Factors Militating Against Proper Teaching and Learning of Literature-in-English in Senior Secondary Schools

Factors Militating Against Proper Teaching and Learning of Literature-in-English in Senior Secondary Schools



1.1 Background Of The Study

Literature in English is an academic discipline today in schools and universities. It owes its heritage to ancient times. Its sources rise out of the inherent nature of man. It is variations reflect the social, political, religious, cultural, and environmental changes of ages, and its objectives demonstrate the dominant ideas, events, concepts, beliefs as well as time and space in the society. The contemporary society which is the inhabitant of both oral and written literature held allegiance to the African traditional society that started it orally. Olehi (2005) stated that education can be more beneficial when it takes wit literature in English as its bedrock because it deals with human innermost feelings. Abola (2004) has it that our traditional literature with which people are informed and the modern African literature are no times distinct literature, cannot be transformed into something or somebody else but into something or somebody new. This shows that our traditional literature molds us while modern literature modernized us. Literature has a vital role it plays for individuals and society. It should not be taken for granted.

Writers renew, expand and update language by discarding awkward and outdated syntactic structure and new grammatical forms of structure just as literature in English structures individual feeling, emotion as a vehicle for culture transmission and preservation. It performs the functions of preserving and propagating culture as stated by Oko (2004). The cultural values of a people are encoded in their literature. This call the attention of teacher of literature to make these plausible functions realizable by cultivating and stimulating positive students’ attitude toward literature. Many educationists are deeply concerned with improving the standard of literature in English.

Muouat (2002), Obah (2001), Elpa (2005) Udondata (1994), and Eka (1991) confirm the poor attitude and performance of students in literature in English at all levels.

The Nigerian government after the attainment of independence and with the wave of Western ideologies saw a great need of making literature in English a discipline in the school curriculum. This was done not only to educate but to propagate the cultural heritage of the country. In achieving this, the curriculum was designed personnel were trained, school buildings were erected and learners were grouped according to age ability. Teaching and learning materials were made available to the school. Ibli (1994). Proper orientation and counseling were done. Teachers recruited into schools were not only qualified but also very conscientious and dedicated in the discharge of their legitimate duties. All these were done to enhance proper teaching and learning of literature in English. The teaching and learning of this subject starts from the first stage of formal education in the poetry form known as nursery poems or hymns which is done through recitation. It advances in the stage as one advance in education. Literature is completely introduced in junior secondary school and it comprises the three genres of literature. And literature in English and English language were integrated to be known as English studies, Ezenyiriobu (1991), which everybody has to study.

Rivers (1968) stated that the Junior high school curriculum should provide the students with an organized introduction to many avenues of human knowledge and experience, showing them the possibilities which lie before them. The philosophy for Nigerian education report of the national curriculum conference (1969) cited by Uwaifor shows that out of the fifteen objectives stated for primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, the following can be achieved through the study of literature in English.

Catering for the difference in talents opportunities and roles open to students after their secondary education.
Raising a generation of people who can reflect on themselves.

Encouraging students to develop the desired achievement, and continual self-improvement both in school and inter life.

Helping students appreciate and understand Nigerian culture as well as the world’s cultural heritage.

Fostering clear communication of thoughts and making a relevant judgment.

In the light of the above and consonance with the educational goal which is the all-around development of a child, proper teaching and

learning of literature in English are very desirable if the said goal is to be achieved.

The teaching and learning of literature in English at the senior secondary school level are not properly handled due to some factors affecting it.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Parents and the entire society send their wards to school to acquire knowledge and skill effectively. The only and best way to acquire this knowledge is the study of literature in English because it is life itself. Indeed, this subject is not properly handled? Is there any factor militating against its proper teaching and learning? To what extent do teachers, students, and parents influence determine it’s the proper teaching and learning of literature in English.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to identify the major factors that militate against proper teaching and learning of literature in English. Specifically, the study is to find out:

How students’ attitudes affect the proper teaching and learning of literature in English.

How teachers’ attitudes affect the proper teaching and learning of literature in English.

How parents’ attitudes influence the proper teaching and learning of literature in English.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This study will highlight and bring proper solutions to the problem of teaching and learning literature in English in senior secondary schools so that adequate and appropriate corrective measures could be taken through the empirical findings by those who will make use of this project. This will guide teachers of literature in English to a very good foundation for the improvement of students’ attitudes toward literature and the educated persons shall be able to handle literature in English and break through its complexity completely. Parents will all know the proper part to play in the children’s career choices.

1.5 Research Questions

Does students’ attitude enhance their learning outcome in literature in English?

Are teachers’ teaching strategies affecting students’ performance in literature?

How does parents’ attitude influence students’ performance in literature?


There is no significant difference between students’ attitude and their learning outcome
There is no significant difference between teachers’ teaching strategies and the performance of students in literature in English.
There are no significant differences between parents’ attitudes and their children’s performance in literature in English.


The followings are assumed by the researcher

There are no adequate and well-qualified teachers to handle this subject

Many parents and even peer groups discourage their children/wards from offering literature in English denying both teachers and students effective teaching and learning.

Students are not fully aware of the importance of literature.

The school authorities do not give enough support to teaching and learning literature in English.

1.8 Delimitation of the Study

This study is based solely on the factors militating against proper teaching and learning of literature in English in some selected senior secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State to test the hypothesis through the use of primary data like questionnaires to collate data. Secondary data will be used to authenticate related academic works.

1.9 Limitation of the Study

Due to the resources and funds available for this study which were highly limited, it shall be restricted to only some selected senior secondary schools in the Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State owing to the sensibility of officers who are in the position to give some information but are unwilling to do so.

1.10 Definition of Terms

These definitions as used in this project work:

Academic Performance – Students’ achievement

Literature – Writings on a particular subject

Genres – Particular style or kind especially of works of art or literature grouped according to their form or subject matter

Militate – influencing to prevent something from working out well.

Primary data – information got from interviews and


Secondary Data – Information got from textbooks, seminar papers, journals, etc

Questionnaires – written or printed list of questions to be answered by students, teachers, etc

Hypotheses – guess that will guide the whole process in this study.

Empirical – facts based on observation or experiment not on theory.

Chapter Summary

This chapter gives a brief history of how literature in English became an academic discipline in schools and universities. Its origination is claimed to have started with our forefathers through folktales incantations etc, more so, the importance of literature in English in our nation-building.

The chapter also seeks to identify the problems hindering efficient teaching and learning in the senior secondary in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

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