1.1 Background of the Study
French and English are often the only common languages available to Nigerians once they have left their mother tongue; and French language has also become a significant factor in international unity, because half of the world’s scientific literature is written in French and it is a Language of large commercial and industrial use. A good knowledge and a good command of the language is a passport to social and economic advancement. It is, estimated to be among the four most important languages of the internet. It is therefore, one of the major tools for 21st century learning. Nigeria is an Anglophone country, surrounded by Francophone countries. To the north, northeast, east and west are republics of Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin respectively. This makes French language a necessity for Nigerians in order to have peaceful co-existence with the people in the neighboring countries.1French teaching and speaking can also be of vital benefit to Nigerians because French and English are the official working languages of the United Nations (UN); United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO); Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), International Labour Bureau (ILB); the International Olympic Committee amongst others (Nathan, 2007). French is the dominant working language at the European Court of Justice, the European Tribunal of First Instance and the Press Room at the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium (Shryock, 2008). In Nigeria, during the eight All African Games of October 4, 2003 which had delegates from 52 African countries physically present, the reporting of events was done in English and French (Shryock, 2008). The teaching of French in our schools would help promote inter-cultural tolerance and cooperation, provide additional opportunities for employment, access to varied sources and quality information needed for general development in Nigeria, offer a means of belonging to the international organization, develop the ability to be useful, and contribute to national growth and development. Therefore, knowledge of the French language will not only be of social, economic, political and cultural benefits to Nigeria but also help in conflict negotiation and resolution at the international forum. So, the teaching of French in our schools will enhance academic and professional capabilities and potentials of those in search for greener pastures. The most accepted criterion for measuring good teaching is the amount of student learning that occurs. A teacher’s competence is about student learning; that is, students’ success. However, all teachers realize that what a student learns is not always within the teachers’ control. Teachers’ instructional strategy is characterized by a far more complex set of qualities than one's professional preparation. It includes dispositions and an array of planning, organizational, instructional, and assessment skills. Effective teachers are able to envision instructional goals for their students, draw upon their knowledge and training to help students achieve success.