EFFECT OF INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES ON PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS
Use of instructional resources has found little, if any acceptance in most of our early childhood care education (ECCE) schools/centers. Observation reveals that most preschool teachers don’t use instructional resources when teaching mathematics. The purpose of this study therefore was to investigate the effect of instructional resources on pre-school children performance in mathematics with special reference to the types of instructional resources used, teachers’ academic qualification and use of instructional resources, organization of instructional resources in classroom and adequacy of instructional resources. The study used descriptive survey design. The target population comprised early childhood care education (ECCE) school, children and preschool teachers in Ikere local area of Ekiti state. 5 pre-schools were selected for the study through stratified random sampling. Through use of simple random sampling 3 pre-school were selected from public and 2 from private pre-school. Questionnaires were used to collect data from early childhood teachers while observation checklist was used to assess the presence of instructional resources used during mathematics lesson. The data was analyzed using simple percentage.
Background of the study
According to the United Nations Convention for Rights of Children (UNCRC) Education is a fundamental human right Wolfenson (2000). In Nigeria the government through the ministry of education realized the need for improvement of early childhood education and ratified Jomtien (2007) World Conference on Education for all (EFA) and the World Education Forum Dakar Senegal (2000) whereby use of instructional resources in preschools was recommended. The Jomtien and Dakar Conferences under scored the importance of instructional resources in early childhood education for the purposes of improving children’s learning.
Availability of instructional resources enhances the effectiveness of schools as these are basic things that can bring about good academic performance in the learners. Maicibi (2003) asserted that all institutions or organizations are made up of human resources (workers) and other non-human resources, Maicibi further asserts that when the right quantity and quality of human resources is brought together, it can manipulate other resources towards realizing institutional goals and objectives. Consequently every institution should strive to attract and retain the best of human resource. The implication of these opinions is that well trained teachers in mathematics, if well deployed to preschools will bring about well rounded pupils who will perform academically well in mathematics. According to Waithaka (2005) most Nigeria pre-school teachers are not trained, hence types of instructional resources materials seem not to be seen in mathematics. As a result there is a poor foundation for preschoolers in mathematics which leads to low performance in mathematics right from pre-schools to higher levels of learning. Mathematics is considered as a core subject throughout the school years of each child. Although most people believe that even young children of 3-6 years should start learning mathematics, there is debate remains whether children should be formally taught and expected to solve specific problems or learn the basics through play and basic instructions.
Effective teaching and learning does not only depend on the child’s cognitive abilities but also the learning environment. Learning environment includes availability and effective use of sufficient activities and institutional resources organized in mathematics corner in an attractive manner.
There is wide spread interest in improving the levels of mathematics achievement in schools apart from the economic benefits that it is argued this would bring by better preparing young people for the numeral and number work literacy, the ability to understand mathematics concepts, perform calculations, interpret and use statistics information counters the demands of modern work places and raising the over skill levels of the work places. There are also social benefits tied to improving access to larger numbers of young people to post-school education and training opportunities and laying stronger foundations to skills for life long learning. The interest in raising levels of advancement in mathematics has led to a focus on identifying the range of factors that shape achievement as well as understanding how these factors operate to limit or enhance the achievement of different groups of learners. Among these factors is the availability of adequate instructional resources that are found in pre-schools.
Statement of the Problem
Instructional resources are very vital in acquisition of mathematical skills in pre-schools. Children learn by doing. They learn better by manipulating materials and make sense out of it. Instructional resources which are good way of demonstrating concepts to learners, must not be spared at this stage, this is because they are known to make mathematics look easier to pre-scholars and the more frequently they are used by the teachers, the faster the learners understand, hence master mathematics and thus improved performance from an early stage. Instructional materials if used efficiently and actively facilitate learning process in classrooms, however the situation is not good in most preschools firstly only the lower quality and the less quantity of instructional resources are provided to pre-schools in this way, the availability of instructional resources is very less, secondly pre-school teachers are not trained for using instructional resources. Teachers do not take interest in using the instructional resources Waithaka (2005). There are other factors that are responsible for low performance in mathematics. Such as less availability and deficient use of instructional resources is one of them.
Purpose of Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of instructional resources on children’s mathematics performance in pre-schools in Ikere Local Government Area of Ekiti State.
The following research questions were used in the study.
- What are the types of instructional resources responsible for children’s mathematics performance?
- What is the effect of the teacher’s academic qualification and use of instructional resources on children’s mathematics performance?
- How does organization of instructional resources in classroom affect children’s mathematics performance?
- How does the adequacy of instructional resources affect children’s mathematics performance?
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would equip the Ministry of Education with valuable information to increase more allocations of funds to pre-schools to carter for adequate instructional resources to pre-school education centre. The findings of this study would also help Nigeria government in improving the teacher training curriculum, give the trainers enough expertise knowledge in handling instructional resources. The findings of this study would also help teachers to use the result to explore and find out types of instructional resources to use and the amount of time to allocate learners to interact with instructional resources. The findings of this study would also help to sensitize parents and community on the importance of providing instructional resources for their children. The findings of the study would also help to sensitize children on the importance of interacting with instructional materials in their mathematics lessons.
Definition of terms
Instructional Resources: Materials that aid the teacher in the process of teaching, is any event real object improvised or commercially produced that establishes a condition which enables learners to acquire desirable knowledge, skills and attitudes includes concrete, audio, visuals and audio-visuals
Organization: Refers to orderliness of thought and action. It is the technique or arrangement of work for a particular field or subject.
Performance: The act of meeting the required expectations, how well or badly you does something.
Pre-school: Institution where young children of 3-6 years old are mould prepared to join primary school
Qualification: Knowledge, skills or experience one has for a particular job.
Availability: Something/person in place when it is needed
Community: It’s a group of people with common characteristics or interest learning together within a large society sharing similar beliefs and facilities.
Concrete: Materials that can be manipulated.
Effect: The influence that something or somebody has on the way a person thinks or behaves or on the way something develops.
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