This study was on effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe State. The study was guided by four specific objectives, four research questions and four null hypotheses. This study was delimited to four indices of language development (oral communication, writing ability, reading skills and phonological skills). Quasi-experimental research design was used in the study. The population of the study was 430 nursery three children in the nine private nursery schools in Potiskum metropolis that registered with Primary Education Board Potiskum Local Government, Yobe State in 2016/2017 academic year. Purposive sampling technique was adopted in the selection of two (2) schools for the study. A total sample of sixty (60) nursery school children was used for the study. Pre-test post-test achievement tests were used for data collection. A pilot test was conducted using test re-test reliability method to ascertain the reliability of the instrument and reliability coefficient of 0.81 was obtained. The researcher personally taught the children using drama for experimental group one and rote-learning technique for experimental group two. Data collected were analyzed using frequency tables and percentages to analyze children based on their teaching method. Mean score, standard deviation and grades were used to answer the four research questions. The t-test statistics was used to test the four null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. Based on the analyses of data, the result showed that nursery school children taught using drama performed significantly better than those in rote-learning in oral language development. The result also revealed that there was significant difference between nursery school children taught using drama on written skill and those taught using rote-learning technique. Another result revealed that differences exist between reading skill of nursery school children taught using drama and those taught using rote-learning technique.
The result also found out that there was significant difference between phonological skills of nursery school children taught using drama and those taught using rote learning method. Based on the findings, the researcher concluded that through drama teaching method, nursery school children perform better and develop confidence in oral communication, reading skill, writing ability and phonological skill of language development. The researcher therefore recommended among others that, nursery school teachers should develop a paradigm that shifts from teaching children language development using rote-learning teaching method which is teacher centered.
1.1 Background to the Study
Drama is a multi-dimensional and improvisational form of art, designed especially for educational purposes. The word drama comes from the Greek word dran, meaning “to do or to act”. Drama is the type of play in which children participate in pretend play, taking on the roles and interactions of those they observe in their environment. During dramatic play, children interact with their peers, learning how to appropriately interrelate and engage in various environments and situations. It is through this type of play children learn how to have successful social interactions, setting them up for educational achievement both in the classroom and outside the classroom. However, it emphasizes the thinking and creating processes that combine all the arts, such as drama, music, dance, movement, rhythm, „rap‟, communication, puppets, masks, role-plays and vignettes. Through drama children make sense of their experiences. Furthermore, drama is seen as freeing children‟s potential.
As children engage in imaginative play, they learn how to move between an imaginative world and reality, learn and develop wisdom about the concepts of pretend and real, and at the same time they engage in a repertoire of play scenarios that are usually focused on acting out their real world. Scholars such as Toye and Prendville (2010) and Bloodfield and Childs (2009) reported that drama in education might assist children in using language with all its aspects such as speaking, listening and establishing verbal and nonverbal communication.
Rote-learning is a learning that involves memorization of concepts by continued repetition that does not necessary requires understanding. In line with this, Betty (2009) defined rote-learning as learning by memorization without proper understanding. It also referred to as reflection or mechanical learning. On the other hand, rote-learning is a well-established practice in nursery schools in Nigeria where approaches to education and assessment are really just tests of memory. In Nursery school, rote-learning helps in developing language and accomplish new learning through cramming and memorization. Rote-learning is the easiest and most efficient way to instill knowledge to children, good in learning to read an alphabetic and build higher-level critical thinking skills. In so doing, they learn to use language to explain new experiences and realities which in turn, help them to construct new ways of thinking and feeling.
Language development is the acquisition of language and speech which occurs in the context of relationships. Language development in the early years is linked, as much of the form and content of communication between infants and their caregivers in the first year of life depends upon affective expression. However, Language development involves the process by which children acquire the capacity to perceive, produce and use words to understand and communicate. It involves the picking up of diverse capacities including syntax, phonetics, and an extensive vocabulary. According to Crain and Lillo-Martin (2010) language development is a complex and unique human quality but children seem to acquire language at a very rapid rate of communication which includes: oral communication, reading skill, writing ability and phonological skill.
Oral communication is the expression of information or ideas by words of mouths. It includes conversing with each other. It also include the ability to talk with others, to give and exchange information and ideas such as ask questions, give direction, coordinate work tasks to explain and persuade. Here the children learn the ability to communicate with their teachers, school mates and even their parent in language of instruction delivery. Additionally, early oral language proficiency is highly predictive in acquisition of constrained skills such as letter sounds knowledge, concepts of print, phonemic awareness and oral reading fluency among the pre-primary school children. Another view by Gambrell (2014) reported that oral communication is a skill upon which future success in reading and writing is based, and oral language as a context for learning and practicing reading skills.
Writing is a medium of human communication that represents language and emotion with signs and symbols. Writing is a complement to speak or spoken language. Early childhood writing is important to encourage children to listen carefully and to articulate as clearly as possible. Accurate articulation is especially important when children are recording sounds in their writing. According to Eno – Edem, Mbaba, and Enan ( 2011) Early childhood writing skill is very critical on academic, psychosocial competence and language development of children. Written communication help children to understand written works that it connects in meaningful ways to reading, and that it communicates information, through words and symbols.
Reading is the process of interpreting written language. Reading is a complex „„cognitive process‟‟ of decoding symbols in order to construct or drive meaning. Reading is a means of language acquisition, communication, and of sharing information and ideas. On the other hand, the early childhood reading skills are crucial in children‟s language development. Children interaction with printed words and texts enable them to gain an understanding of the words, develop vocabulary and grammar skills and strategies that are essential to effective literacy teaching in the early years include reading, spelling vocabulary, fluency, comprehension and writing composition (Paris, 2011).
Phonological skill is the acquisition and understanding of the way sounds function in language. It is also the understanding that speech can be broken into smaller unit of sounds such as words, syllables, onset and primes. However, in early childhood education, phonological skill is considered as a factor that contributes to the reading and writing of young children which include the ability of children to identify and make oral rhymes, and work with syllables in spoken words, and the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the sounds is an important indicator of their potential success in language development. Another view by Goswami and Bryant (2010) stated that phonological awareness is the child‟s ability to reflect upon the sound patterns of words in his/her mental lexicon at different „grain sizes‟, for example syllables or rhymes. Teaching through rhyming games, for example, aids the development of phonological awareness.
Nursery School is a pre-kindergarten class for children between the ages of three and five, staffed wholly by trained pre-school teachers who encourage and supervise educational play rather than simply providing childcare. These schools are generally created as educational rather than childcare centre. Furthermore, the philosophy of creating pre-primary education as spelt out by the National Policy on Education in Nigeria (2014) is to:- enhance children smooth transition from the home to the school; (ii) prepare the child for the primary level of education; (iii) provide adequate care and supervision for the children while their parents are at work; (iv) inculcate social norms; (v) inculcate in the child the spirit of enquiry and creativity; (vi) develop in children sense of co-operation and
team spirit; (vii) learn good habits, especially good health habit; and (viii) teach the rudiments of numbers, letters, colors, shapes and forms, through play to the children.
Considering that drama and rote-learning provide children with a rich way of thinking, knowing, emotional development, the researcher wish to empirically investigate the “Effect of Drama and Rote-Learning on Language Development among Nursery School Children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe State”
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The ability of children to see, understand and appreciate things is very crucial at their language development in pre-primary schools. The role of nursery school on language development of children between the ages of three and five, prior to the commencement of primary school cannot be over emphasized. The role of language development in helping children to use their natural capabilities for perceiving efficiently – to have eyes that ‘see’, ears that ‘hear’, minds that ‘think’ and to have hands that manipulate- is crucial. Language development appeal to various learning styles of nursery school children. Engaging children in language development activities inculcate to children those attributes that are positive.
Despite the importance of language development on learning outcome of nursery school children, the researcher observed that children have oral communication difficulties. Interaction with teachers and some children showed that oral communication has declined among nursery school children. In most schools visited, the situation remains the same, parents, proprietors and even the teachers acknowledged that the children‟s oral communication skills that are critical for their language development is declining at alarming rate.
Furthermore, educational researchers reported that there is poor oral language skills, reading and writing difficulties at the primary education level which may have effect on language development of children. The situation may jeopardize language development of children. NAEYC (2008) maintained that one of the best predictors of whether a child will function competently in school and go on to contribute actively in an increasingly literate society is the level to which the child progresses in reading and writing. Similarly, Udosen (2010) argues that there is a complete or partial loss of reading and writing skills among children in Nigeria. When the process of becoming literate through writing is faulty, the tendency of language development will be affected.
However, Dickinson and Neuman (2009) reported that reading skills enhance children rich language and conceptual knowledge base, a broad and deep vocabulary, and verbal reasoning abilities to understand messages that are conveyed through print. In spite of the role of reading on children language development, a growing body of research reported that most nursery school children have reading difficulties, as a result, many of them get low grades when it comes to reading exams.
Scholars such as Srickland and Shannon (2009) argued that early vocabulary development is an important predictor of success in language development. Srickland and Shannon (2009) indicated that more than 70% language development among children is difficulty in phonological skill. The author stressed that number of children who have vocabulary difficulty is alarming. The outlined problems prompted the researcher to find out the effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development among nursery school children in Potiskum metropolis, Yobe state.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of the study was to determine the effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state.
Specific objectives of the study were to determine:-
- the effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development (oral communication) among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state.
- the effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development (writing skill) among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state.
- the effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development (reading skill) among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state.
- the effect of drama and rote-learning teaching method on language development (phonological skill) among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state.
1.4 Research Questions
The study was guided by the following research questions:
- What is the effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development (oral communication) among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state?
- What is the effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development (writing skill) among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state?
- What is the effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development (reading skill) among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state?
- What is the effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development (phonological skill) among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state?
1.5 Null Hypotheses
The following null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance:
- There is no significant effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development (oral communication) among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state.
- There is no significant effect of drama and rote- learning teaching methods on language development (writing skill) among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state.
- There is no significant effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development (reading skill) among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state.
- There is no significant effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development (phonological skill) among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe state.
1.6 Significance of the Study
The outcome of this study would be of significant benefit to nursery school teachers, nursery school children, proprietors, curriculum planners and scholars. It is expected that the findings of this study will also be disseminated through journal publication, internet, libraries, seminars, Parent Teachers‟ Association (PTA) meetings and workshop.
This study will provide nursery school teachers with a proposed action and strategy that will help to enhance the general language development among the nursery school children. In addition, through the findings of the study, teachers will understand the importance of teacher-child communication via activities such as retelling stories, answering open-ended questions, giving explanations, describing, recalling, reporting event and processes and defining words are very essential language development among the nursery school children. The teachers would have access to this work through school libraries and PTA meetings.
Utilization of the recommendations of this study would enable scholars to adopt drama teaching method which will go a long way to improving the performance of nursery school children in language development skills in the study area. In addition, this will create creativity, interaction and social relationship among the children. The recommendations of this work will get to scholars through publication, Internet and journals.
The findings of this study will encourage proprietors to identify and recognize the need for the introduction of drama in nursery schools to promote language development for the benefit of children, teacher, and community. Furthermore, school proprietors would also have contact with this finding via seminars and workshops.
The outcome of this work will help curriculum developers in Nigeria to advance the study of drama in the nursery school creative art curriculum and recommend trained and qualified teachers for teaching in the nursery schools. These recommendations shall be communicated to proprietors and curriculum developers through Internet and journals.
It is also hoped that this research work would assist in providing new and continuing scholars with the resources to investigate new concepts, strategies, and methodologies to use in a dynamic and creative learning environment. In addition, it is hoped that the study would provide future researchers with some reliable instruments, action procedures, and references for employing in future research. Journal publications, Internet and school libraries shall be where the scholars and future researchers lay their hands on the findings.
The researcher assumed that the improvement of drama and rote-learning teaching methods has the potential to promote language development among nursery school children. Other assumptions of the study include the following:
- 1 It is assumed that drama and rote-learning method of teaching will enhance children‟s oral communication skill thereby, improving their language development.
- It is also assumed that when children are taught lesson using drama and rote-learning teaching methods their writing skill increases hence, boost their language development.
- It is also assumed that children have their reading skill widen if they are taught with drama and rote-learning during lesson delivery which promote their language development.
- Children have a chance of blending and assembling letters (phonological skill) when they are taught lessons with drama and rote-learning teaching methods thereby improving their language development.
1.8 Delimitation of the Study
The study was delimited to the effect of drama and rote-learning teaching methods on language development among nursery school children in Potiskum Metropolis, Yobe State. In addition the study was delimitated to registered private nursery schools in the study area. The study was further delimited to nursery three children between the age of four and five in the two selected schools. The reasons for choice of nursery schools children between four to five years of age is because at this level they are familiar and exposed to basic rudiments of language development. The study was delimited to two nursery schools because of extraneous variables. The study was also delimited to the following indices of language development: oral communication, writing skill, reading skill and phonological skill.