This study examined lesson time, lesson duration, school climate and class size as predictors of students’ Mastery of English studies in Lagos State Secondary Schools. This study adopted a Descriptive Survey Design. The population of this study comprised all the public secondary school teachers in Education District II, Lagos State. A simple random sampling technique was adopted for this study. Two English teachers were randomly selected from ten(10) public secondary schools. A total of twenty (20) English teachers were selected. The instrument for data collection was a researcher made questionnaire. The data collected were analysed using the frequency counts and percentages for the demographic data and research questions while question 1 was analyzed using the multiple-regression at 0.05 level of significance. The findings shows that classroom variables of lesson time, lesson duration and school climate contribute significantly to the Mastery of English Studies and that there is a significant relationship between teachers qualification and Mastery of English Studies among others. Based on the findings of this study, the following recommendationwere suggested: English lessons should be fixed in the morning hours on the time table. This will facilitate teaching and learning as the mind is still fresh and not yet stressed up as a result of the days activities. The lesson duration should not be too long else, the students will be discouraged and it should not be short so that the curriculum content will be covered among others.
1.1 Background of the Study
The complex nature of language makes its proper teaching and learning a tasking exercise, requiring time and dedication on the parts of the teacher and the learner. In Nigeria, English language plays a dominant role not only in the field of education but also in other spheres of the Nigerian society such as the economic, social, political, and religious. According to Jowitt (2000) English language began to play a significant role in the Nigerian society in the nineteenth century when white men began coming into Nigeria in increasing numbers. The establishment of British rule in 1900 brought with it fresh influx of white officials to fill the new Government posts. The colonialists promoted the use of the language as the official language and language of education. In this regard, Ike (2001:17-18) notes that:
The ascendency of English language in Nigeria was the brain-child of the education ordinance of 1882 which formally made English language a compulsory subject in all Nigerian schools as well as the main channel of instruction and a vehicle for the training of the much needed manpower to run the fledging government service. The Education ordinance of 1882 was followed in quick succession by those of 1896, 1918 and 1926 all ingeniously aimed to promote the new language for general internal use.
Schooling has multiple purposes, in the long run, higher levels of schooling are associated with higher earnings and economic mobility, better health, lower mortality rates, and greater democratic participation. For these reasons, most societies require children to attend school for a specified number of years or until they reach a certain age. Many of the benefits of schooling occur in part because students learn some new knowledge or skills that enhance their ability to communicate, solve problems, and make decisions. Much of the debate over schooling is essentially about how to maximize the amount of students learning, typically as measured by various assessment instruments such as standardized achievement tests. From a societal viewpoint, since resources most notably, time are required for learning, and are scarce, the amount of learning needs to be maximized at least cost.
Learning is complex, involving cognitive processes that are not completely understood. Typically, school system have established a primary mode of learning that involves groups of students of about the same age interacting with a single individual leading activities in a confined physical space, directed towards learning a particular topic in other words, students are placed in classes. The number of other students in the class can vary. At the extreme, there can be one or more adults facilitating learning with one or two students. At the other, a student may be one of a few hundred being taught by a single instructor (or, with new internet technology, one of millions).
The number of students in a class has a potential to affect how much is learned in a number of different ways. For examples, it could affect how students interact with each other; the level of social engagement. This may result, for example, in more or less noise and disruptive behavior, which in turn affect the kinds of activities the teacher is able to promote. It could affect how much time the teacher is able to focus on individual students and their specific needs rather than on the group as a whole. Since it is easier to focus on one individual in a smaller group, the smaller the class size, the more likely individual attention can be given, in theory at least. The class size could also affect the teacher’s allocation of time and, hence, effectiveness, in other ways, too for example, how much materials can be covered. Teachers may choose different methods of teaching and assessment when they have smaller classes. For examples, they may assign more writing, or provide more feedback on students’ written work, or use open-ended assessments, or encourage more discussion. Exposure to a particular learning environment may affect learning over the time period of exposure, or it may have longer term or delayed effects (e.g by increasing self-esteem or cognitive development that has lasting effects).
For these reasons, changes to the class size are considered a potential means of changing how much students learn. Not only is class size potentially one of the key variables in the production of learning or knowledge, it is one of the simplest variables for policy makers to manipulate. However, the amount of student learning is dependent on many different factors. Some are related to the classroom and school environment in which the class takes place, but others are related to the student’s own background and motivation and broader community influences.
An individual simply cannot advance in any given area of study without committing a certain amount of time to grasping new content, practicing and honing skills and then harnessing knowledge and skills to realize specific aims. Think of the chess master who plays match after match to improve his game or the scientist who toils long hours in her laboratory to unlock the mysteries of an intricate phenomenon. For them, becoming more adept in their chosen field results, in no small part, from the time they invest.
The great irony is that nation’s public school system has, by its rigid adherence to the conventional calendar of 18s six and a half hour days for roughly 100 years, essentially disregarded the fundamental connection between time and learning. Considered that while the expectation for how schools prepare the next generation of Nigerian workers and citizens have risen dramatically, education and policy leaders have usually not updated policies and demands. The school calendar looks much the same as it did a century ago. The complexity of the world and the base level of knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the 21st century have only grown. Having more time in school to meet these ever intensifying demands would seem all the more pressing.
This background therefore necessitates the study of the correlation between lesson time, lesson duration, school climate and class size on mastery of English studies.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Over the years, results released by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) have shown an alarming rate of failure in the Senior Secondary School Examination (SSCE), particularly in the English Language, amongst several other subjects.
English is a second language (L2) as well as the official language in the Anglophone West African Countries. As an international Language, English serves as a language of commerce and international relations. Thus, a high level of proficiency in the use of the English Language is highly desirable for success in an era of globalization. Given the consistently low level of performance in the subject, it seems that the traditional method of teaching and learning of the subject is no longer effective in handling the challenges. The problem is that our public school system has by its rigid adherence to the conventional calendar disregarded the fundamental connection between time and learning, education and policy makers have usually not updated policies and practices around learning time to meet the mounting demands. The school calendar looks much the same as it did a century ago; the classroom are over populated, making it difficult for the teachers to manage and this leads to students misbehavior, less engagement in lessons, and consequent poor performance in their academic work.
It is based on this backdrop, that this work embarked on a study of lesson time, lesson duration, school climate and class size as predictors of mastery of English Studies in Lagos State Secondary Schools
1.3 Purpose of study
The major objective of this study is to examine the influence of lesson time, lesson duration, school climate and class size on mastery of English Studies.
Other specific objectives of the study are to:
1. examine the correlations between lesson time, lesson duration, school climate and class size on mastery of English studies
2. determine the relationship between teachers’ qualification and mastery of English studies
3. asses the relationship between the use of instructional materials and mastery of English Studies
4. relationship between teaching methods and mastery of English Studies
1.4 Research questions
The following questions were constructed in the study:
1. What is the correlation between lesson time, lesson duration, school climate and class size on mastery of English Studies?
2. Is there any relationship between teachers’ qualification and mastery of English Studies?
3. What is the relationship between the use of instructional materials and mastery of English Studies?
4. Is there any relationship between class interaction and mastery of English Studies?
1.5 Significance of the study
This study will be of immense benefit to the following stakeholders in the Nigerian Education such as students, teachers, school administrators, policy makers and the society.
Students will benefit from this study as it will sensitize the teachers on the appropriate teaching methods to use in facilitating the mastery of English Studies.
Teachers will benefits because, the study will motivate the various authorities who are concerned with the provision of instructional facilities to make adequate provision for teaching and learning and this will increase teachers productivity as they make use of the relevant materials in enhancing learning.
School administrators will also benefit as this study will sensitizes them on the various aspects of the school climate for academic excellence in the various schools.
Policy makers will benefits, hence the study will provide an insight on the areas that require policy changes and adjustments as this will benefits the educational institutions by enhancing the quality of education.
The society will benefits because when students’ performance is improved upon, the school graduates will join in building the nation in all ramification of development.
1.6 Scope of the study
This study will cover all the junior secondary schools in Education District II, Lagos state on:
Ø The correlation between lesson time, lesson duration, school climate and class size on mastery of English Studies.
Ø Teachers’ qualification and mastery of English Studies.
Ø Use of instructional materials and students mastery of English Studies