The Attitudes and Perceptions of Students about the Study of English Grammar: The Case of Selected Senior High School Students in Northern Region

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The poor quality of English, both spoken and written, of Ghanaians in general, and of our students in particular, has become a source of worry to many well meaning educationists, parents and the general public. Several reasons have been given for the falling standards. Included among them are reading habits, poor teaching, inadequate library facilities, decline in the teaching of grammar and the de-emphasis of the mother tongue as the medium of instruction. There are those who believe that the use of the mother tongue at the basic level of education helps the learner to relate similar grammatical concepts in the L1 to those of the English Language. Much as the aforementioned could be said to be accountable, there is a fundamental phenomenon that acts as the underlying cause of the problem. The role that perception and attitude of the learners plays in the acquisition of skills in English has, over the years, been terribly ignored. The perception of students, teachers, policy makers, and the larger community, which includes parents, has played a considerable role in bringing about the fall in the standard of English. This study investigates the extent to which the fall in the standards of English could be attributed to attitudes and perceptions. The study has revealed that a serious disconnection exists between the needs of students and the solutions that are being used to raise the standard of English Language among learners. The study also reveals that, in most cases, parents, teachers and policymakers cannot escape blame for the problem either for their action or inaction regarding the promotion of the learning of the language. Though the study may have identified other reasons for the decline in the standards of English, the study focuses, to a large extent, on the very attitude and perception of the learner. It has suggested ways of developing positive perceptions and attitudes v towards the language. These suggestions include sound approaches to the teaching and learning of the language. The approach is carved in a manner that would make English more attractive to learners thus leading to attitudinal and perceptual change, which in turn would lead to enhanced performance of learners in English.
A thesis Submitted to the Department of English. Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, (Knust) in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Philosophy of Doctorate (Phd) Faculty of Social Sciences, College of Applied Sciences.November.