EFFECT OF INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES ON PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS

EFFECT
OF INSTRUCTIONAL RESOURCES ON PRE-SCHOOL CHILDREN PERFORMANCE IN MATHEMATICS 

ABSTRACT
          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.
CHAPTER
ONE
INTRODUCTION
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.
Research
Questions
The
following research questions were used in the study.
1.    
What are the types of instructional
resources responsible for children’s mathematics performance?
2.    
 What is the effect of the teacher’s academic
qualification and use of instructional resources on children’s mathematics
performance?
3.    
How does organization of instructional
resources in classroom affect children’s mathematics performance?
4.    
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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