IMPACTS OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS ON THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN UNIVERSITY OF ABIA STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Instructional materials play a significant role in the teaching and learning process, particularly in the context of English language education (Ajayi, 2008). These materials, which can range from textbooks to multimedia resources, serve as vital tools for facilitating understanding and enhancing the learning experience. In the University of Abia State, the use of instructional materials in English language teaching has been observed to have a profound impact on students’ learning outcomes.
A study by Nwosu (2024) at the University of Abia State found that the use of instructional materials in English language teaching significantly improved students’ comprehension and retention of the subject matter. The study further revealed that these materials made the learning process more interactive and engaging, thereby fostering a more conducive learning environment. This aligns with the findings of Ogunyemi (2010), who posited that instructional materials stimulate students’ interest and motivate them to learn.
However, the effectiveness of instructional materials in enhancing English language learning is not without challenges. A study by Eze (2017) highlighted the lack of adequate and quality instructional materials in the University of Abia State as a major impediment to effective English language teaching. This lack of resources not only hampers the teaching process but also negatively impacts students’ learning outcomes.
The teaching of English language in Nigerian secondary schools needs to be properly handled. The materials used by instructors to teach and drive home their subject points at the primary and secondary school levels of our education system is incontrovertibly a paramount issue in practical classroom interaction and successful transfer of knowledge from the instructor to the learners. Instructional materials are materials which assist instructors to make their lessons explicit to learners. They are also used to transmit information, ideas and notes to learners (Ijaduola 1997). Instructional materials include both visuals and audiovisuals such as pictures, flashcards, posters, charts, tape recorder, radio, video, television, computers among others. These materials serve as supplement to the normal processes of instruction.
English Language is an important and fundamental subject that must be credited by students before gaining admission into any tertiary institution. The importance and technicality of this subject makes it necessary that relevant instructional materials should be used to teach it to the learners.
This fact is supported by Macaulay (1989) who asserts that visual aids make lesson come alive and help students to learn better. It is against this background that this study attempts to examine the extent to which the utilization of instructional materials could advance students performance in English language.
Poor academic achievement in English Language could be attributed to many factors among which instructor’s strategy itself was considered as an important factor. This implies that the mastery of English Language concepts might not be fully achieved without the use of instructional materials. The teaching of English language without instructional materials may certainly result in poor academic achievement. Franzer , Okebukola and Jegede (1992) stressed that a professionally qualified English instructor no matter how well trained, would unable to put his ideas into practice if the school setting lacks the equipment and materials necessary for him or her to translate his competence into reality.
Bassey (2002) opined that art of teaching is resource intensive, and in a period of economic recession, it may be very difficult to find some of the electronic gadgets and equipment for the teaching of English language in schools adequately. A situation that is further compounded by the galloping inflation in the country and many at times, some of the imported sophisticated materials and equipment are found expensive and irrelevant; hence the need to produce materials locally.
Obioha (2006) and Ogunleye (2002) reported that there were inadequate resources (Teaching aids inclusive) for teaching in most secondary schools in Nigeria. They further stated that the available ones are not usually in good conditions. There is the need therefore, for improvisation. Adebimpe (1997) and Daramola, (2008) however noted that improvisation demands adventure, creativity, curiosity and perseverance on the part of the instructor, such skills are only realizable through well-planned training programme on improvisation.
Despite these challenges, the potential benefits of instructional materials in English language teaching cannot be overstated. According to Uche (2019), the use of instructional materials in teaching English language in the University of Abia State has been instrumental in improving students’ language skills, particularly in areas such as vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. This suggests that instructional materials, when properly utilized, can significantly enhance the quality of English language education.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The first issue is the lack of adequate instructional materials for teaching English language in the University of Abia State. The scarcity of these resources hampers the effective teaching and learning of the English language. This lack of resources is a significant problem because it limits the ability of educators to provide comprehensive and engaging lessons, which in turn affects the students’ understanding and mastery of the language.
The quality of the available instructional materials is another concern. Many of these materials are outdated or not in line with current teaching methodologies and language trends. This discrepancy can lead to a gap in knowledge, as students are not exposed to the most recent and relevant information. This can also lead to a lack of interest in the subject, as the materials do not engage students effectively.
There is a problem with the utilization of the available instructional materials. Some educators may not be fully conversant with the best ways to use these materials to enhance learning. This could be due to a lack of training or exposure to modern teaching techniques. As a result, even when instructional materials are available, they may not be used optimally, leading to ineffective teaching and learning processes.
The lack of diversity in instructional materials is a significant issue. The materials available often do not cater to the different learning styles and abilities of students. This lack of diversity can hinder the learning process for students who do not respond well to traditional teaching methods, thereby affecting their overall performance and interest in the English language.
The issue of accessibility also poses a significant problem. Even when instructional materials are available and of good quality, they may not be readily accessible to all students. This could be due to factors such as limited copies of resources, lack of digital versions for remote learning, or even physical distance from the resource center.
Lastly, there is a problem with the evaluation and updating of instructional materials. There seems to be no effective system in place to assess the relevance and effectiveness of the materials in use. This lack of evaluation means that ineffective materials may continue to be used, while potentially useful ones are overlooked. This can lead to stagnation in the teaching and learning process, as there is no room for improvement or innovation.
The art of teaching is fundamentally concerned with passing ideas, skills and attitude from the instructor to the learner. In Nigeria, for example experience has shown that spoken words alone in the communication of ideas are grossly ineffective and inefficient in producing desired learning outcomes. Every year, when the results of public examination are released, there has always been mass failure in English language. The reason for this could be ascribed to the fact that teaching English language as a second language (ESL) in Nigeria pose serious problem of comprehension to students.
The effects of mother tongue interference also poses challenges to learners, this subject cannot be taught effectively without the use of relevant instructional materials to make the learning practical rather than purely theoretical.
On the foregoing, Mutebi and Matora (1994) have emphasized the effect of instructional materials utilization on teaching and learning. According to them, we learn and remember 10% of what we hear 40% of what we discuss with others and as high as 80% of what we experience directly or practice. However, the questions here are: does the use of instructional materials really influence students’ academic performance? Is teaching effectiveness enhanced by the use of instructional materials? Could students’ learning be advanced by the use of instructional materials? Finding answers to these questions and more summarizes the entire problem of this study.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY/OBJECTIVES
The purpose of this study is to examine the Impacts of instructional materials on the teaching and learning of English language in University of Abia State.
The objectives of this study are:
- To find out what instructional materials are used by English instructors in University of Abia State.
- To identify what areas of language do instructors use instructional materials
- To ascertain what stage of the lesson do instructors introduce these instructional materials
- To assess the constraints to using instructional materials in schools
- To Suggest ways to improve the effective use of instructional materials
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to achieve the objectives of this study, the following research questions were raised to guide the investigation:
- What are The Instructional materials used by English instructors in University of Abia State?
- What areas of language teaching do instructors use instructional materials?
- When do Instructors make Use the instructional materials during the English lesson?
- What are the constraints to using instructional materials in schools?
- What suggestions can be made to improve the use of instructional materials?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The use of instructional materials gives the learner opportunity to touch, smell or taste objects in the teaching and learning process. Consequently, knowledge passed unto the students at different levels of educational instructions should be well planned and properly allied with relevant instructional materials for clarity and comprehensibility. Hence the significance of this study to the students, instructors, curriculum planners, educational system and the society at large. To the students, the effective use of instructional materials would enable them to effectively learn and retain what they have learnt and thereby advancing their performance in the subject in question. This is because according to Nwadinigwe (2000), learning is a process through which knowledge, skills, habits, facts, ideas and principles are acquired, retained and utilized; and the only means of achieving this is through the use of instructional materials. The study would help enhance instructors’ teaching effectiveness and productivity. This is in line with assertion of Ekwueme and Igwe (2001) who noted that it is only the instructors who will guarantee effective and adequate usage of instructional materials and thereby facilitate success.
Consequently a instructor who makes use of appropriate instructional materials to supplement his teaching will help enhance students’ innovative and creative thinking as well as help them become plausibly spontaneous and enthusiastic. Oremeji (2002) supportively asserts that any instructor who takes advantage of these resources and learns to use them correctly will find that they make almost an incalculable contribution to instruction. He further says that instructional materials are of high value in importing information, clarifying difficult and abstract concepts, stimulating thought, sharpening observation, creating interest and satisfying individual difference.
The study is also significant to the educational system and society at large. This is because when instructors solidify their teaching with instructional materials and the learners learn effectively, the knowledge acquired will reflect in the society positively. Students will be able to understand the functioning of the economy, interpret government’s economic policies and activity and perform economically better in the choice of life and work.
1.6 THEORITICAL/CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
This study is focused on investigating the effect of instructional material utilization on advancing students’ performance in English language. Due to time and financial constraints, this study is limited to some selected University of Abia State in Umuahia Area of Abia State. This is because the researcher resides in this local government area and as such had the opportunity of having a comprehensive knowledge of the area and its environs.
This study intend to adapt a theoretical framework in the same manner, Moronfola (1982) carried out a research in Ilorin Local Government Area of Kwara State. She used questionnaires to collect data on the material resources available for the teaching of some selected subjects in ten secondary schools and related these to students’ achievements in each of the selected subjects and to the amount of resources available for the teaching of the subjects.
1.7 DELIMITATIONS AND LIMITATIONS.
This study is basically restricted to investigating the effects of instructional materials in the teaching and learning of English language in University of Abia State in Umuahia, it does not include Senior Secondary Schools in the same study area, the study basically ascertain the types, time and methods of usage of such instructional materials to impart the right English language skills on students in the study area.
The only limitation faced by the researcher in the course of carrying out this study was the delay in getting data from the various respondents. Most respondents were reluctant in filling questionnaires administered to them due to their busy schedules and nature of their work. The researcher found it difficult to collect responses from the various respondents, and this almost hampered the success of this study.
1.8 Operational Definition Terms
- Impacts: This term generally refers to the effects or influence of one thing on another. In the context of education, impacts could refer to the effects of certain teaching methods, instructional materials, or educational policies on student learning outcomes.
- Instructional Materials: These are the tools used in educational lessons, which include active learning activities, readings, and videos, among others. Instructional materials assist in the instruction of a subject matter and can greatly enhance a student’s understanding of the topic being discussed.
- Teaching: This is the process of imparting knowledge or skills to another individual or group. It involves a variety of methods, including direct instruction, discussion, practice, and feedback. The goal of teaching is to facilitate learning and the mastery of specific skills or knowledge.
- Learning: This is the process of acquiring new understanding, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, attitudes, or preferences. It can occur through teaching, experience, or self-study. Learning is a lifelong process and is central to human development and growth.
- English Language: This is a West Germanic language that was first spoken in early medieval England and is now a global lingua franca. It is the primary language of several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and is widely learned as a second language worldwide. It is the third most native spoken language in the world, after Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.
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IMPACTS OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS ON THE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN UNIVERSITY OF ABIA STATE