IMPACTS OF CLASS SIZE ON THE LEARNING ACHIEVEMENT OF ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN IKENNE LOCAL GOVERNMENT, OGUN STATE

ABSTRACT This research explores the influence of class size on the learning success of English as a second language, utilizing Ikenne local government, Ogun State. The research employed a descriptive survey approach. The tool employed in the research is a questionnaire.

 

The study revealed that; class size has a positive impact on student learning achievement in English language; reducing the number of students in English language class is positively correlated to higher learning achievement; class size has a positive impact in enhancing the learning achievement of students in English language; and lastly, other factors such as learning environment, instructional material, teachers’ method of teaching and peer group do motivates students learning achievement in English language than class size.

 

The study concluded that class size had a significant impact on student learning achievement, and as such, it is important that relevant stakeholders, government agencies, corporate organizations, and school authorities should ensure that adequate learning environments and facilities are provided in order to aid effective teaching of students in schools.

 

The study further recommended that; educational policymakers should formulate policies that will ensure that the number of students in a class should not exceed 40 students; the federal government, state government, Parent Teacher Association (PTA), philanthropists, corporate bodies, and religious organizations should contribute respectively to renovate dilapidated classrooms, build more classrooms; teachers should employ the use of teaching method in the classroom in order to carry along the students in teaching on the subject matter; the use of instructional materials such as digital technology in teaching should be provided especially in large classes; stakeholders should endeavor to provide required facilities and instructional materials for the effective teaching and learning in schools; teachers and management of the school should employ rotational students’ group formation and study.

 

CHAPTER ONE 1.1. Background to the Study In Nigeria Educational System, English language has turned out to be substantially esteemed and bejeweled among practitioners. According to Bamgbose, Banjo, and Thomas (2015), the dominance of English language in both official and informal transactional communication is indelible. In light of the multilingual character of Nigeria, with over 400 indigenous languages, English is seen to be the only practicable and realistic option for the country at the time and in the future to come, (Ufomata, 2010). (Ufomata, 2010). In Nigeria, English language is viewed as the official language among the people and isn’t commonly spoken in the rural villages which comprise three-quarters of the country’s population, (Bamgbose, 2014). (Bamgbose, 2014).

 

 

According to Ajayi, et al., (2017), class size is defined as the number of pupils per instructor in a specific class or the population of a class. Mokobia and Okoye (2011) noted that educators globally have acknowledged class size as a vital and desired aspect of an efficient educational system Generally, the learners of English language as a second language are frequently confronted with the problem of competency in terms of employing the right pronunciation of English sounds either by virtue of being a new language or mother tongue or first language interference, (Bamgbose, 2014). (Bamgbose, 2014).

 

However, there has been a focus on the desire for Standard English, so; an English language Instructor as well as a student must aim at competence to a degree of the standard form. This will allow the instructor and the learner (student) to develop appropriate competency for the practical purpose of teaching and everyday communication, (Unoh, 2015). (Unoh, 2015).

 

In Nigeria however, the problem of class size is turning out to be increasingly unmanageable, leaving instructors in an impracticable situation of providing each pupil the attention necessary, (Owoeye, & Yara, 2011). (Owoeye, & Yara, 2011).

 

In Nigerian government schools, the instructors’ eye contact with the pupils in class has diminished substantially to the point where some of the badly motivated students may establish numerous committees at the rear of the room while teaching is going on to participate in a non-school conversation, (Imoke, 2012). (Imoke, 2012). Regular class assignments and home tasks are dreaded by instructors taking in mind the astounding amount of volumes they will mark and record.

 

The research analyzed by Bosworth (2014) found that the association between class size and student success is complicated with a lot of contradictory outcomes. The research revealed that class size had no influence on student learning success. On the contrary, the results were not in accordance with the findings of Rubin (2012) in that the data demonstrated that, as the class size grows, student learning performance lowers.

 

Corroborating to the previous research, data from the study of Allen et al. (2013) found that 62 pupils per instructor were a threshold number and as class size went over 62, learning effectively halted.

 

Hence, when the number of students in a class rises more than 62, instructors would find it hard to teach effectively and efficiently resulting in pupils not being able to also learn well as limited involvement in class activities were conceivable.

Despite this conclusion, Allen et al. (2013) revealed that big class sizes do have a modest adverse influence on the teaching and learning success of students. The discovery nevertheless contradicts the past investigations and findings of Bosworth (2014). (2014).

As the number of schools and pupils rises class sizes will expand, and the learning accomplishments of children turn out to be a concern. According to Dror (2015), class size has turned out to be a phenomenon widely referenced in the educational literature as an effect on pupils’ sentiments and accomplishment, on administration, quality, and school finances. Dror (2015) further claimed that class size is virtually an administrative choice over which instructors have little or no influence.

 

A substantial number of academics start with the idea that the size of the class will be a key factor in the degree of success of students’ learning attainment. In fact, with the exception of a few, a number of research have found that under ideal conditions, class size in itself seems to be a critical component, (Horwitz, Horwitz, & Cope, 2017). (Horwitz, Horwitz, & Cope, 2017).

 

Ajayi and Ogunyemi (2010) in their investigation of the association between instructional resources and students’ academic achievements in Ogun State, discovered no significant relationship between class size and students’ academic performance. A study on class size suggests that students in smaller classrooms may be more inclined to join in courses by asking questions and connecting with the instructor. Such engagement may include students asking their teachers for assistance and clarification during lessons, either orally or by non-orally manners, like lifting up their hands or signaling for attention, (Adebayo, 2014). (Adebayo, 2014). Students in small courses may as well experience a lighter learning environment simply because of a higher sense of togetherness and cohesiveness among peers, (Wang & Finn, 2015). (Wang & Finn, 2015). According to Blatchford, Moriarty, Edmonds, and Martin (2014), class size is a highly important and significant component that affects instructors and learners in a variety of ways, but, the other contextual variables should not be neglected.

 

Therefore, it is based on the above that, a lot of emphasis and effort be placed on the learning achievement of English language as it will assist the students to develop their pronunciation skills sufficiently in order to aid effective communication with both native speakers and non-native users, (Fakeye & Ogunsiji, 2014). (Fakeye & Ogunsiji, 2014).

 

Similarly, it is obvious that the usual faults noticed among the instructors and learners of English as a second language nowadays include; improper pronunciation, mispronunciation, inappropriate intonation, as well as a misrepresentation of phonetic sounds. For example, a lot of pupils mistake the quality and length of vowels. It is in light of these challenges that current progress in language teaching and learning has made the teaching and learning of English not only necessary but as well a prerequisite for measuring the learner’s competency and accomplishment in language usage and acquisition, (Idris, 2015). (Idris, 2015).

 

Learning accomplishment is the degree to which a student has fulfilled their short or long-term educational objectives, (Bossaert, Doumen, Buyseand, & Verschueren, 2011). (Bossaert, Doumen, Buyseand, & Verschueren, 2011). In most of tertiary institutions in Nigeria, the cumulative GPA is utilized to assess the academic achievement of a student, (Fam & Yacob, 2016). (Fam & Yacob, 2016). For pupils to get a CGPA score they have to go through tests or continuous evaluations frequently, (Magnuson, 2007). (Magnuson, 2007).

 

A number of educational researchers have sought to explain the factors for poor academic performance in higher institutions. Motives such as insufficient educational facilities, students’ distraction on campus, the use of social media and the Internet, and a lack of motivation, (Heckman, Stixrudand Urzua, 2006; Tomporowski, Davis, Miller & Naglieri, 2008; Friedman & Mandel, 2011). (Heckman, Stixrudand Urzua, 2006; Tomporowski, Davis, Miller & Naglieri, 2008; Friedman & Mandel, 2011).

However, a crucial element being disregarded is how class size influences the learning success of pupils in English Language. Therefore, based on the aforesaid background, this research would attempt to explore the effects of class size on the learning accomplishment of English Language as a second language in Ikenne local government area, Ogun State. 1.2.

Statement of the Problems Class size is a universal problem that cut across a number of nations; nonetheless, in spite of the critical role that class size plays in the learning result of students, there is no clear agreement in the study on whether raising average class size would have an influence on student learning accomplishment.

Though, it has been argued by a number of writers that reducing class size would have a major influence on student learning results, (Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope, 2017; Edmondson and Mulder, 2014). (Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope, 2017; Edmondson and Mulder, 2014).

Teachers have asserted that big class numbers are the cause for a lot of the challenges they experience when teaching such as lack of proper instructional resources, bad teaching techniques, poor learning atmosphere, inability to manage the class and bring the pupils along, etc., To a considerable degree, according to Duppenthaler (2013) big class numbers may add to teachers’ burden, yet, there is no evidence from English language teaching settings that large class sizes negatively affect learning attainment, LoCastro (2011) has affirmed that large classes would lead to less effective learning, the lack of explicitly stated links between class size and the effectiveness of learning is surprising. In addition, the lack of relationships between class size and learning is that the issues established by teachers in surveys may reflect teachers’ points of view more than what happened in the actual sense.

 

Even though there are fewer studies that investigate what actually happens in large language classes, those that do exist show that the problems linked with large classes may be fewer and less serious than the surveys of teachers’ beliefs suggest. Allwright (2011) argued that lack of research evidence demonstrated that big class sizes are unfavorable to students’ learning results, and essentially nothing has changed ever since then.

Contrary to mainstream education where extensive research has been investigated on the effects of class size on learning (e.g. Finn & Achilles, 2015), in English language teaching there is practically nothing, and the very few studies investigated showed that the effects on learning of other factors such as teacher quality or classroom activities greatly outweigh the effects of class size, (Kumar, 2012). (Kumar, 2012).

 

In spite of everything, if other factors have greater impacts on the learning outcome of students than class size, class size may still influence students’ learning achievement, because it is a factor that is easy to control.

 

As a result, it is essential to know if and to what degree class size influences students learning performance. Therefore, based on the above, this study will fill the gap by examining how class size influences the learning achievement of English as a second language, using Ikenne local government area of Ogun State as the study case. 1.3.

 

Research Objectives The main objective of this study is to examine the impact of class size on the learning achievement of English as a second language in Ikenne local government area of Ogun State. However, the specific objectives will be to; determine the extent to which class size has an effect on student learning achievement in English language. find out whether reducing the number of students in English Language class would result in higher learning achievement of students examine if class size affects the effectiveness of students learning achievement in English Language find out what other factors motivate students’ learning of English Language other than class size. 1.4.

 

Research Questions Based on the aims above, the following research questions were posed for the study. Does class size have an effect on student learning achievement in English language? Does reducing the number of students in English Language classes result in higher learning achievement? To what extent is the effectiveness of class size in enhancing the learning achievement of students? What other factors motivate students’ learning achievement in English Language other than class size? 1.5.

 

Research Hypotheses The following study hypotheses will be expressed in their null form, which are; Class size does not substantially have an influence on the learning success of students in English language. Reducing the number of pupils in English Language classes does not result in improved learning accomplishment Class size does not enhance the learning achievement of students in English language. 1.6.

 

Scope of the Study The scope of this study was limited to a few selected secondary schools in Ikenne Local Government area of Ogun State. The study will be confined to English Language as a second and official language in Nigeria.

 

A total of 5 secondary schools in Ikenne Local Government Area will be examined for the study which are; Mayflower, Ikenne Community High School, Illisan High School, Peekan International School, and Remo Methodist High School.

The study will be limited to the use of a questionnaire as a primary source of data to gather the opinion of the respondents. 1.7.

 

Significance of the Study The findings from this study will help to highlight those areas where there are issues in class size and learning achievement in English Language as a second language, and thus will be of great benefit to teachers, school administrators, students, parents, parents and government, and society at large.

 

The findings of this research would ideally be relevant in the sense that it would allow teachers and school administrators to put in place required measures that will assist minimize big classes in order to promote effective teaching and learning outcomes of English Language. Finally, this research will be a complement to the existing literature in the area and an extra academic effort on class size and learning results in English language as a second language. 1.8.

 

Operational Definition of Terms English language learner (ELL): is a student whose native language is anything other than English and/or someone who is either learning English or is not totally “proficient” in the English language Class-size: refers to the number of pupils in a certain course or classroom.

Learning Achievement: is the amount of student achievement in learning the subject matter in schools that is reflected in the form of scores acquired. Teacher: a person who assists pupils to develop information, competence, or virtue. 1.9.

Organization of Chapters This research is structured into five primary chapters. Chapter two consists of the literature review that exposes the results and research that already exists on the issue. Chapter three describes the scope and technique utilized to plan and carry out this investigation.

The discussion of the results following analysis of the data and comparison to the material given within the literature review is undertaken in Chapter four. Chapter five provides a summary of the study, its limitations, and further recommendations.

This research explores the influence of class size on the learning success of English as a second language, utilizing Ikenne local government, Ogun State.

The research employed a descriptive survey approach. The tool employed in the research is a questionnaire.

The study revealed that; class size has a positive impact on student learning achievement in English language; reducing the number of students in English language class is positively correlated to higher learning achievement; class size has a positive impact in enhancing the learning achievement of students in English language; and lastly, other factors such as learning environment, instructional material, teachers’ method of teaching and peer group do motivates students learning achievement in English language than class size.

The study concluded that class size had a significant impact on student learning achievement, and as such, it is important that relevant stakeholders, government agencies, corporate organizations, and school authorities should ensure that adequate learning environments and facilities are provided in order to aid effective teaching of students in schools.

The study further recommended that; educational policymakers should formulate policies that will ensure that the number of students in a class should not exceed 40 students; the federal government, state government, Parent Teacher Association (PTA), philanthropists, corporate bodies, and religious organizations should contribute respectively to renovate dilapidated classrooms, build more classrooms; teachers should employ the use of teaching method in the classroom in order to carry along the students in teaching on the subject matter; the use of instructional materials such as digital technology in teaching should be provided especially in large classes; stakeholders should endeavor to provide required facilities and instructional materials for the effective teaching and learning in schools; teachers and management of the school should employ rotational students’ group formation and study.

 

1.1. Background to the Study

In Nigeria Educational System, English language has turned out to be substantially esteemed and bejeweled among practitioners. According to Bamgbose, Banjo, and Thomas (2015), the dominance of English language in both official and informal transactional communication is indelible. In light of the multilingual character of Nigeria, with over 400 indigenous languages, English is seen to be the only practicable and realistic option for the country at the time and in the future to come, (Ufomata, 2010). (Ufomata, 2010).

 

In Nigeria, English language is viewed as the official language among the people and isn’t commonly spoken in the rural villages which comprise three-quarters of the country’s population, (Bamgbose, 2014). (Bamgbose, 2014).

According to Ajayi, et al., (2017), class size is defined as the number of pupils per instructor in a specific class or the population of a class. Mokobia and Okoye (2011) noted that educators globally have acknowledged class size as a vital and desired aspect of the efficient educational system

Generally, the learners of English language as a second language are frequently confronted with the problem of competency in terms of employing the right pronunciation of English sounds either by virtue of being a new language or mother tongue or first language interference, (Bamgbose, 2014). (Bamgbose, 2014).

 

However, there has been a focus on the desire for Standard English, so; an English language Instructor as well as a student must aim at competence to a degree of the standard form. This will allow the instructor and the learner (student) to develop appropriate competency for the practical purpose of teaching and everyday communication, (Unoh, 2015). (Unoh, 2015).

 

In Nigeria however, the problem of class size is turning out to be increasingly unmanageable, leaving instructors in an impracticable situation of providing each pupil the attention necessary, (Owoeye, & Yara, 2011). (Owoeye, & Yara, 2011).

 

In Nigerian government schools, the instructors’ eye contact with the pupils in class has diminished substantially to the point where some of the badly motivated students may establish numerous committees at the rear of the room while teaching is going on to participate in a non-school conversation, (Imoke, 2012). (Imoke, 2012). Regular class assignments and home tasks are dreaded by instructors taking in mind the astounding amount of volumes they will mark and record. The research analyzed by Bosworth (2014) found that the association between class size and student success is complicated with a lot of contradictory outcomes.

 

The research revealed that class size had no influence on student learning success. On the contrary, the results were not in accordance with the findings of Rubin (2012) in that the data demonstrated that, as the class size grows, student learning performance lowers.

Corroborating to the previous research, data from the study of Allen et al. (2013) found that 62 pupils per instructor were a threshold number and as class size went over 62, learning effectively halted. Hence, when the number of students in a class rises more than 62, instructors would find it hard to teach effectively and efficiently resulting in pupils not being able to also learn well as limited involvement in class activities were conceivable. Despite this conclusion, Allen et al. (2013) revealed that big class sizes do have a modest adverse influence on the teaching and learning success of students. The discovery nevertheless contradicts the past investigations and findings of Bosworth (2014). (2014).

As the number of schools and pupils rises class sizes as well expand, and the learning accomplishments of children turn out to be a concern. According to Dror (2015), class size has turned out to be a phenomenon widely referenced in the educational literature as an effect on pupils’ sentiments and accomplishment, on administration, quality, and school finances. Dror (2015) further claimed that class size is virtually an administrative choice over which instructors have little or no influence.

A substantial number of academics start with the idea that the size of the class will be a key factor in the degree of success of students’ learning attainment.

In fact, with the exception of a few, a number of research have found that under ideal conditions, class size in itself seems to be a critical component, (Horwitz, Horwitz, & Cope, 2017). (Horwitz, Horwitz, & Cope, 2017). Ajayi and Ogunyemi (2010) in their investigation of the association between instructional resources and students’ academic achievements in Ogun State, discovered no significant relationship between class size and students’ academic performance.

A study on class size suggests that students in smaller classrooms may be more inclined to join in courses by asking questions and connecting with the instructor. Such participation may include students requesting their lecturers for help and clarification during classes, either vocally or in non-orally ways, such as by putting up their hands or indicating for attention, (Adebayo, 2014). (Adebayo, 2014). Students in small courses may as well experience a lighter learning environment simply because of a higher sense of togetherness and cohesiveness among peers, (Wang & Finn, 2015). (Wang & Finn, 2015).

 

According to Blatchford, Moriarty, Edmonds, and Martin (2014), class size is a highly important and significant component that affects instructors and learners in a variety of ways, but, the other contextual variables should not be neglected.

 

Therefore, it is based on the above that, a lot of emphasis and effort be placed on the learning achievement of the English language as it will assist the students to develop their pronunciation skills sufficiently in order to aid effective communication with both native speakers and non-native users, (Fakeye & Ogunsiji, 2014). (Fakeye & Ogunsiji, 2014). Similarly, it is obvious that the usual faults noticed among the instructors and learners of English as a second language nowadays include; improper pronunciation, mispronunciation, inappropriate intonation, as well as a misrepresentation of phonetic sounds. For example, a lot of pupils mistake the quality and length of vowels.

 

It is in light of these challenges that current progress in language teaching and learning has made the teaching and learning of English not only necessary but as well a pre-requisite for measuring the learner’s competency and accomplishment in language usage and acquisition, (Idris, 2015). (Idris, 2015).

 

Learning accomplishment is the degree to which a student has fulfilled their short or long-term educational objectives, (Bossaert, Doumen, Buyseand, & Verschueren, 2011). (Bossaert, Doumen, Buyseand, & Verschueren, 2011).

 

In most tertiary institutions in Nigeria, the cumulative GPA is utilized to assess the academic achievement of a student, (Fam & Yacob, 2016). (Fam & Yacob, 2016). For pupils to get a CGPA score they have to go through tests or continuous evaluations frequently, (Magnuson, 2007). (Magnuson, 2007). A number of educational researchers have sought to explain the factors for poor academic performance in higher institutions.

 

Motives such as insufficient educational facilities, students’ distraction on campus, the use of social media and the Internet, and a lack of motivation, (Heckman, Stixrudand Urzua, 2006; Tomporowski, Davis, Miller & Naglieri, 2008; Friedman & Mandel, 2011). (Heckman, Stixrudand Urzua, 2006; Tomporowski, Davis, Miller & Naglieri, 2008; Friedman & Mandel, 2011). However, a crucial element being disregarded is how class size influences the learning success of pupils in English Language.

 

Therefore, based on the aforesaid background, this research would attempt to explore the effects of class size on the learning accomplishment of English Language as a second language in Ikenne local government area, Ogun State.

1.2. Statement of the Problems

Class size is a universal problem that cut across a number of nations; nonetheless, in spite of the critical role that class size plays in the learning result of students, there is no clear agreement in the study whether raising average class size would have an influence on student learning accomplishment.

 

Though, it has been argued by a number of writers that reducing class size would have a major influence on student learning results, (Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope, 2017; Edmondson and Mulder, 2014). (Horwitz, Horwitz, and Cope, 2017; Edmondson and Mulder, 2014).

 

Teachers have asserted that big class numbers are the cause for a lot of the challenges they experience when teaching such as lack of proper instructional resources, bad teaching techniques, poor learning atmosphere, inability to manage the class and bring the pupils along, etc., To a considerable degree, according to Duppenthaler (2013) big class numbers may add to teachers’ burden, yet, there is no evidence from English language teaching settings that large class sizes negatively affect learning attainment,

LoCastro (2011) has acknowledged that big classrooms will lead to less effective learning, and the absence of clearly established linkages between class size and efficacy of learning is unexpected.

 

In addition, the absence of links between class size and learning is that the concerns generated by instructors in surveys may represent teachers’ points of view more than what occurs in the real sense. Even while there is fewer research that studies what really occurs in big language courses, those that do exist demonstrate that the difficulties related to large classes may be fewer and less important than the polls of teachers’ perceptions imply.

Allwright (2011) argued that a lack of research evidence demonstrated that big class sizes are unfavorable to students’ learning results, and essentially nothing has changed ever then.

 

Contrary to mainstream education where extensive research has been investigated on the effects of class size on learning (e.g. Finn & Achilles, 2015), in English language teaching there is practically nothing, and the very few studies investigated showed that the effects on learning of other factors such as teacher quality or classroom activities greatly outweigh the effects of class size, (Kumar, 2012). (Kumar, 2012).

 

In spite of this, if other variables have bigger effects on the learning results of students than class size, class size may still influence students’ learning performance, since it is a factor that is easier to regulate. As a consequence, it is crucial to determine whether and to what degree class size effect students’ learning performance.

Therefore, based on the foregoing, this research will fill the gap by analyzing how class size impacts the learning accomplishment of English as a second language, utilizing Ikenne local government area of Ogun State as the studied case.

The major purpose of this research is to explore the influence of class size on the learning accomplishment of English as a second language in Ikenne local government area of Ogun State. However, the specific objectives will be to;

Based on the aims above, the following research questions were posed for the study.

The following study hypotheses will be expressed in their full form, which are;

The scope of this research was confined to a few chosen secondary schools in Ikenne Local Government area of Ogun State. The research would be restricted to English Language as a second and official language in Nigeria. A total of 5 secondary schools in Ikenne Local Government Area will be studied for the research which is; Mayflower, Ikenne Community High School, Illisan High School, Peekan International School, and Remo Methodist High School. The research will be confined to the use of a questionnaire as a main source of data to acquire the opinion of the respondents.

1.7. Significance of the Study

The findings from this study will help to highlight those areas where there are issues in class size and the learning achievement in English Language as a second language, and thus will be of great benefit to teachers, school administrators, students, parents, parents and government, and society at large.

The findings of this research would ideally be relevant in the sense that it would allow teachers and school administrators to put in place required measures that will assist minimize big classes in order to promote effective teaching and learning outcomes of English Language.

Finally, this research will be a complement to the existing literature in the area and an extra academic effort on class size and learning results in the English language as a second language.

1.8. Operational Definition of Terms

English language learner (ELL): a student whose native language is anything other than English and/or someone who is either learning English or is not totally “proficient” in the English language

Class-size: refers to the number of pupils in a certain course or classroom.

Learning Achievement: is the amount of student achievement in learning the subject matter in schools that is reflected in the form of scores acquired.

Teacher: a person who assists pupils to develop information, competence, or virtue.

1.9. Organization of Chapters

This research is structured into five primary chapters. Chapter two consists of the literature review that exposes the results and research that already exists on the issue. Chapter three describes the scope and technique utilized to plan and carry out this investigation. The discussion of the results following analysis of the data and comparison to the material given within the literature review is undertaken in Chapter four. Chapter five provides a summary of the study, its limitations, and further recommendations.