Effectiveness of Hands-On Activities on Selected Public School Pupils Performance in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State


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1.1      Background of the Study

This tendency of children learners have developmentally enhanced them because imaginative and fantasy hands on activities allows children to explore their world and express their innermost thought and feelings, hopes and fears, likes and dislikes. Through hands on activities, decisions are seen to be made without penalty or fear of failure. Hands-on activities allows children to gain control of their thoughts, feelings, actions and helps them achieve self-confidence (Lilard, 2002).Recently, children of all ages and from every socio-economic background have been seen to prefer self-directed, imaginative creative hands on activities rather than television, computer, and battery – operated toys (Mather and Goldstein, 2001).

The terms pre-school education and kindergarten emphasize education around the ages of 0 -6 years. The terms early childhood learningearly care and early education are comparable with early childhood education. The terms Day care and child care do not embrace the educational aspects. Many childcare centers are now using more educational approaches. They are creating curricula and incorporating it into their daily routines to foster greater educational learning. The distinction between child care centers being for care and kindergartens being for education, for example has all but disappeared in countries that require staff in different early childhood facilities to have a teaching qualification (McGee. 2003; Meyer, 2002; Shapiro and Nager, 1999; Wenner, 2009).

Furthermore, the child forum early childhood education national organization highlights that while this can uplift the overall quality of children’s learning a primary purpose of all early childhood programmes is nevertheless to provide a high standard of care and nurturance due to young age and emotional and physical needs of children.

Researchers in the field and early childhood educators both view the parents as an integral part of the early childhood education process. Often educators refer to parents as the child’s first and best teacher (Mumme, Fernald, and Herrera, 1996). Early childhood education takes many forms depending on the beliefs of the educator or parent much of the first two years of life are spent in the creation of a child’s first “sense of self or the building of a first identity. This is a crucial part of children’s make up-how they first see themselves, how they think they expect others to function in relation to them. For this reason, early care must ensure that in addition to employing carefully selected and trained caretakers, program policy must emphasize links with family home culture and home language meaning caregivers must uniquely care for each child using Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP), individually Appropriate Practice (IAP) and Culturally Appropriate Practice (CAP). Care should support families rather than be a substitute for them. If a young child doesn’t receive sufficient nurturing sufficient, caregiver, nutrition, parental stimulus interaction and stimulus during this crucial period, the child may be left with a developmental deficit that hampers his or her success in pre-school, kindergarten, and beyond.

Hands on activities simply refers to ‘learning by doing’. It is an effective way to learn. In certain situations, it is the only way to teach something. For example, in teaching a child how to ride a bicycle in a traditional classroom, there is the need to get outside and try out a bicycle. Many people believe that doing something is the best way to learn about it, than attempting to learn about it from a book. No matter how many books one read about cycling, one would definitely still fall off the first time.

Furthermore, this technique is often based on demonstrations which give students idea on how something works. It does not place emphasis on detail. Students may feel after learning the basics that they do not need to do anymore study with regard to the hands on activities. Also there are some hands on activities that private schools are more likely to be able to afford compared to public schools. No doubt actively involving students in using hands on activities enhances their education, but it must be said that it will be more effective if it is combined with traditional learning from books. In sum, it is very good in providing a foundation for knowledge and understanding.

The issue of pupils’ performance at schools has been of concern ever since modem education was introduced. Many countries have come to realize that pupils are the heart of educational process and that without good performance, all innovations in education are doomed tofailure. There is a wide dissatisfaction with the current situation of schooling in many countries and parents come in for the share of the blame. This is because majority of parents involve their children in garden and other domestic work. This makes pupils have limited time with their teachers and no time for revision, therefore, affecting their performance. All school efforts should be aimed at high quality pupils’ learning, Parents as active stakeholders in schools should ensure that they are cooperative, participate fully in school activities, provide children with essential needs, check pupils’ work, encourage and enforce good behaviour among pupils and to consult with school authorities to foster good performance of their children.

Kundu and Tutoo (2000) maintain that home background is the most significant primary factor which influences and shapes children’s attitudes, personality and behaviour patterns that lead to good performance at schools. A study conducted by Mugisha (1991) in some selected schools in Kampala District on causes of pupils’ poor performance revealed that attitudes of children and their home background positively or negatively influence their performance in schools. He further pointed out that the home and the school should be accepted as partners to improve pupils’ performance.

It is against this background that this study embarks on investigating the effectiveness of hands-on activities on pupils’ performance n Shomolu LGAs.

1.2      Statement of Problem

The purpose of nursery education is to develop quality of life of the learners so that they can properly serve the society according to their roles and responsibilities as good citizens. Hence, the learning process must be guided and controlled; and the learning environment must be conducive and supportive (Skinner, 1945). In other words, children learners need to be motivated by their parents as well as teachers in whatever they do.

Many schools that offer childhood education programme in Nigeria lack so many-infrastructures and classroom material for teaching, which determine the level of learning conduciveness to the early childhood classroom. They also lack facilitates which range from toys, equipments and good educators, and even fail to employ various hands on activities so that effective learning will occur. The government and administrators care less about the development of early childhood education in Nigeria which directly affects the effectiveness of teaching and use of hands on activities in the early childhood classroom.

Significantly, government have deliberately made little effort to improve on infrastructure and other educational inputs and this has caused pupils’ performance to be persistently and alarmingly low in Shomolu LGAs schools over the years. The low academic achievement of pupils is a cause of worries and concern to many stakeholders in the Lagos State and other parts of Nigeria as it is likely to impact on implementation and achievement of Universal Nursery Education. On one hand, this situation has affected the intellectual development of children between the ages of 0-6 years in Shomolu LGAs in nursery schools. On the other hand, it has also resulted in restricting their technical development. This study therefore specifically focused on addressing the effectiveness of hand-on activities on pupils’performance, so as to eliminate poor performances of pupils in the area of study.

1.3      Purpose of Study

This study will attempt to:

  1. Know the level at which hands on activities as a teaching and practice method are
    effective in the early childhood education classroom to the learners.
  2. Enable the early childhood education teacher know the type of hands on activities to be used in teaching various subjects in early childhood education classroom.
  3. Create awareness about the impact of hands on activities in developing of the three
    domains of learning in the early childhood education classroom,
  4. Find solution to challenges faced by the early childhood educators and administrators concerned in using hands on activities as a method of teaching in the early childhood classroom.

1.4      Research Questions

  1. What is the relationship between pupils’ hands on activities and pupils achievement in three domains of learning?
  2. There is no correlation between dramatic hands-on activities and socio-dramatic hands on activities in early childhood classroom.
  3. What is the relationship between hands on activities in the field and hands on activities in the classroom.
  4. What significant relationship between hands on activities as a method and the teachers’ experience?

1.5      Research Hypotheses

  1. There is no significant relationship between the pupils’ hands on activities and pupils achievement in three domains of learning.
  2. Will there be a correlation between dramatic hands-on activities and socio-dramatic hands on activities in early childhood classroom.
  3. There is no significant relationship between hands on activities in the field and hands on activities in the classroom.
  4. There is no significant relationship between hands on activities as a method and the teachers’ experience.

1.6      Scope and Limitations of Study

This research work is based on Early Childhood Education. The scope of study to the research work covers nursery school and early childhood education centers in Shomolu Local Government Area, Lagos State. The research work will cover early childhood education and administrators in the selected schools to be used for research sampling. The research work is limited to only public nursery schools in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos State.

1.7      Operational Definition of Terms

  • Classroom: This is a place where pupils are taught various subjects in the nursery curriculum.
  • Early Childhood Education: This term is commonly used to describe the formal teaching and care of young children by people other than their family or in setting outside of the home.
  • Hands on Activities: This is an educational method that directly involves the learner, by actively encouraging them to do something in order to learn about it.
  • Nursery Pupils: These are students in the nursery school between the ages of 3 – 6 years.  Teacher: This is an experienced individual who is professionally qualified to tutor nursery pupils.

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