Attitude of Junior Secondary School Students Towards the Study of English Language and Their Academic Achievement

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Published on International Journal of Social, Politics & Humanities
Publication Date: April 7, 2019

Kolawole Oladotun Paul
M.A Religious Studies in View
Olabisi Onabanjo University
Ago-Iwoye, Nigeria

Journal Full Text PDF: Attitude of Junior Secondary School Students Towards the Study of English Language and Their Academic Achievement (A Case Study of Selected Junior Secondary School in Irepodun Local Goverment Area of Kwara State).

Abstract
Education is the powerful tool which helps to modify the behaviour of the child according to the need and expectation of the society. Student’s attitude is an important part of learning and that it should, therefore, be an essential component of second learning method. Attitudes towards learning are believed to influence behaviours such as selecting and reading books, speaking of a foreign language, etc. Especially in education, if the students have positive attitude towards any subject, they can achieve many things in that specific area. There is an interaction between language learning and environmental components in which the students were grown up. Both negative and positive attitudes have strong impact on the success of language learning in Nigeria, especially in several schools in Ifelodin Local Government Area.

Keywords: Education, Student’s, Learning, & Language.

1. Introduction
There is no fair of overemphasizing the failure witnessed at this point of history when it comes to lack of understanding and proficiency of speaking English Language especially among students in Nigeria. Education is a powerful tool which helps to modify the behaviour of a child according to the needs and expectations of the society. Student’s attitude is a very important and essential part of learning and therefore it should not be taken for granted. Especially in education, if the student has positive attitude towards any subject, they can achieve greatly in that specific area.
Gajalakshmi (2013) opined, “there is an interaction between language learning and in the environmental component in which the student grows up. Both negative and positive attitude have a strong impact on the success of language learning”
It must be noted at this point that English Language being the global language, plays a crucial role in making an individual to fits into the real world and fits into the community of the people they are planning to communicate with. But most especially, English Language plays a vital role in the Nigerian society. It is the only official language of communication and to a large extent, the official medium of communication in the Nigerian School setting, thereby playing a unifying role in the country by facilitating easy communication between Nigerians of diverse linguistic background. Knowledge needed for the social, economic and technological advancement of the country are all found in the books written in English Language. All competitive examinations, either for entry into educational institutions or test on one’s competence in securing a job are all done with the use of English. In a nutshell, English is the Language of education, Administration, Law, Communication and Commerce. Consequently, it has a distinct role to play in the social life of Nigerians. It is a means of identity for those who are knowledgeable in the Nigerian society. Once one chooses to educate oneself, one has no good reason not to speak good English. Moreover, one’s deficiency to speak good English can easily be exposed in an interaction with another person.
Considering the special place that English has in the Nigerian society, one would have thought that proficiency in English among Nigerians would be growing from good to better, on the contrary, English in Nigeria over the years have been greatly falling in standard, and so has become a source of worry to many individuals and the Nigerian society as a whole. This is what this research is all about, and it has thus been set to see into what effects attitudes towards learning English language has on secondary school student of Irepodun Local Government Area in Kwara State Nigeria.

1.1 Statement of the Problem
Despite ages of learning English language, one can still easily find some Nigerian youths especially in Irepodun Local Government Area in Kwara State who are still not proficient enough in English language.
This further create more crisis in the educational system of the country as tertiary institutions are being conditioned to still further English language support courses at such higher level of leaning. This has made many employers to still be complaining about the level of English language proficiency among graduates. This poor quality of English especially among students in particular has become a source of worry to many educationists, parents, and the general public. Several reasons have been discovered for this fall in standard in English language, such as poor reading habit, poor teaching, inadequate library facilities, decline in the teaching of grammar etc.
Much of the aforementioned could be said to be accountable, but this research work seek to investigate the role that attitude and the perception of the learner plays in the acquisition of the skills in English as this seemed to have been terribly ignored over the years. This study seek to find out to which extent the fall in the standard of English could be attributed to attitude towards its learning. And also to see how the attitude of the teachers, policy makers and the larger community which includes parents have played considerably in bringing about the fall in the standard of English language.

1.2 Purpose of the Study
Since attitude towards the learning of English language is having serious effects on the students and learning itself, and this as further compounded has different attitudes tend to bring different results. This is to say that right attitude towards learning of English language brings about a positive result. While wrong attitude towards learning English language brings about a negative result.

Therefore, this study works by the following objectives:
a. To find out the influence the attitude of students in Irepodun Local Government Area in Kwara State has on their proficiency in English language.
b. To expose to the teachers in the said Local Government Area the importance of their students’ attitude to the learning of English language.
c. This will also reveal to students concerned that there is no magic to the learning of English language, but that their attitude towards learning English language has a great role to play in their failure in this respect.

1.3 Research Questions
This research work will be guided by these research questions:
a. How do respondents see English language?
b. To what extent do the respondents use English language at home and with their peers?
c. To what extent are the respondents motivated to the learning and use of English language?
d. What has been the effect of students’ attitude towards the learning of English language on the educational sector and the society at large?

1.4 Research Hypothesis
a. There is no significant relationship between attitude towards learning English language and students’ proficiency in speaking the language.
b. There is no significant relationship between attitude towards learning English language and their general academic performance in school.

1.5 Scope of the Study
In order to carry out this research properly, ten secondary schools in Irepodun Local Government Area of Kwara State were chosen among all the available Secondary Schools in the area. This study will be limited to these ten schools.

1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is particularly important to both teachers and students. It provides some ideas on how they can improve upon their efficiency in the learning and the use of English language effectively. Education has become one of the major investment parents make use of, even as the education sector takes a larger percentage of the Nigerian national budget.
More importantly, this study is coming at a time when the standard of education in general and English in particular has fallen. Therefore, the outcome of this research will serve as a major contribution to scholarship.
This study will also serve as a basis for further research, for example, researches into the strategies to be developed and used to combat negative attitudes and perceptions that fight against the study and use of English language.

2. Definition of Terms
The following terms will be defined to enhance better clarity of the entire work.
Attitude: According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary 7th Edition, it is defined as the way you think or feel about somebody or something, or the way you behave towards somebody or something that shows how you feel or think.
English Language: it is a language of communication spoken in many countries and used as a language of international communication throughout the world. It could also mean in some cases a subject of study.
Irepodun Local Government Area: According to Wikipedia () Irepodun is a Local Government Area in Kwara State of Nigeria; its headquarters is in Omu-Aran. It has an area of 737km2 and a population of 1,486,610 as at the 2006 national population census. It has very significant Yoruba culture, and historically significant in the Igbomina land.

2.1 Definition of Attitude
Eagly and Chaiken (1993), defines attitude as a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour or disfavor. While Okreitner R. and Kinicki A. (2004:197) in organizational behaviour, the sixth edition defines attitude as “a learned predisposition to respond in a consistently favourably or unfavorable manner with respect to a given object”
Attitude affects the behaviour of the individual. It would be helpful at this point to distinguish between attitude and values since the two concepts have, more often than not been used interchangeably. Attitudes affect behaviours at different levels than values. While values represent global beliefs that influence behaviours across all situations.