EFFECT OF THE FUNCTIONAL-NOTIONAL APPROACH ON SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN ENGLISH GRAMMAR IN OWERRI NORTH OF IMO STATE, NIGERIA
This study investigated the effect of the Functional-Notional Approach (FNA) on students’ Achievement in English Grammar in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State. Five research questions and five null hypotheses guided the study. The study adopted a non-equivalent control group quasi-experimental design involving the treatment and control groups. The sample of this study consisted of 162 Junior Secondary School Two (JSS 2) students drawn from three secondary schools out of a population of nineteen (19) government owned secondary schools in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State. The multi-stage sampling technique was used to draw the respondents. Intact classes were used in each school for the experiments, so there was no random assignment of the subjects to the treatment and control groups. The instrument used for data collection was an achievement test on English Grammar which consisted of 20 multiple choice items. The lesson plan used for the experimental group was developed using the Indigenous Communicative Lesson Model, while the lesson plan for the control group was developed using the Grammar Translation Method (GTM) which is the conventional-method. The instrument for data collection and the lesson plans were face-validated by experts to ascertain the clarity and content coverage of the lesson objectives. A reliability index of the instrument was calculated using Pearson Product Moment Correlation Co-efficient which yielded a value of 0.84. The internal consistency of the test items was obtained using the Split-Half method by Spearman-Brown, which yielded a value of 0.95. The method of data analysis adopted in the study was the mean and standard deviation to answer the research questions, while Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) was employed to test the null hypothesers at 0.05 level of significance. The results showed that the students who were exposed to teaching English Grammar using the FNA gained higher mean scores in the achievement test than their counterparts taught using the conventional method-GTM. The study revealed no significant mean difference in the achievement of male and female students taught English Grammar using the FNA. There was a significant mean difference in the achievement of urban and rural students taught English Grammar using the FNA. Finally, the study showed no significant interaction effect of treatment and gender as well as no significant interaction effect of treatment and school location in the achievement of students taught English Grammar. Some educational implications were raised which included the fact that teaching English Grammar with the FNA enhances functional use of grammatical expressions and communicative competence among the learners. English Language teachers should also create learning environment as natural as what the child finds while learning the first language. This will make the language learning process more effective and speedy. Recommendations were made in the study for the students, the English Language teachers, authors, curriculum planners and authorities in teacher training institutions for the improvement of teaching English Grammar in secondary schools.