Theatre As A Tool For Communicating Hand Washing Among Primary School Pupils
This research work examines theatre as a tool for communicating hand washing among primary school pupils in an attempt to assessing the importance of Theatre to children and how it serves as a platform for learning and not just for entertainment. Further it goes to show also that (Theatre) serves as a place for connection of attitude and behaviours, this attest to the fact that it teaches good morals to children both in comic and serious issues. Different theatre activities were used ranging from games and exercises, songs and dances, story-telling, role play and hand washing exercises. The pupils were the stakeholders in the practical field work, with the researcher as the facilitator using all these activities as tools of analysis and the research methodology
1.1 Background of the Study
Theatre is not just another genre, it is one amongst many. It is the only genre in which today and every day, now and always; living human beings address and speak to other human beings. Because of that; theatre is more than just a performance of stories and tales, it is a place for human encounter, a space for authentic human existence. It can also be seen as a building where a live performance takes place such as a play or dance or a place where people gather to watch performances for relaxation.
Theatre can be seen as a variety of art forms showcased in and outside the building and is seen as activities that man engages in. It is a conscious activity of man sometimes used to relate to specific activities of man with certain features of performance and worship. Theatre is used to denote specific conscious activities (design activities). It is an art which encapsulate varieties of art form which entertains, communicate, educate and enlightens. It shows the relationship between humans and the society, man tries to penetrate the deep mystery of life and consciously develops theatre in order to correct what is wrong, which makes man a gregarious animal.
The word theatre is also originally Greek, where the term is used to mean a seeing place. The theatre is therefore a place where we go to watch and participate in a kind of Fantasylife or imaginary life or world of elusion or world of make believe. In other words, it is a place where we go to eave-drop into the life of other people. Theatre is also used to refer to events such as play performances which are organized for the viewing delight of the audience, as well as its use to refer to ritual, ceremonies and festivals. The purpose of which may be or not be the delight of anybody or audience.
Theatre generally is that genre that gives room for participation and not just watching and hearing audience in a building or an open space, using this theatre as a tool to communicate and educate and not just to entertain is another exciting phase of the theatre among it numerous facets and aspects. It is very interesting to know that theatre can serve as a tool for communicating important life issues in our society. We should also understand that theatre is a mirror unto the society, because plays, performances, dances, storytelling, folklores are part of the human activities in the society.
1.2 Statement of Research Problem
Even though traditional mediums have tried to address the issue of hand washing, it has failed to reach the hearts of majority of children and the grassroots as they are cut-off from mediums like the televisions, billboards and internet and radio advertisements due to underdevelopment. Most importantly majority of individuals especially children of all classes in the society have not imbibed the habit of hand washing; therefore this important knowledge is at an unfortunate low among the populace. Using theatre as a medium to communicate this practice (hand washing) will cut-across all parts of the society and can reach the grassroots children because it is participatory and is going to reach out to the kids so that they can participate. According to Aristotle, “tell me, I will know, show me, I will not forget, show me, I will remember, involve me I will understand”.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The aim of this research is to use theatre as a tool and medium to communicate hand washing to primary school pupils and to see how effective the theatre which encompasses drama, storytelling, songs and role play can be use to achieve this habit among the children.
More specifically, these following objective were formulated;
- To help children inculcate hand washing as a habit that will help enhance their personal hygiene toward healthy living and lifestyle.
- Using theatre as a tool to communicate and teach children the importance of personal hygiene and the need to stay healthy and why it should be started at a young age.
- To score the importance of theatre to children and how it can serve as a platform for learning and not just for entertainment.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This research is necessary because it exposes the importance of theatre to the society especially its relevance towards teaching children and how in time past the theatre has been used to inculcate and communicate certain habits to children, this research will show how theatre as a tool can be use to communicate hand washing among children.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The focal point of the study is how theatre can be used to achieve hand-washing habit among primary school pupils. Therefore the study would draw its population from the Ahmadu Bello University, Demonstration Primary School Zaria and selected primary school pupils would be engaged for a period of three days and their after evaluation will be done based on what they have learnt.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The study would be limited to ages 5-11 years old and they majorly can be found in primary 5 and 6 therefore other lower class may be limited from this exercise.
The time frame chosen to engage the pupils is a period of three days more time with the pupils would have been experimental and engaging.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
This research work has examined;
Theatre as a tool for communicating hand washing among primary school pupils, it therefore presents theatre as not just a mere genre, but a distinct one among many. It is the only genre in which today and everybody, now and always, living human beings address and speak to other human beings. Understanding that theatre is a medium which human beings interact, communicate, socialize and even transact, makes it unique and a point of emphasis of this study. More than just a performance of stories and tales; this is a place for human encounter, a space for authentic human existence. Theatre can also be seen as building where live performance take place such as play productions, dance and songs performances.
Hand washing is one of the most important practices to personal hygiene that helps reduce germs and keep us healthy, especially children because of their playful and exploring life-style because they are easily exposed to dirt.
Even though traditional mediums has tried to address the issue of hand washing, it has failed to reach the grassroots as they are cut-off from mediums like the Television, Radio, Bill-boards, Magazines, Newspapers and cinemas, due to science and technological growth that brought social, economical and geographical change. In the society, this also lead to change in mode and medium of communication, this also comes with its own limitations such as network barriers that make it difficult and inaccessible to the grassroots people as a result of this barriers and limitations, this research has focused on how theatre can be used as a tool for communication and to bridge a gap or poor hygiene practice. This gap between human beings in their various social environment (the urban, cities and villages) such as the urban people and grassroots people on important issues of health, economic, social behaviours, politics and environment.
It further focuses on using theatre to communicate hand washing among primary school pupils. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean running water. Kids and even adults do not sometimes heed to the advice to always wash their hands before eating and after using the bathroom or toilet, or when they come inside from playing. But it is a message worth repeating – hand washing is by far the best way to prevent germs from spreading and to keep kids from getting sick.
A number of infectious diseases including gastrointestinal infections, such as salmonella, and respiratory infections, such as influenza. Washing your hands properly can help prevent the spread of germs (like bacteria and viruses) that cause these diseases. Some forms of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections can cause serious complications especially for young children, the elderly, or those with a weakened immune system.
When to wash your hands
You should wash your hands thoroughly: •After using the toilet or changing napkins •Before, during and after preparing food.
- After handling rubbish or working in the garden.
- After handling animals How to wash your hands:
- Wet your hands with clean water
- Apply soap and lather well for twenty (20) seconds.
- Rub hands together rapidly across all surfaces of your hands and wrist. Do not forget the back of your hands, and wrists. Do not forget the back of your hands, your wrists, between the back of your hands, your wrist, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
- If possible, remove rings and watches before you wash your hands, or ensure you move the rings to wash under them, as micro organisms can exist under them.
- Rinse well under running water and make sure all traces of soap are removes.
The finding from this research work confirms and shows that Theatre can be used as a tool for communication. From the practical field work analysis; in chapter three and the third objective of this study was accomplished as regards the scoring of the importance of theatre to children and how it can serve as a platform for learning and not just for entertainment. The Theatre that was deployed in this research work includes: games and exercises as theatrical activities, and dance, storytelling, role-playing and above all the hand washing exercise.
Also in chapter three, the first and second objectives of this research were achieved. The research was able to teach children the importance of personal hygiene and the need to stay healthy, and why they should start washing their hands at young age, because starting it at the younger age will register and stay with them, in their minds and thoughts till adulthood.
According to Frank Outlaw, watch your thoughts, they become words, watch your actions, they become habits, watch your habits, they become character, watch your character, they become destiny. Understanding this fact by the children makes it easier that hand washing can be a habit if they engage in it regularly and it will become part and parcel of their life style. It will help them stay healthy all through life’s journey.
In view of the use of Theatre as a tool and medium of communicating hand washing among primary school pupils, the importance and strength of Theatre to educate, and also entertain cannot be overemphasized, this research work is limited to the children in primary schools, which might give rise to questions such as:
- Why children alone, what about adults?
- What about those children, that is not in classrooms with their teachers?
In relation to all these, the research work admonishes:
- Parent/guardians to serve as models and agent of change and good teachers to their wards/children to help those young ones at home by teaching them hand washing and making it an interesting exercise. Also, as models; by washing their hands regularly for the young ones to emulate.
- Primary, secondary and tertiary institutions should make provisions for washing of hands in the basins and sink in their various classrooms and lecture theatres with water and soap to encourage hand washing.
- Primary and secondary schools should encourage hand washing by introducing it as part of their mandatory daily and regular activity and exercise.
This research work is also recommended for further study and review by other researchers and agencies such as Non-governmental Organizations (N.G.O.s), the Government Ministry on Health, Health Organizations and even advertising agencies to further strengthen this habit among individuals.
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