Parents Social Status and the Proficiency of English Second Language Learners at the University of Buea
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This research titled “parents’ social status and the proficiency of English Second language learners” was done in the University of Buea campus of the Faculty of Arts in the Department of English with a focus on level 200 students. This work has aims for its study to find out the relationship between parents’ social status and learners’ English Language proficiency.
The hypothesis here is on two parts; (1) that parents social status has a relationship with learners’ English Language proficiency. (2) That parents’ social status does not have a relationship with learners English Language proficiency.
The method of data collection is exploratory, strictly questionnaires and assessments/tests. Method of data presentations is tables and percentages. Major findings are; to find out the first language mostly used by students, to know what language is mostly spoken at home, to find out the educational status of parents, to find out parents’ financial status and to practically find out students proficiency in the English Language.
It was discovered that parents’ social status does not have an impact on learners’ proficiency in English but may contribute to an extent. Therefore parents are encouraged to continuously speak the English Language to their children and to provide them with all the necessary language learning materials which will aid them to be proficient in the language.
Background of the Study
Cameroon is a country of Central Africa having two Official languages which are English and French. We also count More than 240 native languages and this is why many Cameroonians are considered Polyglots (able to speak more than two languages).
In the Anglophone part of Cameroon, (Southwest and Northwest), the linguistic situation of people can be presented like this LI (native language), L2 (English), and L3 (French) as their foreign language. Therefore, paying attention to the University of Buea English language students, we came to realise that Mother Tongue, French and Pidgin English contributes to their poor performances because what they speak is what they write.
Thus, not being the only reason for the poor performance of speaking and writing English, we can also relate this to other components such as the parents’ social status (rich or poor, married or divorced and their level of education), and finally the environment they come from. Thus being aware of the situation, it is important to carry out research on this topic.
The learning of the English Language however is perceived to be a difficult process. Factors such as Motivation, Aptitude, Age and Socio-cultural background are known to influence the learning of the Language (Balderrama and Diaz-Rico, 2006).
This Study is of great importance because it concerns students from the English Department of the University Of Buea who are regarded to be the best in what concerns the English Language. Therefore, if they are facing problems in using the language where they are supposed to excel, it means there is a serious problem that needs to be solved before it gets too late.
We can also add that being students of the only Anglo-Saxon University in Cameroon, they are supposed to show a clear difference as compared to their mates from the French-speaking Universities studying the same subject (English Language). After having looked at the background, we shall now pay attention to the statement of the problem.
Statement of the problem
English proficiency is declining at an alarming rate in Cameroon despite its growing importance in the world today. J.P Clark (1972:5) highlighted proficiency as the Learner’s ability to language for real life purpose without regard of the manner in which that competent was required.
Thus, proficiency testing shift from the classroom to the actual situation in which the language is used. It has been viewed that this decline is as a result of the social status of the parents which has a lot of impact on the language proficiency of the learners.
The ineffectiveness of the language used is indeed a problem to the learners acquiring the knowledge and aspiring to be proficient users of the English Language. Thus “the statement of the problem”; the influence of the social status of parents to learners of English second Language proficiency.
- Parents’ social status has a relationship with learners’ English Language proficiency.
- Parents’ social status does not have a relationship with learners’ English Language proficiency.
Thus this research has the following questions:
- What is the relationship between parents’ educational level and learners’ English language proficiency?
- How does parents’ financial status affect learners’ English Language proficiency?
- Does parents’ marital status have an effect on learners’ English Language proficiency?
- To find out if parents’ educational level affects learners’ English Language proficiency.
- To examine the relationship between parents’ financial status and learners’ English Language proficiency.
- To determine whether parents’ marital status has an effect on learners’ English Language proficiency.
- To find out if parents’ occupation affects learners’ English Language proficiency.
To investigate/find out the relationship between parents’ social status and learner’s English language proficiency.