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The Teaching of Comprehension and Student’s Performance in Junior Secondary Schools Keffi Local Government Area of Nasarawa State

ABSTRACT

The study examined the effect of teaching of comprehension on the performance of students in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa State, Nigeria. The study was carried out with the objectives to; determine the difference between the performances of students taught comprehension and those not taught comprehension in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa state; Three research questions and two null hypotheses were postulated in line with the stated objectives. The study was conducted using quasi-experimental research design. The study used a target population of 12,380 JSSII students from Keffi education zone in Nasarawa State. The total of fifty-two (52) students were sampled as experimental group, while sixty-five (65) students were sampled for the control group making the total of one hundred and seventeen (117) students, comprising of seventy- two (72) male and forty-five (45) female students. Data for the study was collected through the pre-test, treatment and post-test using a teacher made instrument (Test), which consisted of 30 objective test items and a treatment package. Data collected were analyzed statistically through the use of the descriptive (mean and standard deviation) and inferential statistics of independent sample t-test. It was found that, there was significant difference in the performances of students taught comprehension and those not taught comprehension in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa State and there was no significant difference in the extent to which gender difference affect the performance of students taught comprehension in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa State among other finding. Based on the findings, recommendations were made that teaching of comprehension should be incorporated into the teaching of Social studies at the secondary school level since it stimulate students to effectively learn and retain the concepts presented to them. Teachers should ensure they plan their lessons with equal learning opportunity for both male and female students in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa State.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

  • Background to the Study

Reading skill has to be developed besides listening, speaking, and writing skills. Reading is the key to learning in all aspects of life; the people often learn something by reading. When people read, they often try to learn and find the meaning of what they have read. Nunan (2006, p. 69) defines reading as a set of skills that involves making sense and deriving meaning from the printed words. Reading is a multidimensional process that involves the eyes, the ears, the mouth, and most importantly, the brain (Brassell & Rasinski, 2008, p. 15). Brown (2001, p. 298) adds that reading ability will be developed best in association with writing, listening and speaking activities. He also said that courses that may be labeled ―reading, your goals will be best achieved by capitalizing on the relationship of skills, especially reading- writing connection. Nation (2009, p. 49) says that reading is a source of learning and source of enjoyment. It can be a goal in its own right and a way of teaching other goals. As a source of learning, reading can establish previously learned vocabulary and grammar, it can help learners learn new vocabulary and grammar, and through success in language use it can encourage learners to learn more and continue with their language studies. As a goal in its own right, reading can be a source of enjoyment and a way of gaining knowledge of the world. As learners gain skill and fluency in reading, their enjoyment can increase.

Reading is one of the skills in English and it has an important role. As a part of reading, there is a term called comprehension. Nunan (2003, p. 68) argues that the goal of reading is comprehension. Comprehension is what entices the reader to continue reading (Caldwell, 2008, p. 175). Dias, Montiel and Seabra (2015, p. 406) add that comprehension is the ultimate goal of competent reading, and many of the components involved in reading comprehension are not unique for written language. Kruidenier (2002, p. 77) states that reading comprehension involves all of the elements of the reading process, described in earlier sections of this review, acting together. Brassell and Rasinski (2008, p. 18) explain that reading comprehension is the ability to take information from written text and do something with it in a way that demonstrates knowledge or understanding of that information. Based on some opinions of some researchers and experts above, it can be said that reading and comprehension are in one package, one supports the other, and they are correlated Reading is not easy to be mastered. Knowing the meaning of words alone does not help the reader to comprehend and understand what the students read. Westwood (2008, pp. 33-37) argues that there are eight problems that exist in reading comprehension. They are limited vocabulary knowledge, lack of fluency, lack of familiarity with the subject matter, difficulty level of the text (readability), inadequate use of effective reading strategies, weak verbal reasoning, problem with processing information, and problems in recalling information after reading.

In addition, Brassell and Rasinski (2008, pp. 55-58) also mention that teachers need to determine the source of the reading comprehension problem. They are word recognition as a source of comprehension difficulty, fluency as a source of comprehension difficulty, vocabulary and comprehension concerns as sources of comprehension problems and tools for measuring word-recognition accuracy, automaticity, and prosody in oral reading. Shehu (2015, p. 93) shows that reading comprehension difficulty occurs frequently even in students who are good in decoding and spelling. This difficulty in reading comprehension occurs for many reasons. They are vocabulary, working memory absence of extensive reading, and type of text

Although the students have problems in comprehending the reading texts, reading can influence the students‘ achievement. National Center for Education Statistics (2000, 8) state that achievement is an individual student‘s characteristic, and the majority of variation in achievement is among students in the same classroom and between classroom in the same school. Being  successful through higher education isone of ways out to enhance it to the highest level and get better jobs in the future. This makes many university students including undergraduate EFL (English as a Foreign Language) students have to improve themselves to be profesional future educators and leaders equipped with good academic achievement.

In terms of academic achievement, academic achievement is dependent upon intelligence and study skill of the learners (Ayesha and Khurshid, 2013, p. 23). There are several factors associated with students ‘academic achievement in higher education. National Center for Education Statistics (2000, pp. 8-24) state that there are several factors influence students ‘academic achievement. They are students ‘background, school organization features, teachers‘ qualifications, school climate, reading comprehension and mathematic comprehension.

Academic achievement might be important for the students because it is needed to their future. There are some employments that open the recruitment for the new employees with high academic achievement or GPA. Higher academic achievement is also needed to continue the study. Academic success or academic achievement refers to academic performance which is assessed in the United States by Grade Point Average (GPA) (Coutinho, 2007, p. 39). He also adds that GPA is cumulated across academic subject areas and over semesters, and thereby provides a fairly robust measure of success in university.

Studies have considered how the use of teaching of comprehension can influence students‘ academic performance. Teaching of comprehension communicates information effectively, promote the acquisition and longer retention of knowledge, when they are systematically designed, used and evaluated. This toe the line of the study conducted by Adoke (1997), on the perceptions of social studies students and teachers on the teaching methods used in junior secondary schools in the northern states of Nigeria where he discovered that, the methods mainly employed in teaching social studies were the lecture and storytelling methods upon which serve as problem militating against the implementation of social studies. This necessitated the researcher to embark on this research, effect of teaching of comprehension on the performance of students in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa state, Nigeria to see whether teaching of comprehension will enhance students‘ performance and be among the best method of teaching social studies.

 

1.2  Statement of the Problem

Teaching of comprehension is an instructional method that uses active reading and understanding, enhance academic performance and promote the development of important learning skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, and ability to cooperatively work with each students. Properly implemented teaching of comprehension can lead to increased motivation to learn greater retention of knowledge, deeper understanding and more positive attitudes toward the subject being taught (Collin and Obrain, 2003). While teacher-centered comprises of lecture and storytelling, which neglect the students‘ interest, abilities and learning styles, places the teacher as the source of information and knowledge, students are often assessed alone without peer interaction before or after the learning process, it is also inadequate in an attempt to provide for the overall development of learner (cognitive, affective, and psychomotor) domains, this is because the teacher dominate learning climate and provide little or no room for the learner to participate, therefore neglecting the individual differences that exists among the students and also neglecting the spirit of inquiry, creativity, or novely among the students (Adoke, 1997). Consequently, the teacher centered instruction resulted to weak and slow learners working individually may give up when they get stocked, delay in completing assignment or skip them all together, performing poorly in their continuous assessment and their placement examination and may engage in malpractice during the examination.

Previous studies conducted in Nasarawa State revealed that teaching and learning were dominated with teacher-centered instruction which may have resulted in poor academic performance in the previous placement examinations result of 2013-2014 with only 30% pass in social studies which is not encouraging (Nasarawa State Ministry of Education, 2014). The continuous of occurrence of these problems among social studies students necessitated educationist to look for the ways to promote teaching and learning among students, based on the assumptions that when teaching of comprehension is incorporated in teaching and learning, it may help to improve students‘ academic performance in social studies subject.

 

1.3  Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study are:

  • determine the difference between the performances of students taught comprehension and those not taught comprehension in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa
  • examine the extent to which gender difference affect the performance of students taught comprehension in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa
  • compare the performance of students taught comprehension in rural and urban junior secondary schools in Nasarawa

 

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions would be addressed:

  • What is the difference between the performances of students taught comprehension and those not taught comprehension in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa state?
  • To what extent do gender differences affect the performance of students taught comprehension in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa state?
  • What differences exist in the performance of students taught comprehension in rural and urban junior secondary schools in Nasarawa state?

 

1.5 Hypotheses

The following postulated research hypotheses guided the conduct of the study:

  • There is no significant difference in the performances of students taught comprehension and those not taught comprehension in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa state.
  • There is no significant difference in the extent to which gender difference affect the performance of students taught comprehension in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa state.

 

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study titled effect of teaching of comprehension on the performance of students in junior secondary schools in Nasarawa state, Nigeria will benefit the teachers, schools, students, school head teachers, curriculum planners, and other researchers in enhancing the quality of teaching social studies.

Findings of the study will be of great benefit to the teachers by providing relevant information to them on the best teaching method to be adopted in teaching of social studies. Also, incorporating project-based learning into secondary education will enhance teacher working with children who have a wide range of abilities, come from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and are English language learners. It is also significant in the sense that, teachers will be able to note that by facilitating learning of content knowledge as well as reasoning and problem-solving abilities, project-based instruction can help students prepare for state assessments and meet state standards.

1.7  Scope of the Study

This study, effect of teaching of comprehension on the performance of students in junior secondary schools was carried out in Keffi L.G.A. Nasarawa State. The students of junior secondary school (JSSII) were used as a subjects, while the major variables of the study are to determined the performance of students taught social study use teaching of comprehension and those taught with the conventional method, the extent which gender difference affect the performance of the student taught comprehension and performance of the students taught comprehension in rural and the urban junior secondary in Nasarawa state.

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