Investigating the Sources of Errors in the Writing of Senior High School Students
There is the general perception that the standard of English among students in Nigeria at all the levels of education is falling in recent times. Chief Examiners’ reports received from the West Africa Examinations Council (WAEC) from 2005 to 2012 have regularly indicated that most students in Senior High School who fail in English, lack in-depth knowledge of the rudiments of the English language. Students’ lackadaisical approach to the teaching and learning of the language may be a contributory factor. They think that English, like all other languages should not be learnt, but rather it should be spoken. This is of great concern to stakeholders of education in the country, as English, is emerging as the lingua- franca of the world and it is essential that students graduating from our secondary schools demonstrate solid knowledge of both formal and conversational properties of the English language.
This study, seeks to investigate the sources of errors that Senior High School students make in writing in order to establish the actual problem areas for attention and redress. The researcher used both qualitative and quantitative methods to analyse the data collected from the essays written by the students and also the information obtained from teachers of English during his interaction with them.
The findings of the study, disclosed that generally, students in Senior High Schools in Nigeria have insufficient or little knowledge of the English language code and therefore, they will not be able to communicate effectively and
efficiently with other users of English and this can hinder their interaction with other Anglophone students and friends.
The study proposes that ESL learners have peculiar needs such as training on the formal properties of the English language and therefore, require immediate intervention by way of organising English language clinics for students and in- service training for teachers of English to update their skills. It is hoped that if the recommendations in the study are heeded, standard of English will improve.