Effects Of Problem Solving Method In Academic Performance Of English Language Primary School Pupils

Primary Education Project and Semina Material

Effects Of Problem Solving Method In Academic Performance Of English Language Primary School Pupils


Chapter One


Introduction

Background to the Study

Problem solving permeates every comer of human activity and is a common denominator of widely disparate fields such as the sciences; law; education; business; sports; medicine, industry; literature ; and as if there weren’t enough problem solving activity in our professional and vocational lives, many form of recreation. Human, apes, and many other mammals are curious types who, for reason seemingly related to survive, seek stimulation and resolve conflict through a lifetime of creative, intelligent problem solving. A problem is a situation which is experienced by an agent as different from the situation which the agent ideally would like to be in. A problem is solved by a sequence of actions that reduce the different between the initial situation and the goal (F. Heylighen, 1998).

Problem solving is “thinking that is directed toward the solving of a specific problem that involves both the formation of responses and the selection among possible responses.” We encounter an untold number of problems in our daily lives that cause us to form response strategies, to select potential responses, and to test responses in solving a problem.

This could be useful if you are seeking the help of another person in dealing with problem. The spoken words and gestures are an oral and body language model of the problem. You might represent a problem using pencil and paper. You could do this to communicate with another person or with yourself. Writing and drawing are power fluids to memory. You probably keep an address book or address list of the names, addresses, and the phone numbers of your friends. Perhaps it contains additional information such as email addresses, birthday, names of your friends’ children and so on. You have learned that an address book is more reliable than your memory. As a conclusion there are still other ways and many ways to represent problems. The work of the Gestalt psychologists focused on the nature of a task and its influence on a person’s ability to solve it. Recent scholars have attacked the question of problem solving from several different perspectives, including what modern cognitive psychologists call the process of representation, or how a problem is depicted in the mind. The way information is represented in solving a problem seems to follow a well ordered pattern. The stereotypical sequence of problem solving, as suggested by Hayes (1998) are involved cognitive action like Identifying the problem, representation of the problem, planning the solution, execute the plan, evaluate the plan and evaluate the solution. Other representations, such as through writing and mathematics, are useful because they are a supplement to your brain.

Written representations of problems facilitate sharing with yourself and others over time and distance. However, a written model is not as easily changed as a mental model. Your written word has a permanency that is desirable in some situations, but is a difficulty in others. You cannot merely “think” a change Erasing is messy. And, if you happen to be writing with a ballpoint pen, erasing is nearly impossible. When a problem is represented with a computer, we call this a computer model or a computer representation of the problem. For some problems, a computer model has some of the same characteristics as mental mode]. Some computers are easy to change and allow easy exploration of alternatives. For example, consider a document that is represented as a word processor file. It may be easier to revise this document than appear and pencils version of the document. A computer can assist in spell checking and can be used to produce a nicely formatted final product. In the representation of problems, computers are useful in some cases and not at all useful in others. For example, a computer can easily present data in a variety of graphical formats, such as line graph, bar graph, or in the form of graphs of two and three dimensional mathematical functions. But a computer may not be a good substitute for the doodling and similar types of graphical memory mapping activities that many people use when attacking problems. Suppose that one’s mental representation of a problem is in terms of analogy and metaphor. Research that delved into the inner workings of the minds of successful researchers and inventors suggests this is common and perhaps necessary. A computer may be of little use in manipulating such a mental representation.


Statement of the Problem

There are many different ways to represent a problem. A problem can be represented mentally (in your own mind), orally, in writing, on a computer, and so on. Each type of representation has certain advantages and disadvantages. From a personal or ownership point of view, you first become aware of a problem situation in your mind and body. You sense or feel that something is not the way you want it to be. You form a mental representation, a mental model, of the problem. This mental model may include images, sounds or feelings. You can carry on a conversation with yourself- inside your head-about the problem. Mental representations of problems are essential. You create and use them whenever you work on a problem. But, problems can be represented in other ways; for example, you might represent a problem with spoken words and gestures. It is against this backdrop that the researcher wish to investigate the effects of problem-solving method in academic performance in English language in primary schools in Oke Ero LGA of Kwara State.


Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of the study is to determine the effects of problem-solving method in academic performance in English language, while (in primary schools in Oke-Ero LGA, Kwara State). Specifically, the study sought to find out;

  1. The extent to which gender influences the academic performance and those taught with conventional method.
  2. The interaction effect of treatment and gender on pupils post test measurement in English language performance.

Research Questions

The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:

  1. What is the difference in the achievement mean scores of pupils in experimental and control groups before treatment?
  2. What is the difference in mean academic performance of the students taught English Language with Problem-Solving teaching strategy and conventional method?
  3. What is the difference in the mean academic performance of male and female pupils taught English Language with Problems-Solving teaching strategy?

Research Hypothesis

The following null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study:

  1. There is no significant difference in the achievement mean scores of students in experimental and control groups before treatment.
  2. There is no significant difference in mean academic performance of the students taught English language with problem-solving teaching method and conventional method.
  3. There is no significant difference in the mean academic performance of male and female students taught English language with problem-solving teaching method.

Significant of the Study

Evidence of poor performance in English language is the motive behind the present study, which seeks to examine the effect of problem-solving method on the English language achievement of poor achieving pupils in primary schools. A solid background in English language at the primary school level is very important. Findings of the study would be of immense benefit to primary school teachers, as they will be sensitized to a new method for teaching (the English language). In summary, both the study and its results are of importance to the school and all people concerned with the education of children at primary and secondary school levels.


Scope of the Study

Due to time and financial constraint, the study is limited to only the primary schools in Oke-Ero Local Government Area of Kwara State.


Operational Definition of Terms

Effect:

According to Oxford learner’s dictionary. “Effect” is a change which is a result or consequence of an action or other cause.

Problem:

An ongoing problem, problems with the staff mystery an event or situation that is difficult to fully understand or explain, or a person about whom little is known; the key to understanding the mysteries of the universe.

Problem-Solving:

Is a process which focuses on knowing the issues, considering all possible factors that led to finding a solution. Is the analysis and solution of tasks and situations that are somewhat complex or ambiguous and that pose difficulties, inconsistencies obstacles of some kind.

Method:

Way of doing something, a way of doing or carrying something out especially according to a plan.

Performance:

Is the act of rating how well somebody does something or how something works.

Kwara State:

State is an organized community controlled by one government. Therefore, Kwara State is a place where people of different ethnic group and languages lives and are governed by a government which comprises of many Local Governments Area. One of the 36 States in Nigeria located in the North Central.


Chapter Five


Discussion, Conclusions and Recommendations

This chapter presents the discussion of the results, conclusions and recommendations based on the findings of the research.


Discussion of the Findings

This work focused on the Effect of Problem-Solving Method in Academic Performance in English Language in Primary Schools in Oke-Ero Local Government Area, Kwara State. Based on the results of the findings, it was discovered that:

There was significant difference in the mean academic performance of the students taught English Language with problem-solving teaching strategy and those taught with conventional methods. Problem solving as a method of teaching may be used to accomplish the instructional roles of learning basic facts, concepts, and procedure, as well as goals for problem solving. Problem-solving is a major part of English Language has many applications and often those applications represent important problems in English Language. Problem-solving in English Language is paramount because it can stimulate the interest and enthusiasm of the students (Wilson, 2003).This finding is similar to the findings of Skinner (2009) who posited that the term “problem-solving” is the frame work or pattern within which creative thinking and learning takes place. It is a process of overcoming difficulties that appear to interfere with the attainment of a goal. Polya (2004) posited that problem-solving is the process used to solve a problem that does not have an obvious solution. Bay (2000) observed that teaching about problem-solving is the teaching of strategies, or heuristics, in order to solve problems. Performance in English Language by elementary school pupils’ highlight the facts that the most desired technological, scientific and business application for English Language cannot be sustained. This makes it paramount to seek for a strategy for teaching English Language that aims at improving its understanding and performance by pupils’ practically (Okigbo & Osuafor, 2008).

Finally, it was revealed among other that there was no significant different in the mean academic performance of the male and female students taught English Language with problem-solving teaching strategy and those taught with conventional methods. This finding is similar to the findings of Gallagher (2008) posited that mean academic performance of the male and female taught in both problem-solving teaching strategy and conventional methods cannot be overemphasized. Gallagher (2008) opined further that problem based learning environment, students act as professionals and are confronted with problems that require clearly defining and well structured problems, developing hypothesis, assessing, analyzing, utilizing data from different sources, revising initial hypothesis as the data collected developing and justifying solutions based on evidence and reasoning. The practice of problem based learning is richly diverse as educators around the world and in a wide range of disciplined have discovered it as a route to innovating education, The educators used problem solving method as an educational tool to enhance learning as a relevant and practical experience, to have students’ problem solving skills and to promote students’ independent learning skill. Eng (2005) opined problem based learning as a philosophy aims to design and deliver a total learning environment that is holistic to student- centered and student empowerment.


Conclusions

Based on the findings of the study which stemmed from the data collected and analysed with the results obtained, the following conclusions were drawn.

  1. There was significant different in the mean academic performance of the students taught English Language with problem-solving teaching strategy and those taught with conventional methods.
  2. There was no significant different in the mean academic performance of the male and female students taught English Language with problem-solving teaching strategy and those taught with conventional methods.

Recommendations

From the findings and conclusions of this study, the following recommendations are made:

  1. This study proved that problem-solving is more effective method of instruction for teaching and learning English Language as compared to conventional method of teaching. Therefore the teachers of English Language should use problem-solving method to improve the academic achievements of the pupils’.
  2. Government should transform the textbooks of English Language in problem based learning form because the traditional textbooks do not meet the criteria of problem-solving approach.
  3. Extensive training program, seminars and workshops should be organized for English Language teachers in primary schools to employ problem-solving method in the classrooms.
  4. English Language pupils’ teachers should be trained for using problem-based learning approach.

Suggestions for Further Studies

Further studies could be carried out in the following areas:

  1. Further investigations could be carried out or replicated in other levels of education in Kwara State.
  2. The sample of similar study could be increased to allow for generalization of findings.
  3. The sub- variables of the study could be further expanded by future researchers as a way of further studies.

Effects Of Problem Solving Method In Academic Performance Of English Language Primary School Pupils


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Effects Of Problem Solving Method In Academic Performance Of English Language Primary School Pupils


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