TEACHING LITERATURE-IN-ENGLISH IN LARGE CLASS: A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

TEACHING LITERATURE-IN-ENGLISH IN LARGE CLASS: A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

ABSTRACT

This study examined the effect of teaching Literature-in-English in a large class in some secondary school in Irepodun/Ifelodun local government area of Ekiti State.

Specifically the study ascertained the state and causes of large class in the teaching of literature-in-English, whether large class is a valid solution to the shortage of personnel and materials resources for the teaching of Literature-in-English in secondary schools, the problems associated with teaching Literature-in-English in large class. In view of this five research questions were raised for this study to answer, in order to achieve the stated objectives of the study. This study is a descriptive research design of survey type which comprises of some Literature-in-English teachers in secondary schools in the study area. Simple random sampling technique was used to selected 20 teachers. Questionnaire was used to collect data for the study. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics tool for frequency count and percentage to analyse the research questions. The result of the study reveals that enlarging the class size is a valid solution to the shortage of personnel and material resources which are parts of causes of teaching Literature-in-English in large class of secondary school. Also inadequate classroom encourage the teaching of Literature-in-English in large class in the concerned school, on the effect of large class on academic performance, the study shows that the noise in that class is too much. Teachers do not have the chance of checking student work regularly as the student whose works are to be attended to are many. Based on the data collection, the study concluded that large classes of secondary schools comes to be as a result of inadequate classrooms, inadequate personnel, inadequate material resources and availability of many primary schools in the area .

It was recommended that the authority of the school to solicit for more assistance from the government on their buildings in the school, even the parents Teachers Association (PTA) forum should be consulted on what they can do to have buildings.

 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the study

Every nation that is committed to progress and advancement strives to have system of education that reflects the changing needs of the nation. Such changes are usually not born out of coercion but out of the desire by both the government and the people to evolve a system that meets their goals, aspirations, immediate and long-term needs (Ale &Omirin, 2008). Thus, education becomes a vital and crucial tool needed for the formation of minds from childhood to adulthood in a designed environment called school. School is a place where learning and acquisition of skills take place for the total development of each individual, the society and the nation as a whole (Ale &Omirin, 2008).

Education is the best gift a nation can give to her citizens, most especially to her youth. It has been recognized globally as a key to economic development (Olubanwo, 2005), this is because the development of any nation depends largely on the quality of her education. Education is very important for every nation of the world. It is important because the transmission of cultural heritage and technological advancement of any nation depends on it. In recognition of the importance of education, every nation including Nigeria earmarks huge budgetary allocations for it yearly (Nwosu, 2008).

Teaching Literature-in-English in large classes is a challenge, but it can also offer many opportunities to improve teachers teaching skill and to make it more enjoyable and rewarding for teachers and students. In a large class setting, teachers have the opportunity to improve organizational and managerial skills as they work to creatively organize classroom into a comfortable, welcoming learning environment and to manage the many students within it.

Large classes offer the opportunity to improve interpersonal skills as teachers try different ways to get to know each student as an individual through their work in class or their lives outside of it. They will also equally enjoy getting to know him/her. Large classes give the opportunity to improve teaching and presentation skills. As the mentions above, constantly lecturing to a large class – or even a small one – can become boring and worrisome. The value of a large class is that it contains a diversity of students and learning styles and teacher can use many different, active, and fun ways of teaching. The cumulative knowledge, experiences, skills, and interests of many students, furthermore, can be valuable starting points for planning lessons and activities so that learning becomes meaningful for the students. In addition, by involving students’ families, teacher will also have greater access to resources for learning.

It will also improve teacher evaluation skills as he/she devise a variety of ways to tell whether students have really learned the material, instead of relying only on short answer exams, which may seem necessary for large classes. For instance, teacher can give students in-class and out-of-class assignments that ask them what they have learned and what questions they have about what they have learned. Rather than following students’ failures, teacher can also track their successes, which are also teachers’ successes in teaching. Teacher will find also that involving students in their learning and in assessing how well they have done can save time and reduce your workload.

Students can also benefit from being in large classes. When there are many students in a class, they can share many different ideas and interesting life experiences. This stimulates the students and enlivens those parts of the lessons where students can discuss and learn from each other especially in literature-in-English. During project work, students can learn to share responsibility and help each other, as well as to listen, to have patience, and to express themselves within a diverse group of people – skills that will be valuable for them throughout their lives. This also brings variety and speeds up the work.

Findings revealed that teaching Literature-in-English in large classes has got some important benefits. It makes the students to be able to feed at home and have nothing to fear about. Students in large classes are very active. They always want to be called upon whenever a question is raised by their teacher. And teachers teaching large classes feel happy whenever he post questions to the students and see many hands up for response Parents will have rest of mind on their children, therefore, not thinking of taking them to another school since their children are performing well despite the fact that they learn in large number. The students in the class do compete with one another, thereby making the laggards to gear up in their academic pursuits and trying to compete with the brilliant ones.

However, since 1989 when Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government was founded,the schools in the area had been experiencing large classes because of shortage of classroom in their schools. As the schools continue to grow and even have more classes built,the problems of large classes still remain. Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government has over ten hamlets and Camps around it.People living in these hamlets and camps normally send their children to Secondary Schools in Irepodun/Ifelodun community to continue their education. They see the schools as the only public Secondary Schools in the area where they can afford to send their children without having to empty the coffers. As a result of this, the schools keeps increasing year in year out. Although, it is well known that when students get to secondary segment of the secondary school system he or she will have to offer subjects he or she offer for the final Secondary School Certificate Examination(SSCE). This however does not affect the number of students offering Literature-in-English because it is a core subject which they must all offer.

The students on their part are determined to meet minimum requirement of passing Literature-in-English in their SSCE as this will enable them to further their studies to senior class. Not only that, it will make it easier for those not proceeding to senior secondary segment immediately to find jobs. All these make it mandatory for the students to be learning Literature-in-English under any circumstance including learning in large classes.

Education Trust Fund(ETF) has been building some classrooms into schools in the State but Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area had not got this vital opportunity from the ETF. So the problems attached to large students in classes still remain.In addition to the above,the Parent Teachers Association(PTA) forums were complaining of not being able to finance structures in the schools. The reason as expressed by the body is that they cannot afford to pay exorbitant levy of about N500 for PTA in a term. Their reasons are many, out of which they claim to be farmers which cannot afford N1500 per session for PTA levy. Assuming this point is concretely admitted, it would have been sufficient for building at least three classrooms per two sessions in each school. Since reverse is the case, the problem of having large classes of Literature-in-English lesson in each school continues.

The problems associated with teaching in large classes can be physical, psychological and technical. The teachers in large classes may feel physically weary; they may unwarily speak louder and move more often or longer distances than they do in small classes. Psychologically, some teachers feel it intimidating to face a large crowd of students, especially when they do not have much idea who their students are and what their students are expecting from them. To the teachers in large classes, students are not ‘people’ but ‘faces’. Other problems such as monitoring attendance and checking assignments are also constantly worrying many teachers involved in large class teaching.

Statement of the Problem

Teaching Literature-in-English in large classes is one of the problems facing secondary schools in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area. Owning to the facts earlier mentioned, the problems of having Literature-in-English lessons in large classes still remain.Although the local government and the school authorities had been trying all they could to build more classes and even to recruit more teachers, the problem of large class remains.

There is overcrowdings, which brings about air pollution and noise pollution in the class as a result of large number of students.The teachers at time finds it difficult to control the classes as it does happen even in small classes. Therefore, the class may be too noisy.The teachers handling large class always have the fear of giving out assignments to the students at will. Hence, he/she reduces the way he or she gives out assignment because of the large number of responses that will be given to him for assessment.In large classes, the teacher will not be able to individualize his/her teaching, owing to the large number of students he/she teaches at a particular time.The problems with teaching in large classes can be summarized as the following:

  • Discomfort: Many teachers worry about the physical constraints imposed by large numbers in confined classrooms. They feel unable to promote student interaction, since there is no room to move about. Some teachers also feel that teaching in large classes is physically very wearing.
  • Control: Some teachers feel worried by the discipline aspects of large classes. They feel they are unable to control what is happening, and that the classes become too noisy.
  • Individual attention: Many good teachers are concerned that they are neglecting the needs of their students as individuals.
  • Evaluation: Teachers feel a responsibility for checking all of their students’ work.
  • Learning effectiveness: All teachers want their students to learn. They are understandably worried if they do not know who is learning what.

However, problems, such as these, are not impossible to be solved, or at least partially. In fact, what the teachers perceive as problems associated with large classes sometimes may not be so problematic to the students. Before the problems caused by teaching Literature-in-English in large classes could be solved, the administrators of each school in the local Government can solicit for help or more structures in the school from both the parents’ body, government and even from the important personalities in the town out of which old students are involved.

The study intends to show that even though large class has its own benefits still its disadvantages are still greater than the benefits. Therefore the study will study the effect of large class in the teaching of Literature-in-English in Secondary Schools in Ekiti state.

Purpose of the study

The main purpose of this study was to investigate the effect ofteaching Literature-in-English in a large class in someSecondary Schools in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area of Ekiti state. Specifically, the objectives of this study will be to:

  1. ascertained the state and causes of large class in the teaching of Literature-in-English in secondary in the study area.
  2. examine whether large class is a valid solution to the shortage of personnel and material resources for the teaching of Literature-in-English in secondary schools.
  • investigate the problems associated with teaching Literature-in-English in large class.
  1. find out the strategies Literature-in-English teachers in large classes can adopt to cope with these problems in secondary schools.
  2. examine the advantages of teaching Literature-in-English in large class in secondary schools in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area.

Significance of the study

This study is important in that it: this study will be of immense value to the researcher who may like to investigate the teaching of Literature-in-English in general. This study will also make the Literature-in-English teachers to be aware of how large class could be mastered.  The study will enable students to have positive thinking towards large class in order to attain proficiency in the Literature-in-English class.Also, the findings of the study will be of much significance to students, researchers and teachers in secondary schools. This is so because the report of the study will serve as a good reference document to this group of learners when conducting a research on the effect of teaching Literature-in-English in a large class in some Secondary Schools.

Again, the study has much significance on the government at all levels in Nigeria. This is so because, it will serve as a source of information to the government that the variables such as large class affectingthe teaching and learning process provides basis for the falling standard of learning in the country especially Literature-in-English in secondary schools.

This research work is significant and useful in the teaching and learning of Literature-in-English. Findings from this study will help to assess the effectiveness of the stated objectives of secondary school – Literature-in-English curriculum. Subsequently, the findings from the study will help Literature-in-English teachers in choosing an appropriate class size capable of releasing students’ tension towards the subject thus improving students’ academic performance in Literature-in-English. It will motivate Literature-in-English teachers to develop interest towards utilizing suitable or available class size that will be a possible means towards reducing failure in the teaching and learning of Literature-in-English. Findings of this study will help clarify among the teachers the need for continuous and regular and effective classroom organization for teaching and learning of Literature-in-English.

Moreover, the results of this study will be of great significance to the Literature-in-English curriculum planners. The curriculum developers will find the work useful in reviewing the Literature-in-English curriculum by seriously laying emphasis on class size so as to meet up with emerging needs of the society. This study will be of immense benefit to researchers in the field of Literature-in-English by forming a basis for further studies on the effect of teaching large class and order learning aspects of Literature-in-English as a subject.

The study will also equip our educational administrators in the Ministry of Education, educational test and measurement experts on the need to provide classroom organization for teaching Literature-in-English in our secondary schools setting particularly in selected secondary schools and the Ekiti State as a whole.

The study will also be useful in educational policy making. The research will arouse classroom building funding agencies such as Federal Ministry of Education, Faculties or Schools of Education, National Teachers’ Institutes as well as professional bodies to formulate educational polices which may be useful in implementation of Literature-in-English curriculum.

Delimitations of the study

The study is restricted to the effect of teaching Literature-in-English in a large class in two Secondary Schools in Irepodun/Ifelodun local government area of Ekiti state. This study focused on only two (2) secondary schools in study area. The reason for this is because of distance, time factor, and financial constraints and because the researcher is familiar with the selected schools and it will make it easier for her to collect enough data in the course of the study.

Research Questions

In order to achieve the above stated objectives, thestudy will provide answer to the following questions:

  • What is the condition and causes of large class in teaching of Literature-in-English in secondary in the study area?
  • Will large class be a valid solution to the shortage of personnel and material resources in teaching of Literature-in-English?
  • What are the problems associated with teaching Literature-in-English in large classes?
  • What strategies can Literature-in-English teachers in large classes adopt to cope with these problems?
  • Are there any advantages in teaching Literature-in-English in large class in secondary schools in Irepodun/Ifelodun Local Government Area?

Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were formulated forward for the purpose of this study:

H0:      There is no significance difference in students taught in large class and small size.

H1:      There is significance difference in students taught in large class and small size.

Assumptions

The researcher assumes that the effect of teaching Literature-in-English in a large class in Secondary Schools in Ekiti state have not been included in the literature review by the previous researchers. Though Researches have been carried out generally on effective teaching in large classes. The study therefore assumes that large class affects teaching Literature-in-English in secondary schools in study area.

 

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