Attitudes of Hausa Students Toward Learning the Course (Hausa): Focus on Usmanu Danfodiyo University

    Citation: Nuhu, A. & Sani, A-U. (2017). Attitudes of Hausa Students Toward Learning the Course (Hausa): Focus on Usmanu Danfodiyo University. In Fabunmi, B. et al (eds). Ife Journal of Languages and Literatures. Vol. 3, No.1. Ile-Ife: Department of Linguistics and African Languages. ISSN 2467-8635, Pp 56-67.

    Attitudes of Hausa Students Toward Learning the Course (Hausa): Focus on Usmanu Danfodiyo University


    Alamuna NUHU1
    Department of Nigerian Languages and Linguistics
    Kaduna State University, Kaduna, Nigeria
    Phone No. 08030472882


    Abu-Ubaida SANI2
    Department of Languages and Cultures
    Federal University Gusau
    Phone No. 08133529736


    As previous studies explore relationship between students’ attitudes and their academic performance. This study also sets to investigate the attitudes of Hausa students at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria towards learning the course. The population of the study consists of 168 students of Department of Nigerian Language UDUSOK, Nigeria, out of which one hundred and forty-seven students are selected as a sample of the survey. The instrument was validated by experts and a reliability index of 0.74 was drawn using Pearson correlation moment. Descriptive statistics is employed for analysing the collected data, in which the researchers used frequency count, simple percentages and tables. Major findings of the research are discussed thereafter. In accordance with the findings, the researchers offered some recommendations thus, lecturers, school management and other concerned groups or individuals at tertiary level should attach importance to addressing negative attitudes of students towards learning courses they are admitted to study, and that, the pride, which the students attached to the course, should be preserved through lecturers’ motivation (i.e. motivating the students). Great importance should be attached to the students’ pride for its impact on their learning achievements.

    Keywords: attitude, pride, Hausa

    Hausa is the most widely spoken language in Africa apart from Arabic and Swahili, which is dominantly spoken in Nigeria and Niger Republic (Inuwa, 2014). Recently, the language has been estimated the first language of nearly one hundred million speakers, and reasonably more than one hundred million nonnative speakers with varied notch of ability in the language (Yusuf, 2011). Hausa, as a field of study has been taught outside the African continent around 1885, during which the course was initially offered in Berlin, Germany. Today, Hausa courses are offered on regular basis throughout the world, mainly at universities that have a department specializing in African languages (Ekkehard, 2012; Thompson, 2015; ALS, 2015). More than any other language in Africa, Hausa (language, literature and culture) has the highest number of experts, ranging from holders of National Certificate of Education (NCE), Diploma, B.A., M.A., M.Phil., Ph. D. and indeed vast number of professors (Bunza, 2015).

    However, Nigerian universities that offer Hausa language include; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Bayero University, Kano, Federal University, Kashere in Gombe, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Sokoto State University, Sokoto, Umaru Musa ‘Yar’adua University, Katsina and Usmanu Danfodiyo University in Sokoto among others (Adejala, 2014). Other university that currently offered the course include: Federal University Gusau, Zamfara State, Sule Lamido University, Kafin Hausa, Jigawa and Federal University Kebbi. Apart from Nigeria, Hausa, particularly in the field of Linguistics is been taught in other African, Asian, American and European countries especially Warsaw University, Poland, University of London, United Kingdom, Research Institute for the Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA) in  Japan, University of South Africa, South Africa and University of Ghana,  Ghana among others (SBA, 2012). 

    However, students studying other disciplines, especially science courses, and sometimes the community at large, positioned Hausa students at lower elevation. Due to the fact that Hausa is an indigenous language in Nigeria thus regarded it is as local, common and which has less importance to the political and socio-economic climate of the country. Consequently, only few are into the study of the course willingly. More so, many of Hausa students feel ashamed to show out their course of study (Bunza, 2010). This is indeed a great threat against the academic pursuit of the students concerned, especially considering the relationship which students’ attitudes have with learning. Therefore, it is imperative at this juncture to investigate the attitudes of Hausa students toward learning the course in the university, hence to find out the interconnectivity between students’ attitudes and their academic performance and achievements.

    Statement of the Problem

    It has been proved that the motivation, self-esteem, self-concept and indeed attitudes of a learner, among other factors, directly or indirectly affect his/her learning outcomes. Learning results from the active involvement of the learner. Meanwhile, the learner’s involvement is, to high extent, determined by his/her attitudes toward learning the course in question. Though it has been observed that many undergraduate Hausa students did not choose to study it as a course of carrier study willingly nevertheless they are given the course to study out of volition. More so, many of the students find the course difficult than they expected (i.e. mere language that is used in everyday communication and other socio-cultural aspects of Hausa people). Perhaps, these could be the genesis of the low proficiency in both oral and written aspect of the course (Hausa Language).
    Therefore, if a step is taken towards ascertaining the real causes of this reluctance and lack of pride which Hausa students perceive and treat their course with, a better end could be met. It is therefore of paramount importance to conduct research on this phenomenon, so as to study the attitudes of undergraduate Hausa students in learning the course at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. The result could be generalized to other Hausa students studying in various institutions of learning beside the location of the research, or serve to open gate for similar and/or further studies concerning the phenomena.

    Objectives of the Study
    The study strives to determine:
    1.                  Determine the gravity of effects, which the attitude of Hausa students at Usmanu Danfodiyo University has toward learning the course.
    2.                  Determine the pride which Hausa students at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto attached to the course.

    Research Questions
    This research is guided by the following research questions:
    1.                  To what extent does the attitude of undergraduate Hausa students at Usmanu Danfodiyo University has effect on learning the course?
    2.                  To what extent have the undergraduate Hausa students at Usmanu Danfodiyo University attached pride to the course?

    Significance of the Study
    The findings of this study are expected to be relevant to the government, educational planners and administrators, parents, language educators and indeed students. The aforementioned categories of beneficiaries will be provided with knowledge of the attitudes of the undergraduate Hausa students toward learning the course in Usmanu Danfodiyo University.

    Perhaps, it will provide to the educational planners and administrators, relevant information on the attitudes of undergraduate students toward studying Hausa. This could be worthy of consideration during the process of educational planning. More so, guidance and counseling officers could use the findings during ascertaining the causes of failure or success of students. It could as well be useful when sending feedback information to students’ parents.

    Finally, the findings could serve reference functions to researchers who wish to conduct related researches. This is because, the research highlights on the attitudes of students toward the course i.e. Hausa, which could be reason for the failure and impediment of smooth flour of teaching and learning process with respect to the field of study in question.

    Literature Review
    For many years, attitudes had been considered as a central concept of social psychology. Meanwhile, early writers have defined social psychology as the scientific study of attitudes (Norbert & Gerd, 2001). The concept of attitude has been changing over decades. The definitions during the early years were broad compared to the present day’s definition of attitude. During the early years, the concept encompassed cognitive, affective, motivational as well as behavioral components. This could be seen if the definitions of the term over the years are tabled. For instance, attitude in 1935 was defined as:

    …a mental and neural state of readiness, organized through experience, exerting a directive and dynamic influence upon the individual's response to all objects and situations with which it is related (Allport, 1935: 810).
    Similarly, the term is defined by Krech & Crutchfield as: “…an enduring organization of motivational, emotional, perceptual, and cognitive processes with respect to some aspect of the individual's world” (Krech & Crutchfield, 1948: 152). It could be noted here that, both the aforesaid definitions emphasize on the enduring nature of attitudes and their close relationship to individuals' behavior. On the other hand, attitude in the recent years have been regarded as a mere concept, which shows likes and dislikes. For instance, in 1999 it is defined as: “…a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor” (Eagly & Chaiken, 1993: 1).

    Nevertheless, one thing which is true is that it is difficult, if not impossible, to design reliable empirical test for attitude evaluation. As sometimes individuals may hold multiple attitudes about an object, a phenomenon or any variable of interest to the researcher. Thus, an attitude, at a time, would be accessed depending on the time and indeed physical and psychological state of the individual. That is to say, the result will come up with a few credible assumptions, by which each is only well-matched with the available data (Norbert & Gerd, 2001). It is for this reason that Norbert & Gerd, (2001) opined that, attitude and other scientific concepts of its kind are to be evaluated on the basis of their explanatory power, thus, without taking judgmental processes into account. Apart from these, however, numerous studies justify the relationship between students’ attitudes and learning (cf. Robert, 1992; Theresa, 2006; Ibrahim, 2008; Rasaq, 2011; Tambuwal, 2012). Further, Robert, (1992) believed that without positive attitudes and perceptions (to learning), students have little chance of learning proficiently, if at all. This is similar to Theresa’s opinion, in which he holds that, extensive evidence exists that engagement and motivation are critical elements in student success and learning (Theresa, 2006).

    On the other hand, learning achievements have significant influence on students’ attitudes toward learning. Students with lower performance and higher rate of school failure experienced more negative attitudes towards learning and education at large. To be precise, previous school performances experienced by students have negative influence on the attitudes they show towards learning. Perhaps, they will be less committed to school as well as learning activities (Adelinda, et al, 2008). Many researches uphold the role, which students’ attitude play in the improvement of their academic achievement (Robert, 1992; Theresa, 2006). Engagements of students to learning are directly molded by the students’ attitudinal characteristics toward the learning. These characteristics include motivation, positive learning values, enthusiasm, interest and pride in success among others (Newman, 1992). With these (attitudinal characteristics), a student displays curiosity, a desire to know more as well as positive emotional responses to learning and school in general (Turner 1998; Smerdon 1999; Theresa, 2006).   
    Alternatively, Adelinda et al (2008) conducted an empirical research on the students’ attitudes toward learning. The findings show that, to a higher extent, contextual and cultural experiences dictate different kind of attitudes toward school and learning. This is because; social and family experiences influence students’ construction of meaning about school and learning. Therefore, it could be concluded at this juncture that, attitudes of learners affect their academic performance. Whereas, on the other hand, attitudes of learners toward learning is as much molded by their cultural experience as well as contextual elements (Theresa, 2006; Adelinda et al, 2008).

    Relationship Between Students’ Pride and Learning 
    Pride is defined as the feeling of respect that individual has for oneself. It is also been defined as the feeling of pleasure or satisfaction about something or someone closely connected with the individual concerned (Turnbul, J. et al eds, 2015). Tracy & Robins hold that, the feeling of pride might have evolved to provide information about an individual’s current level of social status and acceptance (Tracy & Robins, in Isabella & Francesca, 2002). Perhaps, according to Isabella & Francesca, (2002), pride, represented in words like accomplished and confident, is positively associated with personality traits of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and with genuine self-esteem. Jessica & Richard, (2007) considers pride as an important emotion that plays a critical role in many domains of psychological functioning. It reinforces behaviors such as altruism and adaptive behaviors like achievements. That is to say, pride in a particular discipline is the feeling of confidence, satisfaction, agreeableness and self-esteem of being studying or having been studied the course.

    Learner’s pride on particular discipline of study could positively influence his learning achievements. In doing so, Siek, Connelly & Rogers (2006) hold that the pride many individuals have influence their choices, thus resulting in preference interfaces that they could not accurately interpret. In essence, the level of pride a learner has on a particular course is subject to his interest in that very course. Notwithstanding, the pride of learner on a particular discipline would determine his/her attitude towards that disciple. As such, student’s pride is a determiner of his/her learning achievements.

    The research design employed for the study is a descriptive survey. The population of the study consist all undergraduate students at the Department of Nigerian Languages, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. The department has a total number of one hundred and sixty-eight adult students (168) as of 2016/2017 ranging between 18-30 or more years of age. However, a proportionate sampling technique was employed in selecting the participants over a period of the study by using Krejcie & Morgan (1970:30) table for determining a sample size.

    An questionnaire instrument, however, was constructed in Likert form using three response categories. The response categories are yes, no and undecided, which was validated by two experts from Department of Curriculum and Educational Technology and Department of Educational Foundations of the University respectively. However, section A of the instrument is the respondent’s bio-data while section B comprising five (5) items try to find the extent to which the attitude of the undergraduate participants has affected their learning of the course. Section C carries seven (7) items that ascertain the extent to which the undergraduate students, attached pride to the course. The final version of the instrument was subjected to test re-test method that yield a reliability index of 0.74. Descriptive statistics as already mentioned is used for data analyses, in which the researchers use frequency count, simple percentage and tables.
    Data Presentation and Analysis
    The data obtained during the study is presented and analyzed under this session.

     Major Findings
    The major findings of the study are:
    i.                    The undergraduate Hausa students at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto barely have negative attitude towards the course, which have effect on their educational achievements.
    ii.                  To a highly significant extent, the undergraduate Hausa students of Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto are interested in the course. Yet, majority developed the interest only after they are given the course to study.

    Discussion of the Major Findings
    Though majority of the students had bad attitudes towards the course initially, they later (majority of them) developed good attitudes toward it. Thus, about 80% enjoy the nature of the course and about 72% were happy about the course after they were admitted to study it. This is an indication that, the teaching and learning activities with regard to the course is, to some extent, planned suitably to arise students’ interest. This include, simplifying –systematically – the content, employing suitable method of instruction. However, the nature of a given course also determines the attitudes of students towards same. If the nature is not fittingly suitable to the learners, there is every tendency of them having negative attitudes towards it. According to the findings of this research, about 56% of undergraduate Hausa students at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto are comfortable with the nature of the course, while 19% of the students are indecisive on that. That is to say, only about 25% of the students are not comfortable with the nature of the course.
    In addition, students’ participation in teaching and learning activities of a particular course defines their attitudes towards it. That is to say, if the students have negative attitudes towards a course, he/she will undeniably remain inactive in the teaching and learning activities of the course. Here, about 88% of the students participate actively in all continues assessments of the course and as well (majority i.e. about 68%) attend conferences, seminars and public lectures on Hausa. However, the initial bad attitudes, which the students held towards the course, might be subjected to certain variables. Perhaps, factors such as lack of orientation about the course and its status in the society.
    Moreover, the research indicates that, the undergraduate Hausa students in Usmanu Danfodiyo University have attached a great pride to learning the course. The researchers also learnt that, the development of this pride comes up only after finding themselves in the system. With this, about 56% of the students disclose their course to those studying other courses. Also, irrespective of the way Hausa (as a course) is positioned by the society at lower elevation (Bunza, 2015), about 82% of the students do not consider their course or lecturers inferior to other courses or the lecturers of other courses. In doing so, about 84% of the students are bold to defend the course whenever it is challenged. This indicates how proud the students really are of the course. In addition, about 74% of them do advice others to study the course. More so, about 71% of them are ready to be named after the course.

    Undoubtedly, attitudes of learners towards learning affects their learning outcomes. Therefore, as an implication, teachers, curriculum planners and implementers as well as parents must take this variable into consideration; there by holding it as constant value. However, the following recommendations are made concerning the major findings of the study:
    1. Lecturers, school management and others concerned body and individuals at tertiary institutions of learning should attach importance to addressing negative attitudes of students towards courses they are admitted to study. This could be in form of orientations, public lectures, career talks and positive motivation by lecturers among others.
    2. The pride, which the students attached to the course, should be maintained through lecturers’ motivation (i.e. motivating the students). Great importance should be attached to the students’ pride for its impact on their learning achievements.

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