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PATTERNS OF INTERACTION IN ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE: CLASSROOM: A SURVEY OF J.S.S CLASSES

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ABSTRACT

The study attempted to investigate the patterns of interaction in English language JSS2 classroom in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria. The study equally reviewed some important and extensive literatures under sub-headings. The descriptive research survey design was applied in the assessment of respondents’ opinions towards the subject matter.In this study, two null hypotheses were formulated and tested with the application of the Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient Statistical tool at 0.05 level of significant. Also, the simple percentage frequency counts were used to analyze the questionnaire responses of the selected respondents together with the research questions for teachers and students respectively. A total of 100 (one hundred) respondents, 50 (fifty) male and 50 (fifty) female teachers were selected for this study. At the end of the data analyses, the following results were obtained thus: There is a significant relationship between the patterns of interaction and students’ performance in English language JSS 2 classroom and there is a significant relationship between classroom interaction and barriers to students’ learning in the English language classroom. Based on the conclusions reached at the end of this study, the following recommendations are made by the researcher: Teachers should not discriminate against their students in the school. They should ensure that all their students are loved and preferred. This will help all the students in different ways in the school. Rather, teachers, irrespective of their gender, should ensure that they do not give preferential treatment to their students so as to avoid being biased against those students they dislike and giving undue advantage to their favourites in the school. Treating students equally by teachers will enhance interactions between the teachers and their students.

Keywords: Patterns, Effectiveness, Interaction, Classroom Teaching and Learning

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

Interactions in language classrooms are important social activities for students through which they not only construct knowledge, but also build confidence and identity as competent language users. Learners learn through talking, in other words through verbal interaction. Classroom is the major medium through which teachers teach and students demonstrate what they have learned.

In an in-depth ethnic study of teacher-student interaction, it was found out that students develop multiple identities through their classroom interaction with their language teachers. The study took place in an ESL classroom where native English language teachers are available. Luke and Lin (2007:188) present a telling story about how students negotiate identity and cultural resources, which are "translated into non-institutionally sanctioned language practices and identities" Perhaps, the social knowledge students bring into the classrooms might be those "non-institutional language practices", which schools and teachers are supposed to build on in order to enhance their learning.

The pattern of classroom interaction employed largely depends on the teacher’s own teaching philosophy and training. Some teachers stress the grammar-translation method and teach English through the students' native language. Others use a more communicative method in which grammar constructions are not overly explained. Community language learning is another strategy for language teaching. Here, the teacher avoids lecturing and allows students to correct and learn from each other.

Some teachers advocate "the silent way," strategy where the teacher says as little as possible and the students are encouraged to discover the language on their own. However, most teachers do not strictly stick to one teaching method or strategy, but rather combine different aspects of several strategies to create effective classroom interaction. Student needs input from a source who knows the target language, and that is why the silent way is not a very effective teaching method. Students will not learn to produce a language without input and exposure, and both vocabulary and grammar are important tools for language learners (Adams, 2003).

Interaction in the classroom entails the conversation between teacher and students, as well as among the students, in which active participation and learning of the students becomes vital. This also accommodates conversations as part of the socio-cultural activities through which students construct knowledge collaboratively. Conversations between and among various parties in the classroom have been referred to as educational talk (Mercer and Dawes, 2008) or presentational talk. Presentational talk is the one-way lecture conducted by the teachers in the classroom, which contributes little to encouraging and engaging students in a communicative dialogue.

Exploratory talk is a purposeful conversation, often deliberately designed by teachers, which provide opportunities to students to engage in hesitant, broken, and full conversations enabling them to try out new ideas, to hear how they sound, to see what others make of them, to arrange information and ideas into different patterns. When students engage in interactions, they produce symmetric dialogue context where everyone can participate, get respected and get the decisions made jointly.   Students' participation in interaction, therefore, helps them enrich their linguistic resources and build the confidence to communicate with others in English (Adeleke, 2004).

Interaction in the classrooms' is emerging as one of the leading conventions to enhance the students' linguistic resources as well as equipping them with appropriate skills for communication. On the other hand, pattern is a kind of arrangement, design or outline whereby teacher and student interact within the classroom context. In the classroom, teachers and students are seen as members of the contexts in which spoken language are taught. Patterns of classroom interaction in the English language are one of the bases of learning in any society and its importance cannot be overemphasized.

According to Nwosu (2001), it is learnt that the knowledge and skills that allow individuals to continue to participate in these activities through our relationships with more experienced or trained people.

Through repeatedparticipation with various forms of assistance such as coaching, scaffolding, modeling and catching, individuals internalize what they learn from our social interaction and transform it into our own version of knowledge and abilities. In other words, a knowledgeable participant provides support with which the learner or beginner can participate in social interaction, thereby extending the learner current skills and knowledge to a higher level of competence (Barnes, 2000). Classroom interaction as a classroom activity and practice, enhances the development of the two important language skills which are speaking and listening among the teacher and learners. This helps the learner to be competent enough to think critically and share their views among their peers.

Learning is not considered as the internal assimilation of structural component of language systems, rather it is a process of changing patterns of participation in specific social practices within communities of practices. In this respect, the classroom is considered a very important social setting. In this setting language is acquired by learners during activities that are created through the face-to-face verbal interaction between teachers and students and among students.

It may be true that the content and processes of language learning are fundamentally related to the instructional practices created in the classroom and that the learning is initiated and facilitated by teachers most of the time. However, it would be better to assert that both teachers and students establish the norms and expectations for realization of their roles and relationships as teachers and learners. In the classroom, teachers and students are seen as members of the contexts in which spoken language has social and educational junction. In the language patterns of classroom communication systems, the role of language extends beyond communication of mere information to the establishment and maintenance of relationships in the classroom (Allports, 2002).

In the past, the traditional approach of teaching was solely adopted by most of the teachers; where the learners used to be dependent only on the lecture delivered by the teacher. They were not exposed to enough practice of speaking on their own and hence the interaction among the students in the classroom was almost absent. But as the education system changed with time so has the teaching methods. Through classroom interaction, the learners will be able to get themselves involved with concepts, ideas and various other devices and products for language and culture learning (Jung, 2000).

The roles of the teacher during these sessions are passive yet very crucial. It is the responsibility of the teacher to create a learning atmosphere inside the classroom. It is through interactive sessions that the teacher can extract response from learners and motivate them to come out with new ideas related to the topic. Learners' learn through talking, in other words, through verbal interaction. In addition to teacher talk, which has been considered to account for most of classroom discourse, the importance of student talk in the target language also has been increasingly recognized in language as a second learning.

According to Jung (2000), through talk, learners learn both the structural components of a language and its communicative application and also share in the co-construction of knowledge. The teacher's role is crucial since teachers integrateevery element under their rule to create or facilitate an appropriate learning environment in the classroom. Teachers can foster classroom conditions that encourage or restrict successful student participation. The teacher is the one who should be aware of differences among learners in order to diagnose needs, apply the proper level of learning support at any given time, and withdraw it at the right time. It can be found that the significance of the teacher's role reflected on his/her utterances with the students.

This study is set to investigate the patterns of interaction in the classroom as a second language among senior secondary school students in Lagos State, Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the Problem:

Interaction plays the primary and important function in a classroom which is to integrate teachers and students together to achieve the goals and objectives of the classroom interaction as essential for working in secondary schools (Alamezie, 2004).

Interaction between teachers and students serves to support secondary school students as they go into higher institutions of education for further learning. Thus, teachers and students must interact effectively for students to realize their potentials. Teachers must explain the required work students must complete in order to succeed and improve the students’ interaction in classroom and beyond. It has also been noticed that teachers do not interact with one another about students and also do not discuss how students learn in other subjects, this shows that interaction has not been effective in schools (Adeoye, 2002).

For this reason of poor or non-interaction amongst teachers and their students, the resultant effect is poor academic performance in the English language in the schools. Lack of interactive classroom in the English language among teachers and their students, has created a distance between the teachers and the students, and subsequently lowered the academic standards in the school.  This study intends to assess the patterns of interaction in teaching and learning of English as a second language in the classroom among senior secondary school students in Lagos State, Nigeria.

1.3 Purpose of the study:

The main purpose of this study is to ascertain the patterns of interaction in the English language classroom as a second language among secondary school students in Lagos, State, Nigeria. Other objectives of the study include:

1.      To identify the patterns of classroom interaction in a Junior Secondary School 2 English language classroom.

2.      To ascertain if there is a relationship between classroom interaction and students’ performance in English language classroom.

3.      To find out if there are any identified barriers to the patterns of interaction in the English language JSS 2 classroom.

4.      To find out if there is any strength or weakness of interaction patterns in the English language JSS 2 classroom.

5.      To determine the objectives of patterns of interaction in the English language Junior Secondary School 2 classroom.

1.4 Research Question:

1. What are the patterns of interaction in English language JSS 2 classroom?

2. What is the relationship between classroom interaction and students’ performance in the English language classroom?

 3. What are the barriers to patterns of interaction in the English language JSS 2 classroom?

4. What are the strengths and weaknesses of interaction patterns in the English language JSS 2 classroom?

5. What are the objectives of the patterns of interaction in the English language JSS 2 classroom be determined?

1.5 Research Hypothesis

1. There is no significant relationship between the patterns of interaction and students’ performance in English language JSS 2 classroom.

2. There is no significant relationship between classroom interaction and barriers to students’ learning in the English language classroom.

1.6 Significance of the Study:

The findings of this study will be beneficial to the followings: students, teachers, parents, school authority and the society etc.

Students will benefit from the findings and recommendations of this sudy in terms of having a better insight on the essence and important roles of effective interaction in English language classroom among senior secondary school students. The study will also assist the students to be able to see the need for them to engage themselves in effective and result-oriented interactions so as to maximize the benefits therefrom.

 The study will also assist students to form the habits of intense interaction with one another in order to be proficient in English language both in school and at home. This study would also help to enhance interaction in the classroom setting which would establish an open discussion and assist on the value of each student contribution. The findings would also help the classroom setting to adapt to a changing word of effective interaction.

Teachers in the English language will benefit from this study as it will enable them to know or have deep insight on the importance of interaction to efficiency in English language at the secondary school level in Nigeria.

Parents will equally benefit from the study as the finding of the study will enable students’ parents to be in the know concerning interactions in the English language classroom in secondary schools in Lagos State, Nigeria.

The School Authority will also have an insight on the benefit of interactive pattern in the English language and its positive effect on students’ spoken English, their academic performance and general attitudes of students in the society.

The members of the society such as stakeholders and the significant others in the society would derive some benefits from the study as it will give them some good knowledge of the importance of interactions among teachers and their students in the school and the society. 

Generally, the successful completion of this study, it is hoped that it would help to enhance interaction in the educational system which would establish an open school climate which allows for lively discussion and insists on the value of each person’s contribution. It is also hoped that education policy makers like Ministry of Education, Teacher Service Commission of Lagos State (TESCOM), teachers and students would benefit immensely from it.

1.7 Scope of the Study:

The scope of this research is to analyze the patterns of interaction in an ESL classroom in selected schools in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State, Education District IV. The research also will cover the research design which is basically descriptive research design in which questions will be used as instruments. Only the senior secondary schools will be involved in the study.

1.8 Operational Definitions of Terms:

The following operational terms were defined in the study:

Patterns of Interaction- This means the way and manner classroom interactions are carried out among teachers and students in the classroom at the senior secondary school level in Nigerian schools.

Interaction:  Interaction is a kind of action that occurs as two or more objects have an effect upon one another. It comes from Latin word "Inter", meaning "between" and "Ago" meaning to do or to act-any "action between" is considered an interaction, like the interaction between a teacher and a student. This is also, a kind of action that occurs as a result of group or individual discussion on a particular subject(s) and or object(s) having an effect upon one another.

ESL- This means English as a Second Language. This also connotes that Englishlanguage is the language of instruction as well as the lingua franca in the country.

Classroom: A classroom is a place where a class of children or students are taught by a teacher.

Dynamics: Dynamics is defined as what causes people to do what they do. It is also seen as causing a change to occur in a situation.

Secondary School: Secondary education is a sub-set of the Nigerian education system. It is the six (6) year programme received by children after primary education and before the tertiary stage. It is grouped into Junior (first 3-year) and senior (last 3-year) secondary schools.

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