1.1 Background of the Study
English language is the only medium of classroom instruction in Nigerian schools which has affected students’ academic performances greatly because the language is foreign to the students. Hence, student who has problem in communication skill may likely not do well academically (Olanipekun et al, 2014).
Imposing a language other than mother tongue in higher education is a form of linguistic dominance and mother tongue marginalization, countries like Finland, Japan etc use the first language in higher education and they are excelling in different fields without a need for English (Zumor, 2013), educational research suggests that the best medium of learning is one’s mother tongue and that, similarly engaging marginalized children in school through mother tongue based multilingual education (MTB-MLE) is a successful model (Benson and Kosonen, 2013).
Mother tongue based bilingual education also known as translation in the classroom environment aims to make the L2 more comprehensible for the learners have a positive impact on educational and learning outcomes. Bilingual education refers to the utilization of two languages as means of instruction for students and considered part of on the entire school curriculum. It involves teaching academic content in two languages with varying amounts of each language used in accordance with the program model. In this research study transitional bilingual educational program model was adopted.
A transitional bilingual education program is a teaching model with two main focuses: first to ensure that students master educational content in their primary language (native language), then to assist students in becoming fluent in the second language. The idea behind this method is that students who are first fluent in their native language are more capable of becoming fluent in a foreign language - usually English. The skills they learn in their native language can be translated into the second language. Mehisto (2012) suggest that there are potential benefits to individuals, schools, and societies in being bilingual for example: increased mental flexibility, improved inter-cultural skills, and increased opportunities for global exchange and trade.
Mother tongue as a medium of instruction promotes and improves the quality of education by building on the knowledge and experience of both students and teachers. UNESCO believes and supports findings of students showing evidence that mother tongue instruction is a key factor for literacy and learning. L1 clasroom allow students to express themselves, contributes to discussions and develop their intellects as conversation are carried out in a familiar language. Bamgbose (2004) concludes that teaching in the learner’s language is more effective than teaching in English.
Mother tongue translation module as a translator tool, enables learners to translate a given text into their native language and understand its meaning as it clarifies what is meant and what is said. Not only does translation modules help to learn new vocabulary, expressions and grammatical rules, it also eases memory constraints so that students are able to memories and access more words in applying meaning to L2 words. Through L1 students will find it easier to recall new words. This allows a more efficient memorization process. According to June Jordan (2009), you will never teach a child a new language by scoring, ridiculing and forcibly erasing his first language.
Mother tongue terminology is the translation of terms used with a particular technical application on a subject of study in native language. This strengthen the cognitive development of the students and clarifies concepts. The use of mother tongue terminologies enables the students to immediately construct and explain without fear of making mistakes articulate their thoughts and add new concepts to that which they already knew. In turn, the teachers can more accurately assess what has been learned and identify the areas where they need help (Nolasco, 2010).Moreover how we look at the world is largely determined by our though processes and the way people think is strongly affected by their native languages. Our languages shape our reality and we cannot think of something we don’t have words for every language has its own culture and history. Tacit knowledge is being acquired by the response when technical teachings are conducted on mother tongue.
Technical terms are therefore strongly connected with regional characteristics in which unfamiliar terms or new technologies brought over are made one-to-one correspondence and correctly translate a foreign term into the term that was already in use in the mother tongue with this identified concept the researcher endeavoured to conduct this study on this locality.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Performances of technical education students have not been encouraging but rather declining. This situation has persisted over the years. The poor performance of technical education students in colleges transfigurated to students inability to exhibit desirable potentials, value, skills competences and which resulted in no technological development in the society.
The researcher observed that technical students begin their schooling in a language they do not comprehend. They do not understand the language of education being used as the medium of instruction in the classroom (Deped, 2011), As this result in inability of easier comprehension of sentences at instance. The problem of using second language as the language of instruction poses a barrier in communication and interaction between the teachers and students as teaching and learning are slow when conducted using other languages than the mother tongue.
Also the researcher observed that technical students do run out of words to express what they wanted to convey, thereby not encouraging effective student classroom participation. Moreover the researcher observed that technical students not being proficient in the language use in the medium of instruction makes their skills not expressive.
Furthermore, the researcher observed that technical students has to process the information from one language to another language resulting in non efficacy of technical know-how. Two linguists Edward and Whorf argues that our native language determines how we think and it thereby implies that we are unable to think about things we don’t have words for. Based on this identified problem the researcher picked interest in investigating the relationship between mother tongue on academic performances of technical education students.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study is thus:
i. To investigate the relationship between mother tongue translation module and academic performance of technical education students in Akwa Ibom State.
ii. To investigate the relationship between mother tongue terminologies and academic performance of technical education students in Akwa Ibom State.
iii. To investigate the relationship between students/teachers mother tongue interaction and academic performance of technical education students in Akwa Ibom State.
iv. To investigate the relationship between mother tongue based bilingual programme and academic performance of technical education students in Akwa Ibom State.
1.4 Significance of the Study
The finding will provide useful information to all education stakeholders such as the government, institute of education, teachers, students, parents and community at large if published on journals or discussed at seminars and conferences. The information about the relationship of mother tongue to academic performance of technical education students will not only be useful in Akwa Ibom State but also in Nigeria at large. Specifically the school administrators will benefit from the findings by collecting information that will be helpful in their endeavour to address schools language policy issue in terms of the use of mother tongue in school.
The findings will be of benefit to government by utilizing, the information, findings and recommendation on language policies. The findings will be of benefit to student by identifying effective learning in terms of clarifications of technical concepts and thus enhances their performance in technical education.
The findings also will benefit teachers by providing them with information on flexibility, innovation and creativity on their preparations with an aim of improving students’ performance in technical education. Parents or guardians, on the other hand, can use the research recommendations to help them to contribute positively to their children performance in technical education. The finding will benefit guidance counselors by providing reliable information for technical guidance of the students. The finding will also serve as a useful feedback to language policy makers, curriculum developers and implementers.
1.5 Research Questions
The following research questions will be used:
1. Is there any relationship between mother tongue translation module and academic performance of technical education students in Akwa Ibom State?
2. Is there any relationship between mother tongue terminologies and academic performance of technical education students in Akwa Ibom State?
3. Is there any relationship between students/teachers mother tongue interaction and academic performance of technical educations students in Akwa Ibom State?
4. Is there any relationship between mother tongue base bilingual programme and academic performance of technical educations students in Akwa Ibom State.
1.6 Research Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were formulated to direct the study.
i. There is no significant difference in the perception of mother tongue translation module on academic performance of technical education students in Government Technical College, Ewet, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State base on teachers and students.
ii. There is significant difference in the perception of mother tongue terminologies on academic performance of technical education students in Government Technical College, Ewet, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State base on teachers and students.
iii. There is no significant difference in the perception of students/teachers mother tongue interaction on academic performance of technical education students in Government Technical College, Ewet, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State base on teachers and students.
iv. There is no significant difference in the perception of mother tongue base bilingual programme on academic performance of technical education students in Government Technical College, Ewet, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State base on teachers and students
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study focused on how use of mother tongue by teachers and students in technical colleges relates to the academic performance in technical education in Akwa Ibom State. The study was delimited to three (3) technical colleges in Akwa Ibom State in which Ibibio language are spoken by an absolute majority of the population. This research work soley based on mother tongue, Ibibio, on the relationship on the academic performances of technical education student in Government technical college, Ewet, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.