The study examined the problems facing English teachers in teaching drama in English in Nigerian senior secondary schools. In order to answer the questions of the study, the researcher adopted the descriptive analytical approach. The sample of the study consisted of (184) male and female teachers of English and (20) English language supervisors in six secondary schools in Uyo, AkwaIbom state. The researcher reviewed many books, previous studies, journals and related drama to get benefit from and to decide on the relevant procedures to follow while carrying out the study. In order to achieve the aims of the study, a questionnaire of (75) items divided into three domains representing the three drama components (short story, poetry, and drama) was designed by the researcher and validated by a panel of 17 referees to be used as the main instrument of the study. The data of the study were collected, computed and analyzed by using SPSS programme and applying the following tests :Alpha Cronbach Method, Gutman coefficient for unequal halves, Split-half techniques, t-test independent sample and One Way ANOVA. The researcher listed a number of problems facing teachers in teaching drama in English in secondary schools students. The researcher found out that understanding these problems will help teachers, supervisors and syllabus designers to identify the problems and find solutions to improve the process of teaching drama. The study also revealed that there were no statistically significant differences attributed to teachers’ gender, age or years of experience in the problems facing English teachers in teaching drama. In the light of these findings, the researcher suggested some recommendations for syllabus designers, supervisors and teachers to overcome the problems facing English teachers in teaching drama and to adopt more effective approaches to teaching drama. The study recommends that teachers should vary the techniques they used to adopt when teaching drama, and to be aware of the values of teaching English drama for the Nigerian society. The study also recommends that supervisors should pass their experience to teachers through training courses, workshops and micro-teaching to train English teachers to teach drama effectively. It was also suggested that further research should be conducted on the effectiveness of teaching drama in the Nigerian culture.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Many Drama teachers are grappling with the demands of the process of taking a dramatic text from page to stage. The prominence of theatrical text in new specifications appears to align the teaching of Drama with its sister subject, English. There are many advantages to this alignment of the two disciplines, including the opportunity to develop an understanding of narrative patterns as well as genres. A ‘play’ can mean both the written output of a playwright and the staging of their work. The verb ‘to play’ also references the element of anarchy and misrule latent in the imaginations of the spectators. The many genres of the theatre also reflect the socio-political and cultural movements of their time. From the morality plays of the medieval period to the comedies of the Restoration and the tragedies of the Jacobean periods, playwrights have sought to fashion text from the tapestry of life around them. Every teacher faces challenges, inside and outside the classroom. When teaching drama, the challenges can become even more intense, depending on the location and the nationalities of the students. English is considered one of the major subjects in Nigeria in particular. In Nigeria, English is used as a foreign Language, and therefore, it has become one of the obligatory subjects in the Nigerian school curriculum.
Being an integral part of the English curriculum in the Nigerian schools, drama should be given appropriate attention so that the overall aim of teaching English can be achieved. Learning English drama by Nigerian students may not be an easy task because drama is culturally, linguistically, and socially alienated from those students. It has become the teachers’ responsibility to exert more efforts to make learning drama an easier and more enjoyable and profitable experience in Nigerian students. In their attempts to do so, teachers should recognize the new concepts towards teaching drama as there is a mixture of different attitudes and beliefs in this field.
Based on drama discussions, the students could develop insightful responses concerning literal comprehension, personal connections, cross-cultural themes, interpretation, and evaluation of the text. Drama can also act as a powerful change agent
by developing students’ intercultural awareness. Theoretically speaking, drama can play a useful part in developing general language skills because the basic goal of teaching drama is to facilitate the learning of language and communication skills.
Beyond language, drama provides students with important comprehension and analysis tools. Through drama, students learn to identify and analyze conflicts, themes, issues, and characters. Good texts, whether classic or modern drama, contain some universal themes which apply to the students’ present and future lives. Drama is also an entryway into another culture. Moreover, learning drama enables students to understand and appreciate cultures and ideologies different from their own in time and space, and to come to perceive traditions of thought, feeling and artistic form within the heritage the drama of such cultures endows ( Carter & Long, 1991, p 2).
The greatest pleasure and satisfaction to be found in drama occurs where it brings back to the realities of human situations, problems, feelings, and relationships (Moody, 1981). Literary texts so often touch on common themes and values which range from individual concerns to social issues such as death, love, pollution, and ethnic conflicts. Even the genres, conventions and devices portrayed are universal. Poetry has rhythm, rhyme and figurative usage; short stories and novels have plots with crises, conflicts and resolutions. Drama offers universal themes which are relevant to students own experience. It, unlike many teaching inputs, is also a mirror that reflects and heightens each learner s perception of the social world. Thus, literary texts are open to multiple interpretation and genuine interaction (Duff & Maley, 1990:6). Students may relate the ideas, events and things found in literary texts to their own lives. It will help “to stimulate the imagination of our students, to develop their critical abilities, and to increase their emotional awareness”
(Lazar, 1993: 19). It also develops learners pleasure in reading. When EFL learners enjoy reading drama and have motivation to interact with a text, they will develop their reading proficiency. When they try to comprehend the meaning of the text, learners must make inferences, drawing both on content of the reading and their own experience. The reader is placed in an active international role in working with and making sense of this literary language (Brumfit and Carter, 1986: 15).
Therefore, drama is considered the backbone of any nation. It plays an essential role in creating a new generation capable of changing the life style and develops its culture. Drama is written for those who are sensitive and have a high sense of imagination; therefore, one cannot imagine learning English without learning its drama.
By learning drama, students learn to see a world through others eyes, observing human values and a different kind of living, and discovering others living in very different societies. They will understand and become broadly aware of the social, political, historical, cultural events happening in a certain society. Through drama, learners can deepen their cultural understanding. Consequently, the primary aim of drama is to give pleasure and to entertain those who voluntarily attend to it. In fact there has been an increasing interest in drama as a useful material for teaching a foreign language. English teachers and learners who have devoted themselves to serious teaching and learning want to teach and learn the best curricula and practices to achieve more efficient and effective proficiency in English. In their attempts to achieve such proficiency among their students, Nigerian teachers face a number of problems in teaching the language skills in general and English drama (the short story, poetry, and drama) in particular. Clearly, the current teaching situation of drama in English in Nigerian secondary schools may not be contributing to the development of English language skills, if not hindering their development. Such situation can be attributed to the main features commonly practised in teaching drama in the set students. These features mostly comprise teacher explaining text, students listening, students reading aloud, teacher asking questions, and students answering questions.
Apart from students reading aloud, it is the teacher who talks and the students who listen. However, to talk at length is not necessarily to teach successfully. On the contrary, effective teaching and learning is more likely to take place in classrooms where the interaction is not completely dominated by the teacher, and where a variety of activities are used. In classes intended for teaching drama in English in Nigerian secondary schools, there is usually more teacher-talk but also teacher-talk confined mainly to ‘explanations of text’. This means that in most drama classes the opportunities for encouraging interaction, introducing a variety of teaching and learning activities, and developing language proficiency are limited by the amount and type of teacher-talk which usually takes place.
The current practice reflects the ‘content approach’ (Lazar, 1993) to drama teaching. In general, this approach concentrates on imparting detailed factual knowledge about a few specific texts. The reasons why the content approach is so widely used are historical rather than pedagogical. Traditionally, drama as a subject that has always been taught by a means of ‘lectures’ on the content of specific texts or poems, especially at university level (Knutson, 1993). Besides, it can be truly said that it is this university style that has filtered down into the secondary school education system. Moreover, in the past, drama was regarded as a body of specialized knowledge, with its own rules, structures, and facts, almost independent of the main stream of language (Lazar, 1993). This notion has helped to maintain the ‘lecture-on-content’ approach.
Another major difficulty facing teachers while teaching drama in English in Nigerian secondary schools is students’ lack of language competency. This difficulty is also compounded with the stigma attached to drama as being a difficult and uninteresting area. This also results in the students further drawing themselves away from drama.
Pedagogically speaking, there are still some major problems or problems expressed by teachers. Therefore, it is worthwhile investigating these problems, identifying their causes, and prescribing effective remedies for these problems so that they will not damage the benefits that drama embodies. Understanding these problems will enable teachers, supervisors and syllabus designers to identify the areas where teachers need to improve most in order to make the best use of drama in English teaching.
On the other hand, most English learners suffer a lot from studying drama such as drama, poetry, short story, and novel because there is a huge gap between these learners and drama. Unfortunately, few studies were carried out to show some problems which face teachers in teaching drama. Most of these studies discuss the importance of drama in learners’ life. Therefore, the teachers should be aware of these problems in order to overcome them and have a good attitude towards drama. Therefore, it is hoped that this study help explore the questions of what the problems facing English teachers in teaching drama in English in Nigerian secondary school students are, and how they can be effectively and appropriately overcome.
Once the findings, recommendations, and conclusions of this study are spread to secondary school English teachers and supervisors through professional development workshops and newsletters, they may help a lot in promoting the art of teaching drama among teachers and supervisors and consequently enhance twelve students performance in English.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Being a previous teacher and now a supervisor of English, the researcher observed that Nigerian teachers are facing a lot of problems in teaching the literary genres in English in Nigerian secondary school students which would affect the students’ attitudes towards drama. These problems include three types: First, those related to the students such as using a content-based approach to teaching drama and students’ overall lack of competency in English. Second, those problems related to the students such as the abundance of farfetched ideas in literary texts Third, those problems related to teachers such as the lack of the visual aids employed by teachers. Because drama has an emotive and figurative use of language and because there is a cultural gap and a lack of comprehending a discourse that is totally unfamiliar to the students’ socio-cultural background, the teacher has to excite the imagination of students to make his or her teaching effective and refreshing. This study seeks to shed-light on these problems and propose some recommendations for overcoming them.
1.3 Research questions
- What are the problems facing English teachers in teaching poetry in English in Nigerian secondary school students?
- What are the problems facing English teachers in teaching drama in English in Nigerian secondary school students?
- What is the level of the difficulty facing English teachers in teaching drama genres in English in Nigerian secondary school students?
- Are there any statistically significant differences attributed to teachers’ years of experience in the problems facing English teachers in teaching drama in English in Nigerian secondary school students?
1.4 Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to identify the problems facing English teachers in teaching drama in English in Nigerian secondary school students, and to propose some solutions for them. The researcher designed a questionnaire to identify and analyze these problems. A panel of seventeen specialists in English drama and methodology at the universitie of Uyo and experienced supervisors in Ministry of Education validated the questionnaire. Consequently, one hundred eighty-four teachers whose native language is Arabic and who are specialized in teaching English for secondary schools in addition to 20 English supervisors were inquired to complete the questionnaire, the study instrument. Specifically, the study purported to :
investigate the problems facing English teachers in teaching drama for secondary school students.
- determine the level of the difficulty facing English teachers in teaching drama in English in Nigerian secondary school students.
- find out whether there are any statistically significant differences in the problems of teaching drama in English in Nigerian secondary school students attributed to teachers’ gender and period of experience in addition to the students’ gender.
1.5 Significance of the study
The significance of the study stems from the fact that it is not only concerned with diagnosing the problems facing teaching drama in English in Nigerian secondary school students, but also with the attempt to put forward some recommendations that may help teachers lessen such problems. Then, the ultimate goal is to recommend procedures that may make teaching drama more effective, communicative, and interactive through helping teachers to adopt more skill-oriented teaching techniques.
Consequently, the role assigned to teach drama should not be confined only to learn and memorize some factual information presented to students by means of a ‘lecture-oncontent’ approach but also through emphasizing the role of drama in improving the communicative competence. More specifically, this study is significant owing to the following reasons:
1- According to the researcher’s best knowledge, this is the first study to be conducted on the newly adopted English language students English in Nigerian, secondary school students. 2- The study will create a list of the most important problems facing English teachers in teaching drama, which may help those teachers overcome them and teach drama more effectively.
- The study could be a useful guide for English teachers in developing new methods and strategies in teaching drama.
- The study will give syllabus designers an idea about problems facing teachers in teaching and students in learning drama in English in Nigerian secondary school students. 5- The study may also help supervisors of English to better guide and supervise English teachers involved in teaching drama in secondary schools.
6- The study will propose some recommendations that may help lessen such problems.
1.6 Limitations of the study
The study has the following limitations:
- The study was confined to the Nigerian English language students “English for
Nigeria 12 ” which is now in use in the public secondary schools in uyo and West Bank Governorates in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.
- The study population comprised all English teachers teaching English for secondary school in six secondary schools in Uyo, The total number of those teachers was (230), in addition to all the supervisors of English in these governorates, whose total number was (20).
- The study was applied in the scholastic year 2009
1.7 Definitions of Key Terms
The following key terms are operationally defined for the purpose of this study: problems facing English teachers in teaching drama in teaching drama in English in Nigerian secondary school students:
- problem: A problem is a difficulty; a thing or situation that causes difficulty. However, in this study it refers to some obstacles facing the English teachers in teaching drama.
( Oxford Dictionary, 2000)
- Drama: It is an imaginative or creative writing, especially of recognized artistic value; the class of writings distinguished for beauty of style or expression, as poetry, essays, or history. ( Oxford Dictionary, 2000)
- Drama: It is a kind of literary composition meant to be enacted on the stage in which the story is told through dialogue, presenting characters placed in a situation of conflict and confrontation (Khader, 2007).
- English teachers: Nigerian non-native speakers of English who teach English as a foreign language .
-Students: it is a book used for instructional purposes, especially in schools and collages”. “Book used by students for particular branches of study can be characterized by another important feature: its intrinsically challenging nature”. (Matos, 2000).