Language and Social Behavior in School
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This work focuses on language attitude and social behaviour in school. The aim of this work was to examine the influence of English language attitude on the social behaviour of its speakers, especially the second language learners or speakers.
Data used in this study were from primary and secondary sources. The primary source was based on personal observation and questionnaire, while the secondary sources of data included textbooks and the internet. The data was presented in a tabular form and analysis in percentage.
The findings reveal that ESL learners who had positive attitudes towards the English language exhibited positive behaviour patterns such as boldness; politeness and social-interaction while those who had negative attitudes towards the English Language, exhibited negative behaviour patterns like aggression and nonconformity.
From the data collected in the field, it was revealed that students with positive English Language attitude portrayed acceptable social behaviours which showed that there is a relationship between language (English) attitude and social behaviour.
We recommend that parents should encourage their children to read books and articles in English and regularly speak the language at home. More so, teachers should improve on their teaching styles; show a good mastery and interest as they teach the language. This is because the students see them as role models. For, these are the major factors that influence such attitudes and behaviours in school whether negative or positive.
Background of the Study
Language is simply a means of communication, which involves both stimulus and response whether through sound or sign. This is to say we react according to what is felt through what we hear and this is where language attitude sets in. According to Krauss and Chiu, “language use pervades social life, the elements of social life constitute an intrinsic part of the way language is used.” This, therefore, shows that language in itself has a huge impact on social behaviour, which includes aspects such as attitude change, social interaction, and social perception, just to name but these.
However, in discussing this, social psychology will also be examined as Saul McLeod (2007) adds that social psychology deals with factors that lead us to behave in a given way in the presence of others, and look at the conditions under which certain behaviour or actions and feelings occur. This, therefore, implies that, social behaviours should have factors be it intrinsic or extrinsic especially with the use of language – English Language.
The Portuguese were the first to discover Cameroon in 1472 and after that, many European nations have come to the country for diverse reasons especially commercial, and colonial purposes. The Germans however annexed Cameroon in 1884 due to the sluggish attitude of Britain to annex Cameroon simply because they thought that nothing good could come from it although, Britain and France finally colonized and partitioned Cameroon into two unequal parts which were; 2/5 for British Cameroon and 3/5 for French Cameroons.
Through colonialism, Cameroon became a country ruled by two colonial masters, which were the British and the French. Each had its own policies and ruled the people in their respective sections with their language (English and French language). These two languages came into Cameroon and now co-exist with about 280 indigenous languages.
The English language spoken in Cameroon has undergone many changes, and although it was spoken by the English-speaking Cameroonians, as a Second Language (L2), the French-speaking Cameroonians in recent years are fast embracing the English Language not only as a foreign language but more or less almost like a second language.
In post-colonial Cameroon, it is interesting to report that many Cameroonians now show a positive attitude towards their variety of English in spite of official efforts to implant a traditional native English accent in Cameroon (Ngefac 2011). Again, according to Ngefac 2009, up to 32% of his informants expressed a preference for Cameroon English.
Thus from the above, many Cameroonians would like the English language not just as a language of instruction but for other benefits such as social affairs, job opportunities, business even social interaction. For these reasons, in order to successfully know this language to better their communication skills, most Cameroonians would prefer to develop a positive attitude toward the language to easily assimilate.
Statement of the Problem
Over the years, research has been made to know how the Language attitude of students affects their social behaviour. This could either be positive or negative and most often, the effect can last for a long time. Many teachers may ask why their students behave the way they do towards a particular language or subject.
However, according to Festinger, Schacter, Black (1950) when we hold beliefs, attitudes or cognitions, which are different then we experience dissonance – this is an inconsistency that causes discomfort. This occurs when there are difficult choices to make or students involve in behaviours that is contrary to their attitude. As such, the main problem this study seeks to find out is language attitude and its influence on social behaviour
Aims and Objectives
The main aim of this study is to know how a student’s attitude toward the English Language can influence their social behaviour. Thus, the following objectives can be obtained.
- To investigate the relationship between language attitude and the social behaviour of students.
- To investigate the influence of students’ language attitude on their social behaviour.
- To examine the role of teachers in Language attitude.
- To make or propose possible solutions.