English Language is the language of instruction in Nigeria’s educational system. It is therefore important that it is properly taught in schools. This study was designed to assess the impact of provision and utilization of instructional materials on performance of public nursery pupils in English Language in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State. Four research questions were raised and three hypotheses were formulated. A sample of one hundred and twenty (120) teachers were randomly selected from the twenty (20) sampled primary schools in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State. Data analysis was carried out using chi-square of independence for the hypothesis and simple percentages for the research questions. The result showed that provision of instructional materials to schools were grossly inadequate. It was also observed that there was poor utilization of the available instructional materials by teachers in the classrooms, making the performances of pupils poor in the language with resultant low impact on the academic performances of public nursery pupils in education generally. It is therefore recommended that ‘instructional materials should be made available for the teaching of English Language and the teachers as well should ensure that the available instructional materials are appropriately utilized during the lesson delivery.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Education is an important instrument for the development of a nation’s social life, human resources, political awareness and the economy at large. It is clearly stated by the federal republic of Nigeria (1988:15) in her national policy of education that ‘education has been adopted as an instrument for effecting national development: it is in the light of this that the federal government is doing everything possible to see that illiteracy rate is reduced or totally wiped out of the nation because no country can grow beyond the educational level of its citizenry.
Nursery education or early childhood education which is the first stage of formal school system in Nigeria today forms the bedrock of an individual’s education life. This is because the quality of an individual’s subsequent educational prowess depends largely on the quality of nursery education that the individual received. Hence the broad aims of nursery education within Nigeria can be summarized as preparation and laying of strong foundation for primary school and other levels of education in future.
The federal republic of Nigeria (2004), has stated that nursery education is the education given in an educational institution to children between the ages of three (3) and five (5) prior to entering into primary school. Nursery education began as a private enterprise in Nigeria and continued until the year 2003, when the federal government and the United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) took inventory of early childhood care facilities in Nigeria and discovered that most of the facilities were privately owned. It was then that the Universal Basic Education (UBE) act (2004) included programmes and initiatives for early childhood education and development in states and local government areas. To make it more effective, the UBE programme made provision for every public school to have a nursery school linkage to cater for children aged 3 – 5 years. This is a period of growth and vulnerability in children. They are extra active at this stage, inquisitive and very curious to know the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of everything they see. It is because of this that teaching and learning process requires a sort of simulation and adequate use of instructional materials to make lessons interesting and meaningful, especially in English language.
The impact of instructional materials in teaching and learning in the school is indisputable. Teaching at any level requires that students be exposed to some form of simulation. Danmola (1992) noted that teaching resources in English language means anything that can assist the teacher in promoting teaching and learning of the subject. When the students are given the chance to learn through more senses than one, they can learn faster and easier.
Ikerionwu (2000) refers to instructional materials as objects or devices which help the teacher to make learning meaningful to the learners. Instructional materials are materials which assist teachers to make their lessons explicit to learners. They are also used to transmit information, ideas and notes to learners (Okorie 1982). He identified instructional materials to include both visuals and audio visuals such as pictures, flash cards, charts, posters, tape recorders, radio sets, video, television sets and computers among others. These materials and equipment serve as supplements to the traditional or normal processes of instruction.
The use of instructional materials provides the teacher with interesting and compelling platforms for conveying information since they motivate learners to learn more. Furthermore, the teacher is assisted in overcoming physical difficulties that could have hindered his effective presentation of a given topic to the learners. According to Lane in Larson (2001), the use of electronically medicated instruction to duplicate the traditional face to face classroom has resulted in a shift from teacher to student centered classes. In this situation, the responsibility for learning is shifted to the students. The teacher only facilitates the learning by acting as a coach, resource guide and companions in learning. The use of instructional materials therefore does not only encourage teachers and students to work collaboratively, but also results in more cooperative learning activities among the students.
The purpose of instructional materials is to promote efficiency of education by improving the quality of teaching and learning. Incorporating these tools and materials present, supports and reinforces teaching. According to ‘Aduwa Ogiegbeen and Imogie (2005), these materials and resources including audio tape recorders, video tape recorders, slide projectors, still pictures, programmed instruction, film strips, maps, charts, graph, opaque projectors, overhead projector and many more, offer a variety of learning experiences individually or in combination to meet different teaching and learning experiences.
Since the inception of nursery in public primary schools in 2005, few or no studies have been devoted to evaluating the availability and utilization of instructional materials in the teaching of English language in nursery classes in Jos North local government area. At the threshold of this new millennium, English language teachers face challenges and need to evolve strategies to engage learners in activities that are active, meaningful and challenging in the teaching and learning of the subject.
English Language is not an indigenous language to Nigerians. Since it is the medium of instruction in our schools, duty demands that the subject be properly handled, especially for the beginning readers. English language is technical in nature. The ability to assimilate meaning from text, spoken words, commands and reading of print materials is an index of good performance in English language which speeds up understanding of every other subject taught in school. It then becomes necessary to use techniques, methods and materials which will help the pupils to learn fast and happily. This fact is supported by Arisi (2000), who asserts that visual aids make lesson come alive and help students learn better. It is in view of this background that this study attempts to examine the extent to which the availability of instructional materials could advance nursery pupils performance in English language especially in reading.
Franzer, Okebukola and Jegede (1992) stressed that a professionally qualified English teacher, no matter how well trained, would be unable to put his ideas into practice if the school setting lacks the equipment and materials necessary for him or her to translate his competence into reality. Kadzera (2006), opined that English language is resources intensive and so teachers should not depend on sophisticated imported materials and equipment always rather, the need for improvising. Producing and providing instructional materials locally will reduce cost and irrelevancy.
Ogunleye (2002) and Obioha (2006) reported that there were inadequate resources for teaching English language in primary schools in Nigeria. They further stated that the available ones were not usually in good conditions. There is the need therefore for adequate provision of good teaching materials in schools. Garuba (2003), also noted that improvisation as a means of providing for the demand of adventure, creativity, curiosity and perseverance on the part of the teacher. Such skills are only realizable through well planned and administrative training programmes on improvisation of learning objectives and instructional materials.
Given the importance of instructional materials, the government does not adequately provide instructional materials to primary and nursery schools. Teachers themselves are also lacking in improvising and this could be the reason for poor performances of nursery pupils in English language. For instance, in ECWA transfer primary school, Jos, records of results have shown poor performance in English language tests and examinations consistently from 2011 to 2014. In 2011 promotion examination, the pupils had average mark of 40% in English, 2012, 35% average; 30% in 2013 and 45% in 2014. This trend of poor performance may likely be common to many other nursery schools in Jos North Local Government Area.
Based on these performances, the researcher would want to find out whether the poor performance of pupils in English language is due to inadequate availability or lack of instructional materials. If instructional materials are available, how adequate are they? And how well are the teachers using them in the course of their teaching and learning processes in the classroom.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Instructional materials play significant roles in the teaching and learning process. The federal government in its national policy on education recognizes education as an expensive social service, requiring adequate financial provision from the federal, state and local governments as well as the local communities, individuals and organization (FRN: 1998). The government cannot provide education alone. The slogan is, ‘all hands must be on deck’, yet there are pitfalls as regards financing education in Nigeria. In nursery schools, there are no instructional materials for teaching because the government is not providing them. Teachers are not helping matters due to financial constraints. This condition is capable of affecting pupil’s performance negatively. Aguwu, (2005) stated that instructional material management is a crucial component of the entire classroom control. Since the act of teaching is fundamentally concerned with passing ideas, knowledge, skills and attitude from the teacher to the learners, it will be improper to go about it haphazardly.
The problem of this study is that nursery pupils are performing below average in English language especially reading. It may be as a result of in-availability of instructional materials in schools or lapses on the side of the teachers in using the available materials in teaching. If the materials are available, then are they of good quality? Are they used by teachers at the right time during lessons? Could pupils learning capacity be enhanced by the use of instructional materials?
1.3 THE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The propose of this study is to find out the impact of instructional material utilization on pupils performance in English language in public Nursery schools in Jos North LGA of Plateau State. However in specific terms, the identifiable objectives of the study are:
- To find the availability of instructional materials for teaching English language in public nursery schools in Jos North Local Government Area.
- To find whether there are adequacy of the instructional materials in public nursery schools in Jos North Local Government Area.
- To find out whether the teachers are appropriately using instructional materials for teaching in Jos North Local Government Area.
- To find the impact of instructional material utilization on pupils performance in English language in public nursery schools in Jos North Local Government Area.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to achieve the objectives of this study, these research questions were raised to guide the investigation:
- To what extent has the availability of instructional materials in public nursery schools affected the performance of pupils in English language?
- To what extent has adequacy of instructional materials affected teaching of English language in public nursery schools in Jos North?
- To what extent have teachers been appropriately utilizing the available instructional materials in delivering lessons?
- Of what impact is the utilization of instructional materials by teachers on the performance of public nursery pupils in English language?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following hypotheses have been postulated to guide the study:
H01: There is no significant relationship between the availability of instructional materials and pupils performance in English language in public nursery schools in Jos North local government area.
H02: There is no significant relationship between adequacy of instructional materials and performance of nursery pupils in English in Jos North local government area.
H03: There is no significant relationship between appropriate utilization of instructional materials and nursery pupil’s performance in English language in Jos North Local Government Area.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The use of instructional materials give the learner opportunity to touch, smell or taste objects in the teaching and learning processes. Consequently, knowledge passed unto the pupils at different levels of educational instructions should be well planned, administered and properly aligned with relevant instructional materials for clarity and comprehensibility to the learners. Hence, the significance of this current study to the students or pupils, teachers, curriculum planners, educational system, the government and the society at large are outlined below:
To the government, the finding of this study would provide the ministry of education with some useful information which would make them appreciate the need to work out effective means of providing the essential instructional facilities and materials for the nursery schools in Jos – North L.G.A and Plateau State at large. They would do this by establishing instructional resource centres where these materials could be easily made available. Government would also see the need to organize seminars and conferences for serving teachers on the improvisation and utilization of instructional materials for teaching in the school.
The curriculum planners in the area of English Language would benefit from the findings of this study. They would be provided with some information on the need for making instructional materials enshrined in the curriculum and make it mandatory for teachers to use.
Teachers of English Language would also benefits from these findings of this research; it will equip them with some useful information on the need for effective utilization of instructional materials in the teaching and learning processes.
Pupils and students would also benefit from the findings of this study as regards the use of instructional materials by teachers in the teaching of English Language: to arouse their interest and help them acquire skills in English Language, to help them effectively learn and retain what they have learnt and thereby advancing their performance in the subject in question.
The study is also significant to the educational system itself. It could be among the many literature references to the future researchers and show gaps which need further investigation. It may also accord public education on how to teach learners with reading problems in the classroom.
This study will immensely benefit the society at large because the findings herein may be used as a basis for relevant Non Governmental Organizations (NGO) to help provide the support services needed in our public schools. When teachers solidify their teaching with teaching materials and the learners learn effectively, the knowledge acquired will reflect positively in the society.
1.7 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study was confined to examining the utilization of instructional materials in the academic performance of nursery pupils in English language in public Nursery schools in Jos North Local Government Area. Hence, it is not within the scope of this research work to deal with other subjects. Similarly, private nursery schools would not constitute part of this study.
1.8 THEORETICAL/ CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
This study is guided by the constructivist theory. Formalization of the theory of constructivism is generally attributed to Jean Piaget, a Swiss psychologist who articulated mechanisms by which knowledge is internalized by learners. He suggested that through processes of accommodation and assimilation, individuals construct new knowledge from their experiences. When individuals assimilate, they incorporate the new experience into an already existing framework without changing that framework.
This may occur when individuals’ experiences are aligned with their internal representation of the world, but may also occur as a failure to change a faculty understanding. For example, they may not notice events, may misunderstand input from others, or may decide that an event is a fluke and is therefore unimportant as information about the world. In contrast, when the individuals’ experiences contradict their internal representations, they may change their perceptions of the experiences to fit their internal representations. According to the theory, accommodation is the process of reframing ones mental representation of the external world to fit new experiences. Accommodation can be understood as the mechanism by which failure leads to learning. When we act on the expectation that the world operates in one way and it violates our expectations, we often fall, but by accommodating this new experience and reframing our model of the way the world works, we learn from the experience of failure, or others failure (Ernest, 1991).
According to Floden (1994). Constructivism is based on observation and scientific study about how people learn. People construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. In the classroom, the constructivist view of learning can point towards a number of different teaching practices. In the most general sense, it usually means encouraging students to use active techniques (experiments, real – world problem solving) to create more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and how their understanding is changing.
1.9 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
- Academic Performance: It is the school evaluation of pupils classroom work as quantified on the basis of marks or grades assigned by the teacher to pupils in nursery schools.
- Instructional Materials: They are the materials that teachers use in teaching to make the lesson active, interesting, real and understandable to the learners in nursery schools.
- Instructional Materials Availability: They are the types of instructional materials provided for the school use.
- Instructional Material Adequacy: This is the idea of having sufficient material for teaching in order to involve all the pupils in the classroom activities.
- Instructional Material Utilization: This is the idea of the teachers actually using the provided instructional materials for teaching during lesson delivery in the classroom.
- Improvisation: This is the act of making instructional materials available locally by the teachers in nursery schools.
- Nursery Schools: This refers to schools attended by children or pupils between the ages of three (3) and six (6) in Jos North Local Government Area.
- Public Nursery Schools: They are the nursery schools that are in primary schools owned by the government.
This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research
INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS, PROVISION, UTILIZATION AND NURSERY PUPILS’ PERFORMANCE IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE IN JOS NORTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, PLATEAU STATE.>
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