This qualitative study investigated societal influence on students’ attitude towards the learning of French language in Nigeria, among the parents’ children and peer groups. Specific attention was given to exploring what efforts are engaged in, by parents and children towards French language in promoting the students or children’s effort. Data for this study are drawn from participant observations in selected schools in Odeda Local Government area of Ogun State, which includes use of questionnaire for 100 students. Analysis of this data indicates that most children are being influence by parents and peer group. Most parents failed to see the relevance of learning French language. Learning a language is influenced by variety of factors. Two of the important factors are the learners attitudes and societal attitude towards French as a target language. These are concepts which have been the focal points of sociolinguist as far as learners attitude is concerned. Therefore, this study is conducted in an attempt to provide an account of the previous studies conducted on societal influence on students attitude towards the learning of French i.e their influence on learners learning abilities. One core aim of education is to convey factual knowledge about subjects, but another is to encourage students’ interest in this subject. Recommendations were made thatGovernment should consider the idea of introducing French language into the curriculum of conventional secondary school across the nation and more teachers of French language should be deployed to secondary schools in order to complement the efforts of the few available language teachers in the class of modern languages in the Nigerian secondary schools.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In second language acquisition research, the extent to know how much learners’ attitudes towards learning a second language affects their overall ability to learn that second language has been a soaring debate for nearly half a century. In particular, motivation has been labeled as a key factor for success in language acquisition, those with a high level of motivation will be more successful, and those who show negative attitude will be less successful.
Robert Gardner and Wallace Lambert (1972) devised a two part analysis of Motivation relates to learners who have a personal desire to learn about French language and its speaker and to enriched by the culture.
In my research, I have asked myself the question “can someone truly learn a language if they do not like the group who speaks the language?” Considering the pedagogical implications of this reflection, is it possible to change a learner’s opinion of the target language culture, and if so, will success in acquisition rise?
Perhaps a pre-requisite to the previous question should be: Is it possible to change a learner’s attitude about the language they are learning simply by changing their opinion of the target language culture? If this were correct, then an emphasis on culture in the foreign or second language classroom would be an integral factor in language success. A key factor in understanding how the society can influence students attitude towards the learning of French language and how motivation comes into play concerning French as a second language acquisition.
Gardner’s socio-education Model identified four foundational features that predominantly have influenced students’ attitude towards the learning of French language: social or cultural setting, individual learner differences, Educational environment and context. Further, he dissects individual learner differences into four separate categories: Intelligence, language aptitude motivation and anxiety.
Crooks and Schmidt (1991) were critical in the implementation of this Model, emphasizing the importance of positive attitude towards the target culture and desire to integrate into the target French language community on the learner’s overall personal goal. Those who have developed their Models of attitude in second language learning include Dornyei (2001) who developed the process Model approach, finding that learners transition through a three-part phase of choice.
The first phase is choice-motivation which refers to getting started and setting goals. The second phase executive and is about carrying out the necessary task. The third phase is about students appraisal and reaction to their performance either from their parents, teachers or peer group.
Formal head of state of Nigeria, the late General Sanni Abacha in 1996 declared the new status of French as the nation’s second official language. Therefore for the Nigerians to interact effectively with Francophone countries locally and internationally, they must not only be able to speak the language fluently but also be able to attend international seminars and conferences without much problem.
French is one of the international languages. Most widely used in commerce, scientific and technological research, administration, education, literature etc. with the knowledge of French, Nigerians and Francophone countries will be able to work together in Area of science and technology. This can’t be achieved if French teachers are not employed or if those employed are not encouraged to teach or learn the language.
There is a growing concern about the attitude of Nigerians towards the study of French in our schools. A good number of them are not sufficiently informed about the usefulness of French in our educational system or its importance as an international language. They feel that people who study French language especially in the tertiary institutions are slow learners, or a course for dumping students who did not pass their intended course of study. And therefore most secondary school students think it is a waste of time studying it.
The need for French in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. Nigeria’s geographical, economic and diplomatic as well as her educational research needs makes it imperative for her to give adequate attention and priority to the learning of French.
It is therefore necessary to make Nigerians realize the importance of French in our country. Some government officials and individuals are enrolling for French lessons in the country and this shows that the need for this language exists.
Therefore, the society should not influence students’ attitude towards the learning of French language in Nigeria as it plays an important role in our country.
Social influence occurs when a person’s emotions, opinions or behaviors are affected by others. Societal influence takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales and marketing.
In 1958, Harvard psychologist Herbert Kelman identified three broad varieties of social influence.
1. Compliance: is when people appear to agree with others but actually keep their dissenting opinions private
2. Identification: is when people are influenced by someone who is liked e.g. Parents or friends and respected, such as famous celebrity
3. Internalization: is when people accept a belief or behavior and agree both publicly and privately.
The need to speak French arise as Nigeria sought to make the language its second official language after it was discovered that it would be of great help to the nation economically, financially, socially, politically etc. French language was therefore introduced into the educational curriculum. But then another challenge arose. How can French be learnt or taught in an environment where so many other languages were being spoken? How do we deal with the tongue interference how can the native speaker’s proficiency be attained?
This brought about the introduction of studying French language from the basic level. If students are able to learn the language right from an early stage, they would become accustomed to the language. And this brought about another challenge:not all teachers are teachers” French language can be difficult when taught in native language settings (l2) where the incorporating language might not be readily available outside the classroom (a language that is not practiced would definitely go into extinction). To accumulate something, a factor must have stirred up an interest. This process is referred to as Motivation. Learners must not be influenced negatively towards the learning of French language.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Learners of foreign language may tend to have difficulties when it comes to learning a language that is different from the language of their environments, if nothing gives them the drive and desire to learn. Therefore, this study is interested in knowing the different ways in which society influenced students’ attitude towards learning of French language.
Nowadays French teachers finds it difficult to be employed into secondary schools and the already existing ones are made to teach some other subjects like English, literature-in-English and some other subjects.
This attitude of the government has made both the parents and students to have an aversion for the language. Many parents now consider French language learning as a waste of time.
There is a growing concern about the attitude of Nigerians towards the study of French in our schools a good number of them are not sufficiently informed about the usefulness of French in our educational system or its importance as an international language.
Most people feel that people who study French language especially in the tertiary institutions are slow learners, or a course for dumping students who did not pass their intended course of study. Therefore most secondary school students think is a waste of time studying French language.
Societal influence occurs when a person’s emotions, opinions or behaviors are affected by others.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objective of this study is to assess the impediments on the way societal influence students towards the learning of French language in selected secondary school of Odeda Local Government area of Ogun State of Nigeria.
It also set to suggest certain solutions to the problems.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
In other to be able to direct this study to specific areas,the following questions were formulated
1. Do most student have negative attitude towards French language?
2. Does student’s attitude towards the study of French language be influenced by teacher’s methods of teaching?
3. Can student’s attitude towards French language be influenced by their parents?
4. Can attitude of student towards learning French language be influenced by their friends?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study is obliged to perform certain functions, some of which includes:
· Highlighting the major problems facing the teaching and learning of French language in Ogun State secondary schools with particular references to selected secondary schools in Odeda Local Government Abeokuta.
· It will be very useful as resource materials to students teachers of French Education
· School principals, educational administration as well as parents can be assisted to know the effect of societal influence on students’ attitude towards the learning f French language.
· It will also provide tangible information about the modern methodology of teaching and learning French language and this will enable French teachers to choose the appropriate method to be used so as not to discourage or influence them negatively while teaching the language.
· It will also reflect the importance of fascinating instructional materials that will attract and hold the interest and attention of the learners and also motivate them.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
In order to obtain data, a study is conducted using a group of five (5) selected secondary schools, chosen at random which is restricted to Odeda Local Government Area of Ogun State.
The scope of this research will be limited to the societal influence on students’ attitude towards the learning of French language the selected schools include”
1. Salawu Abiola Comprehensive High School, Osiele
2. FCE Model Secondary School, Osiele
3. Nawarudeen Grammar School, Obantoko
4. Paragon International college, Odeda
5. Egba-Odeda High School, Odeda
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Learning: According to Merriam-Webster definition, Learning is the ability or process of gaining knowledge or skill by studying, practicing, being taught or experiencing something.
Attitude: According to Schneider (1988) Attitude are evaluative reaction to person’s objects and events. This includes your beliefs,positive and negative feelings about the attitude.
Society: According to Cambridge English Dictionary, a society is a large group of people who live together in an organized way, making decisions about how to do things and sharing the work that needs to be done.
Influence: According to Collins English Dictionary. Influence is the power to make other people agree with your opinions or do what you want.
Student: Free Dictionary defines student as one who is enrolled or attend classes at a school, college or University. A student is anyone seeking to learn or to grow by experience.
Language: Richard Nordquist, language is a human system of communication that uses arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, and/or written symbols. The study of language is called linguistics.
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