It is almost unthinkable the level to which the quality of English Language being spoken by Nigerian graduates has degenerated. Only few university graduates can sustain a discussion for full five minutes before switching over to or mixing it up with vernacular

A recent research revealed that only 26% of Nigerian graduates is employable!


Base on assumption

I can’t agree any less with that. Try putting up an ad for job vacancies. You will be amazed and probably be convinced.

I stand to be corrected, are u referring to those who paid their ways into getting the admission, or generally to graduates because i can bet you 65% of our graduates can speak English fluently the problem is the lecturers failed to improve on themselves their methods of lecturing is too outdated thereby making the graduates half bake

It will take you a visit to many of our Colleges of Education, Polytechnics and Universities for you to discover that many of our undergraduates cannot express themselves in simple and correct English Language.

I tell you, it’s more unfortunate that the teachers who are to mould the next generation are the worst culprits. There instances where and when parents correct their children at home when they(the children) commit unpardonable grammatical blunders only to be confronted by the children who often retort back, “No dad, that’s how my uncle or aunty used to say it in the class.”

Language is the vehicle of thought and a teacher cannot achieve much no matter how good if his communication skills is deficient.

I have noticed with utter dismay many teachers making a mess of their lesson periods not in want of what to say but in want of ability of expression.
No teacher will be able to accomplish much in carrying his students along in the class if his spoken English is flawed. Unfortunately, many teachers in the classroom are major culprits in this regard.

I agree sir but I have also thought and toyed with the idea of a Nigeria where by we teach in our local languages and dialect for:
1. Maintenance of our cultural heritage, and
2. Better impartation, impact and understanding.
After all languages are more of communication than any other thing.
I don’t think language should be a barrier to effective communication if we use what we already know instead of what we don’t

Platform 11

This is the major reason for non understanding of subject matters

You are so right. One thing I also observed is that majority of those who are seemingly well- spoken make errors that are appalling when writing. So many spelling errors that gets you wondering


Another major area of concern in the spoken English Language of many teachers is inability to overcome mother tongue interference in English Language. A typical Hausa man has problem pronouncing ‘P’ and ‘F.’ ‘People’ is pronounced as ‘Feople.’, ‘Form’ as ‘Porm’, etc.

A typical Yoruba man finds it difficult differentiating between the following sounds:
(1) V and F
e.g. The firgin is fery good at fideo coverage and folleyball.

(2) Z and S
e.g. The sinc house is beside senith bank after the sebra crossing.

(3) X and S
e.g. The exercise book esists in esecutive form only if all espenses are paid.

(4) CH and SH
e.g. The sheif is nice to the shildren before going to shurch when he changed completely, etc.

It could be embarrassing and humiliating to see students laughing at some of these obvious mistakes of their teachers in the classroom.

In the course of my interaction with classroom teachers in Nigeria, I discovered that less than 10% of Nigerian teachers know the number of sound segments in English Language. The common excuse has always been, “I am not an English Language teacher.”

Every speaker of English Language must master all the 20 vowels sounds and 24 consonant sounds properly. It doesn’t really matter whether you major in English studies or not. No bricklayer can attempt building a house without blocks and cement.

Having considered the problems associated with spoken English language of the classroom teachers, the next question is, what is the way out?

University of Self Development (USD)

It’s difficult to really help some teachers in this regard. I am not being pessimistic but as a matter of fact, many teachers have almost become dried fish that has become difficult to bend without breaking. That is why I would rather recommend that every teacher in this category a attend a school of self and personal development. How can this be practically achieved?

1. Read Materials in English Language
Readers are leaders and there is a very strong relationship between reading and speaking. Most good readers end up becoming very good speakers at the end of the day. It is unfortunate however that in this part of the world, reading, for many graduate ends after their last semester examinations in colleges, the teachers inclusive.

2. Listening to Good Speakers of English Language

Another practical way of achieving self development in the area of spoken English is by listening regularly to good speakers of the language: good journalists, lawyers, actors/actresses, newscasters, preachers, etc. It goes a long way in helping to correct wrong pronunciations while learning new ones.

3. Watching TV Programmes in English Language
Many teachers simply don’t know to improve. I have chided many teachers who claimed to be disturbed by their communication deficiencies but will yet spend all their precious hours viewing programmes or ‘home videos’ that are scripted in vernacular or local dialects. It doesn’t really work.

Language is the vehicle of thought. Hence, every teacher should strive to overcome his communication deficiency especially in the areas of grammar, phonetics and mother tongue interference. This can be achieved by self development through reading, listening, watching, etc.


Thank you so much sir for this thought provoking lecture. You did justice to the topic. Another thing is that most of us teachers are indeed unteachable we want to continue in the status quo ( as it was in the beginning so it shall continue). We are not ready to develop ourselves but we want the children to learn at all cost. One example was the other day a colleague of mine called me Mrs Rita and i called her privately to tell her that in English Language the rule is that once you address any one by a title it must go with the last name or what we commonly know as surname and that it will be right if she calls me Mrs Chukwu because of the title or simply or casually Rita and she took offence that am showing myself. Apart from the pronunciation or spoken error, we notice that most teachers have to work on their tenses and concord. A teacher was saying to his pupils the other day ” the two both of you come here “. Another one one was saying ” Ebi and Clara reads better than Olu. The point is that we claim not to be graduates of English Language but at least we all studied English Language from primary through secondary schools. Its our second Language i agree but since its our Language of communication we must help ourselves. I agree with the suggestions for improvement given by the speaker but i just want to add that we can also get some literature books even if its primary literature, get an exercise book a pronunciation dictionary and each time you come across any word that is difficult for you, just check out the right pronunciation, meaning and master the spelling and jot them down for further mastery. You may not be able to understand the symbols of the vowel and consonant sounds because they are quite different from the normal English letters so you have to start from learning them from the phonetics or English language teacher. By the time you sincerely work on it for two weeks you must have done great justice. Knowledge is a defence !!! And thanks Mr. Odetola God bless you richly.

What an interesting lecture, but one areas I think is difficult for teachers is phonetics,because in our days diction was not common n while growing up, our parents too are not familiar with u said one can develop his/herself

Yes. Thank you sir for a well delivery topic and thank Mr Eben for this forum

Not just the spoken English but written. Many teachers have formed the habit of using short forms. It has become a norm that it is always used in text messages. They forget and use it when interacting with parents. This has been passed down to the students. It is now a social norm

Thank you very much sir. Much ado about something. You don’t need to study english to speak good english. Read books, listen to news, watch educational movies it goes along way. Thank you once again Sir. You made my day.

I really appreciate your efforts in this lesson. God will continued to bless you and your family.

This new year lecture has done alot ,and it has gone a long way. Mr. Adeogun ‘Kayode, kudos to u sir. Pls sir we need more.

Quite true! however there are other contributor to they say begins at home. Parents should be the first to ensure that this anomaly is arrested if noticed among there children. Correct any grammatical or pronounciation error.
Enroll them in a diction class from an early age, expose them to the right viewing TV channels that will enhance their vocabulary as well as teach good morals.

Thank you all.



*Mr Adeogun Joseph Kayode* is a seasoned motivational speaker, a business consultant, a researcher, a global thought leader, a journalist, a creative content writer, an advocator, a relationship therapist and a certified life coach with a great desire to inspire others to live their happiest lives. *He is also a commentator on public affairs.*

Mr Adeogun Oluwakayode was Formerly a civil servant in Ekiti State. He attended The Federal Polythenic Ado Ekiti Where he received National Diploma in Business Administration and Management.

He bagged B. sc in Accounting from University of Ado Ekiti.

He also bagged PGD in Broadcasting and Communications from Nigerian Institute of Journalism.