1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The influence of instructional materials in promoting pupils’ academic performance and teaching and learning in educational development is indisputable. The teaching of Mathematics in Nigerian primary schools needs to be properly handled. The materials used by teachers to teach and drive home their subject points at the primary and primary school levels of our education system is incontrovertibly a paramount important issue in practical classroom interaction and successful transfer of knowledge from the teacher to the learners.
Instructional materials are materials which assist teachers to make their lessons explicit to learners. They are also used to transmit information, ideas and notes to learners (Ijaduola (1997). Instructional materials include both visuals and audiovisuals such as pictures, flashcards, posters, charts, tape recorder, radio, video, television, computers among others. These materials serve as supplement to the normal processes of instruction.
Mathematics as a subject came into existence in 1776 via the publication of Adam Smith - the protagonist of the classical school of thought; and since then, it has assumed many roles especially in both political and educational circles. According to Aromolaran (2006), three major languages are used in teaching and communicating Economic ideas. These languages include theory or verbal, geometric or graphical, and algebraic or mathematical language.
Mathematics is an important subject that must be credited by pupils before gaining admission into any tertiary institution especially the university to study relevant courses like Accountancy, Business Administration, Insurance, etc. The importance and technicality of this subject makes it necessary that relevant instructional materials should be used to teach it to the learners. This fact is supported by Macaulay (1989) who asserts that visual aids make lesson come alive and help pupils to learn better.
It is against this background that this study attempts to examine the extent to which the utilization of instructional materials could advance primary school pupils performance in Mathematics.
Poor academic achievement in Mathematics could be attributed to many factors among which teacher’s strategy itself was considered as an important factor. This implies that the mastery of Mathematics concepts might not be fully achieved without the use of instructional materials. The teaching of Mathematics without instructional materials may certainly result in poor academic achievement. Franzer , Okebukola and Jegede (1992) stressed that a professionally qualified science teacher no matter how well trained, would unable to put his ideas into practice if the school setting lacks the equipment and materials necessary for him or her to translate his competence into reality.
Bassey (2002) opined that Science is resource intensive, and in a period of economic recession, it may be very difficult to find some of the electronic gadgets and equipment for the teaching of Mathematics in schools adequately. A situation that is further compounded by the galloping inflation in the country and many at times, some of the imported sophisticated materials and equipment are found expensive and irrelevant; hence the need to produce materials locally.
Researchers such as Obioha (2006) and Ogunleye (2002) reported that there were inadequate resources for teaching Science subjects in primary schools in Nigeria. They further stated that the available ones are not usually in good conditions. There is the need therefore, for improvisation. Adebimpe (1997) and Daramola, (2008) however noted that improvisation demands adventure, creativity, curiosity and perseverance on the part of the teacher, such skills are only realizable through well-planned training programme on improvisation.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The act of teaching is fundamentally concerned with passing ideas, skills and attitude from the teacher to the learner. In Nigeria, for example experience has shown that spoken words alone in the communication of ideas are grossly ineffective and inefficient in producing desired learning outcomes. Every year, when the results of public examination are released, there has always been mass failure in Mathematics. The reason for this could be ascribed to the fact that there are topics in Mathematics that pose serious problem of comprehension to pupils. These topics cannot be taught effectively without the use of relevant instructional materials to make the learning practical. On the foregoing, scholars like Mutebi and Matora (1994) have emphasized the effect of instructional materials utilisation on teaching and learning. According to them, we learn and remember 10% of what we hear, 40% of what we discuss with others and as high as 80% of what we experience directly or practice. However, the questions here are: does the use of instructional materials really influence pupils’ academic performance? Is teaching effectiveness enhanced by the use of instructional materials?
Could pupils’ learning be advanced by the use of instructional materials? Finding answers to these questions and more summarizes the entire problem of this study.
1.3 OBJECTIES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are:
i. To examine the influence of instructional material utilisation on the teaching of Mathematics in Primary Schools in Rivers State;
ii. To ascertain the extent to which Primary School pupils learning of Mathematics can be influenced by the use of instructional materials
iii. To determine whether there will be any difference in the academic performance of primary schools pupils in Mathematics due to the use of instructional materials.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In order to achieve the objectives of this study, the following research questions were raised to guide the investigation:
i. Will the use of instructional materials influence the teaching and application of Mathematics in primary schools?
ii. To what extent can primary school pupils’ learning of Mathematics is influenced by the use of instructional materials?
iii. Will there be any difference in the academic performance of primary school pupils in Mathematics due to the use of instructional materials?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The following null hypotheses were stated for the study.
i. The use of instructional materials will not have significant influence on the teaching of Mathematics in primary schools.
ii. The use of instructional material will not have significant influence on primary school pupils’ learning of Mathematics.
iii. There will be no significant difference in the performance of pupils in Mathematics due to the use of instructional materials.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The use of instructional materials gives the learner opportunity to touch, smell or taste objects in the teaching and learning process. Consequently, knowledge passed unto the pupils at different levels of educational instructions should be well planned and properly allied with relevant instructional materials for clarity and comprehensibility. Hence the significance of this study to the pupils, teachers, curriculum planners, educational system and the society at large.
To the pupils, the effective use of instructional materials would enable them to effectively learn and retain what they have learnt and thereby advancing their performance in the subject in question. This is because according to Nwadinigwe (2000), learning is a process through which knowledge, skills, habits, facts, ideas and principles are acquired, retained and utilized; and the only means of achieving this is through the use of instructional materials.
The study would help enhance teachers’ teaching effectiveness and productivity. This is in line with assertion of Ekwueme and Igwe (2001) who noted that it is only the teachers who will guarantee effective and adequate usage of instructional materials and thereby facilitate success. Consequently a teacher who makes use of appropriate instructional materials to supplement his teaching will help enhance pupils’ innovative and creative thinking as well as help them become plausibly spontaneous and enthusiastic. Oremeji (2002) supportively asserts that any teacher who takes advantage of these resources and learns to use them correctly will find that they make almost an incalculable contribution to instruction. He further says that instructional materials are of high value in importing information, clarifying difficult and abstract concepts, stimulating thought, sharpening observation, creating interest and satisfying individual difference.
The study is also significant to the educational system and society at large. This is because when teachers solidify their teaching with instructional materials and the learners learn effectively, the knowledge acquired will reflect in the society positively. Pupils will be able to understand the functioning of the economy, interpret government’s economic policies and activity and perform economically better in the choice of life and work.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is focused on investigating the effect of instructional material utilisation on advancing primary school pupils’ performance in Mathematics in Rivers State. Due to time and financial constraints, the study is limited to Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers. This is because the researcher resides in this local government area and as such had the opportunity of having a comprehensive knowledge of the area and its environs. Besides, the study involves only the pupils of the primary schools in Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF STUDY
The only limitation faced by the researcher in the course of carrying out this study was the delay in getting data from the various respondents. Most respondents were reluctant in filling questionnaires administered to them due to their busy schedules and nature of their work. The researcher found it difficult to collect responses from the various respondents, and this almost hampered the success of this study.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
The relevant terms below were operationally defined relative to their usage in this study.
§ Effect: This is the change (outcome) that is brought about in a person (s) or something by another person (s) or thing; that is the way in which an event, action or person changes someone or something.
§ Academic performance: This is regarded as the display of knowledge attained or skills, shown in the school subjects such achievements are indicated by test scores or by marks assigned by teachers. It is the school evaluation of pupils’ classroom work as quantified on the basis of marks or grades.
§ Utilisation: The act of using something to achieve a purpose
§ Instructional Material: What the teacher uses to make the lesson more interesting and understandable.
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