EFFECT OF DRAMA ON PUPILS’ INFORMATION ACQUISITION AND ATTITUDE TO SOCIAL ISSUES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN NSUKKA URBAN IN NSUKKA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

EFFECT OF DRAMA ON PUPILS’ INFORMATION ACQUISITION AND ATTITUDE TO SOCIAL ISSUES IN PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN NSUKKA URBAN IN NSUKKA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of drama method of teaching on pupils’ information acquisition on and attitude to social issues in Nsukka. Five research questions and ten null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study. The study adopted a quasi-experiment research design. Four primary schools in Nsukka central local government authority, comprising of two private primary schools and two public primary schools were purposively selected for the study. The population of the study was 10,798 primary schools pupils. The sample for the study was 169 pupils in the intact classes used for the study. The instrument used for data collection were; an achievement test on information acquisition on social issues and an attitude scale developed by the researcher. The instrument had the background information of the primary schools pupils, the attitude and achievement test questions were based on these social issues namely; HIV/AIDS, examination malpractice, drug abuse, bullying, cultism and early pregnancy. A pre-test and post-test were conducted. Two lesson plans were developed by the researcher for both the control and experimental groups. The instruments were validated by experts in the faculty of education and later trial tested in order to test their reliability. Kuder Richardson formula 20 (KR20) was used to test the reliability coefficient of the achievement test and the index was 0.67 while Cronbach’s Alpha was used to measure the internal consistency of the attitude scale and the overall reliability coefficient was 0.85. Mean scores and standard deviation were used to answer the research questions while Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) was used to test the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The results of the study revealed that pupils taught social issues using drama method of teaching performed better (20.25 ± 2.29) than pupils taught using conventional method (14.58 ± 3.50). Result also revealed that there was an improvement in pupils’ attitude (80.45 ± 11.38) to social issues when taught using drama method of teaching. The result of the hypotheses showed that there was a significant difference in the mean achievement score of pupils taught social issues using drama method of teaching and those taught using conventional method with those taught using drama method having a higher mean gain. There was a significant difference between the attitude mean score of pupils taught using drama and those taught using conventional method with those taught using drama method having a higher mean score in the post-test. However, there was no significant difference in the mean information acquisition of male and female pupils on social issues. Although there was an improvement in the achievement of male and female pupils when taught using drama and conventional methods, gender did not show any significant difference. It was recommended among other things that drama method of teaching should be adopted by social studies teachers in teaching social issues.



CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Primary school children are taken to be those who study in classes one to six, with upper primary being classes four to six, and lower primary classes one to three. Primary school is where children receive the first stage of formal education.  It is the bedrock for all educational programmes of a nation. At the formative years it is very important to build a child’s confidence and desire to learn and expose him/her to different aspects of learning for the child to have a well-balanced primary education. According to Durosaro (n.d), primary education in Nigeria refers to the education which children receive from the age of 5 years to 12 years plus. It is the foundation level of the educational system which runs for six years, and it is aimed at developing basic literacy, numeracy, communication skills and transmission of culture of the people to younger generations. Children learn from what they see and observe. They retrieve from their memories faster what they have witnessed, just as a Chinese proverb says “What I see, I remember, what I hear, l forget, what l do, l understand”.

This is why Ranganathan (2000:232) acknowledges that:

standards have to improve, education has to be made more meaningful, and the fundamental objectives of primary education focusing on the child’s all round development have to be achieved. All this is not possible unless the educational planners, administrators and teachers understand the needs and characteristics of their primary school children in the context of their growth and needs. 

According to Johnson (2002), the primary school children are at a critical stage because they are the most vulnerable set of learners in all the three tiers of education in any country. This is why there is the need to inculcate in them the four pillars on which education should be founded. These, according to the UNESCO Education Report (2002), are:

(i)                 learning how to know  (transmission of knowledge and knowledge of the World around us);

(ii)                learning how to act (skills acquisition), that is, putting their knowledge into practice while developing their abilities to communicate, to work with others and to solve conflicts;

(iii)              learning how to live together (communicative skills), that is, learning how to empathize, how to overcome prejudices and how to communicate their thought and feelings to others, form respect and understanding towards other ways of thinking and living; and

(iv)             learning how to be (emotional education), developing in them all potentials as individuals and as members of a family and of a community.

One striking characteristic of primary school children, which is common, is that they are good imitators. They imitate what adults/teachers do, this is because they have absolute trust and confidence in them such that they consider whatever they do as worthy of emulatiation.  Another characteristic of children, also observed by the researcher, is that they enjoy playing around even while in the classroom. This requires the incorporation of educational activities, like drama, games, role playing in order to help develop the children’s physical, intellectual, social and mental abilities. This is why Hughes (2010) states that the major development at this level is that the child’s thinking are becoming more orderly, more structured, and more logical. Therefore, the school-age child at play, which is 5 years to 12 years plus, will be more realistic and more role-oriented than was the pre-school age. Play will thus reflect a developing need for order. He noted that the school-age child is more socially involved with age-mates than ever before, and the peer group provides support that formerly was offered only within the family. Acceptance by one’s peers is of great importance to children in this age group, and their play reflects a sometimes overwhelming need to belong. As children enjoy working in groups, this enables them to learn the important aspects in the process of socialization, such as;: learning to meet the rules of the group, learning to accept responsibilities, and learning to compete with others. This is to show that a learning strategy has to be designed to enable children as to work in group. Hughes (2010) also observed that personality development is a major challenge to the emerging self-concepts of school-age children, is to demonstrate to themselves and others that they are competent, that they have talents, skills and abilities that they can be proud of. In their play, there is a reflection of this need for industry.

Specifically, upper primary pupils are in the stage of pre-adolescence, sometimes referred to as late childhood. The pre-adolescence is a stage of human development following early childhood and prior to adolescence. It is a time of dramatic change for children. The changes it brings span the range of developmental area including emotional, intellectual, and physiological and social. It generally ends with the beginning of puberty, but may also be defined with the start of teenage years. Pre-adolescence can bring its own challenges and anxieties, and unlike most of the preceding phases, crucial elements of pre-adolescence are starkly different for boys and girls. This stage with the help of media exposes them to popular culture which allows them to have interest on internet trends, television shows and movies, fashions, technologies and music.

It is very important to understand these needs in order to help them grow normally and happily as members of the society. Failure to understand their needs will lead to misinterpretation of their behavior. It will also lead to using wrong and inappropriate methods in dealing with children. These needs are diverse and emanate from physical and psychological makeup. Mgbodile (2000) acknowledged children’s needs to be: need for love, attention and recognition; need for independence; and need for exploration, participation and activities. Ranganathan (2000) identified three categories of children’s needs to be: physiological needs that spring primarily out of structural and dynamic bodily characteristics; social or status needs which relate to the relationship with significant others in the society; ego or integrative needs which refer to the requirement experiences through which the child will learn and realize his identity and role in life in order to develop a positive self image that would make him or her to cope with social problems. Among the major purposes of education is to transmit the culture of a people, to initiate the young into their way of life, and to mould character for the wellbeing of their immediate and entire community (Daramola and Daramola, 2012). For this reason, social studies is recognized as a core subject in the primary school curriculum. 

The introduction of social studies into the Nigerian school system, according to Jekayinfa (2005),  was based on certain philosophical considerations, one of them being to address social issues and human problem in their interrelatedness. Social  studies is an integrated programme that helps to uphold the “inculcation of national consciousness and national unity; the inculcation of the right type of values and attitudes for the survival of the individual and the Nigerian society” (National Policy on Education, 2004). It is a subject which is expected to help in the promotion of consciousness and knowledge of and pride in the child’s local culture as well as an understanding of other cultures both within and outside their national boundary (Makinde, 1999). Social studies aim at alerting the child to the problems of bribery, corruption, nepotism and other allied evils that have become prevalent in Nigerian society. As Fourie (1994) sees it, social studies provide a guide against social vices such as cultism, examination malpractice, indecent dressing, HIV/AIDS, alcoholism, prostitution, armed robbery and direct young people to achieving their mission as students, especially nowadays when the university offers a veritable breeding ground for armed robbers through cult groups.  According to Makinde (1999), social studies should assist the child in developing a patriotic attitude towards the welfare, fundamental human rights and development of the community and that of the country to sustainable national development. The most important thing is how to curb these negative issues to bring about a change in the society and help children embrace a positive attitude to life.

            Social issues (also called social problems) are matters which directly or indirectly affect a person or many members of a society and are considered to be problems, controversies related to moral values, or both. It is also important to know that social problems within a society affect its interaction with other societies, which may lead to global problems or issues of general concern. The very nature of social problem suggests that society itself is a problem. No country has perfected a society where all are happy and where no problem exist.

A social problem, according to Ottong and Bassey (2011), is a problem whose causes and solutions lie outside the individual’s immediate environment. Etuk (2002) defines social problem as a social condition that negatively affect the lives and proper social functioning of a significant number of people in the society. Lauer and Lauer (2007:45) maintain that:

a social problem is a condition or patterns of behaviour and is defined as incompatible with the desired quality of life; is caused, facilitated, or prolonged by factors that operate at multiple levels of social life; involves intergroup conflicts; and requires social action to be resolved.

There are many social issues but this study will focus more on issues that beset the lives of the future generation, especially in primary schools in Nsukka Local Government Education Authority. The researcher, before choosing these social issues for this study, tried to investigate from teachers through verbal interactions in both public and private schools on how social issues affect the lives of pupils in primary schools in Nsukka Central Local Government Education Authority. It was gathered from them that social problems are prevalent in these schools. The children are involved in bullying, examination malpractice, cultism, early pregnancy, and drug abuse.  For instance, in Aguachara Primary School where a teacher reported that a girl in primary one on 10th May, 2013, slapped a girl in primary two and the girl became blind immediately. Similarly, a teacher from Nru Community Primary School reported a case of early pregnancy, where a pupil in primary five who was living with her senior sister, got impregnated and was expelled from school. Children who display serious social problems in one of these areas raised by the researcher may likely develop problems in the other areas, too. Studies on delinquency, smoking, drug abuse and sexual behaviour in different countries indicate that they are strongly correlated with each other, and these may be associated with academic failure and school dropout.  It is particularly important to prevent the development of social vices in the nation’s future leaders. This espoused the early intervention to reduce these risk factors which may prevent a whole range of problems. Different studies present young people as the largest in the country’s history. Medilexicon International, (2014) defines AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) as a disease caused by a virus called HIV (Human Immunodeficiency virus). The illness attacks the immune system, making people much more vulnerable to infection and diseases. This susceptibility worsens as the disease progress. HIV can be transmitted in many ways, such as virginal, oral sex, and sex, blood transfusion, and contaminated hypodermic needles.

There is general consensus that basic education forms the core foundation of a literate and progressive society. Unfortunately HIV/AIDS epidemic threatens to exacerbate the already tenuous challenges facing basic education in Nigeria through factors that influence both supply and demand for education. Studies have it that the highest rate of HIV infection is constantly recorded among this group under discourse. As Nigerian adolescents begin to engage in unprotected sexual relations at a much earlier age than in the past, cases of HIV/AIDS infection are being reported among pre-teenage youths in schools. The increased drop out of children affected by HIV/AIDS negatively affects overall pupils enrollment, especially for girls. The most of the HIV/AIDS activities carried out by different centres to the utter exclusion of the rural areas, where a great majority of the people live. Apart from the rural neglect, not much has been done to take the message of sex education in order to avoid HIV/AIDS and early pregnancy amongst pupils in primary school (Nda, 2005).

Pregnancy, according to Nyakubega (n.d.), is a physiological process, presenting with history of missed period, fatigue, breast enlargement and tenderness, abdominal distension, nauseate and vomiting together with light-headedness. Abdominal ultra-sound, urinary or serum levels of HCG are confirmatory test for pregnancy. When these happen at the age of 19 years below, they are called adolescent or teenage pregnancies. There is steep rise in pupil pregnancies in Nigeria schools. This is because adolescents become sexually active. It therefore becomes imperative to tackle this challenge from all aspects making sure that adequate sex education is given to pupils and students in schools. Early pregnancy will compel and encourage school dropout and loss of zeal in reading. This is capable of luring such pupils to examination malpractice in order to pass their subjects.

Examination malpractice is not a recent phenomenon. It is however getting worse in Nigeria with time and civilization (World Bank, 2001). The researcher sees this as an already accepted culture in schools where teachers are also involved in this ugly practice. The researcher remembers once a parent told her that once her daughter gets to SS.3 that she would withdraw her from the school and register her West African School Certificate (WASC) in one of the ’miracle centres’ around, to avoid paying school fees twice. For the parent, her problem was paying school fees the second time without considering the harm she is inflicting to the child. Secondly, as Uchekwe (2012) rightly pointed out that students get involved in examination malpractice not only because they do not prepare or are afraid of failure, but sometimes because they seem odd, as their fellow students tease others who do not partake in this crime as “pretenders” or “Mr. too know” or “cowards”. Youths in the community even make a living from it, as they collect grafts from students to assist them during examination. Some teachers, supervisors and invigilators perceive examination malpractice as a means of poverty alleviation. This ugly practice appears to be an incurable disease in Nigeria educational system, making some examination to lose credibility. It exposes the entire educational system to ridicule, to the extent that many students cannot defend their certificates. This is why adequate information should be given on the future implication of examination malpractices on pupils and students. This is because most pupils or students who indulge in examination malpractice may also go further in indulging in other social ills like drug abuse which may  help to stimulate and position them in the mood to commit this crime.

The researcher sees drug abuse among school children as one of the problems confronting many countries around the world and Nigeria is not an exception. Many young people indulge in drugs like marijuana and/or cocaine. These drugs have several negative sociological impacts like addiction, dropping out of school, criminal activities, and imprisonment, mental illness or death, etc. The Nigerian Educational Research Development Council – NERDC (2007) as quoted in Nwagu (2011), recognized the need for drug education early in life. They recognized drug use, misuse and abuse as instances of emerging problems at local, national and global levels; hence attention was not given to the teaching of drug education at both the preprimary and basic education level in the national curriculum. It is expected that with efforts, the incidence of drug use, misuse and abuse will be greatly reduced, but the reverse appears to be the case as more young people get involved in illicit drug use. Generally, the Nigerian education system has been suspected by many as not being very effective in bringing about positive changes in learners (Igwe, 2003). The need to provide adequate information to guide the youths against drug abuse need not be over-emphasized. Hence, pupils who are involved in drug abuse can be bullies in school as well.

Different studies have shown that bullying in school is still on the increase. It seems that children bully for a variety of reasons which may include frustration, lack of intervention when a child is bullied, poor role model, abuse at home, neglect at home, undue influence and conduct disorder. There are very few programmes that will actively help an aggressive child learn to deal with aggression. The researcher believes that there are no school environment whereby children understand from the moment they start school that bullying and aggression are not acceptable. The national curriculum does not include bullying in their social study, where the children would be informed on the implication of this act. This is why children who are involved in bullying in schools easily form secret cult group.

Cult as defined by George and Ukpon (2008) is a group of people who practice a system of worship, especially one that is different from the usual and established form of religion in a particular society. According to Oluwatobi and Babatunde (2010), cultism is a common phenomena in primary and secondary schools in Nigeria. The activities of secret cults have taken a horrifying and worrisome dimension. In this regard, the nefarious activities of the cult groups and confraternities in primary and secondary schools have grown more rampant and are seriously threatening to overwhelm the school system.  Ojma (2012) acknowledged that there is hardly no academic session without reported cases of cultism in many Nigerian institutions which has now spread to primary and secondary schools. Cultism have disrupted school activities in such ways as abrupt closure of schools and examination malpractices. These six social issues raised by the researcher are not the only social problems affecting children, but some affecting children need to be addressed in primary schools.  It is important to use the best method in teaching these children social issues for them to have good information acquisition and right attitude.

The usual practice is use of the conventional method of teaching, also called the lecture, expository or telling method. In this method  knowledge or information is presented, conveyed, or transferred to learners by teachers who dominate the class. Singh (2007) views conventional method of teaching as a process where the teacher delivers a lecture on a particular topic actively and the students listen to him or her as passive listeners. This is to say that this method does not make students to contribute actively in class. This is why Osuala (2004) admits that this method is suitable for instruction at the advanced level of learning, since it is characterized by listening on the part of students, it is not too ideal or teaching secondary and primary school pupils. Aggarwal (1996) and Ireyefogu (1998) are of the view that series of research reports showed that the conventional method of teaching is not the best method for teaching primary school pupils but almost all the teachers in schools use it without other methods. This is to say that conventional method should be combined with other methods for effective teaching and learning especially in teaching social studies in schools in order to meet the needs, interests, aspirations and right attitudes and value of the learners. There is therefore need for a radical departure from the conventional method to a more effective approach that will help in the attainment of the intended educational goals which drama is a veritable tool to achieve that purpose.

Drama is a social phenomenon which is linked with origins of society itself. Drama, according to Fossard (1996), is a story performed or done by actors on stage, radio, film, television, in an open field, or even on the street. It recounts a chain of events and describes a web of relationship involving a person or persons. It can be true, but more often is fictional. Holden (1982) takes drama to mean any kind of activity where learners are asked either to portray themselves or to portray someone else in an imaginary situation. In other words, drama is concerned with the world of “let’s pretend”. It asks the learner to project himself imaginatively into another situation outside the classroom, or into the skin and personae of another person. Fleming (2006) stated that drama is inevitably learner-centred because it can only operate through active cooperation. It is therefore a social activity and thus embodies much of the theory that has emphasized the social and communal, as opposed to the purely individual aspect of learning, such as emotional intelligence, social intelligence and cultural intelligence.

Using drama to educate pupils in social studies on social issues is appropriately needed but often neglected in schools, especially at the primary school level, thereby denying these children the opportunity of knowing social problems and how to overcome them  at their early stage of life. Going by Delors’ (2002) recommendations, it is very important to apply drama techniques for information acquisition on social issues at all levels. Drama is a medium of artistic expression where all aspects of human experiences are mirrored in a dynamic, living form. As metaphorical image of reality, it reflects the total cosmic, moral and metaphysical order of the life of the people (Clay and Krempel) quoted in Uzoji (2011).

 Using drama as a medium to address social issues at the primary school level is a positive way for children to discover content and help to interpret the past, compare it with the present and gather implications for the future. Drama can develop positive self-concept. Children who participated in a drama titled “The Dump”, described themselves as more confident, more able to speak out, better at asking questions and better at standing  up for something. The drama allowed them many opportunities to develop attitude, skills and thus to feel more empowered. They also seemed to think that drama helped them to get to know the other children in their class better and to provide them with opportunities to work together in different ways. A drama allows children to rehearse and develop the skills they will need for active citizenship in a safe and non-threatening situation. They participate in fictional contexts, but they use real knowledge and real skills. Drama is a social process and in order to participate effectively in a classroom drama, pupils need to listen to and be concerned about the ideas of others. This dramatic process relies on individuals being willing and able to collaborate to recreate or to make an event or a situation. Many of the skills necessary for a successful interaction in drama are also the skills needed to be effective members of the local and global community (Booth, 1994). Drama as an effective pedagogy that provides the best opportunity for adults to extend children’s thinking is also an important audio-visual resources in libraries.

           Okedara (1982) defined library as media resource, information and cultural centres. They constitute social institutions which exists for the collection, preservation and transmission of human intellectual experience and culture. The researcher sees library as the store-house of knowledge which gives everyone in the society the opportunity of acquiring information. These services serve as the primary aim of the library. Ogunsheje cited in Okedara (1982) specifically mentioned the aims of the library to be:

(1)  Promoting the education process of the society;

(2)  Accelerating the translation of knowledge into social action;

(3)  Enabling the individual to obtain spiritual, inspirational, and recreational activity through reading, and therefore the opportunity of interacting with the society’s wealth of accumulated knowledge; and

(4)   Preserving the cultural heritage   and affecting the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next.

            In libraries today audio visual materials are recognized as another medium of communication and are incorporated into the services program of most libraries. Dike cited in Doosuur and Mwuese (2003) defined audiovisual as those materials which do not depend solely upon reading to convey meaning. They may present information through the sense of hearing as in audio resources, sight as in visual resources or through a combination of senses.  According to Anzaku (2011) the term audio visual is commonly used to refer to those instructional materials that may be used to upon verbal symbols or language”. Going by these definitions some audio visual components are in the nature of process and experience for instance, dramatizing an event or a procedure or making diorama.

Audio visual resources especially those involving several senses are very powerful. Their importance in teaching and learning cannot be over emphasized. These are some of the roles of audio visual materials; basing learning in sense experience, extending experience, encouraging participation, stimulating interest, individualizing instructions, serves as a sources of information, making learning permanent, involving emotional, and having stronger emotional impact.

In the United States, a Mountain Youth Drama which began in 1994 by teenagers perform drama to schools age youth of 5-12 years. The programme is an information dissemination effort for the local schools and community (Russell, 1994). ‘Save the Children Interactive Drama Training’ is a Non-Governmental Organization in  interactive/participatory drama techniques designed to strengthen the participatory massage delivery and audience participation, which are crucial for effective information and instigating community dialogue around HIV issues (http://www.savethechildren.org). In Hungary, the Kava drama is not left out. It is a public benefit organization providing arts and education projects. Their main task is to create complex drama in education programmes in which they analyze social and moral problems through action with the adult participants (http://www.dramanetwork.eu/theconsortium.html). Likewise, Netherland is an interactive drama group that creates awareness and breaks taboos on subject like illiteracy, power abuse, bullying and sexual intimidation (http://www.dramanetwork.eu/theconsortium.html). The Global Health Awareness Research Foundation (GARF) a non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1996 has used drama to address identified gaps in healthcare delivery and education (http://www.garf.nigeria.org/more.htm). Similarly, Improbable Players Incorporation teaches audience in schools, colleges and conferences about addiction and recovery through plays, drama, workshops and discussion sessions that help people recognize situation in their own lives and seek the help they need (Bratly, 2009). In another example, the Tony Blair Foundation (2010) in Ibusa, Nigeria has a drama designed to sensitize and educate the community on the causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment of malaria. Drama, since its inception, has been accepted as a profound communicator. Its ability to combine teaching and learning attribute makes it a virile tool of communicating ideas. Drama AIDE as a group has used drama in sensitizing young people on HIV/AIDS, Mugira (cited in Nda, 2012).

                  Drama is a special way of acquiring information as it helps to display or demonstrate information; it is used to reflect the positive and negative aspect of the society thereby availing the pupils with the opportunity to construct new ideas and knowledge. According to Ifidon (2006), the availability and indeed free flow of information through an effective dissemination network represents a necessary precondition for the emergence of a crop of well-informed citizenry. People suffer from various problems due to ignorance which is as a result of inadequate or total absence of information and is one of the causes of increase in social vices. He also argued that “information is a structured data that causes a human mind to change its opinion about the current state of real world which contributes to a reduction in the uncertai





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