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The study investigated the influence of home television viewing on academic achievement of children in upper Basic Education Level in Kaduna State. The study established the influence of televisions viewing on the pupils’ language development and achievement in basic science. The study also determines the influence of televisions viewing on pupils’ numeracy development and achievement in social studies. The study was guided by four research questions and four formulated null hypotheses tested at 0.05 level of probability. The design of the study was an ex-post facto survey design. The area of the study was Kaduna State of Nigeria. The population of the study consisted of all the children in the upper basic level of education in schools in Kaduna State. Multistage and stratified random sampling techniques were used in selecting the 320 pupils that were used for the study. A researcher-developed instrument called ‘pupils television viewing identification questionnaire’ (PTVIQ). The instrument was face validated by three experts in the department of vocational Teacher education, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The internal consistency reliability coefficient obtained using Cronbach alpha method was 0.67. Data were collected by recording the continuous assessment scores of pupils on Mathematics, English languages, Basic Science and Social Studies. The data collected were analyzed using mean and standard deviation to answer the research questions while t-test analysis was used in testing the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The findings of the study included: that home television viewers scored higher than the non-television viewers on Basic English continuous assessment tests; the home television viewers scored higher than the non-television viewers on basic Mathematics; at p<0.05, there was a significant difference between the mean scores of home television viewers and non-television viewers on Social Studies tests. It was recommended that the viewing of television in homes and schools especially on academic activities should be encouraged by parents and teachers to enhance pupils learning.
Background of the Study
Television is an electronic device which transmits picture and sound. It is used for entertainment, information and commercials. With the advent of satellite and digital technologies, there are unlimited programmes on television. For instance, there are programmes on news, education, culture, weather forecast, sports, music and a plethora of both good quality and inappropriate contents (Santrock, 2005). Television combines the appealing features of the movies and radio and it is one of the most popular amusement devices during the childhood years. It may lure children away from other forms of play.
For the preschool child and even older child, television viewing is an added play activity, though, not a substitute for active play and other forms of passive play. For many children, it is more popular and more consuming of their play time than all other play activities. Television is still an important medium for children if it is used it actively. However, according to Livingstone (2002) children regard television viewing as a source of entertainment. In other hand, many parents often see television, particularly for young children as an important educational tool that can assist their intellectual development (Rideout, 2003).
Television can be of general benefit to children: It can bring them into contact with other aspects of life that these children would not otherwise be aware of; and a range of entertainment, drama and learning that may be obtained and
experienced (Gunter and Mc Aleer, 1997). The authors explained that television viewing helps children increase their vocabularies and that this, in turn, aids their reasoning. However, studies have also shown that the increase in vocabulary size is not great enough to justify the time spent on watching, nor does it have any appreciable effect on the child’s reading ability. On the other hand, Ward (2002) explained that some children are motivated to follow up what they see on the television screen and thus fill gaps in their school curriculum. They read materials they otherwise would not read especially those materials which often are not part of their school work.
In developed countries, tutoring through television is now being used by students needing help with mathematics, English, Chemistry and French among other subjects. Students learn these subjects by watching some programmes thereby improving their knowledge in the subjects. They can even write back to the producers of these programmes in the area they find difficult through the address that is usually displayed on the screen of the television and most often they get their problems solved. Several schools have gone as far as to put the whole curriculum on a digital video disc which made students to work from home via television or computer, choosing when to do what. They called such school virtual school (Hastings, 2003).
The learning that takes place via television makes it one of the major players in the socialization process along side more traditional socializing agents such as the family, school and peer groups (Signorielli and Morgan, 2001),
thereby reflecting society’s values and culture. Children do not perceive television in the same way that adults do. As Takanishi, (1982) explained, age and maturity determine how a child will respond to and engage with television.
According to Piaget (1969), during a pre-operational stage i.e. between two and seven years, children acquire language and develop representational thinking skills which allow them talk about their experiences such as television experiences. Also, between seven and twelve years (the concrete operational stage), children begin to engage in abstract thought which allow them to understand the medium’s codes and conventions sufficiently to follow story lines as in television. They develop levels of perception (television literacy) which allow them to understand the chunks and segments that constitute a television programme and how they are linked (Signorielli, 1991). From the age of twelve, children are assumed to understand television in a similar way to adults (Lemish, 2007).
Considering the fact that the upper basic levels of Nigeria education system constitute a high percentage of the school age children, there is the need to find ways of enhancing their learning abilities in and out of school. Further, in view of the fact that the upper basic level pupils, as children, may not perceive television as adults do, understanding what they can and cannot do with television and how they perceive it is essential and an examination of the influence of television viewing on their academic achievement is necessary.
In Kaduna State, children in the upper basic level of education come from different family background in terms of religion, income and education as well as location. These various family backgrounds influence the conception of the pupils and even the parents about the use of television. While some group view the use of television as a negative act, others view it as a welcome development both in the moral and cognitive development of the viewers. If the use of television viewing as a teaching strategy is to be encouraged among the pupils, there is need to adequately ascertain its influence on cognitive achievement of the pupils. In particular, the influence of television viewing on subjects like Mathematics, and English Language deserve attention. This is because over the years, the performance of students in Mathematics and English language at all levels of education system has been poor.
In Kaduna State, the case is not different. The West African Examination Council, Chief Examiners’ reports on student’s perf ormance in Kaduna State has indicated constituent poor achievement in Mathematics and English Language. It is therefore considered worthwhile to ascertain how the influence television viewing may enhance the student’s achievement in Mathematics and English Language among students in Kaduna State.
However, in investigation of the influence of television viewing on the achievement of pupils in upper basic levels of education, certain variables may need to be considered. For instance, the gender of the pupils as well as the location
of schools is factors that may play roles in the level of achievement of the pupils under television viewing episode.
Gender here refers to the different roles assigned and performed by an individual as a result of being a male or female. The influence of gender on many facets of human activities has been noted by eminent scholars. For instance, the influences of gender on the achievement, attitudes or interest of learners and in various school subjects have been recorded. The results of such studies have not been consistent, varying across subject area.
Reports have shown that boys spend more time watching television than girls. Preference for a particular programme is often based on the appeal to its hero or heroine. Boys like their heroes to be typically masculine in appearance, aggressive in behavior and brave in the face of danger. Girls care little for aggressive heroes, but they like them to be handsome and courteous in their treatment of women. Older boys have a somewhat scornful attitude towards all heroines on the screen and tend to make fun of them, as they do of girls in real life during sex antagonism stage of late children. Girls on the other hand, like almost all heroines who are attractive and well dressed and tend to identify with them. The implication of the above is that gender of the child may influence his/her level of the attention and achievement in school work through television viewing.
The present study will seek to investigate the likely influence of child’s gender on television viewing and level of academic achievement attainable. Further, the emphasis on education and the amount of support given to children
varies from one school location to another. One of the most important effects of geographical location is the difference between the urban against the rural areas. Parents in the rural areas are on the average poorer than those in the Urban areas, therefore are less able to provide their children with electrical gadgets, toys, television and film shows which enrich education. This study will investigate the influence of location on academic performance of children exposed to television viewing.
Statement of the Problem
The relationship between television viewing and academic performance of children has been a subject of controversy. The viewing of educational programmes by children has been associated with desirable characteristics in children like getting higher grades, reading more books, placing higher value in achievement and being more creative. In another study, Anene (2006) found that heavy viewing of television hinder reading, retard problem solving, expressive language and listening skills, blunt imagination and contribute to laziness. Moreover, results from studies on cognitive abilities in relation to television viewing have been mixed. Some researchers have found that high quality educational television programmes support for learning. Others have shown that the negative effects of hours in front of the television disappear when confounding factors such as intelligence quotient or socio-economic status are included.
Some parents also believe that watching television is bad for their children, so they try to restrict their children from watching television. However, other
parents think that there is nothing bad in watching television. Indeed, there are two extreme views about the influence of television viewing on the academic performance of children. At one extreme, it is seen to motivate and expose children to learn more and at the other end, it is blamed as a source of contemporary ills in the society since most programmes on the television are not well organized or regulated.
Considering the inconsistent opinions, views and result of findings on the influence of television viewing on the academic achievement of children, there is the need to carry out further study on the influence of television viewing on children’s academic achievement. Also Kaduna State is comprised of different ethnic groups. These different groups may have diverging opinions on the viewing of television due partly to their different religious inclinations and family background. An attempt to introduce television as a learning strategy may need to be considered as this may help in curbing some language problem of teaching a diverse community like Kaduna State. In particular, the influence of television viewing on children in the upper basic education level in Nigeria require attention since at this stage, the children are capable of using the medium of television on their own. The problem of the study therefore is: what are the influences of television viewing on the academic achievement of children in lower and middle basic education level i
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