Background of the Study
The English language plays crucial roles in the life of Nigeria as a nation, roles that date back to colonial era. According to Osisanwo (1990:50) the English language is Nigeria’s lingua franca, the language of the government, judiciary, legislature, commerce, a school subject as well as the medium of instruction. Obuasi (2001:109) opines that the English language is a unity language. It is introduced early to pupils in nursery schools. Pupils in primary schools and students in secondary schools spend either five or six years learning the English language. Yet, students’ achievement in this highly valued language is often poor. The poor performance of students in this language is authenticated by a WAEC (2004) publication. According to entries and results in the publication, students performance in the language was truly poor. For example, between 2001 – 2003, the failure rate in May-June examinations was as follows: 43.81% in 2001, 42.61% in 2002 and 38.81% in 2003. The percentage pass in May-June examinations for the years mentioned above was as follows: 20.07% in 2001, 24.57% in 2002 and 29.03% in 2003. The failure rate for the years 2001 – 2003 in the October/ November examination was as follows: 42.56% in 2001, 44.79% in 2002 and 29.20% in 2003. The percentage pass was as follows: 22:72% in 2001, 19.03% in 2002 and 30.50% in 2003. But for the 2003 October/November examinations that had more passes than failures, every other year in the data had more failures than passes of the candidates that sat for the English language examinations.