BANDELE ADEBOYE SOGBESAN
SENIOR LECTURER IN ENGLISH,
DEPT OF LANGUAGES,
TAI SOLARIN UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION,
Language has been described by various scholars over the years according to the perceived roles it plays in different circumstances. Sapir (1921) sees it as a system of arbitrary vocal signs and symbols used for the purpose of communication. It can also be seen in the light of Christophersen’s (1981) view as a conventional tool of self expression adopted by a society in carrying out its socialising functions. Language in both its written and spoken forms, is a vehicle through which man relates with and interpretes the world in which he lives. Various human groups and societies are typified by the language they speak, hence a Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, French or Ghanaian is identified not just by the geographical boundaries which separate them, but also by the distinct linguistic instrument by which they express themselves. Cultures are integral parts of languages, and it is almost impossible to fully express one cultural experience in another language. It is a mainly human attribute which, going by Chomsky’s claim, is however not inherent but is learned or acquired as part of the normal maturational process.
In a second language situation as the English Language is in Nigeria, the learning of a target language is not as easy or involuntary as a first language (L1); apart from the deliberate, planned and largely artificial process of teaching and learning, both teachers and learners are constantly searching for improved ways of acquiring cognitive, affective and psychomotor perfection in the new language. It becomes understandable therefore why over the years, there have been changes in pedagogical approaches to language teaching, ranging from the traditional practice of teaching the rules of the target language, through emphasis on practice and repitition without teaching the rules (Williams, 1999), to the more recent integrative approach. This approach combines the inclusion of useful aspects of various theories with contemporary practices and influences in the wider society. It is in this light that we shall examine the relationship between Information and Communicatins Technology (ICT) with the teaching and learning of English Language at the basic level of education in Nigeria.
THE NATIONAL LANGUAGE POLICY
The National Language Policy as enunciated in the National Policy on Education (1998 Review) prescribed the language of the environment as the medium of instruction in the first three years of formal schooling while English was to be taught as a subject. English was to become the medium of instruction from the fourth year of schooling upwards. The intent of the policy formulators was to enable the child attain a reasonable level of linguistic competence with its attendant cultural awareness. Ironically, the average Nigerian parent appears to prefer their going ‘straight for English’, a factor which could have engendered the mushrooming of private schools in the country and painting the picture of a failing public school system (Sogbesan. 2006). Unfortunately, a large part of the teaching workforce in the private schools are not so much academically quallified or experienced for effective teaching results.
LANGUAGE TEACHING AND ICT
In Nigeria, English Language has proved to be the most viable link to the outside world. Myriad textual materials, including books and periodicals, videos, journals exist alongside various softwares on the computer and internetwhich enhance the abilities of teachers and learners alike to improve their mastery of English both as a subject and as a service subject. It is expected that with increased ICT awareness, even the pedagogy of English with the various innovations and new avenues for retraining are available online. Some of the accessible ICT facilities that the English Language teacher can...