THE INFLUENCE OF MOTHER TONGUE IN TEACHING CHEMISTRY IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL

THE INFLUENCE OF MOTHER TONGUE IN TEACHING CHEMISTRY IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

Mother tongue therefore, is defined as the language which a group of people considered to inhabitants of an area acquired in the early years and which eventually becomes their natural instrument of thoughts and communication( You may wish to re-consider other definition of language} (Awoniyi, 2016). Mother tongue is the first language that a person learned. In terms of that view, the person is defined as a native speaker of the first language, although one may also be a native speaker of more than one language if all of the languages were learned without formal education, such as through cultural immersion before puberty. Often a child learns the basics of the first language(s) from family (Wikipedia, 2007).

It is therefore generally accepted that in teaching and learning processes, the mother tongue of the child is of utmost importance. For one thing, it categorizes a large part of the child’s environ-ment, that is, it has names for most of the objects, actions, ideas, attributes and so on that are so important to him, as well as to any society. In many developing countries today, this is either local language or the language of the previous colorizing power. The mother tongue is the child’s environment and is the natural basis on which verbal skills can be built, children learn through communicating in a language, which they understood.

It was in recognition of the importance and contributions of mother tongue to education that made the Federal Ministry of Education in Collaboration with other educational statutory agencies include in the National Policy on Education published in 1977, revised in 1981, the use of mother tongue as a medium of educating pupils at the pre-primary and primary level throughout the country.

According to the National Policy on education published in 1977 revised in 1981, Section 2(ii) which stated that “Government will ensure that the medium of instruction will be principally the mother tongue or the language of the immediate community” also in section 3(xx) of the same National Policy on Education stated that: “Government will see to it that the medium of instruction in the primary school is initially the mother tongue of the immediate community and at a later stage English”.

The importance of Nigerian language in the educational process is stated in section 1.

“In addition to appreciating the importance of language in educational process, and as a means of preserving people’s culture, the government considers it n the best interest of national unity that each child should be encouraged to learn one of the three major languages other than his mother tongue”

The mother tongue therefore, is a part of the Nigerian culture; it conveys or transmits culture and itself in subjects to culturally conditioned attitudes and beliefs (Awoniyi, 2015). The positive results of the experiment in Mother Tongue Medium in Yoruba carried out at the then University of Ife empirically demonstrated the great advantages of mother tongue in primary education for scholastic attainment (Bamgbose, 2004) and even in the successful mastery of English as a second language.

Experience shows that chemistry learning poses substantial challenges at all levels of instruction (from secondary school to university) and for all the aspects – understanding concepts, experimental procedures and problem solving procedures, and being able to relate experimental procedures and observations, or problem solving procedures, to concepts. Learning challenges largely derive from the nature of chemistry as the science of substances, where the understanding of properties and events of the microscopic world of atoms and molecules is the key to understanding the macroscopic behaviours of substances (broader reflections on the relationships between the nature of chemistry and the learning challenges will be incorporated in a separate, philosophy-based work). Students’ difficulties with regard to understanding the particulate nature of matter, or relating it to macroscopic descriptions and phenomena, have been the objects of numerous studies in the last decades; a meaningful review would go beyond the size and the scope of the current work; some pioneering works like those by Ben-Zvi, Eylon & Silberstein (2016), might be recalled as examples of investigation questions and approaches.

The major challenge for educators is the design of options that can help facilitate students’ understanding of chemistry. This work focuses on the utilization of language analysis as a tool to provide clarifications and to engage students actively.

A number of studies (Wellington & Osborne, 2001; Brooks, 2006; Fang, 2006; Mammino, 2010a, 2010, 2012, 2013; Marshall et al., 2011) indicate the crucial role of language mastery in determining learning success. Teaching and learning depend on teacher- learner communication (including the communication realised through a textbook or other learning resources) and on the learners’ ability to develop thoughts. Language is the most fundamental instrument of thought (Bruner, 1995) and, therefore, of cognitive processes (Chomsky, 1975), as well as the most fundamental communication tool. Communication is a two-side enterprise and its effectiveness depends on crucial aspects for each side. The communication effectiveness of language in education depends on the degree of rigour and clarity (Mammino, 2000) with which sentences are built and assembled to form a text (where the term text includes both written and verbally-expressed sentences or sets of sentences) and on the learners’ ability to identify all the information conveyed by the text, which, in turn, depends on the learners’ language mastery. Therefore, language mastery is a major key for the teaching and learning process and for conceptual understanding.

Statement of the Problem.

Before the advent of British traders, missionaries and colonialists, indigenous Nigerian language defined every aspect of the speech community from its religious, cultural, political, Economics, social to whatever else that can be through of the language functioned effectively to deal with every thing relating to the day existence of the people. The arrival of the British, concomitant with the English language provided a language contact situation with an attempt to a language shift in the population.

New sets of ideas, concepts and values were introduced to the system where indigenous local language had previously been self-sufficient, rendering them inadequate to deal with the new concepts introduced by the British, particularly in the areas of formal education, Western law etc. the result was the initial subtle and later blatant intrusion & influence of English language on domains that were the exclusive preserve of indigenous language.

Now, the English language is generally an accepted language which was introduced into Nigeria through colonialism and missionary activities is now spoken, thought and learned in Nigeria.Where English language sentence are made, they are characteristically uttered with variation in pitch often referred to as intonation. This is often an area of difficulty for second language, users of English language who have tonal? Language as their first language. This is one of the major problems encountered by learners of English language. Other areas of problem encountered are’, Sentence and word stresses, vowel sounds and English suprasegmental of pitch. The study intended to identify the influence of mother tongue in the study of English language in senior secondary schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

Purpose of the Study:

The major purpose of this study is the find out the influence of mother tongue in teaching chemistry in senior secondary schools in Ikere local government area of ekiti state

The specific objective is;

  1. To find out the level at which mother tongue can interfere in the learning of chemistry in secondary school.
  2. To determine the attitude of chemistry students towards the use of mother tongue in learning chemistry in secondary schools
  3. To find out the effect of mother tongue interference on chemistry students academic performance
  4. To investigate if teachers make use of mother tongue in teaching chemistry

Research Question

The following research questions were formulated to guide the study

  1. Does mother tongue actually interferes in the learning of chemistry in secondary school?.
  2. What are the attitude of chemistry students towards the use of mother tongue in learning chemistry
  3. What are the effect of mother tongue on students academic performance in chemistry
  4. Does teachers Make use of mother tongue when teaching  chemistry

Research Hypotheses

The following null hypothesis where formulated to guide the study

  1. There is no significance difference on the influence of mother tongue interference in teaching and learning of chemistry in secondary school
  2. There is no significance difference on the attitude of students towards the use of mother tongue in learning chemistry
  3. Mother tongue does not have significant effect on students academic  achievement  in chemistry

Significance of the Study:

This study will help to expose the numerous factors that influence the interference of the study of chemistry by the mother tongue or native languages. It will also identify the effects of this interference on other study area that are based on the use of the English language as the basic communication.
This study will enable teachers to identify their problems in chemistry. This study will also enable student to understand how to make use of chemistry words especially in pronunciation .

The Scope of the Study.

this research is the influence of mother tongue  in the teaching of chemistry in senior secondary schools. the study will focus on ss 1 to iii students in five selected secondary schools in  ikere  local government area
Definition Of Terms

Mother tongue: Native, language, the first which is normally acquired by human being in early childhood through interaction with other member of his own native speakers. This can also be called primary language, its one’s first language of interaction.

Second language: Foreign language, any language other than the native language or mother tongue. A second language usually learnt and not acquired through interaction with other.

Interference: The errors native made by carrying over the speech habit of the native language or dialect into a second language or dialect. The interference can be noticed in features of pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary when a person is learning to master the pattern of second language.

Transfer: The process or result of carrying over speech habit from one language to another e.g. language teaching, the patterns of the mother tongue or when translating lexical items may be borrowed from the native language. Negative features that are not available in the mother tongue are to features that are present in the second language. This means that there are some distinctive features inherent in the mother tongues that are transferred to the second language.

Positive common features: Are those features that are present both in first language and the second language.

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