This study investigated the Role, Benefit and Impact of Literature in the Teaching and Learning of English Language. The study employed an ex-post facto research design. A sample size of about five hundred and thirty-six (536) students randomly selected from five Senior Secondary Schools in Akoko South Local Government Area of Ondo state, Nigeria, was used. The schools selected were co-educational. Data used for the study were the year 2017/2018 senior secondary school students’ West African Examination Council (WAEC) result in English language. One research Question and a null hypothesis were formulated to guide the study. Mean and standard Deviation were used to answer the research question while t-test was used to test the null hypothesis at 0.05 level of significance. The findings showed that there is a significant differences in the mean achievement scores of literature and non- literature students in English Language. It also showed that there is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of students from urban and rural schools. Further, there is significant difference in the achievement scores of male students and female students. Based on the findings, recommendations were made which include that the study of literature in English should be compulsory for all students in senior secondary school classes, science or art classes notwithstanding.

1.1 Background of the Study
In Nigeria, English language is the medium of instruction in schools, medium for government administration, mass media, commerce, law and politics. Apart from being a core subject in the school curriculum, the Federal Republic of Nigeria National Policy on education (2004) has it that all school instructions from upper primary (4-6) to tertiary level will be carried out in English language.

The policy states:
a. for primary school, which lasts six years, each child must study two languages, namely his mother tongue (if available for study) or indigenous language of wider communication in his area of domicile and English language.

b. For junior secondary school (JSS) which is for three years‟ duration, the child must study three languages viz:

i. his mother tongue (where it has orthography and literature) or and indigenous language of wider communication in his area of domicile,

ii. English language, and

iii. Anyone of the three major indigenous languages in the country, namely, Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba provided the language chosen is distinct from the child‟s mother tongue.

c. In Senior Secondary School (SSS), which lasts three years, the child must study two languages; viz:

i. An indigenous language, and

ii. English language

Of all the subjects which Senior Secondary School students and other candidates take in West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), English has remained a core subject both in Junior and Senior Secondary classes. It is a subject which candidates must pass if their overall success in the examination is to have any value. Considering different universities‟ departmental requirements, a candidate who has „A‟ grade pas in all subjects he/she offered in WASSCE but fails English language cannot gain admission into any university. A pass at credit level is an essential requirement for admission into any higher Institution of learning irrespective of the course of study. (JAMB 2009/2020 Brochure).

Judging from the above, therefore, English language learning in Nigeria is a matter of ensuring that students have a complete mastery of the language. The Nigeria students‟ use of the English language in schools has numerous learning problems. Many students come from homes and environments in which English is not used. The students, therefore, have a lot of difficulties mastering the language. The students need to be proficient in English in order to benefit from entrance into tertiary institution or gain employment. This proficiency calls for reading, comprehension, structural competence and a large stock of vocabulary for the students to understand and produce utterance on various topics. According to Akabogu (2002), a student who does not have enough vocabulary can neither understand comprehension passages nor construct sentences to express himself/herself freely on various topics.

Reading and comprehension are specialized activities which are very important in a person‟s educational pursuit. Effective compression helps the reader to read, extract meaning and generate ideas from the information got from the text (Akpama, Egong and Akwa, 2005). Reading and comprehension have to operate as one concept due to their synonymous relationship. Comprehension is a by-product of reading. It does not occur in the absence of reading neither is reading interesting or meaningful without understanding. For whatever reason a student decides to read, comprehension is aimed at, and a reader does not continue to read if he does not comprehend the material.

Effective comprehension for students in the context areas is important. Akpama et al (2005) assert that the comprehension questions which students answer in examination expose their level of understanding of various aspects of the language, that is, the grammar, vocabulary, and content level. This shows that lack of competence in any of these affects the general performance of students in English language, adversely.

The interrelatedness of literature and language cannot be overemphasized. Interrelationship between literature and language tends to explain that language is not separable from literature. None has and or should have an edge over the other because they are complementary. Azikwe (2007) brings it to the fore when she states that to learn a language is to develop skills; to learn the literature written in that language is to understand it. In learning the English language, the students are taught different aspects of language but in literature in English student see the language in use. Hence the study of literature may enhance the mastery of the language. The West African Examination Council‟s objective for the teaching of literature in English in Secondary School and their objectives in examining English Paper 1 (Essay, Comprehension and Summary) bring out clearly the complementary nature of the two subjects. One of the objectives of teaching literature is to aid the learning of the language in which the literary work is composed as well as develop the reader‟s creative and thinking ability, (WAEC syllabus, 2009-2012 session). Also the objectives of examining English paper 1, as enumerated in the syllabus and WAEC marking scheme include testing the student‟s ability to communicate in writing, reading and understand different kinds of English prose; and to summarize the whole or part of a passage.

Examining the objectives of the two schools subjects critically, one can see that the study of literature in English may be an aid to the mastery of the English language. It may go a long way in improving the achievements of students in reading comprehension and the English language, generally.

Literary art does not only help in mastering the skills for communication but also hold the key for the understanding of other subjects. Within and within (2000), stress the role of literature in understanding of other subjects when they state that writing and talking are the ways that learners can make their mathematical thinking visible and that both writing and talking are tools for collaboration, discovery, and reflection. Palmer (1998) also asserts that Literature is an application of linguistic science which is not science itself. He sees Literature as the history and practice of the written forms of a language which has become classic. Furthermore, William (1999), also speaking on the role of literature in the understanding of other subjects said that knowledge of humanities and science can be gained from literature.

The knowledge of literature forms the foundation upon which the child‟s proficiency in English is built. Stressing the supremacy of literature in the area of communication, Vincent (1998) argues that English is important but Literature is one sure way of transmitting and developing communication ability in children and adult. English as an International language is, among other things, the language of science and technology. In the view of Igiligi (2006), scientist or technologist or mathematician whose hobby is reading Literature-in English such as novels or other genres or literary works usually develops a good reading culture and has a better command of English than his counterpart who reads only materials or works that are directly related to his area of specialization.

Literature assists in the function of cultural transmission and preservation. Culture is a way of life. It is the way people live. Cultures are transmitted from generation to generation, otherwise they become extinct. For example, Achebe‟s early novels and those of his contemporaries tell the world how the Igbo people lived before and after the coming of the white man. Some rich Igbo proverbs are being preserved in those works which also tell the yardstick for measuring greatness, social status, and personal achievements among the Igbo then. Additionally, reading works of art with different cultural and geographical setting from ours enables one to tolerate other people‟s cultures and views.

However, though literature contributes a lot to language learning, there are other variables that can influence the learning of English language. One of such correlates has been found to be the location of schools. School location refers to the site of the school, either in the urban centre or in the rural area. Difference in location of schools simply means existence of differences in the language environment and the school tone. Language environment refers to where a language learner is surrounded by those who frequently speak and communicate with the learner using a wide vocabulary. The learner has plenty opportunity to communicate with others using appropriate language. In the opinion of Lawal (2001), the future of the child whether in urban or rural area is invariably linked to the quality of his or her environment. The environment of the learner determines what takes place in the learner. Environment refers to conditions in which a person lives or operates/in which a particular activity is carried on. This is so because the environment of the School constitutes facilities in the school such as the school buildings, instructional materials and staff.

The language environment of a language learner has a lot to contribute because the learner learns from what he or she hears or sees. It has been observed that some schools in urban areas have some instructional materials such as radio, television, standard library and computers. These are absent in rural schools. Ezema (2002) states that electronic teaching aids are very facilitative in second language learning but they cannot be used in rural schools where there is no electricity. The differences in school location result in differences in the level of acquisition of the skills of the second language by the students. This study, therefore, seeks to find out to what extent the location of school affects the achievement of senior students in English language.

Apart from location of school, linguistic performance is said to differ according to gender. Gender here refers to whether the learner is a male or a female. It is a general belief that girls are better than boys in linguistic skills of oracy, writing and grammar whereas boys excel in science and mathematics as well as any field that involves logical reasoning and problem solving. In line with this view, Nash in Akabogu (2002), states that females tend to do better in tests of “verbal ability” including such components as fluency, reading, comprehension, analogies and creative writing. Some scholars are of the opinion that there will be no significant difference in the performance of male and female students if they are exposed to the same language environment. This study also seeks to establish whether gender affects the performance of students in English language.

1.2 Statement of the Problem
The English language is the instrument for acquiring education at all levels in Nigeria as well as a yardstick for measuring who is educated or not. Despite its relevance, West African School Certificate result continues to reveal a general poor performance of secondary school students in English language examinations. Different factors may be responsible for the poor performance. Some English language teachers are not qualified to teach it well so the students cannot perform above what they are taught. In addition, literature in English, which can be used to enhance the learning of the language, is not taught well. Despite the relatedness of language and literature, teachers teach the subjects separately. There is no integration in the teaching of English language and literature rather literature in English is seen as a subject to be studied by students who are not good in sciences. The problem of this study, therefore, is; how will the study of literature in English, gender and environment influence the achievement of senior secondary school students in English language.

1.3 Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of the study is to identify the Role, Benefit and Impact of Literature in the Teaching and Learning of English Language on senior secondary school students‟ achievement in English language. To be able to do this, the study, specifically, sets out to do the following:

1. To find out the Role, Benefit and Impact of Literature in the Teaching and Learning of English Language on the students‟ achievement in English language.

2. To determine the influence of gender on students‟ achievement in English language of male and female students who studied literature in English.

3. Determine the influence of location of schools on the achievement of students in English language of male and female who studied literature in English.

1.4 Research Questions
The study will be guided by these questions

1. What is the Role, Benefit and Impact of Literature in the Teaching and Learning of English Language on the achievement of students in English language?

2. What is the influence of location of schools on the achievement of students who studied literature English in English language?

3. What is the influence of gender on students‟ achievement in English language of male and female students who studied literature in English.

1.5 Hypotheses
1. There is no significant difference between the mean achievement scores in English language of the students who studied Literature in English and those who did not.

2. There is no significant difference between the mean achievement scores in English language of students who studied literature in urban schools and those who studied it in the rural schools.

3. There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores in English language of male and female students who studied literature in English.

1.6 Significance of the Study
The result of this study will be of benefit to the students, the teachers of English language, the authors of literary texts, curriculum planners as well as add to knowledge base.

The secondary school students will benefit from the result of this study as it will help them discover the need to study literature in English along with the language in which the texts are written. This will increase their vocabularies and help them express themselves better

The study will also be beneficial to the teachers of English language in secondary schools. It will help the teachers to integrate English language teaching with literature in English, despite the fact that; they are two separate subjects in the syllabus. As the teachers use different genres of literature, it makes the development of different language skills in the students easier.

Authors of different literary texts for secondary school students will also identify the need to choose suitable vocabulary bearing in mind the age and academic level of the students who will study the texts. This will reduce the situations whereby a recommended text contains words that are either too high for the students‟ linguistic level or do not add any comprehensible input to the students‟ knowledge.

Equally, the study will enable the curriculum planners to realize the need to make the study of literature in English compulsory for all senior secondary school students, arts or science class notwithstanding. This is because literature in English will help in enhancing their overall achievement in English language. The curriculum planners will also realize the need to select literature texts that are written in appropriate and standard vocabulary.

The study will add to knowledge base of existing research and clarify the misconception that literature in English is for those who cannot do well in the sciences.

1.7 Scope of the Study
The study will be conducted in secondary schools in Nsukka Local Government Area in Enugu State. It involves the West African school certificate result in English language of students who studied literature in English and those who did not.

The content of the study will be limited to the Role, Benefit and Impact of Literature in the Teaching and Learning of English Language on the performance of students in English language generally. It will also include the influence of gender on students‟ achievement in English language and the influence of location of school (urban or rural) on achievement of students in English language.

1.8 Limitations of the Study
1. Literature in English and English language are taught to students in public and private schools. Using only the WASCE results of the public schools would have cut off a significant portion of the population. Due to limited resources, the study focused on the public schools only.

2. The area and population of the study were limited in this study. A wider area and larger population would generate more reliable results in terms of generalization.

3. The ex-post facto research design was used for the study. The data used might have been influenced by various factors. A quasi-experimental design would yield an authentic finding.

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