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THE INFLUENCE OF ANXIETY AND PERSONALITY TYPE ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT OF SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE
This study examined the influence of anxiety on students’ academic performance in English Language in Lagos State secondary schools. In this study, the relevant and related literatures were reviewed under selected sub-headings. The descriptive research survey was used in this study in order to assess the opinions of the selected respondents with the application of the questionnaire and the sampling technique. A total of 200 (two hundred) respondents were selected and used in this study to represent the entire population of the study. Six null hypotheses were formulated in this study and tested accordingly using the Pearson Product Moment Correlation Coefficient statistical tool for hypotheses one, two and three, and the independent t-test statistical instrument for hypotheses four, five and six respectively. At the end of the analyses, the following results were obtained: there is a significant relationship between anxiety and students’ academic performance in English language at secondary school level, there is a significant relationship between students’ attitude and their academic achievement in English language at secondary school level, there is a significant relationship between students’ personality and their academic performance in English language at secondary school level, there is no significant gender difference in the students’ achievement due to anxiety in English Language, there is no significant gender difference in the academic performance of students due to attitude in English Language and there is a significant gender difference in the performance of students in English Language due to their personality type. Based on the findings of this study, the researcher made the following recommendations among others: students should avoid being anxious before and during their examination in English language and students should develop positive attitudes towards their study in English Language.
2.0Background to the Study
English Language plays an important role in the social, political and educational sectors of Nigeria as a country. It is Nigeria’s official language, it is also referred to as a second language (L2). It is the means of social, political and even cultural interaction among the various ethnic groups in the country. This is why some people tend to use and refer to it as a “lingua franca”, English Language is not just a subject in the school curriculum, but the medium of instruction in all other subjects except indigenous language. It is a very important language (Jibowu, 2002). According to Jibowu (2002), the low performance in English language by students at the West African Examination Council (WAEC), for example usually brings great concern to parents, educationists and teachers and the nation at large. A credit pass at least in the subject is required for admission into higher institutions and for employment.
The ability to speak intelligibly and write Standard English (SE) is often seen as a yardstick for determining the educational standard of a person, his/her ability and competence in the language of instruction have some influence on the quality of performance in the other subjects.
According to Ubahakwe and Ebo (1989), Nigeria in her 1979 constitution advocated equal opportunity in education for her citizens. Education in Nigeria is expected to play a harmonizational role which is as an instrument of national unity. Nigeria is an egalitarian society where equal opportunity in education should be given to the citizens but suffice it to say that this situation does not occur. A situation where only the particular set of children get into the unity schools does not allow the same equality of education for the citizens.
Durojaiye (1994) observed that the current issue in Nigeria is efficiency in education. According to him, in recent times, parents claim that there have been more sophisticated measures of efficiency in private fee paying schools than in public non-fee paying schools in the state schools. This efficiency in the private schools ranges from the employment of enough and qualify English language teachers, motivation of teachers, adequate remuneration and provision of the same teaching-learning materials. Parents according to Durojaiye (1994) draw this conclusion from the fact that many children from these private schools gain admission to federal schools and most likely, into the universities while others end up as bus conductors, drivers, carpenters, street traders, mechanics, apprentices and in other menial jobs.
According to Adeleke (1990) many factors contribute to mass failure of students in English Language and other subjects especially from public non-fee paying schools. He identified such factors as lack of motivation for teachers, students, low interest in studying, unconducive school environment, lack of current textbooks, non-provision of equipment, lack of up-top-date art learning equipment and inadequate supply or provision of other important teaching and learning materials in the public schools, other factors also include government neglect of teachers, non-staff training programmes or inadequate staff training and retraining programmes, poor remuneration and so on.
David (2000) defines anxiety as an emotion characterized by feelings of anticipated danger, tension and distress and by sympathetic nervous system arousal. Richardson and Suinn (2003) on the other hand define mathematics anxiety as the feelings of tension and anxiety that interfere with the manipulation of numbers and solving of problem in a wide variety of ordinary life and academic situation. English anxiety is postulated to affect both the extents to which a student pursues any more than the minimally required amount of English training and the extent to which the student is able to learn and perform English language skills and concepts.
Attitude, interest and perception are other factors that could affect students’ achievement in any subject including English language. Attitude is a predisposition to perceive, feel and behave towards specific objects. An attitude towards something consists of person’s collection of facts about the subject which may enables the person to feel apathy towards it which that attitude is related to sex, age and personality characteristics. Ayoola (2004) opined that value influences attitude. Attitude can be positive or negative. Monly (2002) advanced that attitude formation may be a matter of limitation. Many of our attitudes are simply borrowed such as when the student accepts the views of their teacher and other significant persons in their achievement. Attitude can also be developed as a result of deliberate cultivation especially by parents or teachers. Positive attitude of teachers will therefore foster desirable attitude more than words. This statement has relevance to students’ attitude to English language. Hart (2005) found that there is a significant correlation between attitude and achievement. Wardehn (2006) also found that difference in attitude can be significant predictors of achievement in English language. Students who have negative attitudes for English language would end up performing poorly in the subject-matter. Not only that, negative attitude causes English language anxiety which automatically leads to poor achievement in the subject.
According to Uzor (2004), students’ interests and perceptions count a lot in their over or under achievements in subjects offered in the school system all over the world. Uzor opines that if a student does not have any interest or have any negative perception about any subject, the student will hardly achieve any success in the subject in question. Adewunmi (2006), states that for a student to make a relative success or high achievement in any subject pursued in the school system, the student must develop the right attitude, the right interest and the right perception that will lead to the right learning achievement in his/her educational career.
For the fact that English language is a core subject offered in school, and considering its importance and compulsory nature in any child’s upward movement in academic pursuit, students develop anxiety in achieving it. For instance, Amaonye (2006) opined that most students fear the failure of English language and as such apply any means possible to pass it. This is because they know that failure in it may mar their educational progress in future.
1.1 Theoretical Framework
Sigmund Freud (1957), believes that human behaviour is governed to a very great extent, by instincts. Freud agrees that the process of personality development hinges on the theory of psychosexual development. This theory of psychosexual development is basically biological in nature with different unfolding stages at which particular behaviours occur. The normal process of personality development occurs from stage to stage, but this process of development may become abnormal when an individual experiences some traumatic events in early childhood. When this happens, the flow of the process of personality development becomes fixated at any given stage and this eventually caused some crisis for the individual later in life.
Due to the fact that the person had abnormal development resulting in fixation when faced stressful situations or conditions later in life, he may not be able to handle this. Rather, the individual will regress by perhaps showing some infantile behaviours. During any of the stages that an individual experiences conflict according to Freud, there is a corresponding character pattern exhibited as an adult. According to Freud (1957), there are other stages of an individual’s development of personality. These stages are: the oral stage during which there is separation of self from the environment; the anal stage, which occurs during the second and third years of life. At this stage, pleasurable sensations shift from the mouth to the anal cavity. The phallic stage is a stage between ages of four and five pleasurable sensations shifting from the anal to cavity to the genital area. Other development stages of an individual are: the latency stage and the genital stage.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Human behaviour is governed by instincts. The normal process of personality development occurs from one stage to another, but the process may become abnormal when an individual experiences some traumatic events at the early stage of development. When this takes place, the flow of the process of personality development becomes fixated, and this will eventually cause some crisis for the individual later in life. The type of personality of an individual determines the extent the individual carry out the affairs of life, which include academic activities.
English Language being one of the core and compulsory subjects a student must pass at credit level before gaining admission into the higher institutions in Nigeria, has been a torn in the flesh of many students. Generally speaking, students’ performance in English language has been on the downward in both the privately and publicly organized examinations in Nigeria.
The problem inherent in carrying out a comparative study on the academic performance of students in English Language cannot be overemphasized. Generally speaking, many students may be found to have low performance in English language and the problem of poor performance is relatively prominent among students in the public schools. This is because many teachers who teach in the public secondary schools, may lack the positive attitudes to impart the knowledge to the students.
Many factors have been identified as causing students’ anxiety or fears on English language. The perceived factors are: poor or negative attitudes on the subject; poor or low background on the subject; the teaching application nature of the subject; poor teaching methods; lack of students’ interests and motivation; poor teacher mastery of content; overcrowded classroom (i.e.) poor teacher-student ratio; lack of teaching material(s) etc. These factors militate against the effective teaching and learning of the subject-matter and the resultant effect, is the dismal or poor academic achievement of students in the subject. No wonder, year in year out, students record very low marks on the subject and the consequent academic set back of many students who could not pass it to move forward in their academic career.
The above identified problems gave rise to the examination of the influence of anxiety and personality type on students’ academic achievement in the subject at the senior secondary school level.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The major purpose of the study is to examine whether anxiety and personality type has influence on students’ academic achievement in the subject. The following are the specific objectives of the study to:
(1) find out whether a relationship exists between anxiety and students’ academic performance in the subject.
(2) examine whether there is relationship between students’ attitudes and their achievement in English language.
(3) Investigate whether there is relationship between students’ personality and their achievement in English language.
(4) examine whether there is gender difference in students’ achievement due to anxiety in English language.
(5) find out whether there is gender difference in the academic performance of students due to students’ attitudes to English language.
(6) assess whether there is any gender difference in English achievement due to personality among students in school.
1.4 Research Questions
This study seeks therefore to answer the following questions.
(1) Will there be any relationship exists between anxiety and students’ academic performance in English language?
(2) Will there be any relationship between students’ attitudes and their achievement in English language?
(3) Will there be any relationship between students’ personality and their achievement in English language?
(4) Will there be any gender difference in students’ achievement due to anxiety in English language?
(5) Will there be any gender difference in the academic performance of students due to attitudes to English language?
(6) Will there be any gender difference in students’ achievement in English language due to personality type?
The following hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.
(1) There will be no significant relationship between anxiety and students’ academic performance in English language.
(2) There will be no significant relationship between students’ attitudes and their achievement in English language.
(3) There will be no significant relationship between students’ personality and their achievement in English language.
(4) There will be no significant gender difference in students’ achievement due to anxiety in English language.
(5) There will be no significant gender difference in the academic performance of students due to attitudes to English language.
(6) There will be no significant gender difference in students’ achievement in English language due to personality type.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The findings and recommendations of this study would be beneficials to the followings:
(1) Students: They would be able to know more about the importance of English language achievement and its relevance in school progress. This study will enable students to have a new orientation concerning their negative perceptions about English language. It will afford students to be seeing mathematics in positive ways.
(2) Teachers – would be able to know more about the influence of anxiety on students’ achievement in English language, not only that, the findings and recommendations of the study will help many English language teachers to be in the know concerning some main factors that militating against the teaching and learning of mathematics in school. The study will help teachers in English language to correct some of their negative attitudes towards the handling of English language in the classroom etc.
(3) School Authority – The findings and recommendations of this study would enable the school authorities to reorder their priorities and change some of their policies that are inimical to the teaching and learning of English language, especially at the secondary school level of the Nigerian school system.
(4) Parents – would be able to have proper information through this study concerning the importance and relevance of English language to their children’s/wards’ academic careers. With this study’s outcomes, parents would help their children/wards to pay more undivided attention to he issues of English language in school, knowing its unavoidability in school and its relevance to academic progress of their children/wards.
(5) The Society – The society will be proper informed and educated through the contents of this study. This is because, members of the public would have first hand information and would be properly in the known concerning the issues of English language, its relevance, its importance and its unavoidability by students who wish to make progress in their academic or educational careers.
1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study
The study covered the influence of anxiety and personality type on English language achievement among students in senior secondary schools in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. In this study, finance, time frame within which to complete the study and other unforeseen circumstances would be some constraints of this study.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following operational terms were defined in this study:
(1) English Anxiety: This is a term to describe the level of fear or uneasiness of students in tackling or facing English language problems in schools. This anxiety makes them to perform well in the subject, because they do not study well in the midst of anxiety.
(2) English Achievement: This term refers to the level of performance by students who study English language in school. It could be their performances in school tests or the overall school examinations etc.
(3) Students’ Attitudes: This is the way and manner students perceive the subject (English language) in school. Their attitudes could be negative or positive depending how they see the subject (English language) etc.
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