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THE PRODUCTION AND UTILIZATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
In carrying out this study an attempt was made to conduct investigation into the production and utilization of instructional; materials for teaching and learning in Abeokuta South Local Government of Ogun state. As a survey research, the instrument used for data collection was a structured questionnaire designed by the researcher. The number of teachers used is 100 (one hundred) from ten randomly selected pre-primary schools in Abeokuta South Local Government Area in Ogun State. The findings revealed some of the problems militating against the production and utilization of instructional materials in pre-primary schools, which include among others lack of training for teachers on production of instructional materials in pre-primary schools and the attitude of teachers which affects the use of teaching aids. It was recommended that the government should periodically make money available to schools so that necessary teaching aids as well as necessary equipment can be provided.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM
Early childhood education starts from the early years of life with its underlying goals derived from the desire to support, stimulate and guide the developmental processes of the child in the direction of competence, especially communicative competence.
The ultimate purpose of an effective teaching and learning is to bring about learning on the part of the learner and the symbol of learning outcome is change in behaviour which is consequential to experience (Akande, 2002). Ekwueme and Igwe (2001) asserted that it is the teacher’s task to provide experiences which support, stimulate and structure children’s learning to bring about a progression and understanding appropriate to the child’s needs and abilities. It is therefore very important for the teacher to use teaching materials/aids to make teaching and learning meaningful.
Ekpo (2004) declared that instructional materials are often used to compensate for the inadequacies of the sense organs or to reinforce the capacity of the dominant organs. They must be relevant for the realization of effective learning and the intentions of the curriculum.
The production of instructional materials had undergone several reviews and processes by experts from various fields. Olumorin (2009) emphasized that it is when original materials are not available for use in teaching and learning that other types and forms of instructional materials can be applied. For instance, in learning alphabets at pre-school class in African setting, imported charts with “A” for Apple, “B” for Balloon, are being used, but a locally produced chart that will reflect objects that can be easily seen in the child’s environment can be used, such as “A” for Ant, “B” for Basket, “C” for cutlass. It is against this background that the need to fashion out ways by which local resources to be used for developing instructional materials can be supported.
Instructional materials have been defined by various authors. Agun (1988) referred to instructional materials as learning materials, the proper use of which helps learners to learn faster and better; while Aguna-Obu (2005) viewed it as a concrete or physical object which provides sound, visual or both to the sense organs during teaching and learning. Instructional materials will therefore include all forms of information carriers that can be used to promote and encourage effective teaching and learning activities. The instructional materials that teachers can use to improve the quality of instruction are inexhaustible. The teacher’s level of resourcefulness, creativity and imagination is in fact unlimited.
According to Romsik and Seveck (2005), locally made instructional materials facilitate communicative competence in young children. They added that using developmental perspective, locally made instructional materials can be reviewed as a tool that aids or fosters the development of early language skills and sets the stage for later vocabulary development. Most teachers do not use them, and thereby depriving the preschoolers the benefits inherent in utilizing them. In some cases, there are no teaching aids to enhance teaching and even the teachers do not possess the skills to improvise locally made materials to enhance learning and communicative competence among the pre scholars. This study therefore, attempted to investigate whether utilization of locally made instructional materials has any implication for effective teaching and learning and communicative competence development in the early childhood education.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Teaching and learning instructional materials should be used to make teaching and learning during the early childhood years, interesting, systematic, positively interactive and meaningful educational experiences. The value of teaching materials in the educational process especially in the early years’ education cannot be over-emphasized that even improvisation should be made whenever they are lacking. The use of locally made materials is beneficial to the development of the early pre-scholars. These materials may be available in some schools but their implications depend on the effective utilization by the teacher.
Some instructional materials may be available and the teacher having no knowledge of improvisation would ignore using them during teaching and learning. This could mar the effectiveness of the education process and hinder the appropriate development of the child’s communicative competence. When there is a short fall in the availability of instructional materials, most teachers are unable to improvise with what is available in their environment in order to effectively drive home the lesson taught, and improve communicative competence in early childhood learners. This study therefore sets out to investigate whether the utilization of locally made instructional materials will help to improve effective teaching and learning and promote communicative competence development in early childhood learners.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to examine the production and utilization of instructional materials in pre-primary schools in Abeokuta in Ogun State. Specifically, the study seeks to:
(a) Establish how much and to what extent teaching materials are available in the selected pre-primary schools.
(b) Its implication for promoting effective teaching and learning in the early years of education.
(c) Highlight how often the teachers in the sample schools produce and make use of teaching materials.
(d) Its impact on the development of communicative competence in the early childhood learners.
(e) Examine the extent to which pre-primary school teachers improvise teaching materials.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study attempted to provide answers to these questions:
1. Are the number of instructional materials available in pre-primary school adequate for teaching?
2. Do teachers use instructional materials for teaching?
3. Can the teachers improvise teaching aids?
4. How often do the teachers produce and use the teaching materials?
5. To what extent do early childhood teachers possess the knowledge and skills about producing instructional materials?
6. Does the use of locally made instructional materials improve the quality of teaching and learning in pre-schools?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be beneficial to students, teachers, guardians and to the government. The findings of this study will help the students realize how important the use of instructional materials is to their understanding of all school subjects, especially in the core subjects. To parents and guardians, this study is of great importance because it will help them to appreciate the importance of the use of instructional materials to aid their children’s understanding in all the subjects they are taught. This will motive them to join hands with the school authorities to provide all the necessary instructional materials needed to be used in the pre-primary school classroom. Furthermore, the government and education policy makers will benefit from this study because it will help them to understand the place of instructional materials in terms of pedagogical practice and the need for their production locally. This will make them provide all the necessary instructional materials for use in the pre-primary schools and motive the teachers who engage in the production of instructional materials financially.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is delimited to pre-primary schools teachers in some randomly selected schools in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
1. Instructional materials: Materials used in the teaching learning process to make learning more effective.
2. Production: Making of materials for teaching and learning.
3. Utilization: Making use of something
4. Teaching aids: Devices used to enhance the teaching and learning process.
5. Visual aids: These are controlled visual experiences which are presented to the learners to provide a true and accurate picture or impression.
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