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EFFECTS OF DRILL AND PRACTICE ON THE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF STUDENTS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN JUNIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL

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ABSTRACT

This study examines The Effect of Drill and Practice on the Academic Achievement of Students in English Language in Junior Secondary Schools in Lagos State. The purpose of this research was to determine the achievement scores of students taught English Language with drill and practice those taught using conventional teaching methods. and Determine the interest of students taught English Language with drill and practice those taught using conventional teaching methods and compare the achievement scores of boys and girls taught English Language using drill and practice; compare the interest scores of boys and girls taught English Language using drill and practice four questions and hypotheses were stated for the study, the descriptive research survey was used to assess the respondents’ opinions using the questionnaire and the sampling technique. In this study, 120 (one hundred and twenty) respondents were selected and used as samples to represent the population of the study. Four (4) null hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study. Also, the SPSS Statistics tool output of the one-way ANCOVA was used to test and analyses the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance.Based on the findings from the study the following conclusions were drawn that  Application of computer technology to all aspects of human endeavour coupled with the need to create student-centred classroom to engage learners in their leaning tasks, improve learners’ interest and consequently achievement in the school subjects has necessitated the use of computer in teaching. This study has found out that Drill and practice improved students’ achievement, retention and interest in English language than the conventional teaching methods. Recommendations were made on the basis of the findings of this study which include the following: More attention should be accorded computer literacy and operation in the secondary schools and relevant computer assisted instructional packages should be developed for use within the Nigerian school systems. In addition, Nigerian public schools should be equipped with necessary ICT facilities to leverage the potentials of ICT in Nigerian schools and teachers of English Language in Lagos State should adopt the use of the Drill and practice to teach English Language.


CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of Study:

Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) refers to use of computer as a tool in teaching and learning. Widmayer & Alayne (2007) defined Computer Assisted Instruction (CAI) as an interactive instructional procedure whereby a computer is utilized to exhibit the instructional material and monitor the learning that takes place. With CAI the students receive feedback from the computer and maintain some degree of control (Oyenuga, 2008). Some of the computer assisted instruction methods include simulation, animation, drill and practice. The CAI instruction when used in combination with drill provides instruction in such a way that each drills lesson has a series of frame or branches. How? One aspect of student learning that is potentially linked to student performance in any course is the issue of students’ access to drills solutions. No prior study has addressed this issue. Yet, this is an important research question as the decision to release or withhold drills solutions has a wide range of implications for students and instructors (Preciado, 2009). Drills allow for learning in a close, comfortable environment with the same tutor over time. In a study by Schmeck, (2008) it was found that smaller class sizes at school significantly raised final grades. This idea has been extended to the drill system at the secondary school level. Small groups are successful in providing a safe space to ask the questions that one is unable to ask during crowded classroom. Drill also offer the personal attention one may require for learning to take place. In recent times, the practice of teaching students in small groups at schools has emanated from the ancient practice of philosopher-tutors (Steward  &  Aiken, 2009). The educational principle of these philosopher-tutors was to recognize the individual   differences of students and focus on developing an individual student’s thinking process (Steward et al., 2009). In the 20th century, this form of tutoring has been adopted for the common form of schooling with some modification. Perhaps due to economies of scale, students are taught in small groups rather than individually. Steward et al. (2009) summarized the benefits of tutoring as a form of education. These include the personal attention given to students, providing continuous feedback on student progress, mentoring students on learning how to learn, and using students’ academic strengths to overcome weaknesses. Research suggests that tutoring results in positive outcomes in terms of measures of academic achievement, measures of self-esteem, and intrinsic interest in the subject (Strong & Smith, 2011). In the current twin pedagogical structure of teaching followed by drills; drills play a pivotal role in reinforcing and extending the knowledge disseminated to students via teaching. Typically, students attend classes for a first exposure to the course materials and drills provide a platform for consolidating student learning through more interactive discussion and problem-solving activities.

Teaching, especially in large classrooms, is typically a one-way communication from the teacher to the students. In contrast, drills provide the appropriate forum for a two-way communication between the instructor and students. As drills permit interactive discussion on course topics via drills questions and problem-solving activities, drills play a key role in consolidating students’ course-specific knowledge.

Further, in English teaching courses where student assessment comprises mainly closed-book examinations during and at the end of the term, questions on the examination may largely follow the format of drills questions. In such an environment, students would be keen to access drills solutions.

However, there are arguments both for and against releasing drills solutions. Drill provides generally new information to the students in much the same manner as a human teacher or tutor might.      

According to Tella (2007) drills are based on the principles of programmed learning or instruction. Drill involves a sequence of tasks, exercises, or words repeated over and over until they can be performed faultlessly. Drills, drill and practice are interactive and help students remember the concepts they have been taught previously (Widmayer and Alayne, 2007). English Language learning strategies, such as the drilling technique will be able to help the limited learners in writing. At least by doing the drill and practice it will enable the students to write essays given by the teachers because they are familiar with the formats especially in terms of descriptive essays. This type of essays is one of the easiest topics to do by the learners because they will describe the person, place or things with the adjectives they have learned to be used in their descriptive essays. It has become essential for learners at all schooling levels to write and understand their written texts or what they have written.

Actually most teachers have implemented this technique without realizing it they are using this technique in their teaching and learning process. According to Blasingame & Bushman (2007), Yenice (2013), Slesnick (2008) as cited in Wilder & Mongillo (2007): Basically without realizing it, most of the language teachers are using this drilling technique or this strategy to help their low proficiency students in passing their English papers. They have used this technique in years of teaching the students but did not know the specific terms to describe it.

Usually the English language teachers would use this technique in teaching writing because in most of the time and throughout the years the low proficiency students had to be drilled to make sure that they would be able to write a few sentences during their examinations. As Heward points out, drill and practice can be conducted in ways that render it pointless and a waste of time. Research has shown, however, that when properly conducted, drill and practice is a consistently effective teaching method. For example, a recent meta-analysis of 85 academic intervention studies with students with learning disabilities found that regardless of the practical or theoretical  orientation of the study, the largest effect sizes were obtained by interventions that included systematic drill, repetition, practice, and review (Blasingame & Bushman, 2007). Drills when used in combination with practice provides instruction in such a way that each drills lesson has a series of frame or branches. In addition, the use of drills and practice for instruction brings with it several benefits as a teaching/learning medium. These include self-paced learning, self-directed learning, the exercising of various senses and the ability to represent content in a variety of media. In a study, Momoh-olle (2009) found that male generally outperformed girls in retention test in English while Ngwoke (2008) found a similar result in Linguistic. Students’ interest, achievement and retention in any learning activity are sustained by the active involvement of the learner in all aspects of the learning process. Ogwo and Oranu, (2007) and Ngwoke (2008) emphasized that unless the teacher stimulates students’ interest in learning, students’ achievement will be minimal. Hence, it is essential that English teachers use teaching method which ensures students’ active involvement in learning and provide suitable learning environment to improve achievement and stimulate interest of students in English.

 Drills is defined as a form of specialized learning with qualified coaching, the use of micro-computers for learning drills. Or with any other explanation that the drills is learning guidance in the form of referrals, assistance, guidance, and motivation for students to learn efficiently and   effectively.  Providing assistance means helping students to learn the subject matter.

 According to Rusman (2011) learning drills are a way of learning to train students on the lesson material that has been given. Drills will be implanted through certain habits in the form of exercise. With continuous practice, it will be embedded and then it will become a habit. In addition, in order to inculcate the habit, these drills can also increase the speed, accuracy, completeness of doing things and can also be used as a way to repeat the training material that has been presented; it can also increase the speed.

 As an instructional strategy, drill & practice is familiar to all educators. It "promotes the acquisition of knowledge or skill through repetitive practice." It refers to small tasks such as the memorization of spelling or vocabulary words. Drill-and-practice, like memorization, involves repetition of specific skills, such as addition and subtraction, or spelling. To be meaningful to learners, the skills built through drill-and-practice should become the building blocks for more meaningful learning.

 Statement of the Problem:   

Learning outcome of every student majorly depends on the type of teaching methods, teaching strategies, and instructional techniques or approaches employed by the teacher during instruction.  Traditional teaching methods such as lecture, demonstration and field trip adopted for teaching English Language in Junior secondary school by teachers are often referred to as conventional teaching method termed to be teacher centered instead of students centered. This method teaching technical subjects discouraged creativity and disallowed students from thinking beyond what is presented to them by their teachers. The students are reduced to passive learners and as a result become apathetic and repulsive to learning.   Lack of application of effective methodology  for teaching technical subjects as   major reason for    low   academic achievements of students in   junior secondary schools.  Traditional method of  teaching   do not adequately equip teachers with contemporary views of students’ intelligences and their vast learning capabilities. Hence, this traditional teaching methods used by these teachers may be responsible for the low academic achievement in English language.  Therefore, to find solution to these problems, there is need to determine the effect Computer drill and practice alternative teaching method on the academic performance of students in English Language in junior secondary school.

 Purpose of the Study :

 The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of drill and practice on the academic performance of students in English language in junior secondary school in Lagos State. Specifically, the study will seek  to:

1. Determine the achievement scores of students taught English Language with drill and practice those taught using conventional teaching methods.

2. Determine the interest of students taught English Language with drill and practice those taught using conventional teaching methods.

3. Compare the achievement scores of boys and girls taught English Language using drill and practice.

4. Compare the interest scores of boys and girls taught English Language using drill and practice.

Research Questions:  

The following research questions was formulated to guide this study:

1. What is the difference in the  mean achievement scores of students taught with  drill and practice compared with  those taught using the conventional teaching methods?

2. What are the mean interest scores of students taught English language with drill and practice those taught using the conventional teaching methods?

3. What is the difference in  the achievement scores of male student compared with female student when taught with drill and practice?

4. What are the mean scores of male and female taught English language using Computer Drills and practice the test for retention of learning?

Research Hypotheses :

The following null hypotheses was tested in the course of the study.

HO1:  There is  no significant difference between the mean achievement scores of students taught  with  drill and  practice and compared with those taught using conventional teaching methods.

HO2: There is  no significant interaction effect of treatments given to students by gender with respect to their mean scores in the English language achievement test.

 HO3: There is  no significant interaction effect of treatments given to students by gender with respect to their mean scores in English language interest inventory items. 

 HO4: There is no significant difference between the mean achievements scores of boys and girls taught English Language using Computer drill and practice.

Significance of the Study :

The benefits that occur from this study are many, specifically,

STUDENTS:  The findings of this study if found to have positive effect and implemented will also be of benefit to students’ participation and interest in the class room activities. There will be improvement in students’ achievements and interest through the use of drill and practice, command to achieve active engagement, frequent interaction, immediate feedback from work done and connection to real world of work. This in turn will enable students to pass their JSCE examinations in English Language.

TEACHERS:  Teachers will benefit from the result of this study in that they will use the standardized instrument to evaluate the students, rather than the teacher-made test. English Language teachers’ work will become easier and interesting as they will be playing supervisory roles whereby student centered interactive instruction will be used to secure and sustain the attention of the students in learning English Language. The knowledge of drill and practice if found effective will help the teachers to improve their instructional delivery to bridge the gap in achievement, interest of boys and girls in English Language.

MINISTRY OF EDUCATION:  Ministry of Education will benefit from the findings of this study. Effectiveness of drill and practice, will no doubt influence the decision of the Ministry of Education on the need to provide computers and laboratories in junior and senior secondary schools if found to have positive effect. Furthermore, findings will also sensitize the Ministry to organize conferences, workshops and seminars to train English Language teachers on the use of drill and practice to improve their instructional delivery.

CURRICULUM DEVELOPERS: The result will be of immense benefit to the English Language curriculum developers because they will find it valuable especially in the provision of empirical evidence on the effectiveness of drill and practice in the teaching of English Language.

Definition of Terms:

Drill:  is a classroom technique used to practise new language. It involves the teacher modelling a word or a sentence and the learners repeating it.

Practice: is the act of rehearsing a behaviour over and over, or engaging in an activity again and again, for the purpose of improving or mastering it.

 Teaching Methods: It refers to the general principle, pedagogy and management strategies used for classroom instruction.

Conventional Method: is concerned with the teacher being the controller of the learning environment. Power and responsibility are held by the teacher and they play the role of instructor (in the form of lectures) and decision maker (in regards to curriculum content and specific outcomes).

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