This study has thrown an insight into the impact of mother tongue in the
speaking skills of English language.
The impact: of "mother
tongue" was noticed in the section of grammar and sentence structure and
this affected their dialect and their grammar and sentences structure.
Students' background in all the four language skills listening, speaking, reading
and writing was extremely woeful.
Poor still was their timidity towards speaking of English Language, Some of
the teachers did not hide their interest regarding their zeal in teaching the subject.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Table of contents
of the study
if the problem
of the study
of the study
of the study
CHAPTER TWO: Literature review
of Mother Tongue in learning English for specific
Tongue and Translation in English Language Teaching
or improving Learning outcomes through mother Tongue-based education
to be considered in planning effective mother tongue based education tongue
Based (MTB) education programme
what circumstances is the mother tongue model most applicable?
tongue and quality of teachers
tongue models and skill development in the
CHAPTER THREE: Research methodology
population and sampling Technique
for data collection
for instrumentation administration
of data analysis
CHAPTER FOUR: Results and Interpretation Of Data
4.1.1 Impact mother-tongue on spelling and percentage of item response by the
4.1.2 Impact of mother-tongue on translation and of response by the students.
4.1.3 Impact of mother-tongue on knowledge of vocabulary speaking
and percentage of response by the students
4.2.1 Research question
4.3.1 Research question
4.3.2 Effect of early childhood education on mother-tongue
Impact on students' speaking skills of English language
4.3.3 Parental education status as it effects mother-tongue impact on
students' speaking skills of English Language
4.4.1 Effects of home environment on mother tongue impact on students'
speaking skills of English Language.
CHAPTER FIVE: Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
1.1 Background to the Study
The importance of English language acquisition as a stepping-stone for
proficiency in other school subjects cannot be over emphasized. The.' knowledge
is important both for educational, economical and national development of a
The importance of English language as a school subject derives mainly from
its utilitarian value to the larger Nigerian society, English is the officia1 language
of administration and commerce, It is major language of science. Above all,
Salami (2002) had emphasized the importance of tile USC of English language in
improving communication among, the various ethnic groups in, Nigeria, He
further highlighted the need for improving the quality of spoken and written
English .language among school children.
However, one of the current educational
problems of public interest is that of poor level of achievement especially in public examinations
(Kolawole 1998) Kolawole and Dele 2002). This problem of underachievement among school
children has persisted in many subject areas such as Mathematics, English and
Science (Ivowi, Okebukola, and Oladorun, 1992; Falayajo, 1997). This poor level
of achievement in many subject areas may -be due to poor foundation in English Language
at the primary school level. There are also several research reports, which support
the view, that language inefficiency invariably leads to poor academic
performance (Ayodele, 1988; Falayajo, 1997). No wonder why today, according to
Iroegbu (2006) much emphasis is placed on the passing of English language at
credit or distinction Level in addition to other subjects to enable any
candidate gain admission into any Nigerian Higher Institution of learning or be
placed well in a good white collar job.
In recognition of the importance of English language for enhancing educational attainment as
well as for improving communication ability of citizens, the government had
made the subject a core subject (FGN, 2004). It is also compulsory for students
to have credit in English language before entering the university. This also
explains why many parents go off their way to see that their children pass at
credit level or above in English language.
The importance of English language as a school subject derives mainly from,
its utilitarian value to the larger Nigerian society. English is the official
language of administration and commerce. It is major language of science. Above
all, Salami (2002) had emphasized the importance of the use of English language
in improving communication among the various ethnic groups in Nigeria. He
further highlighted the need for improving the quality of
spoken and written English language among school children.
However one of the current educational problems of public interest is that of poor level of achievement especially in public
examinations (Kolawole .1998, Kolawole and Dele 2002). This problem of
underachievement among school children has persisted in many subject areas such as Mathematics, English and Science
(Akpan, Ivowi, Okebukola, and Oladotun, 1992; Falayajo, 1997). This poor level
of achievement in many subject areas may be due to poor foundation in English
language at the primary school level. There are also several research reports,
which support ·the view that language inefficiency invariably leads to poor academic performance (Oluikpe, 1979; Ayodele, 1988
Falayajo, 19.97 Onukaogu and Arua, 1997; Onukaogu, 2002).
Okoro (2000) has stated that the problem of poor level of achievement of
primary school. children was a serious one in Nigeria and this was in spite of
the fact that Nigeria had set up goals for increasing minimum level of learning
by 1995. The author had observed that ample evidences of poor performance were
still observed as the pupils move up the system. Attempt was therefore made to
find out the extent to which Okoro's (2000) observation applies to primary
school English. Language beyond the year 2000.
Perhaps the way English language is taught in schools and colleges may be blamed for some of the observed lapses in
English language achievement and skills of learners. Ubahakwe (1991), Ohia
(1997) and Duff (1997) had criticized the traditional teaching strategy for use in
English language classrooms. Kolawole (1991,1998) had blamed the Use of
traditional teaching strategy for lack of good grasp of basic skills in writing.
Williams (1990) had described this teaching strategy as a hit and miss affair.
Oglan (1997) had criticized the domineering nature of traditional teaching strategy which renders learners passive in
class. He therefore recommended an activity classroom where learners especially
at the primary school level, can make learning a fun: Such learning activities
may include learning with objects, things, photographs, films etc.
Kolawole (2002) also confirmed that the performance of the primary school
pupils in English language was very poor. They stressed further that the
standard was poor due to a number of other .reasons such as:
The use of tribal language in the
lower classes of the primary school;
pupils do not understand the grammar because their teachers themselves do not
know it; and
In most cases English language
teachers in the senior primary schools
resort to these of mother tongue to teach and explain the English language even
up to the secondary school level.
These researchers are of the opinion that there should be a review in the
language policy on education. The review according to them should contain
recommendations that will make pupils to have exposure to the subject quite
early from the primary school' irrespective of the advantages of mother tongue,
They further suggested that teaching and learning of English should be more
practical in our schools, and also the number of years of study and. teaching
periods should 'be increased. Finally, materials for learning the subject
should be supplied.
This will be the time when the problem of failure in the subject will
hopefully be overcome. So a firm foundation in English language is very
important for better performance.
Ogunsanwo (2003) has a different view on the use of English language in the
early years of the primary school. He opined that the use of mother tongue .in
the process of teaching and learning in the early years helps, not only to
preserve and value ones culture but also to develop it lexically. According to
the author, the use of English language in the early primary school makes the
average primary school child unable to be sufficiently literary in either the mother tongue or English language.
He felt that to use English language at that level will lead to the children having a mental translation of a1l concepts presented in English language
to their mother tongue in order to gain sufficient meaning of the concepts
presented. The researcher believes that a citizen that is literate even only in
the mother tongue will be sufficiently equipped to live a useful life in the fast changing world. So if permanent literacy is to be
promoted in the primary schools the use of the mother tongue as the medium of
instruction in schools ought to be encouraged.
Harker (2000) investigated gender differences in achievement of boys and
girls in schools in New Zealand. The study which employed a large sample of
5300 pupils showed that the achievement of girls in English language was
significantly higher than that of boys both in terms of mean curriculum
coverage and examination learning outcomes. The results however showed .that boys achieved significantly better results than
girls in Mathematics. The result further revealed that there were no significant difference in the achievement of
boys and girls in Science (Okeke, 2004). Iyowi, Okebukola, Oludotun and Akpan
(1992) showed that English language and literature achievements by Nigerian
Junior Secondary School Students is very poor (Ivowi, et al, 1992; Okoro,
2000). Primary schoolchildren in the age range of (6-1lyrs) need to improve
level of their achievement or at least the number achieving minimum standard.
This target has not been met (Okoro, 2000).
Although English language retains its dominant position in the education.
Delivery system in Nigeria, the thrust of our educational language policy is
the use of the. Mother tongue or the language of the immediate community in pre-primary and primary education. Interestingly,
private educational entrepreneurs provide pre-primary education exclusively
through the medium of English language. The mother tongue medium education at
the primary school level is provided in less than twenty Nigerian languages throughout the country. English
is the exclusive medium of instruction at the junior and senior levels of
secondary school education.
It was in recognition of the importance and contributions of mother tongue
to education that made the, Federal Ministry of Education in Collaboration with
other educational statutory agencies include in the National Policy on
Education published in 1977, revised in 1981, the use of mother tongue as a
medium of educating pupils at the pre-primary and primary level throughout the
According to the National Policy on education published in 1977 revised in 1981,
Section 2(u) which stated that “Government will ensure
that the medium of instruction will be principally the mother tongue or the
language of the immediate community” also in section 3 of the same National
Policy on Education stated that:
“Government will see to it that the
medium of instruction in the primary school is initially the mother tongue of the
immediate community and at a later stage English”.
The importance of Nigerian language in the educational process is stated in
“In addition to appreciating the importance of language in educational
process, and as a means of preserving peoples’ culture, the government considers
it In the best interest
of national unity that each child should be encouraged to learn one of the
three major languages other than his mother tongue”.
The mother tongue therefore, is a part of the Nigerian culture; it conveys
or transmits culture and itself in subjects to culturally conditioned attitudes
and beliefs (Awoniyi, 1975). The positive results of the experiment in Mother
Tongue Medium in Yoruba carried out at the then University of Ife empirically
demonstrated the great advantages, of mother tongue in primary education for
scholastic attainment (Bamgbose, 1984) and even in the successful mastery of
English as a second language.
At this juncture, it is very imperative to look at whether mother tongue
has bearing on the English language stage among the secondary school students.
It is important to draw attention to the presence of the problems and on the
basis of what will be found out recommend what could be done to reduce them if
they cannot be totally eradicated.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The study is designed to examine the influence of mother tongue on Students
performance in English language in Junior School Certificate Examination. The study investigated if mother tongue is solely the cause of
the student’s woeful performance in English Language, in Junior School
certificate Examination or if there are other complementing factors.
Several scholars have addressed the core problems of communicative
competence in the use of English language as L2 and its use as the main
language of instruction in Nigeria's education delivery process. It is
unfortunate that most school leavers (apart from the products of elite private
schools) do not possess the required competence in the four language skills for
both cognitive and communicative functions.
Statistics released by the West African Examination Council, which conducts
the West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination, show that less than
ten percent of secondary school leaver passes in English language at credit
level. At the tertiary level of education students have so much difficult with
their communicative skills In English that they
cannot function effectively in the academic use of English (Okoro, 2000).
There is no doubt that there is a great diversity of varieties and
functions of English in Nigeria. For example, it is extensively used in both
the electronic and the print media, in the judiciary, the police, the armed forces, the legislative, etc. and as a
lingua franca in political mobilization, ethical orientation and population
education. This confirms the entrenchment of English as the dominant official
language of Nigeria. The nagging problem however concerns the quality of English
that is taught and used in the system. The concern being expressed in informed
educational circles is .the extent to which the variety and quality of English
being learned and used the school system can serve in achieving Nigeria's educational goals and
It is therefore generally accepted that in teaching .and learning processes
the mother tongue of the child is of utmost importance. For one thing, it categorizes
a large part of the child's environment, that is, it has names for most of the
objects, actions, ideas, attributes and so on that are so important to him, as
well as to any society. In many developing countries today, this is either
local language or the language of the previous colorizing power. The mother
tongue.is the child's environment and is the natural basis on which verbal
skills can be built, children learn through communicating in a language, which
they understood, hence the need for this study:
Impact of mother tongue on students’ performance In English Language.
1.3 Research Questions
The following research questions will be used in:
Is there any way that teachers can
motivate students to speak English in the school?
Are there adequate teaching materials for teachers to teach the
(iii) Is there sufficient period to teach the subject
on the school time-table?
there specialized teaches to teach the subject?
(v) Are there anyway students are exposed to
correct pronunciation of words?
HO1:There is no significant relationship
between mother tongue and students' performance in English Language.
H02: There is significant relationship between
mother tongue and students' performance in 'English Language.
HO3: There is no significance difference in male student
performance and female students' performance in English Language.
1.5 Significance or the Study.
This study would provide a thresholds for proper understanding of the
impacts of mother tongue on students' performance in English Language. It will
also serve as a rich source of data for consultation by teachers and students
on how to improve the performance of students in English Language. The project
will form an invaluable material for the academia and the public in general.
1.6 Delimitation or the Study
The study essentially covers Nigerian secondary schools but with specific
reference to secondary schools in Okota/lsolo Local Government Area. This
choice is made to cover both private and public schools. The schools were
selected randomly based on students’
population and enrolment strength. Also the presence of a WAEC marking centre
within the Okota Secondary Schools Complex makes for easy access to data, hence
the choice of Okota.
1.7 Limitations of the study
The chief limitation faced by the researcher was the inability
to reach the target audience to conduct interview as well as to administer the
questionnaires amongst teachers of the target secondary schools. To mitigate this
and other shortcomings, the researcher had to rely much on mail questionnaire
as well as the few people that could be interviewed and those who willingly completed
the questionnaires to corroborate her personal experience in the industry.
The short time within which the research project had to be conducted was
another great challenge, the huge financial implications and the challenges at
the home front were also competing limitations faced during the period of this
research work. In spite of these limitations however, the success and benefits
of the study both now and in the future acted as motivation to finish the work.
Besides, the limitations identified above are inherent in research studies.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Mother tongue: This implies the child's native/ indigenous
language that is parent's language.
Second language: This implies English language which is the official language for
interaction, transaction, communication and learning
Performance: This implies acceptable level of
skill, proficiency, knowledge and attitude.