Teaching Methods and Students’ Performance in the English Language

Teaching Methods and Students’ Performance in the English Language


The teaching methods used by teachers determine the extent to which students perform in the English language in junior secondary school in southwest Oyo state. This study examines the relationship between teaching methods and the academic performance of junior secondary school students in Nigeria. The study adopted a descriptive research design but with mixed approaches of data collection and analysis. The target population comprised of 120 teachers in Junior Secondary School The research question was answered using descriptive statistics of percentages and inferential statistics tested at the level of significance of 0.05. The findings from this study revealed that most of the teachers’ methods of teaching have a great effect on students’ academic performance; based on these findings, Student-Centered Method and Teacher-Student Interactive Method were recommended to improve students’ academic performance.



1.1 Background to the Study

Education is the most effective agent of social and personal transformation that leaves a relatively formative effect on learners. The primary purpose of teaching at any level of education is to bring a fundamental change in the learner through various teaching and learning methods (Oigara, 2011). The effectiveness of this teaching and learning process largely depends on the choice of the teacher’s teaching method. Whalen (2012) alludes that the effectiveness of a teaching method is reflected in the outcome of the teaching-learning process inform of marks, grades, and mean scores.

Education is one of the most important aspects of human resource development. The students’ performance plays an important role in producing the best quality graduates who will become great leaders and manpower for the country thus responsible for the country’s economic and social development. Academic achievement is one of the major factors considered by employers in hiring workers, especially for fresh graduates. Thus, students have to put the greatest effort into their studies to obtain good grades and to prepare themselves for future opportunities in their careers at the same time to fulfill the employer’s demand. Academic performance in the Junior Secondary Schools determines whether the students will proceed to university for a higher degree or be able to secure a teaching job. Students’ performance also determines the quality of education that will be passed to the students by the potential teachers at primary and secondary school levels.

Teaching methods are categorized into teacher-centered approaches and learner-centered approaches (Oigara, 2011). Teacher-centered approaches include lecture methods, drilling, and questioning. In a teacher-centered approach, learning takes place when teachers teach and later examine taught concepts by giving students exercises related to the teacher’s presentation during or after the lesson. This is to find out whether students grasped the knowledge passed on to them by the teacher. It is considered sensible for teachers to be familiar with the language which the students are using to learn. Language is key to the process of teaching as well as assessing or testing to discover the weakness of the students or areas they did not understand in the course of learning (Brad, 2000).

Learner-centered approaches of teaching involve a state where students construct their understanding of the content and develop a personal feeling about the learned concepts (Collins, 2003). This means that the student-centered approach puts much focus on inquiry and problem-based learning thereby making students as the center point of learning. The methods in Learner-centered approaches include the question, answer, group work, demonstration, guided learning, role play/drama, and project-based learning.

The significance of the student-led learning approach is that students influence the content, activities, materials, and pace of learning. The student-learning model puts more emphasis on a student as a central component of the teaching-learning process in school. The instructor creates platforms and avenues for students to learn independently and from one another and offers supportive supervision to students as they learn. The efficiency of this teaching and learning procedure largely rests on the choice of the teacher’s teaching method.

English Language subject, which is a core and compulsory subject that contributes to the overall mean score of a student at both the school and national level has been poorly performed both in internal examinations and external exams including Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination (JSSCE). Out of the possible 100 percent mark score, the majority of secondary schools in Nigeria have been scoring a mean grade of between 51.02 and 44.879 between the years 2013 to 2017 (Lang’ata Sub-County Education Office Report, 2018).

According to Mocho (2012), poor methods of teaching have been blamed for English Language subjects’ underachievement because Kiswahili teachers are left with the prerogative of deciding what topic and when to teach it in a given level of learning for example forms one, two, three or four. Some Kiswahili teachers go to the extent of teaching all related aspects of a topic at a certain level without considering the cognitive ability of a learner and the level of learning a learner is in. Further, Odundo (2013) asserts that the English Language teachers tend to choose familiar pedagogical methods like the lecture method, drilling, and questioning, which may, in turn, affect learning achievement negatively. However, it is for these reasons that the current state of K English Language performance in secondary schools in Oyo State leaves a lot to be desired. Despite the poor performance in English Language subjects, few studies have been conducted to ascertain the effectiveness of the teaching methods used in teaching English Language subjects in secondary schools in Oyo State, Nigeria. Thus, this study intended to examine the influence of teaching methods on students` academic performance in English Language subjects in public and private secondary schools in Oyo State, Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The expectation for every school in Nigeria is that the students are taught in English using the adopted English curriculum. Taught in English is the catchphrase because the school being studied has an enrolment of less than 10% fluent, first language English speakers (Gomes, 2015). To achieve academic success and attain a JSSCE in the local school’s students must be presented with opportunities to develop and grow in the English language while studying and mastering core curriculum subjects that are taught exclusively in English. Authorities in schools seek ways to develop and guarantee fluency using the best method for providing students with the tools necessary to study and succeed in an English-speaking classroom. Alos et al. (2015) greatly emphasized the importance of having qualified teachers in the field of teaching and said that the success of any program is conditioned by the ability of the teacher to teach. If there is a failure at this point, the whole structure fails. Hence, the implementation, selection, preparation, and supervision of education will be affected. Moreover, Dewett (2007) mentioned that good teacher are constantly on the alert for methods and instructional materials that will make learning meaningful. With the wise selection and use of a variety of instructional materials or audio-visual materials, experiences may be provided to develop understanding. The education system in Nigeria has been in crisis for many years largely because the sector is poorly funded. This has led to a shortage supply of learning materials and human resources being experienced in the system. Inadequate qualified teachers, the high turnover rate of teachers, shortage of classrooms, poor remuneration of teachers, and a host of other problems abound in the education sector. The economic crisis experienced in Nigeria impacted the education system and had played a major role in the decline of the quality of education offered in the country (Olabiyi and Abayomi 2010). Meanwhile, the future of every nation depends largely on the fate of every child that is born into her; most especially those that are privileged to go through the academic walls of the nation starting from the primary level of education to the tertiary institution. Education is an important industry for social, political, and economic development and is being affected by the environment within which it exists (Adediran, Ojomo & Adeyanju, 2015). Hence, national development has been founded by those who are experts in their areas of specialization, and this would not have been imaginable without the instrumentality of the educational system. Every country endeavors to provide quality education for its people. This problem, as a phenomenon, calls for an intensive investigation to know the root causes of this poor academic performance in Colleges of Education in Nigeria. This research was conducted to identify the factors that are affecting the academic performance of students in Colleges of Education in southwest, Nigeria which would help in providing suggestions that would promote better academic performance in the study area and Nigeria at large.

The primary purpose of teaching at any level of education is to bring a fundamental change in the learner (Tebabal & Kahssay, 2011). To facilitate the process of knowledge transmission, teachers should apply appropriate teaching methods that best suit specific objectives and level exit outcomes. In the traditional epoch, many teaching practitioners widely applied teacher-centered methods to impart knowledge to learners comparative to student-centered methods. Until today, questions about the effectiveness of teaching methods on student learning have consistently raised considerable interest in the thematic field of educational research (Hightower et al., 2011). Moreover, research on teaching and learning constantly endeavor to examine the extent to which different teaching methods enhance growth in student learning. Quite remarkably, regular poor academic performance by the majority of students is fundamentally linked to the application of ineffective teaching methods by teachers to impart knowledge to learners (Adunola, 2011). Substantial research on the effectiveness of teaching methods indicates that the quality of teaching is often reflected by the achievements of learners. According to Ayeni (2011), teaching is a process that involves bringing about desirable changes in learners to achieve specific outcomes. For the method used for teaching to be effective, Adunola (2011) maintains that teachers need to be conversant with numerous teaching strategies that take recognition of the magnitude of the complexity of the concepts to be covered.

The English language was one of the core subjects in the Nigerian education system; it prepared students for future careers related to communication and technology. Regardless of that, students had continued to perform poorly. That performance in the English language was a worrying trend worldwide as noted by Amuthelezi (2006). He noted that there was an urgent need to investigate the causes of poor reading and poor comprehension among students. That was to find a lasting solution to the problem. English was also a national language in Nigeria and a global language of communication. Information and communication technology (ICT) used English. It was also a determinant of students’ entry into quality colleges, universities, and their prospects. Many studies had been carried out to establish reasons behind poor performance in the English language. Some of these studies carried out attributed poor performance in English to factors such as poor teaching methods, students’ attitude towards the subject, weak link between primary and secondary school levels, psychological factors, economic factors, level of motivation among others (Eshiwani, 1983, Thuo 1985, Kathuri, 1986, Shiundu, 1987 and JSSCE examination.

It was from these reasons that the current study would examine to what extent did teaching methods influence students’ performance in the English language in junior secondary schools in Oyo State

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The study was guided by the following objectives:

To investigate the extent to which teachers’ academic qualifications influence the performance of students in the English language in junior secondary schools in South-West, Oyo State.

To determine the extent to which teachers’ attitudes influence the performance of students in the English language in public secondary schools in South-West, Oyo State.

To examine the extent to which teachers’ teaching methods influence the performance of students in the English language in Junior secondary schools in South-West, Oyo State.

1.5 Research Questions

The study was guided by the following objectives:

To what extent do teachers’ academic qualifications influence the performance of students in the English language in junior secondary schools in South-West, Oyo State?

To what extent does teachers’ attitude influence the performance of students in the English language in junior secondary schools?

To what extent does teaching methods influence the performance of students in the English language in junior secondary schools in

Research Hypothesis

HA1 Teacher’s academic qualifications influence performance of students in the English language in Junior Secondary School

HA2 Teachers’ attitude influence performance of students in the English language in Junior Secondary School

HA3 teaching methods influence the performance of students in the English language in junior secondary schools in

1.6 Significance of the study

The findings of this study were hoped that it was beneficial to all stakeholders by providing information on teachers’ influence on students’ performance in the English language. It was hoped that this would enable teachers and education planners to tackle these challenges by inventing corrective measures that would lead to the improvement of performance in English. The study would help in determining the type of working conditions and learning environment that favored teaching and performance of the English language. The Ministry of Education was to benefit from the findings and hence work out and formulate policies that would benefit the education sector in general especially with the advent of Free Primary and Secondary Education. This would help in achieving quality education hence high performance.

1.7 Limitation of the study

Some respondents would answer the questions untruthfully to please the researcher or would tell what is not true for fear of victimization or intentions especially in the area of a questionnaire as a data collection tool. The findings were limited to public secondary schools, as private schools were not covered. Therefore, the generalization of the findings of the whole population may need further study.

1.9 Definition of Significant Terms used in the Study

Effect: level of knowledge expected in learners‘ achievement after receiving instruction.

Junior Secondary Education: secondary educational level between primary level and senior secondary level of education.

Modeling: the ability of learners to relate variables that represent the text language of a given problem. Mathematical modeling: procedures for developing an equation in solving word problems. One-step problems: word problems with a single mathematical operation in the statement. Problem-solving: the procedures of translating and interpreting word problems into mathematical format and solution to the problem.

Second language (SL): the language of instruction used by teachers in teaching mathematics at junior secondary school level apart from their first or the mother tongue.

Students’ proficiency: learners’ level of understanding of both the language of instruction and the new concept to be learned.

Students’ performance: students demonstrated the ability to solve word problems efficiently

Teaching and Learning: interaction between teachers and students in acquiring new skills or concepts.

Teacher preparedness in using English: Teachers’ ability in sustaining learners‘ interest in word problems.

Teacher proficiency of English language: Teachers‘ ability to use English language to teach the mathematical modeling.

Teaching policy: law guiding teaching and learning process in Nigerian junior and secondary school.

Word problem: written sentences or English frames which can be translated into mathematical terms or algebraic expressions.


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