We live in the world of language. Language makes the world go round. Without language we can’t live in a day without using language. Whatever we do, even if we play, fight or anything language will always be present. Language is the source of knowledge, power and even life. Language distinguishes us from animals. Through language we can understand diversities in the world and we can respect every existing creature. For us to understand humanity we must know the nature of language and that makes us human.
English is known as the prestige language. Through English language we can connect with people here and outside our country. We could make our lives better just by speaking English. For the students English language could be the best tool to use in finding the career which will be suited for them inside and outside our country. For professionals it would be their greatest possession to climb higher than the position they currently are. The English language could also be the key in unlocking their difficulties in speaking, writing and listening skills. English language could bring success and honor to an individual.
The Philippines is recognized as one of the largest English – speaking nation. Filipino is the first language here in our country while English is the second language. There are 90 million Filipinos speaking in English. Only around 37,000 Filipinos speak it as a first language. However, a little over 92% of the population can speak it as a second language. It is the main language we used in commerce, law, as well as the primary medium of instruction in education.
Proficiency in the language is also one of our country’s strength. Due to our excellence in English language proficiency we helped drive our economic status by being top voice outsourcing destination in the world. We have already surpassed India in 2012. Even the foreign enrollees in our country fluxed due to affordability but quality English programs as a Second Language (ESL) being offered locally. However even if the whole country is having general excellence in English language proficiency there are still provinces wherein they are having difficulties in enhancing English proficiency.
In Northern Samar, there are varieties of dialects spoken depending upon the influence of the native speakers of their regions closer to the regions town’s location. In fact, about 91.9% of the household population speaks waray/norte samarnon while other dialects spoken in include Cebuano (2.90%), Abaknon (2.13%), Bisaya (1.78), Tagalog and Muslim (0.15%). English is the second language used for academia, communication and trade. The language of instruction used in English Discipline’s major subjects in College of Education of University of the Philippines is English. Major subjects in English are taught with consideration of the stipulated objectives in the syllabus. The crafted syllabus of the English Discipline professors is also aligned with the current curriculum. The curriculum for English majors that is being used is well crafted and well design to support students’ maximum learning experiences. While the expansion of English learning and teaching in College of Education is swiftly emerging the enduring constraint of limited financial and human resources has hindered the quality English Language Teaching (ELT) in the English majors in the College of Education.
The difficulties in learning English by students majoring in English in College of Education of University of Eastern Philippines have become visible and even more due to that Northern Samar are the third poorest country in the world. Of the six provinces in Eastern Visayas, Northern Samar is the poorest in the first semester of 2015 poverty survey, with an incidence of 61.6 percent. This means that six out of every 10 people in the province are poor. Poverty is one of the major obstacles to ELT in Northern, Samar. Poor students are demotivated and have minimal access to English education services. In Educating the Other America, Susan Neuman (2008) states that more than 50 years of research indicate that “children who are poor hear a smaller number of words with more limited syntactic complexity and fewer conversation-eliciting questions, making it difficult for them to quickly acquire new words and to discriminate among words” (p. 5). A significant body of literature also points to differences in access to reading materials by students from low-income families in comparison to their more affluent peers (Allington ; McGill-Franzen, 2008).
Motivation becomes minimal to these kinds of students. Motivation has been widely accepted by both teachers and researchers as one of the key factors that affects the rate and success of English proficiency level. Motivation provides the primary impetus to initiate learning the Second Language and enhancing English Language proficiency level. It is the driving force, without sufficient motivation, even individual with most remarkable abilities cannot accomplish long term goal. Once these happen, learning opportunities of the student will be slim and this may hinder the individual’s enhancement of English Language proficiency.
It is necessary, therefore that an investigation needs to be conducted to determine the factors associated with challenges faced by students taking up Secondary Education majoring in English.
Objectives of the Study
The aim of the study is to investigate the relationship between the students’ English proficiency level (i) economic status; (ii) learning motivation and attitude and (iii) learning opportunities taking up Bachelor in secondary Education Major in English.
There are many ways on how to teach English. A lot of strategies and techniques are being used to cope up with the needs of students. “English is learnt and taught in many different contexts and many class arrangement” (Harner, 2009, p.12), the purpose of learning English varies on every individuals of all age groups across the world. There are already many research findings indicate that there are lots of factors affecting students from learning English. Those factors range from learning and teaching practices, class sizes, motivations, students’ educational background and even age.
According to Spolsky (1988) p.382, social context plays a major role in learning language. It has strong traceable indirect impact on language. It described several factors affecting students’ second language learning outcomes. Those factors include learner’s attitudes, age, personality, capabilities, previous knowledge, learner’s expectation and perception on the learning task and possible outcomes, development of motivation and opportunities for language learning in formal and informal setting of education. The researcher would to like to focus on three factors (i) student’s socio-economic status (ii) student’s motivation and (iii) student’s learning opportunities because the researcher would to understand how these factors affects the English proficiency level of the second year students of College of Education, University of the Eastern Philippines majoring in English.
1. Socio-economic status
Student’s social background such as their education, their level of religion, ethnic or national allegiance, their place of birth , their knowledge of language, parent’s rationales , goals, priorities, family income and family structure (Spolsky 1988). Students’ social background factors are linked to different levels of students’ educational access and outcomes (Crawford 2014). The parent’s location in the economic status has a strong impact on student’s educational achievement (Sirin 1997 p.438). The socio-economic status and achievement has a great relationship. Students with different social background have access in different types of school it may be private or public and also differs to the degree of exposure to the target language (e.g private tuition, learning resources, study abroad etc.) these are according to(Munoz,2008). Academically, socio-economic factors have a strong relationship to the chances of what kind of school students will be attending. What and how are they educated depends on their socio-economic status (Olaitan,2012)
2. Learning motivation and attitude
The motivation and attitude are essential in the success in the studies of second language (Mat and Yunus, 2014).Motivation is one of the most important driving factors in learning (for a recent review of Dornyei and Ushioda, 2011). Motivation explains how an individual select a particular activity, how long they will persist at it and effort they invest in it (Dornyei, 2001). The learners will be more or less successful depending on the kind of ability and kind of motivation (Spolsly 1988). In most cases the success of learning the second language is associated with their motivation of career choices (Zang & Hu, 2008).In contrast students with no motivation have shorter span of attention, so sometimes they don’t reflect on what they hear (Al Rifai, 2010). An attitude is “a relatively enduring organization of beliefs, feelings, and behavioral tendencies towards socially significant objects, groups, events or symbols” (Hogg, ; Vaughan 2005, p. 150). Language attitudes may have an effect on second language or foreign language learning. The measurement of language attitudes provides information which is useful in language teaching and language learning defined by The Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching (2002, p.297). The learner’s attitude towards learning English has a strong impact on their English language academic performance. As argued by Lightbown and Spada (2001), the study of second language can be fun and enjoyable which will also enrich learning motivation depends on the learner’s attitude. The complexity of linguistic outcomes and non-linguistics outcomes depends also on attitude changes and satisfaction or frustration of personal learning goals (Spolsky 1988).