1.1 Background of the Study
The role of the teacher in imparting knowledge to learners in any educational system cannot be overemphasized. Rohwer et al; (2001) have stated that meaning is given to any curriculum of instructional at the execution stage.
This is when the teacher puts the concepts as stated theoretically on paper into practice. For the curriculum to be implemented as properly as was intended and for the curriculum goals and objectives to be achieved, the teachers have to be effective.
Teacher’s effectiveness according to Rohwer et al; (2001) is the extent to which the teacher analysis the task at hand, assess the learners, plans his lessons, instructs the learners and evaluate the extent of success of his lessons. The proper co-ordination of all activities determines therefore the level of effectiveness of the teacher in discharging his duties as well as student’s achievement. The extent to which a teacher discharges his duties well is affected by so many a factor among which is the number of students or class size per teacher. In a school system, this is usually written as a ratio, which is known as the teacher student ratio. In Nigeria situation, the national policy on Education (2004) stipulates that the teacher student ratio should be 1:40 for primary and secondary schools respectively. This recommendation is base on the realization of the fact that a teacher can only do well with a certain number of students in the class.
Beyond that optimum number, the classroom becomes a crowd. Under such conditions, effective control of students becomes difficult and as such will affect student’s performance negatively. While analyzing the factors responsible for students under performance and achievement, Esezebor (2006) wrote that the Universal Primary Education Scheme and high rate of increase of the Nigerian Population has led to a situation where as many students as possible are admitted into the Nigerian school system. According to him, there are situation where the teacher-students ratio is as high as 1:45. Such situation particularly in public schools does not make for close attention to individual students by the teachers. The author further states that high population of some secondary school classrooms results in situation where students have to write on their laps and sit on window sills.
Any learning in such classes cannot be meaningful and the teacher cannot be effective. As such academic performance of the students will be poor. The relevance of class size in education system form the fact that each individual child (student) develops at his own different ratio since the secondary level of education is very critical as it marks the preparatory ground for higher education. It is important that each child (student) should be given a chance to develop at his own rate. Gagne (1990) state that the factors that make children readily for school operates within widespread individual difference they must have a clear picture of their nature and extent.
Blair, (2005) opins that so long as a teacher consider his job to be teaching individual pupil (students), it is necessary to know the level at which each individual operates and set up school tasks to commensurate with each level. In contrary to that, Eliogue et al; (2010) pointed out that unfortunately, whether they like it or not, a large part of their work as teacher involves working with group and not with individual learners. Thus, the problem of dealing with differences among students is complicated by the size and heterogeneity of the groups that constitute school class levels. Under condition of 1:50 providing for differences in the readiness for learning becomes a major problem.
In stressing the importance in students learning, Lindgren (2013) writes that for the level of performance of students to be known and for enough motivation to be given to them to learn, teachers should give exercise regularly to students.
These exercises when written should be marked and returned to the owners regularly. In a situation where the class is very large, a teacher may find it difficult to mark student’s book and return such books to the owners. This fact is complicated by the fact that in some secondary schools most teachers teach more than one subject. Thus, if a teacher has just completed a lesson in mathematics and had given assignment, he may find it not very inviting to give another assignment in another subject to the students for the mere fact that the number of exercise books waiting to be marked could be frightening. If the teacher’s entitlement had not yet been paid, the problem assumes colossal proportions.
It has been agued that one of the factors responsible for the superiority of students in private secondary school class is made up of 25 to 30 students, a good example is Top faith International Secondary School, Mkpatak, located in Essien Udim, the class size is not more than 25, with this class size, it is possible for the teacher to give attention to each (student) within the period of time stipulated for the lesson.
Hunt and Hilton (2005) have also stated that a large class does not allow for enough attention to be paid to individual students by the teacher.
According to them, it reduces the level of teacher-student relationship and as a result does not allow student to know the teacher well enough, establish rapport with him and gain his confidence so as to ask questions about their subject. The teacher in the view of Eklin (1994), then tends to move along with the intelligent learners. He does not consider the creative or slow learners. The more crucial fact is that he does not have enough time to give individual attention to each student thereby hampering their academic performance. This is because; the student is not given opportunity to explore his surroundings, ask questions and get the teacher’s guidance.
Assignments are not given and if at all are given, it is not standard and academic performance suffers. The problem of this study is to find out whether class size affects the academic performance of students in secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
As stated earlier, this research focused on the effect of class size, teaching methods and student’s achievement in English language in over populated class. It is to this insinuation that the researcher tends to investigate into the following problems; challenges faced by teachers in managing class with over-populated students, lack of sufficient instructional materials and other teaching facilities that could aid teaching and learning processes in the classroom. Also poor teaching strategies and approaches adopted by teachers in large class-size and inability of the gifted and talented students to participate fully in the class activities and vice versa.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
In most secondary schools in Nigeria, the number of students to one teacher in a class is very high. In some cases, the teacher is surrounded by forty five to fifty hungry looking students all waiting for his attention. The teacher’s attention in such an environment becomes hampered and the objective of the lesson is not achieved. The purpose of this study is to:
1. To determine the effect of class size and the giving of assignment by teachers of English Language in secondary schools
2. To analyzed the effect of class size and the individualization of instructions in secondary schools
3. To determine the relationship between class size and the use of instructional materials on academic achievements of students
1.4 Research Questions
This study provides answers to the following questions:
i) How does class size affect the giving of assignments to students by teachers of English Language in secondary schools?
ii) To what extent does class size affect the individualization of instructions in secondary schools?
iii) In what way does class size affect the use of instructional materials on academic performance of students in secondary schools?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
To help the researcher in carrying out his study, the following null hypothesis was formulated.
1. There is no significance relationship between class size and giving of assignments to students by the teachers in secondary schools.
2. There is no significance relationship between class size and provision of attention to individual student in secondary schools.
3. There is no significance relationship between the class-size and effective use of instructional materials for good academic performance of students in secondary schools in Uyo Local Government Area.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study is necessary for the following reasons:
(a) It will help school administrators to be aware of the needs to provide more classrooms accommodation for the student in secondary schools
(b) It will bring to notice of the government the need for more secondary school teachers.
(c) It will help teachers see the need to give close attention to students in the class
1.7 Scope of the Study
This study is restricted to an investigation of the relationship between class size and academic performance of students in secondary schools; only students and teachers in secondary school in Uyo local government area were used for the study. The secondary schools include Community Comprehensive Secondary School Four Town and Community Secondary School, Ikot Oku Ubo, Modern Training Institute, Aka Road, and Community Secondary School Aka Offot.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The inadequacy of time and finance did not allow this study to be carried out in all the secondary schools in Uyo. For the same reasons all the teachers who teach in secondary schools in Uyo and all the students could not to be used for the study. The failure of some of the respondents to return their copies of the questionnaire was also a problem.
1.9 Definition of Terms
The following terms are operationally defined as they are used in this study;
a) Teachers: These are professionally trained individuals who impart knowledge to the less experienced in a school setting.
b) Class Size: This is the number of learners taught by a teacher at any given time.
c) Retro-Active Individual: This is the interference of a newly acquired concept on the remembering and recall of previously learned concepts.
d) Learning: This is a relatively permanent change of behaviour due to experience.
e) Academic performance of students: This is the evaluation of the extent of achievement of student’s goal in a lesson.