Abstract: The study investigated Play Activities And Pupils’ Academic Achievement In English Language In Primary Schools. The population for the study was all primary school pupils from fifty five primary schools in the study area. Two hundred primary school pupils formed the sample size randomly selected from ten selected public primary schools in the study area. Two research questions and two hypotheses were formulated. The quasi-experimental design was adopted as the design for the study. English Language Achievement Test (ELAT) was used as the instrument for data collection and independent statistical method was employed in analyzing the data collected.
Play Activities And Pupils’ Academic Achievement In English Language In Primary Schools
Findings revealed that there is a significant difference between the academic achievement of pupils taught using play activities and those taught without using play activities in English Language. Also that there is no significant difference between the academic achievement of male and female pupils taught using play activities in English Language in primary schools. Based on the findings, it was recommended that the government should provide quality and quantity materials for effective play activities for pupils pre-primary school classes, because scarcity of the materials that cannot be improvised by the teacher lead to inadequate demonstration in schools.
1.1 Background to the Problem
The role of play in supporting children‘s development of metacognitive and self-regulatory abilities has been acknowledged as being critical is an area of recent research development. Metacognitive abilities involve development of awareness of cognitive and emotional processes and expansion of policies to control them. It is now clearly established that children begin to develop this awareness and control very early in life, important individual differences are quickly established which have long-lasting results for attainment and well-being, that these abilities are learnt, and can be taught, and that the various types of play form a powerful context for their development.
Play is multifaceted, and its complexity lies in the many different ways in which children play. It is also a natural part of a child‘s life, with many opportunities to engage in play and work together with peers. Children develop an understanding of the world through play and adults could encourage this development by appropriate interventions.
Play is a means for socially assisted learning and scaffolding. In scaffolding, the adult assists the child to perform at a higher level than would be possible without adult support. When the child is able to perform alone, the adult gradually withdraws and lets the child act independently. This kind of adult intervention helps children expand their knowledge and learning during play. Adult scaffolding during play encourages children to learn self-regulation, cooperation, memory, language use, and literacy.
Early childhood educators have long recognized the power of play. The significant contribution of play to young children‘s development is well documented in child psychology, anthropology, sociology, and in the theoretical frameworks of education, recreation, and communications. Play is important for the child‘s development and learning.
Conscious use of play to promote the development and learning of each individual child should be an omnipresent activity in the pre-school. Play and enjoyment in learning in all its various forms stimulates the imagination, insight, communication, and the ability to co-operate and solve problems. Through creative and imaginary games, the child will get opportunities to express and work through their experiences and feelings.
Numerous studies reported the benefits of learning literacy through play. These studies found that children‘s literacy knowledge and behaviour increase in literacy-enriched play settings and that adults ‘involvement in play increases the amount of literacy activities. Adults should assume a variety of roles when interacting with children such as onlooker, co-player, or, sometimes, play leader. When the adults draw children‘s attention to the literacy in the play, children‘s abilities to recognize literacy is enhanced. This kind of guided play is a blend of play and academic learning.
As we already mentioned, within guided play, teachers are goal oriented, but they should remain sensitive and responsive to the children‘s behaviours. Playful learning with children of which guided play is one type contributes to the acquisition of literacy skills. Literacy embedded in playful contexts is learned better and faster.
Learning through play is a group activity which involves males and females. Play offers informal and free atmosphere which gives the kids a chance to learn concepts, Mathematics and Language. He said visual activities can be used to teach the young ones about Mathematics, art and nature and that play can be used to teach the young ones language and other literary behaviours as well as morals of the society. This therefore formed the basis for the current research to investigate into play activities and pupils’ academic achievement in English Language in primary schools in Essein Udim Local Government Area.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
All children therefore need to be equipped with the essential tools of knowledge, according to the varying extent of their abilities so that they can make a contribution to the economy and the government of their community that will improve their quality of life and self-fulfillment.
Observation made by the researcher showed that the average marks of children in academic performance have been below the expected standard as some pupils lack the necessary skills of communication when they get into secondary schools irrespective of their participation in play activities in which they use English Language in most of their play. This is a worrying trend which needs an urgent intervention and it is important to note that good academic performance at pre-school and early primary school levels lays a foundation in entire education life of an individual. The way children are prepared in primary schools may influence children‘s academic achievement in primary schools. Children in primary school do not sit for national examinations as they move to secondary schools rather they sat for placement examination.
Children in primary schools do not perform well after joining secondary level of education. This dismal of achievement of pupils coupled by scanty literature on the role of play and children‘s academic achievement in English Language prompts the researcher to carry out a study to establish the effects of play activities on children‘s academic achievement in English Language in primary schools in Essein Udim Local Government Area.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of play activities on children‘s academic achievement in English Language in primary schools in Essien Udim Local Government Area. Specifically, the study intends to:
- Investigate the difference in academic achievement of pupils taught English Language using word puzzle and those taught English Language without word puzzle.
- Investigate the difference in academic achievement of male and female pupils taught English Language using scrabble.
1.4 Research Questions
The following research questions were stated to guide the study:
- Is there any significant difference between the academic achievement of pupils taught English Language using puzzle and those taught without puzzle?
- Is there any significant difference between the academic achievement of male and female pupils taught English Language using scrabble?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The following research hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:
- There is no significant difference between the academic achievement of pupils taught English Language using puzzle and those taught without puzzle.
- There is no significant difference between the academic achievement of male and female pupils taught English Language using scrabble.
Play Activities And Pupils’ Academic Achievement In English Language In Primary Schools
1.6 Significance of the study
The findings of this study may be used to mobilize parents and stakeholders to participate in improving play and children‘s academic achievement.
This study may be used by curriculum implementers and planners to improve academic performance in pre-schools by improving the playing activities, types of play and teaching time.
The policy makers may identify areas of concern and address them in the best interest of the child.
Also the school management and administration may also benefit from the study in that the findings might challenge them to change the methodology of delivering content.
The teacher may also use the achievement of the children to explore and find out what types of play activities, types of play and time might be more effective when used to build up a good academic achievement.
These findings of this study may also be significance to future researchers on topic related to this present study.