The study examined the assessment of stress as a factor
affecting mass failure of students on Oral English Language at Senior Secondary
School level in Mushin local government area of Lagos State. In this study,
some relevant and related literatures were reviewed under sub-headings. The
descriptive research survey design was used in this study in order to assess
the opinions of the respondents. the questionnaire was used to collect
necessary information from the selected respondents, while the subjects for
this study were sampled through the adoption of the stratified sampling
total of 100 (one hundred) respondents were used for this study. They are made
of 20 (twenty) teachers and (eighty) 80 students who were randomly selected to
represent the population of this study. The following research questions were raised
to guide the study:
What are the likely causes of stress on Oral English teacher in the
To what extent does teachers’ methodology affect the failure of students
in Oral English?
What is the difference between the academic performance of students in
Oral English who were taught by experienced teachers and those taught by
Does stress affect teachers work performance in the schools?
How can unconducive environment cause mass failure of students’ in Oral
The results obtained from the
questionnaire were analyzed to see if they answer the research questions raised
in this study. The data collected were analysed with simple percentage
The results that emerged at the end of the analysis of
research questions showed that:
The likely causes of stress among teachers are: Taken their unfinished
works to finish at home; having ill feeling or depression about the teaching
profession, work overload, sadness about delayed salaries etc.
It was equally found that stress affect teachers’ methodology, which in
turn affects the failure or success rate of students in Oral English.
The findings also revealed that students who were taught by well
experienced teachers in Oral English differ in their academic performances from
those taught by non experienced ones in Oral English.
It was equally found that stress affects teachers work performances in
Finally, the result obtained at the end of the analysis showed that
unconducive environment does not favour success in academic careers of
students; as it does not favour teaching and learning process in schools.
Title page i
Table of Contents vi
1.1 Background to the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem 7
1.3 Purpose of the Study 9
1.4 Research Questions 9
1.5 Significance of the Study 10
1.6 The Scope and Limitations of the Study 11
1.7 Definitions of Terms 11
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.0 Introduction 13
2.1 Theory of Stress 13
2.2 Concept of Stress 16
2.3 Causes of Stress 19
2.3.i Emotional Factors 19
2.3.ii Personal-Psychological Factors 20
2.3.iii Mental Factors 21
2.3.iv Poor School Administration and Management 21
2.3.v Rapid Innovations and Changes in the
Educational System 22
2.3.vi Inadequate Training and Teaching Experience of
2.3.vii Inadequate Resources
2.3.viii Student Population 24
2.3.ix Relationship with the
2.3.x Relationship With
2.4 Individual Personality 25
2.5 Methods of Identifying Stress 27
is Teaching Done in Class? 31
2.7 Teacher’s Stress and Productivity 31
2.7.i Attrition 32
2.7.ii Absenteeism 32
2.8 Teacher’s Stress and Student’s Academic Performance 36
2.9 Strategies to Tackle Stress 36
2.10 Other Literatures 39
and Quantity of Teaching Oral English 40
2.12 Teachers’ Effectiveness in Relation to Classroom Situation 45
2.13 Material Resources Available in Teaching of Oral English Language 48
of Literature Review 49
CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
3.1 Research Design 50
3.2Research Area 50
of the Study 50
3.4Sample and Sampling
for Data Collection 57
3.6Data Preparation 57
3.8 Procedure for Data
CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND
Analysis of Teachers’ Bio-Data 59
Analysis of Data Collected from Teachers 61
Analysis of Students Bio-Data 69
Analysis of Data Collected from Students 70
FIVE: SUMMARY, CONCLUSION,
AND SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER
Summary of the Study 78
Suggestions for Further Studies 82
to the Study
The issue of stress among teachers has become an issue of
serious concern in Teacher Education worldwide. Its implication on the quality
of education particularly on Oral English and consequently on national
development are obvious and crucial.
Stress is a word that is gotten from the Latin word
called “stringere”, which means hardship or draw tight. The dictionary defines
stress as pressure, tension, and worry strain resulting from problems in one’s
life. Stress has to do with the social,
physiological and psychological makeup of man.
It is a major factor of weakness of both physical and emotional
disorders. Stress is a common
occurrence among teachers both in private and government sectors. The
behavioural manifestation of stress are lack of adequate concentration and
thinking, minor physical ailment like headache, sleepless night and stomach
upset. Norfolk (2007:34) pointed out
that people under stress become irritable and over react to things.
Stress is defined by Kyriacou (2005:23) as the experience
by a teacher of unpleasant emotions, such as tension, frustration, anxiety,
anger, and depression, resulting from aspects of work as a teacher. Teaching
can be a stressful occupation. The
interactions with students and co-workers and the incessant and fragmented
demands of teaching often lead to overwhelming pressures and challenges which
may lead to stress. Where work stress is unrelenting, some negative
physiological, psychological and behaviour consequences may result (De Robbio
and Iwanicki, 2006:10).
Many teachers would agree that teaching is not only hard
work, it can be full of stress. Pressure due to school reform efforts,
inadequate administrative support, poor working conditions, lack of
participation in school decision making, the burden of paperwork, and lack of
resources have all been identified as factors that can cause stress among
school staff. In the multicultural region, contact between cultures could be a
cause of workplace stress, for teachers who are more familiar with cultures,
acculturative stress can cause lowered mental health (e.g confusion, anxiety,
depression) and feelings of alienation; Those who feel marginalized can become
highly stressed. Teachers from very
different cultures might neither understand nor appreciate the cultural
differences of the communities in which they are placed. Since novice teachers are often reluctant to
ask for help, they may be afraid to let anyone know that they are having
problems in the classroom. This could
then lead to additional stress.
A report of the Educational Services Advisory Committee of the Health
and Safety Commission U.K. (1990:23) informs that about 105 of the workforce
experience occupational stress. Cooper (1994:45) submits that teaching is among
the stressful occupations.
The issue of stress in teaching and its implications has been a major
concern and focus on enquiry for teachers, teachers’ unions and other
professional associations (Rees, 1989:63). Stress is a major behaviooural
psychological link to illness, Strausser (2000:78), Johnny (2001:90) stress can
lead to frustration, discomfort and ineffective performance.
Wynne et al (1991:56) Johnstone (1993:90) from their respective
researchers on occupational stress have reported that teaching is a stressful
job. This situation is observed by the researcher that it must have had a great
effect on the Oral English among some secondary school students and mostly
likely influence the poor performance of students in the final year West
African Examination Certificate (WASC) as recorded over the years.
Also it is observed
that the quality of the English spoken by most secondary school students is
perceived by some good speakers of English to have been deteriorating over a
long period. Such was the complaint of speaker after speaker at a conference on
English Language studies in Higher Education held at Kano in September 1984.
There were also reported cases of mass failure in Oral English.
Although, there are
various factors that could also impede the teaching and learning of Oral
English, which could in turn, lead to mass failure. These include:
environmental factor, such as the non-availability of teaching and
instructional materials, physical factor such as unconducive classroom for
learning, psychological factor such as lack of interest on the learning of Oral
English by the learners etc.
Teachers stress seems
to be the most significant factor that could affect teaching and learning of
Oral English which can result in mass failure in Oral English Language at the
Senior Secondary School level. It is therefore, as a result of this that
researcher decided to carry out this study to survey and observe how can
teachers stress influence the performance of senior secondary school students
on Oral English with efforts to see how this occurs, so as to offer suggestions
on how it could be controlled.
The rate and degree of failure in Oral English by the
secondary school students at the external examinations, especially West African
School Certificate Examination, seems to be a problem of national concern.
Therefore, there has recently been formed a consensus for national conference
at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, to look into the causes of mass failure
of students in public examinations especially in Oral English. Some researchers
such as Ifeanyi et al, (1990:30) attributed to the mass failure of laziness and
lack of seriousness on the parents who exhibit non-challant attitude on the
educational career of their children especially, on their spoken English. For
example, some parents discouraged their children by keeping them away from
attending debate or any speech competition especially if such children are not
participants, or key actors. To be a good speaker of English, one needs to
watch and listen to good speakers of English language and practice what is
learnt constantly, because, practice makes perfect. Again, some literate
parents do not complement the efforts of the teachers for not correcting and
teaching their children on Oral English at home, even, some use the Pidgin
English to communicate with their children.
A good number of the researchers blame it on the teachers or lack of
devotion and effectiveness towards their jobs. Yet, other blame the government
for its failure to provide adequate and suitable environment for teaching and
learning in the school. For this school of thought, government should be blamed
for the inadequacies and ineffectiveness in the teaching and learning of Oral
English. According to them, the government has failed to provide an environment
that makes teaching and learning friendly, teachers are not paid their salaries
and that commensurate with their jobs, their conditions of service is nothing
to write home about. Majority of our teachers who specialize in Oral English do
not teach with aids, language laboratories and current text books on Oral
English. Many English teachers are not specialized in Oral English and lack the
skills involved in it, but simply because they teach English, they are expected
to teach Oral English.
The above factors made the teachers to teach students with great amount
1.1.1 What is stress?
Longman Dictionary of Contemporary, defines stress as continuous
feelings of worry about work or personal life. Syle (1996:56) defined stress as
a response to a challenging demand of event. According to Syle (1996:57), the
circumstances that placed physical or psychological demands on an individual
could be quite stressful, but in spite of this, throughout the life span of an
individual, stress is an inevitable accomplishment and influence on human
existence. The emotional and behaviour patterns that indicate the presence of
Feeling of tension,
apprehension and fear
Reactions that show
that one is worried by a particular incidence and
behaviour changes that is associated with anxiety.
Quick and Quick (1986:34) consider the topic of stress in the teaching
profession as being very important because of the health problems and
subsequent reduction in the effectiveness in work performance that would likely
result from it. Such health problems according to Cooper (1996:90) can take the
form of headaches, insomnia, nervous tension and eventually breakdown of the
nervous system, fatigue and many other health hazards, poor job satisfaction,
lowered self esteem and absenteeism which in turn lead to poor performance in
teaching of Oral English.
Stress in the teaching profession has been found to be a major cause of
teacher burn out, a term used by Enever (1988:67), to describe an individual’s
condition of physical and emotional exhaustion resulting from excessive demands
on personal resources.
Environmental or work stressors have been examined in various ways in
terms of their qualitative and quantitative elasticity as perceived by an
individual. When teachers of Oral English Language are faced with stress, it
could lead to:
the inability to
develop the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours which could enhance the
success of the students in Oral English.
poor preparation of
lessons which in turn would result in an ineffective learning.
restriction only to
teaching from textbooks which in most cases may contain obsolete information
and wrong knowledge which the West African School Certificate Examination’s
board do not assess. English language students under such teachers have a great
deal of disadvantages in passing their examination and a great deal of problems
communicating effectively in the society where they live (Ajayi, 1995:78).
the possibility of
teaching what they are not supposed to teach and leaving taught what they are
supposed to teach, while a good number of them skip certain areas of the
syllabus that they found difficult and time consuming Onwuchekwa (1996:56).
Therefore, what the Oral English Language teachers teach in such
situation is only part of what they are supposed to teach in the given subject.
It is difficult to guarantee that the secondary school students in Nigeria are
actually learning what they are supposed to learn in Oral English.
One can make an endless list of the inadequacies that can result from
stress on the secondary school English teachers. According to Olupade
(1996:45), at this period of rapid changes in the educational structures with
attendant psychological problems, coupled with the high standard of works
performance expected of teachers, who are themselves faced with the biting
effect of inflation in a depressed economy, the teachers are in need of
counseling to be able to cope effectively with the stressful situations.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
There is no doubt that English Language is the official language used in
Nigeria both in schools and outside of it. It is therefore imperative that
students master the subject very well, and speak it clearly and meaningfully.
The essence of good speech is to enable them to get along in their daily
activities in life e.g. buying and selling, interviews, interactions in the
bank, hospitals, parties, shopping centres etc. It also helps self preservation,
respect, political relationship with the appropriate use of language in
different situations. Good speech with appropriate pronunciation, commands
respect and makes any symposium lively, while poor speech results into boring
communication which is very common among students today.
Lack of correct and good pronunciation by the students has been observed
by the researcher to have led to shyness in public. Some students have chosen
to withdraw or keep sealed lips during a discussion both within and outside the
school for fear that their colleagues might laugh at their pronunciations. This
shows the level of their exposure to learning of Oral English. Therefore, it
will be a wrong assumption that the students are being taught by the right type
of people under the appropriate condition and environment (Achuzie, 1988).
Onwucheka (1996) states the following categories of teachers that can be
found in the nation’s secondary schools: The Grade II, the (NCE) Nigeria
Certificate in Education, (OND) Ordinary National Diploma, (HND) The Higher
National Diploma, the graduates without teaching qualification. There are also
the NCE, the OND/HND and the graduate with teaching qualifications.
In many states, the N.C.E. teachers are over stretched. They are only
trained to teach at the junior levels of the secondary schools, but one finds
that they now teach up to the senior secondary schools. Some of them are Heads
of English Departments in our secondary schools in some states. This
development has watered down the standard of learning Oral English in our
secondary schools, as such, teachers lack the ability to cope with the skills
that are inherent in English Language, especially in Oral English. Due to the
fact that they do not have the wherewithal to teach Oral English effectively,
coupled with the poor environment in which learning takes place and the poor
conditions of service, these poorly trained and trained and inexperienced
teachers teach Oral English with stress, in a manner that students can hardly
learn effectively. This has caused dismal performance of students in Oral
English in public examinations like West African School Certificate and General
Certificate Examinations respectively (WASC) (GCE).
Also, the categories of teachers that are classified to possess teaching
qualification are overstressed with other activities in school such as
assigning them to teach other subjects that are irrelevant to their discipline,
It is on this assertion that this study seeks to examine various things
that lead to teachers stress and the effect on the students’ performance in
Oral English at S.S. level in some selected schools in Mushin L.G.A. of Lagos
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study includes:
To evaluate teachers’
role in the mass failure of students in Oral English in some selected secondary
To find out likely
causes of stress in the teacher and whether it affects teachers’ work
To find out whether
there is difference in the academic performance of students who are taught under
a conducive environment and those taught under an un-conducive environment.
To find out whether
there is any possible solutions to the problems of mass failure in Oral English
1.4 Research Questions
What are the likely
causes of stress on Oral English teacher in the secondary schools?
To what extent does
teachers’ methodology affect the failure of students in Oral English?
What is the
difference between the academic performance of students in Oral English who
were taught by experienced teachers and those taught by non-experienced
Does stress affect
teachers work performance in the schools?
How can unconducive
environment cause mass failure of students’ in Oral English?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study will be beneficial to the school as it will
change their bad attitude and approach towards school organization. The school
will have more in depth understanding into the importance of given full support
to the teachers towards effective performance, by making provision for instructional
materials and teaching aids such as tape recorder, charts, videotapes,
languages laboratory, library etc to facilitate the teaching and learning of
Oral English, and thereby reduce teachers stress.
Teachers of Oral English will also benefit from this study, as it will
enable them to have greater insight in the appropriate methods devoid of stress
in delivering Oral English lessons to students, and thereby, overcome the
problems identified and enumerated.
Students will also benefit from the findings, as they will have a great
insight into the causes of mass failure both internal and external examinations
in our country especially at West Africa Examination Council (WASC), General
Certificate of Education (GCE), Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB),
etc., so as to work harder and reduce the mass failure which is repeatedly
recorded yearly in our public examinations. It will enable them to improve on
their weak foundations as they are exposed to co-curricular activities such as
symposia, talks, impromptu speeches, debates etc.
The external examination bodies such as WAEC, NECO, GCE, etc will also
benefit as it will enable them to have an insight and understanding to how, and
why students fail mostly the public or externally organized examinations in
Oral English, so as to ensure that questions set are relevant to what the
The society too will benefit, because the society is one of the
stakeholders in our educational system. The society should therefore not be
kept in the dark concerning the welfare of the students. They will be able to
make more useful suggestions and recommendations.
1.6 The Scope and Limitations of the
The scope of this study covers the evaluation of
teachers’ stress as one of the major factors contributing to the mass failure
of students in Oral English language.
Due to the limited time available for the research work and limited
financial resources, the study is restricted to some selected secondary schools
in Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos State.
1.7 Definitions of Terms
Operational definitions of terms:
Assessment: This is an act of expressing one’s opinion on the worth
of somebody or situation.
Stress: This is the outcome of force or pressure caused by
difficulties or various problems in life.
Influential: Power to contribute to one’s change in behaviour either
positive or negative change.
Multilingual: Ability to understand and speak fluently two or more
Grounded: Act of being well rooted.
Commensurate: Act of measuring by the same standard.