there was problem of data
collection, four copies of the questionnaire were not returned after series of
call on respondents.
Other limitation include logistic
problem, lack of enough time, there was limited time for the programme.
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