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IMPACT OF TEACHING AND LEARNING ENGLISH GRAMMAR IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN NIGERIAA

EDUCATION RESEARCH PROJECT TOPICS AND MATERIALS

ABSTRACT

This work entitled “A Study Of Teaching And Learning English Grammar In Some Selected Primary Schools In Anambra State ,  targeted primary schools used for this study were interviewed, served questionnaires, while their teachers were interviewed and their grammar classes observed. The pupils were also given an evaluation test to evaluate their mastery of the English grammar lesson. The acquired data were analyzed using the language theories applicable for this study. The gathered data were entered on Excel spreadsheet and analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively in tables and in words analyses. The analyses reveal that the pupils understand what English grammar is, and have mastery of some elements of grammar such as parts of speeches, tenses, and reported speech. However, it was revealed that other English grammar aspects such as spelling and punctuation are areas in which the pupils are weak and need improvement. It was revealed that most of the pupils do not study nor speak the English grammar with their friends at home, do not speak Grammar after school. Teachers were seen as not giving enough attention to the teaching of English grammar as they do to other lessons in English language such as directed writing, reading comprehension and many do not stick to English language syllabus. The researcher recommended that pupils need to be followed up at home to speak English grammar by their parents, who are also advised to employ teachers to teach their children at home, government should employ more language teachers while pedagogic inspectors should do much on ensuring that language teachers respect the language syllabus and teach the English grammar effectively.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.0. Background to the Study

It is because of the various roles English language plays in our society that the teaching and learning of English has become very important. English language is very important in contemporary society in that it is use for communication, education, economic and social purposes. English is not only taught as a subject of its own but it is also the core subject through which many other school subjects are taught. Despite the important role English language plays, less attention is given to the grammatical aspects in the primary schools. Today, the nature of teaching and learning of grammar in primary schools has become an area of great interest to teachers, researchers and policy makers because through it, the acquisition of the four language skills ( listening, speaking, reading and writing) are greatly enhanced. 

English grammar which entails tenses, parts of speech and punctuations is of great importance to the teaching, learning and mastering of the English language amongst primary school pupils. Since primary education is a better foundation on which the future depends, English grammar should not only be taught to the pupils but should be taken more seriously. According to Chomsky (1957), a child is born with the innate ability to learn. Here, he talks of the Language Acquisition Device (LAD) in which a device is a mechanism naturally built in the brain to take sounds. At a certain age, the brain starts rejecting sounds because of other sounds in the brain. Children learn easily than adults. The device is stronger in children because the brain is virgin and is able to magnify anything coming from the world. So if the pupils are well taught these grammatical aspects, they will better understand, master and use them in their day to day activities until they (English grammar) become a part of them.

According to Saussure (1916), language is the mirror of the mind. This means that the learner produces what he or she has learned. So, if there is no teaching, learning will not take place, hence, the learner will not only be blank but also be ignorant that such a thing exists. For teaching to be effective, the teacher has to master his\her subject matter very well. Instead of most teachers to teach the English grammar which is the most important, they focus on the teaching of writing and reading comprehension. Some contributing factors to the above are unqualified teachers, inadequate teaching materials (textbooks\ teaching aids) ambiguity of some English syllabi and the teacher’s inability to properly evaluate pupils’ work on grammar. Because of these, the pupils’ tend to use the English grammar poorly: a noun as a verb, a verb as a noun, an adjective as a noun and a noun as an adjective just to name but these few. For examples:

  • -Mary complaints to the teacher that she is sick.
  • Complaints here is a noun that the pupils used as a “verb”.  The right sentence is;
  • Mary complains to the teacher that she is sick.
  • -John did not past his first term exams.
  • Pasthere is a verb which the pupils used as an adjective. The right sentence is;
  • John did not pass his first term exams.
  • -The teacher gave us a test to test our intelligent.
  • Intelligent here is an adjective used as a noun. The right sentence is;
  • The teacher gave us a test to test our intelligence.

Moreover, pupils mostly use capital letters only at the beginning of sentences forgetting to know that proper nouns always begin with a capital letter no matter where they appear in a sentence; be it at the beginning, middle or end of a sentence. For example; instead of saying “I am from Bali” the pupils will say “I am from bali” writing Bali with a small letter just because it came at the end of the sentence.

Furthermore, pupils often precede a verb with “TO” when it is not in its infinitive form. For example;

“What my mother did was to sent me to school.”

The above sentence is wrong in that sent is not in its infinitive form but the past tense. The right sentence is: “What my mother did was to send me to school”.

They also find it difficult to compare adjectives.

For example; they will say “I did best in the first term than in the second term”.

Instead of “I did better in the first term than in the second term”.

These and more are the challenges face by primary school pupils. Therefore, the teaching and learning of English in primary schools should be to ensure that pupils have a mastering of the English grammar and the ability to use it effectively for effective communication in oral and written forms of the English language. It is the interest of the present study to examine the various grammatical norms, and strategies that these could be taught in primary schools to enhance the communication skills of pupils through the use of the English grammar.

This research work which is concern with the evaluation study of teaching and learning of English grammar has to do with the nature, objectives, methods, steps and problems of teaching and learning of English grammar in some selected primary schools in Anambra

1.2 Statement of the Problem

English grammar is a problematic area to pupils in Primary schools in Anambra It is important to note that teachers of English language seem to have neglected the teaching of English grammar which is supposed to be taught every day. Most teachers teach them in a passing with no emphasis. Investigation has proven that most primary school teachers tend to concentrate on teaching writing and reading comprehension to the detriment of the English Grammar. The outcome of this neglect is evidence through the poor English spoken by the pupils, poor and irregularities in the grammatical usage of words in the English language. This poor base lays a poor language foundation for these pupils who eventually get to secondary schools and find it difficult to cope with understanding not only the English language but also other subjects taught in English. It is therefore crucial to see ways to redress this situation.

1.3Research Questions

Based on the statement of the problem, the following research questions are generated:

  1. What are the contributive factors responsible forpupils’ difficulties in the use of English grammar in sentences?
  2. What are these English grammatical structures that Pupils find difficulties in using them in sentences and how are they supposed to be used?
  3. What should be done to improve on the capacity of pupils to use the English grammar appropriately and without difficulties in Anambra?

1.4 Research Hypotheses

Based on the statement of the problem and the research questions attached thereto, this study is predicated in the hypothetical contention that Parents, teachers and educational bodies have shown a lot of concern about the declining standard of pupils’ performance in English language. The study assumes that application of inappropriate and inadequate teaching methods and tools by teachers make it difficult for pupils to understand English grammar. The study also contents that English grammar as an aspect of the English language is generally neglected by teachers and pupils. More so, English language textbooks are either inadequate, or outdated or are inappropriate for pupils and their learning backgrounds.

1.5 Aim and Objectives of the study

This study has one aim and many objectives. The main aim of this study is to examine the factors responsible for the poor mastery of English Grammar amongst pupils in primary schools in Anambra and to propose ways to ameliorate the situation. To achieve this aim, the following objectives are to be attained:

  1. Make educational planners, language policy makers, curriculum developers and educational administrators to be aware of what is happening in the field (classroom).
  2. Identify problem areas in the teaching and learning of English grammar in the primary schools and to suggest solutions to such identified problems.
  3. Evaluate and assess the quality of teachers teaching English and the materials used by these teachers in teaching English grammar.

1.6 .Motivation

For the past five (5) years of this researcher’s teaching, she has observed that English grammar is a problem area to pupils, students and even some teachers. The researcher observed this from her students, her neighbor’s children and her sister’s children.  These children find it difficult to differentiate between nouns, verbs and adjectives, incorrect use of proper nouns, using “to” when the verb is not in the infinitive form and their inability to compare adjectives. This was what motivated the researcher to choose this topic and primary school pupils since most children around her are primary school pupils. Moreover, primary school is the base of formal education.

17 .Scope of the study

This study focuses primordially on evaluating the teaching and learning of the English grammar in some selected primary schools in Anambra. Even though the topic talks of primary schools in Anambra, only a selected few will be used as case study. These few are Destiny kids primary school and Bright future academy. The reason for the choice of these schools is backed by the fact that most pupils attend these schools which are currently operational despite the many schools that are not operational in the region and town of Anambra. Also, the issue at stake in this study is strictly on the teaching of grammar in these schools given that it affects the most pupils in Anambra.

1.8 Structure of Work

This introductory chapter entitled “General Introduction”  presents the introduction to the study, statement of the problem, research questions, hypothesis, aim and objectives of the study, the scope of study, definition of key terms, background to the study and the structure of work.

Chapter two is entitled “Literature Review and Theoretical Framework” and reviews available and related literature relevant to the present study as well as examines the theory(s) to be used in the analysis of the study.

Chapter three is entitled “Research Methodology” and examines the various methods employed by the research to gather the data for this study.

Chapter four is entitled “Data presentation, Analysis and Findings” and presents the data acquired in the field, analysis of the data and states the findings or results of the research.

The last part of the study is entitled “General Conclusion” and summaries the long essay, states the findings, the limitations of the study as well as recommendations for further studies. After the conclusion, there will be a reference page and appendices for the study attached.

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