Teach English in Nianyuxu Zhen - Yueyang Shi

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English is Nigeria's second language. It is the country's lingua franca, the language that cuts across the different languages in Nigeria and serves as a binding factor to the Nigerian community. Generally, it is Nigeria's known language of communication across different cultures. But it is unfortunate that there are a lot of hindrances to the effective learning of English in Nigerian schools. Learners encounter a number of problems during the course of learning the language. The first and most obvious problem encountered by English language learners in Nigeria is that of mother tongue interference. There are more than five hundred different languages in Nigeria. These languages do not in anyway, have anything in common with the English language. Most English learners develop in their early years speaking their native language (except for a few children from upper class families). Some cultures even forbid using English as the language of instruction in lower primary schools for fear of extinction of the native languages. By the time they start to learn English, they have problems with pronunciations and use of the language. Hence, they pronounce English words in same accent as they pronounce their mother tongues. They also transfer grammar peculiarities of their native languages to the English language which isn't made easier with the inconsistency in the orthography of the English language. Another problem encountered by English language learners in Nigeria is the gap in the curriculum and educational program. There is a wide gap between the curriculum of English learning and the one being taught in classes. Most students are taught English, but the educational program does not focus on the need to write well-structured English sentences and how to speak correct English. Furthermore, the Nigerian environment is not generally English-speaking. Even though English is the official language in Nigeria, it is not the language used in most places. The English language is often used only in formal environments like schools, offices, banks, etc. But the local or primary dialect is the language often used in the immediate surroundings of most English learners which include the home, neighborhood, market, social gatherings, etc. As a result of this, people are more accustomed to speaking their native language than mastering English. In most environments, the use of English language is seen as a disregard for the native culture. English language learners in Nigeria also encounter the problem of lack of qualified English teachers in schools. There is a shortage of qualified English teachers. In a typical average Nigerian school, some English teachers do not even have good command of the language they claim to profess. Little wonder the learners perform below average. This problem is not exclusive to English teachers only. English being the general language of instruction in schools entails that teachers of other subjects have English as their language of instruction (except for other language teachers). Teachers of other subjects who do not deliver their instruction in correct English may adversely affect the students' English proficiency too. One thing for sure is that students rarely ever let go of knowledge gained from their teachers. They would always think of their teachers as final arbiters of knowledge. So, when they pick up wrong English from these teachers, letting go of them would not be as easy. Until a system is put in place where English language teachers are qualified to take the role and other teachers speak fluent English, English language learning in Nigeria would stay a mirage. In addition, learning is hampered as a result of the lack in instructional materials and facilities. Most schools and colleges in Nigeria lack essential equipment which could strengthen learners‘ skills. Most schools do not have language laboratories and well equipped libraries. If these facilities were in place, learning would have been made easier and more effective. The importance of English language in Nigeria (and the world at large) cannot be over emphasized. Asides the title of national language it bears in Nigeria, fluency in English language is almost always equalled to brilliance, 'the more English you can speak, the more we believe you are intelligent'. The language is the general medium of communication across the different cultures and languages in Nigeria. Its importance transcends the national to the international. It is sad that a lot of things are overlooked, to the total detriment of the learners. Systems could be put in place to better the English learning situation in Nigeria.