1.1 Background of the Study
The teaching and learning of English Language is very important in our society today. This is because of the various roles it plays in the geo-political structure of the country. In Nigeria, English Language is used for communication, education, economic and social purposes. In the school system, English Language is not only taught as a subject but it is also the core subject by which over school subject is being taught.
Despite the above, less attention is given to the grammatical aspect of English in the primary school. Today, the nature of teaching and learning of English grammatical structure in the primary school has become 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) is greatly enhanced.
In view of the above, grammatical structure which entails English tenses, parts of speech, punctuation, concord, clauses and phrases, is of immense importance to the teaching, learning and mastery of English language among primary school pupils. Therefore it must not only be taught to the pupils, but it should be taken seriously at the primary school level since primary education is a better foundation on which the future depends.
Looking however at what is applicable in some selected primary schools in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State, the general practice by both teachers and pupils towards the teaching and learning of English grammatical structure is not encouraging. Emphasis has shifted from learning the grammar of the language to teaching of writing and reading comprehension, the use of past common entrance examination question papers, teaching of spellings, dictation etc instead of adequate instruction/explanation on the aspects of English grammatical structures which is much needed by the pupils.
Lack of trained/qualified teachers, inadequate materials (textbooks and teaching aids), poor classroom facilities, ambiguity of some English syllabi, inadequate evaluation of teacher’s work by the supervisory authority, the teacher’s inability to properly evaluate pupils’ work on grammar, are all contributory factors to pupils’ poor performance in not only grammatical structure but other aspects of English language at large.
Therefore the teaching and learning of English language in the primary school should be to ensure that pupils have good knowledge and mastery of the grammatical structures and the ability to use these effectively for a better improvement in English language. This is what has actually prompted the need for this research.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The problem to be investigated in “An evaluative study of the teaching and learning of English grammatical structures in some primary schools.”
The research work is aimed at identifying the causes of pupils’ poor performance in using English structural items correctly. As a result of this, and other problems, this research will specifically investigate the following:
i) How pupils in the primary schools are motivated to learn and use English grammatical structures.
ii) The methods and techniques employed by teachers in the teaching of English structural items in the primary school and the effectiveness of these methods and techniques.
iii) The types of materials (textbooks/teaching aids) used by the teachers and how relevant these materials are to the teaching and learning of English grammatical structures.
iv) The types of teachers employed to teach English language in the primary school.
v) The areas of difficulty faced by teachers and pupils in the teaching and learning of English grammatical structures in the primary schools.
vi) Suggest how best to improve the teaching and learning of English grammatical structures in the primary school.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The objectives of this research are:
1. Find out how English grammatical structures are being taught in the primary school.
2. Address the various challenges faced by teachers and learners of English especially in the aspects of grammatical structures.
3. Make educational planners, language policy makers, curriculum developers and educational administrators to be aware of what is happening in the field (class room).
4. Identify problem areas in the teaching and learning English grammatical structures in the primary schools and to proffer solutions to such identified problems.
5. Assess and evaluate the quality of teachers teaching English and the materials used in the teaching of English grammatical structures whether the materials are adequate, relevant or not.
6. Finally this research work will suggest and recommend some measures for improving the standard of English language teaching and learning with special focus on grammatical structures at the primary school level.
There has been great and serious concern from parents, teachers and educational bodies about the declining standard of pupils’ performance in English language. It is because of this that the researcher sets out to test the following hypotheses:
i) That pupils in the primary school show non challant attitude to the learning of English grammatical structures due to its rules and technicalities.
ii) That some of the teachers teaching English are not qualified to teach English.
iii) That some teachers use methods that are inappropriate and inadequate for pupils comprehension in the teaching of English grammatical structures.
iv) That there is general neglect by both teachers and pupils on the aspect of grammatical structures.
v) That some English textbooks are inadequate, outdated and inappropriate for pupils’ learning background.
1.5 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
Due to the large size of the study area and the number of primary schools availably, the researcher finds it uneasy to cover the whole primary schools in the local government area. Few schools are therefore randomly selected for the purpose of this study, namely:
i) L.G.E.A Primary School, U/Sarki
ii) L.G.E.A Primary School, U/Rimi
iii) L.G.E.A Primary School, Kaduna
iv) L.G.E.A Primary School, Kawo
v) L.E.A Primary School, U/Shanu.
vi) L.G.E.A Primary School, M/Gari.
This research is also going to centre on the teaching and learning of English grammatical structures in the above primary schools only.