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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tense Errors In English Essays Of Secondary School Students

Tense Errors In English Essays Of Secondary School Students

1.1         Background to the Study
          The importance of English Language acquisition as a stepping – stone for proficiency in other school subjects cannot be over-emphasized. The knowledge is important both for educational, economic and national development of a country. The importance of English Language as a school subject derives mainly from its utilitarian value to the larger Nigerian society. English is the official Language of administration and commerce. In recognition of the importance of English Language for enhancing educational attainment as well as for improving the communication ability of citizens, the government had made the subject a core subject (FGN, 2004).  
          It is also compulsory for students to have credit in the English Language before entering university. This also explains why many parents go off their way to see that their children passed at credit level or above in the English Language. Nigerian, like most sub- Saharan countries, is blessed with many indigenous Languages but the English Language continues to play a pivotal role in the day-to-day transaction of Nigerians. As a result of this rather unfortunate case of linguistic imperialism, the Ministry of Education has made it a policy for the English Language to be taught from kindergarten to the university level. In addition, it is also a medium of instruction in almost all subjects. Afful  (2007) observed that apart from English Language being used as an official Language or Lingua Franca in Nigeria, it is an important means of inter-ethnic communication internally and a source of communication internally and a source of communication with the international community – politics, trade, and science. Afful’s assertion, with regard to the importance of the English Language in Nigeria, has been buttressed by Quagie (2010), who, in extolling the role of English positions that he is yet to read or see any written manifestoes of political parties in other Nigerian Language. This is very unfortunate as the majority of the population is not very literate in English.
          However, it is important to mention that not withstand the status of the English Language in Nigeria, not much has been done to improve upon how the Language is taught and learned, let alone spoken as one would have expected. In this regard, mention can be made of how issues surrounding the teaching and learning of the Language in Nigeria continue to pose challenges to teachers and other academics. Indeed, one of such problems is the wrong use of tenses in written and spoken communication which might not be unconnected with the influence of mother- tongue. It should be borne in mind that errors in the use of tenses are not peculiar to students only but the teachers of the language who are not well vested with the knowledge of the Language do make similar errors. This development, however, must have accounted for the poor performance of students in the subject in public examinations which is fast becoming a recurring decimal if left unchecked.
1.2         Statement of the Problem.
          The recurrent poor performance of students in the English Language is causing some concern among English Language teachers, school administrators, parents, and the general public. Teachers have put up noble and spirited efforts aimed at identifying the major problem associated with learning of English Language in schools. Despite all these efforts, the problem of poor achievement in the English Language has continued to rear its head in the nations public examinations. Many scholars have attributed the incidence of students’ failure in the subject to ineffective method of teaching the subject and poor reading culture among students which has culminated in the poor knowledge of the subject by the students. Accordingly, it has been observed that students being second Language Learners find it complicated to speak or write good English owing to the influence of mother tongue.
           Most students have problems in differentiating between the past, present and future tenses in their daily communication and essays. They end up mixing up tenses in their essays which account for their poor performance in public examinations. It is against this background, therefore, that this study “ Tense Errors in the English Essays of secondary school students in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area ’’ became imperative.
1.2 Objective of the Study.
 The main objective of this study is to examine tense errors in English essays of secondary school students in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area. The specific objectives include:
(i)           To identify the tenses in the essays of students in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area.
(ii)          To classify the tense errors identified into types.
(iii)        To find out the possible causes of the tense errors identified.
1.3         Research Questions.
The following research questions were raised in line with the specific objectives of the study.
(i)           What are the tense errors students make in their English essays?
(ii)          What are the types of errors made?
(iii)        What are the causes of the errors?
1.4         Significance of the study.
           It is anticipated that the findings of this the study will be of huge benefits to teachers of English Language, school administrators, authors of English Language texts and students in the following ways:
(i)           It will reveal the tense errors made by the students of English Language.
(ii)          It will enable teachers of the Language to drill their students on the use of correct tense while writing any kind of essays.
(iii)        It will promote effective and error-free communication among school administrators, teachers and the learners.
(iv)        It will help authors of English texts to realize the need for more to be done in the area tenses.
(v)         It will add to the body of existing Literature on the topic of this research.
(vi)        Finally, this study will serve as a spring board and a reference material for further research on problems of tense errors in English essays not only among students in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area but in other local government areas in the state and nation at large.
1.5         Delimitation of the study.
          The study was delimited to senior a secondary school in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state. The analysis was on senior secondary two (ss2) students in the study area.
1.6         Limitation of the Study.
          The study was without challenges. The major factors that limit the scope of this study to Eastern Obolo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state was insufficient to fund, time frame for the research, the researcher’s academic work-load, etc.
1.7         Operational Definition Terms.
The following terms used in this study were operationally by the research as explained below:
Tense: Tense  refers to the form of a verb that is used to show the time of the action or state expressed by the verb.
Error: have to do with the mistakes made in the construction or usage of the tense of the verb.
Tense error: Tense errors are the mistakes committed due to the inability to equate the appropriate verb which corresponds with the time of the action, state of being or condition.
Essay: A short piece of writing by a student on a particular subject.         

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