This study was carried our to find the effects of game technique
and influence of gender on senior secondary school students’ achievement in
Oral English in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State. Three research questions
were generated and three null hypotheses formulated to guide the study. The
research design used in the study was a quasi- experimental pretest, posttest,
non-equivalent group design involving one experimental group and one control
group. A total of (44 males and females) senior secondary class 11 students
were used in the study. The instrument used for the study was a
researcher-constructed 60 objective tests in Oral English. An internal
consistency reliability coefficient was determined for the 60 objective
questions in Oral English using K-R 20. The internal consistency estimate
obtained was 0.86, which is considered high. Pretest and posttest from the
study were administered to the experimental and control groups. The data
generated from the study were analyzed using the mean, standard deviation and
analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). It was found that there was
a significant effect of game technique on senior secondary school students’
achievement in Oral English. Also, gender had no significant influence in the
mean achievement scores of students in Oral English. Some recommendations were
made based on the findings.
Background of the Study
English language is the native language of the British. Its use in Nigeria is
one of the aftermaths of the colonization of Nigeria by Britain. According to
Otagburuagu (2002), the English Language is one of the important legacies
Nigeria inherited from the British. So, the teaching and learning of the
English language dates back to the early days of British colonization efforts
and the introduction of Western Education by the early Christian Missionaries.
The adoption of the English language as an official language in Nigeria dates
back to 1842. Azikiwe (1998) states that the English Language was introduced in
Nigeria in 1842 by the first batch of missionaries who arrived in Badagry for
education and evangelization.
Nigeria, the English language is the medium of communication. According to
Otagburuagu (2002), the national language dilemma makes it necessary that
English is used for inter- ethnic communication. The English language is a
binding force in the Nigerian society. It is the language of administration,
government, judiciary, science and technology, among others.
English language occupies a central position in the school system. It is a core
subject, which is required for admission into higher institutions and for
occupations and employment. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN); (2007)
recognizes the importance of the English language and made its study compulsory
in primary and secondary schools through out the federation. According to this
policy, from primary four to tertiary institution, English shall be
progressively used as a medium of instruction at these levels of education. In
line with this, the examination boards such as WAEC, NECO and JAMB made the
English Language a core subject in their examinations. Ufomata (2005)
re-emphasized that in education, English is introduced as a core subject from
the first year in primary schools and used as a medium of instruction from
primary four through secondary and tertiary education. As a result, the
teaching and learning of the English language has been on the increase.
teaching and learning of the English language involve four skills. These are
listening, speaking, reading and writing. Elugbe (2000) states that of the four
language skills, listening and speaking receive less attention in many Nigerian
schools from the primary to tertiary institutions. Some education planners, implementers
or the classroom teachers seem not to realize that each of these language
skills is a component of the language itself. According to Ogugua (2006), a
deficiency in one of them contributes negatively to one’s proficiency in
another component and, in the long run, the entire language.
English, as the spoken component is commonly called in Nigerian schools, is an
important aspect of the English Language. According to Idowu, Segbesan, Adofo,
Burgess and Burgess (2003), Oral English is an important paper in the West
African School Certificate English Language Examination. It should, therefore,
be taken as seriously as the other two papers. However, Oral English is not
given adequate attention in the classroom. Elugbe (2000) states that in many
schools, it is introduced to students belatedly. Even after it has been
introduced, its teaching lacks the use of different techniques. According to
Ogugua (2006), the students are rarely exposed to short dialogues,
conversations, narratives etc., which will help them to practice and
internalize what they are being taught.
skills needed for good performance in Oral English is not the exclusive
monopoly of the phoneticians. These skills (recognition of phonetic symbols,
proper articulation of sounds, application of stress and intonation etc.) are
also accessible to everyone who needs to communicate a message to someone else
through speech. Unfortunately, many students have been unable to acquire the
skills needed to enable them perform well in Oral English. The result is their
poor performance in Oral English. According to Chief Examiner’s report (2005),
candidates had difficulty in answering questions on sound systems and this led
to their poor performance in Oral English, which eventually affects
their performance in the English language in general. According to Achebe
(1994), the quality of the English language spoken in Nigeria has been falling
rapidly and will fall more dramatically in the next few years. This is
practically because Oral English is not given adequate attention in classroom
teaching. Stressing further on students’ poor performance in Oral English,
Eyisi (2002) asserts that:
Oral English seems to be at the center of our education woes.
Certainly, the concern is not only about the apparent students’ poor
performance in the English language as a subject of study per se but generally
their poor communication skills and the resultant fallen/falling standard of
education in all areas of enquiry (p.7).
Again, the poor performance of students in Oral English is
caused by the students’ inadequate exposure to Oral English in their secondary
schools. This is because teachers still place more emphasis on written English
thereby denying students the instruction and practice in Oral English. From the
foregoing, it is clear that the teaching and learning of Oral English has
suffered greatly in the senior secondary schools. This leads to students’ poor
performance in Oral English, which in turn affects their performance in the
English language in general.
several techniques at the disposal of Oral English teachers for teaching Oral
English. Drill is a good technique for teaching Oral English. According to
Byrne (2000), drills are a form of linguistic technique, requiring the learners
to perform correctly the language materials presented to them. In this way,
students get extensive practice in the language. Use of drills by the Oral
English teacher increases the students’ participation in the class. The use of
drill derives largely from an approach to language learning, which has been
mostly superseded — one that placed emphasis on the formation of correct habits
and avoidance of mistakes. This makes them gain some confidence and fluency at
all level of pronunciation and also in those areas of language system, which
require a good deal of practice. Such drills that can be used by Oral English
teacher include repetition drills, substitution drills, transformation drills,
guessing drills and question and answer drills. For the purpose of this
research, the researcher laid emphasis on the repetition drills. Repetition
drill is the control or convention technique.
Repetition drills require the students to repeat the language items that have
been presented to them. According to Tice (2006), repetition drills place
emphasis on repeating structural patterns through oral practice. In this type
of drill, the teacher says a word or a sentence at a time, students repeat in
chorus, in small groups or pairs or singly. Since it is necessary for all the
students to be given adequate practice, choral or group work should be the rule
rather than the exception.
another technique at the disposal of an Oral English teacher for teaching Oral
English. According to Okeke (2001), a game is a form of play governed by
certain rules or conventions. It is usually meant to be enjoyed. However,
language games are not just a diversion, they must also contribute to language
proficiency in some way by getting the learners use the language during the
game. A language game is, therefore, students’ practice technique. Learning
through games can be interesting, exciting and at the same time academically
rewarding. Games not only improve the learners’ command of the language but
also provide the learners with opportunities to use the language. Language
games include; pronunciation game, computer assisted learning game, a game with
minimal pairs, twenty questions, desert island, guessing game, and memory game
among, others. For the purpose of this research, emphasis would be on
Pronunciation game is a contest whereby the class is split into
smaller groups or even pairs and each group or pair tries to beat the other in
the production of the sounds of the target language. Pronunciation game is
primarily concerned with developing control of specific aspects of the sound
system of a language. According to Byrne (2000), pronunciation game is
essential for promoting competence at the receptive and productive levels of
language learning. In pronunciation game, the skills being developed are
production, identification and discrimination. The use of pronunciation game
therefore creates situations in which the learners are induced to respond
appropriately in the target language.
a factor that is believed to influence Oral English teaching and learning. The
issue of gender has generated a lot of controversies in all works of life,
particularly in the field of education. This has given rise to many definitions
of gender. Maduabum (2000) sees gender as musculanity and feminity dichotomy.
Lortie (2001) defines gender as social definitions of male and female. It
represents a socially constructed concept and not a fact of nature with
specific biological imperatives. Gender as a factor in academic performance has
for some time now generated a lot of concern for education at different levels.
This concern arose because of differential gender achievement in all subjects
offered in schools. Tucker (2003) believes that females tend to perform better
than their male counterparts in art subjects while the reverse is the case in
subjects that require calculations. On the other hand, Opara (2003) focused on
the vocabulary aspect of the English language and came up with the result that
males performed better than the females. Also, Offorma (1987) attempted to
identify students’ interests in learning French and the constraints encountered
by the teachers of French in the application of students’ interest in teaching
the language. One of her findings was that no significant differences existed
in the interests as indicated by male and female students.
of the above, it is clear that senior secondary school students perform poorly
in Oral English. Researches have shown that the use of games is very effective
in teaching Mathematics in primary schools. Njoku (1994) investigated the use
of games in teaching multiplication in primary schools in Enugu North Local
Government Area of Enugu State. He concluded that pupils taught multiplication
using games performed better than pupils taught using the conventional
technique. Also, Maley and Duff (2001) conducted a study on the use of games in
teaching English Grammar and concluded that games promote effective teaching
and learning of English grammar. Such researches using games have not been
carried out in the area of Oral English. The researcher, therefore, intends to
fill this gap by investigating the effects of game technique on senior
secondary school students’ achievement in Oral English in public senior
secondary schools in Nsukka Education Zone.
Statement of the Problem
English language is Nigeria’s official language. It is the medium through which
Nigerians interact with the outside world. It is also a core subject in
Nigerian secondary schools. Oral English is an important aspect of the English
language. However, the teaching and learning of Oral English has been faced
with several problems. One of such problems is teachers’ use of inappropriate
techniques in teaching Oral English in senior secondary schools. The result is
that many senior secondary school students are unable to acquire the skills
needed to enable them perform well in Oral English. Their inability to acquire
the skills therefore, leads to their poor performance in Oral English, which
eventually affects their performance in the English language in general.
Researches have shown that the use games is very effective in
teaching the grammar aspect of the
English language and Mathematics. Such
researches using games have not been carried out in Oral English.
Therefore, the question, which this study sets out to find an answer to, is:
What are the effects of game technique on senior secondary
school students’ achievement in Oral English?
Purpose of the Study
general purpose of this study is to determine the effects of game technique and
gender on senior secondary school students’ achievement in Oral English.
Specifically the study seeks
out the effects of games on senior secondary school students’ achievement in
the effects of gender on senior secondary school students’ achievement in Oral
the effects of interaction between treatments and gender on senior secondary
school students’ achievement in Oral English.
Significance of the Study
The teaching of Oral English in senior secondary schools has
suffered a lot of problems, which hamper students’ achievement in Oral English.
One of such problems is teacher’s use of inappropriate technique in teaching
Oral English. Therefore, if students are to improve their achievement in Oral
English, it is proper that they are adequately taught Oral English by using the
appropriate teaching technique. Hence, this study which tries to find out the
effects of game technique on senior secondary school students’ achievement in
Oral English is hoped to provide succour for Oral English teachers by empirically
providing an instructional technique that will improve students’ achievement in
Oral English. This is very important because the use of a teaching technique
that appeals to the students will increase the learners’ active participation
in the lesson which consequently leads to an overall improvement of students’
performance in Oral English.
It is hoped that the findings of the study will enhance the
teachers’ achievement of the objectives of the lesson in Oral English. This is
because the game technique has a wide range of activities for use in the
Also, the curriculum planners will find this study useful in the
planning of the curriculum. They in turn will emphasize the use of the
technique by teachers to achieve maximum result from the students. They may
equally find the result of the study useful when trying to match curriculum
objectives with appropriate techniques of instruction.
It is also hoped that through the findings of this study,
educational administrators and principals of schools may become aware of the
benefits of game technique and so encourage teachers in their schools to start
using the technique in teaching the students Oral English. Authors of Oral
English textbooks may become aware of the merits of this technique through the
findings of this research, and may start creating this awareness to people by
organizing Oral English exercises that involve the use of games in their
The significance of this study also has some theoretical basis.
Game technique is deeply rooted on the theory of mentalism. This is because the
technique believes that the development of communicative competence of the
student is an internal process, hence, whatever experience the learner is
exposed to is to enhance the processes inside him. These processes normally
determine the sequence of learning followed by the learner. Learning always
takes place when the learner interacts with his environment. The use of game
technique will therefore, help the students develop their critical minds or
abilities while finding solutions to different language tasks presented to them
by their teacher. Through this way, students gain meaningful learning in the
Scope of the Study
This study is delimited to SS II students in senior secondary
schools in Nsukka Education Zone of Enugu State.
The content covers pure vowels, diphthongs, consonant sounds and
Specifically, the research focused on the use of repetition
drill and pronunciation game. Repetition drill is the control or conventional
technique while pronunciation game is the experimental technique.
following research questions guided the study.
1. To what
extent does the use of games affect senior secondary school students’
achievement in Oral English?
2. What is
the influence of gender on senior secondary school students’ achievement in
3. What is
the effect of interaction between treatments and gender on senior secondary
school students’ achievement in Oral English?
following null hypotheses formulated guided the study.
1 There is no significant difference between the mean
achievement scores of students taught Oral English with games and those taught
Gender is not a significant factor in the mean achievement
scores of students in Oral English.
There is no significant interaction effect between treatments
and gender on the mean achievement scores of students in Oral English.