The Effect of Animated Cartoons on Teaching English Grammar: A Study of St Louis Nursery and Primary School, Ikere -Ekiti, Nigeria

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1 The Effect of Animated Cartoons on Teaching English Grammar: A Study of St Louis Nursery and Primary School, Ikere -Ekiti, Nigeria Bankole Faloye, Oladunni Olufunso Deji-Afuye College of Education, Nigeria 0384 The European Conference on Education 2013 Official Conference Proceedings 2013 Abstract This study examined the effectiveness of utilizing censored animated cartoons in teaching and learning English Grammar at St Louis Nursery and Primary School, Ikere- Ekiti, Nigeria. An experimental design was used in comparing the effect of animated cartoons and traditional approach to vocabulary development on the experimental group and control group respectively. The subjects for the study comprised eighty four pupils in basic four in the private school selected for the study. The subjects were exposed to pre-test before the six-week intensive programme and post-test after being exposed to six weeks of intensive teaching. The experimental group viewed and were taught the prescribed items of the syllabus using the animated cartoon, Word Girl, as classroom material, while the control group were exposed to the traditional grammar approach for six weeks. T-test was used for statistical analyses of the data. The results showed that there was significant improvement in the academic performance of the experimental group than the control group. Keywords: Animated cartoons; teaching English Grammar; Vocabulary Development; Children iafor The International Academic Forum

2 Introduction The task of teaching English to second language learners, especially the young ones, demands a pedagogical approach that is expected to assist the young learner in overcoming both linguistic and communicative hurdles (Singleton, 2003). Many scholars subscribe to the hypothesis that there is a special period for learning second languages and that when such a period is over, it is difficult to gain proficiency in that language ((Moon, 2004). Furthermore, there is evidence that adolescents are much quicker and more efficient learners than children, the consequence being that children need special learning aids in acquiring necessary communicative skills in the second language. According to Carmeron ( 2003), taking these pedagogucal traits into account while determining the language instruction, is of utmost importance. Recenly, Faloye, (2007) notices that the paradigmatic shift from teacher-centredness to learner-centeredness has been emphasized in the context of meaningful learning of English at the developmental stage in schools. As posited by (Schwartz, 2003), the teacher is expected to contextualize the grammar lesson using various strategies including audio visuals, props, story telling, games and implicit or explicit teaching. Research has showcased the suitablity of educational games and animated cartoons to the learning environment when it comes to educating children (Faloye, 2010). The presence of fantasy and colouful pictures in teaching materials such as animated cartoons Parouses the interest of the young learner and reinforces the learning of abstract items in second language instruction (Arikan, 2009). Consequently, teachers become interested in utilising controlled animation in teaching children in various language classes. If the children are learning as they watch animated cartoons, they are not just sitting there wasting brain power. The Word Girl, as pointed out by Kristina (2012), is a cartoon that encourages children to pick up vocabulary words and their practical usage in real life situations. Statement of the Problem Children have a strong instinct to explore their environment which is evidenced in the way they like to touch and play with attractive objects. In second language learning, traditional method used in the teaching and learning process makes the teacher the central figure in the classroom which in turn, creates a passive, explicit and de-contextualized language instruction setting which is viewed by Pinter (2006) as inappropriate for the pedagogical needs of young learners. As revealed by most studies, language teachers do not utilise necessary contextualised and motivating means of teaching children English grammar which eventually leads to unsucessful linguistic and communicative outcomes. Purpose of the Study It is believed that new teaching strategies should be incorporated into the teaching and learning of English as a second language in pimary schools in most parts in developing countries. Consequently, many researchers have worked in areas involving the utilisation of contextualised strategies in

3 language instruction over the alternative aproaches at primary school level. However, most of the work done in the field understudy have concentrated on games, pictures, songs used for teaching children. Therefore, it was deemed necessary to determine the effectiveness of animated cartoons Word Girl in teaching English grammar to pupils in a private school in comparison to the dorminant use of traditional teaching methods in the same school context Research Questions The following research questions are designed to determine the effectiveness of animated cartoons in teaching English Grammar to pupils in St Louis Nursery and Primary School, Ikere-Ekiti. (1). Is there any significant difference between the pre-test and post-test scores of the experimental group and control group? (2). Is the utilization of animated cartoons on the teaching of English Grammar effective? Hypotheses The following null hypothesis was generated for this study to provide further guidance to the research questions earlier stated: 1. There is no significant difference between the performance of pupils taught with animated cartoons and pupils taught without animated cartoons using their pre-test scores in English Grammar. 2. There is no significant difference between the performance of pupils taught with animated cartoons and pupils taught without animated cartoons using their post-test scores in English Grammar. Research Design The study utilised the experimental design involving the experimental group and control group. The experimental group was exposed to contextualised language instruction through animated cartoon series Word Girl while the control group was exposed to an essentially traditional grammatical syllabus in line with the guidelines stipulated by the Ministry of Education. Population The population of this study consisted of 103 primary three pupils in St Louis Nursery and Primary School, Ikere-Ekiti during the 2010/2011 academic session.

4 Sampling and Sampling Procedures Eighty four (84) subjects were selected for the study using random sampling technique. Therefore, the random sampling technique was used to select forty two male pupils and forty female pupils for the study. The experimental group consisted of forty two subjects while the control group totalled forty two. Hence, the experimental group comprised twenty one male and twenty one female subjects while the controlled group consisted of twenty one male and twenty one female subjects. Instrument for Data Collection The instrument for data collection of the study consisted of a pre-test designated as Test A and post-test as Test B. The test was composed of five reading comprehension passages with the study words inserted in sections of the test material adopted for Grades Primary 3 Test Paper 2.0 for pupils aged Method of Data Collection The researcher and a research assistant administered a pre-test on the experimental group and control group simultaneously before the commencement of the experiment. The experimental group was exposed to treatment by using animated cartoon series and interactive sessions in learning selected aspects of English Grammar, with particular emphasis on vocabulary development, while the control group were taught vocabulary development as an aspect of English Grammar with traditional and noninteractive methods such as Grammar Translation Method. Six weeks after the administration of the pre-test, the same content of the pre-test (post-test) was administered to measure pupils post application performance. Method of Data Analysis Inferential statistical analysis was employed in analyzing and interpreting data retrieved from the instrument. The retrieved scores from the pre-test A and post-test B were subjected to inferential statistics for the analysis. Specifically, the hypotheses I and II were tested at P= 0.05 level of significance by using t -test as a statistical tool. Results and Discussion of Findings The results and findings of the study were analyzed and discussed according to the statistical data arrived at through the application of T-Test Analysis.

5 Hypothesis I. There is no significant difference between the performance of pupils taught with animated cartoons and pupils taught without animated cartoons using their pre-test scores in English Grammar. Table I Variables(group) n Mean SD Df t-cal t-table Experimental Control *At P< 0.005, t-table (-1.68) is > t-calculated (t-cal), Therefore null hypothesis (Ho1) is upheld Discussion At P<0.005,using two-tailed test, t-table (-1.68) is greater than t-cal (1.97).Therefore, there was no significant difference between pupils taught without animated cartoons and those taught with animated cartoons using their pre-test scores in English Grammar. This level of significant difference resulted in the upholding of the null hypothesis at P< The implication of this statistical analysis suggests that the level of academic performance of the experimental groups and the control group in English grammar showed no significant different due to the absence of treatment at the stage of the study. It is inferred that the use of traditional grammar approach to teaching English Grammar was responsible for the insignificant difference in the pupils academic performance as earlier evidenced in the statistical analysis where the experimental group obtained a mean score of 2.44 while the control group obtained 2.33 as their mean score. Also the Standard Deviation (SD) of the experimental group (15.78) and control group (15.12) signifies a level of insignificance going by the decision rule earlier stated for table 1. Hypothesis II There is no significant difference between the performance of pupils taught with animated cartoons and pupils taught without animated cartoons using their post-test scores in English Grammar. Table 2 Variables(group) n Mean SD Df t-cal t-table Experimental Control *at P< 0.005, t-cal (2.23) > t-table (1.68). Hence, Ho II is rejected. Discussion The table (2) reveals that the t-calculated (2.23) is greater than the t-table (1.68). This implies that the value was not in the critical region. Hence, there was significant difference between the pupils taught with the aid of animated cartoons and those taught without animated cartoons using their pos-test scores in English Grammar. It is inferred that there is significant difference in the post- scores of the experimental group and the control group due to treatment on the former. The variation in the mean scores and

6 standard deviation of the experimental group (41.50, 14.96) and that of the control group, (40.60 and 4.33) suggests a significant effect of treatment on the experimental group. General discussion of findings. The findings that emanated from the statistical analysis earlier presented in table 1 and table 2 of the study reveal the need for a restructuring of the mode of delivery in the English language classroom. It has been observed by major stakeholders in the education sector in Nigeria in general and Ekiti State in particular that there is urgent need for a paradigmatic shift from teacher- centeredness to learner-centeredness in terms of teaching and learning strategies both for public and private schools. Furthermore, the findings have paved way for the need to introduce the use of instructional media such as educational films and censored animated cartoons for enhancing the grammatical potentials of children. The wave of criticisms spreading throughout the country concerning the dwindling level of communicative and linguistic competence at all levels of education suggests that urgent surgical linguistic procedures should be embarked on by the appropriate personnel, most importantly at the primary level of education. In addition, the finding of the study revealed that children learn new words faster and at ease thus developing their vocabulary. It was pleasing to observe the keen interest the pupils in the experimental group showed in the use of the animated cartoon designed for this study. Most of them were reluctant to leave the classroom, even after each lesson ended. Conclusion The current evidence cannot be regarded as being conclusive and perfect due to likely study design and analysis shortcomings. However, the study revealed the dire need for those responsible for primary school administration in Ekiti State and Nigeria as a whole to equip schools with accommodation and facilities such as large screens or projectors with satellite services where censored animated cartoons would be programmed and used for educational purposes. This monumental step in the right direction would assist language teachers in interacting with the learners in a learner-friendly environment with the aim of improving the communicative competence of the learners. This learner-friendly approach to learning English as a Second language, especially at the primary school level, is expected to make the children eager to attend classes. Resultantly, the communicative competence level of the learners in the use of English should improve. Recommendations On the basis of the findings in this study, the following recommendations are made to improve the communicative and linguistic abilities of pupils in primary schools in Ekiti State through the use of censored animated cartoons: 1. The provision of specific halls for the viewing of programmed animated cartoons should be made in public primary schools.

7 2. Training programmes/workshops should be organised by the Government for the language teachers on the pedagogical technicalities involved in adopting censored animated cartoons for developing the vocabulary of children in English. 3. The curriculum for Colleges of Education, Ikere Ekiti and Faculty of Education, Ekiti State University should provide for the teaching of the utilisation of animated cartoons as a pedagogical supplement for second language education at the relevant educational levels.

8 References Arikan, A. (2009, February 8). Environmental Peace Education in Foriegn Language Learner's English Grammar Lessons. Journal of Peace Education, Carmeron, L. (2003). Challenges for ELT from the expansion in teaching children. ELT Journal, Faloye, B. (2010). An Introductory Course in Theatre and Drama in Education. Abuja: Alpha-Dreams. Faloye, B. (2007, June 23). Reading and Writing Components of English: A Comparison of Old and New Teaching Strategies. Ekiti State Universal Basic Eduction Board 4th quaterly Capacity Building Workshop, pp Kristina, M. (2012, January 10). ICT in Language Learning: Benefits and Methodology Implications. Retrieved February 20, 2013, from ccsenet Organisation: Moon, J. (2004). Teaching English to Young Learners: Challenging Times. ITB Bandung 5th Conference (pp ). Indonesia: ITB Bandung 5th Conference. Pinter, A. (2006). Teaching Young Language Learners. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Schwartz, N. (2003). The Impact of Animation and Sound Effects on Attention and Memory. The Annual Meeting of the International Communications Association (pp ). San Diego, CA.: The Annual Meeting of the International Communications Association. Singleton, D. (2003). Critical period or General Age Factor(s)? London: British Council.

9 Susan Grider Montgomery, HEALTH COMES FIRST!!!, USA

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