Grammar and mass failure in English Language

Charles Kaye Okoye By Charles Kaye Okoye, 7th Oct 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

In my country, the issue of poor performance in the English Language examinations has become a national disgrace. While the situation will continue to generate public debate and outcry, there is need to evaluate our teaching and learning methodology, particularly as it concerns the place of grammar.

Grammar and mass failure in English Language

In my country, the issue of poor performance in the English Language examinations has become a national disgrace. A clear pointer to how irredeemable the situation has become is the recently released results by the West African Examination Council. There was expectedly mass failure. What could be the reason for this slide?

Many students fail JAMB and the School Certificate English, not because they are dull, but mostly because they do not know the rubrics of grammar which would enable them to make correct choices in the Objective Tests, or help them present their written answers in simple Standard English. Researches have established that the general de-emphasis of grammar and phonetics in English Language teaching and learning is the major root cause of poor performance in English Language among Nigerian students. Often times, English Language teachers emphasise other aspects of the Language especially vocabulary and rhetoric to the utter neglect of grammar and phonetics. The result has been catastrophic – mass failure in the English Language. Teachers' efforts at improving students' performance through this undue emphasis have made them look like a bunch of stage clowns who bump their heads into the same heavy obstacle again and again, because they could not remember what hit them only a short while ago.

Given that grammar is the vital principles or rules that govern English sentence or speech constructions, attempts at the mastery of the Language without a basic knowledge of the grammar throws the students into confusion. Hence, their woeful performance in English Language examinations.

It has, therefore, become necessary to rise to the challenge of bringing about a total renaissance in English Language teaching and learning. There is the need for a new approach to teaching and learning. Stake holders should also convene to brainstorm on the relevance of the existing syllabus, with a view to tinkering it if there be need for such.

Bringing back the glory days may be a distant try and ungetatable, but it is, no doubt, one worth striving for.


Education, English Grammar, Exam Failure, Exam Success, Exam Tips, Grammar, Teaching Method

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author avatar Charles Kaye Okoye
I am an easygoing person, considerate, and personable. I am open minded, but not pliable. I will be writing of family, politics, education, life.

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author avatar vpaulose
6th Aug 2013 (#)

Thank you dear Charles. I need more of this.

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