THE IMPACT OF VISUAL AIDS IN TEACHING ENGLISH
TO SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS
Department of Education, Bhavnagar University,
BHAVNAGAR 364002 (Gujarat)
This paper is an attempt to study the impact of visual aids in teaching English as a second language to secondary school students.
Despite the fact that the advantages of using visual aids are established and in teacher training programs prospective teachers are trained since decades in the field, they are not practiced actually. The present investigator would like to quote what Peter Drucker (cited in Spotts, and Bowman, 1995) said in 1969 :
The first teacher ever, that priest in preliterate Mesopotamia who sat down outside the temple with the kids and began to draw figures with a twig in the sand, would be perfectly at home in most classrooms in the world today. Of course, there is a blackboard, but otherwise there has been little change in tools and none in respect to methods. The one new teaching tool in the intervening 8,000 years has been the printed book. And that few teachers really know how to use - or else they would not continue to lecture on what is already in the book.
Visual aids are used to increase the effectiveness of classroom teaching-learning process (Joshi, 1995). Three reports by George; Sheth; and Sonar (all cited in Vissa, 1994) reported that the use of audio-visual aids enhances learning. From the survey of Bharadwaj (cited in Vissa, 1994), it was clear that the availability of teaching aids is a pre-requisite for their use in teaching. In a study by Vissa (1994), it was found that the use of visual aids helped better teaching; and a variety of teaching aids brought about stimulus variation that is essential to sustain students' attention.
As Mecklenburger (cited in Spotts, and Bowman, 1995) noted, "Chalkboards, lectures, and textbooks continue to dominate instruction almost everywhere." Several descriptive studies of technology use in schools (for example, Becker, cited in Spotts, and Bowman, 1995) revealed that teachers rarely used technology in their classroom routine. Spotts, and Bowman (1995) surveyed the use of instructional technologies in higher education. The results of their survey suggested that word processing is the single technology that a wide majority of faculty knew about, had a high degree of experience with, and used in teaching on regular bases.
Before a year the present investigator informally surveyed the use of visual aids in teaching English to secondary school students at Bhavnagar city. Though the survey was limited to 30 schools of the city, it reflected the present situation of teaching English in schools. The survey enveloped the views about and amount of using visual aids. It was found that most of the schools possessed various visual aids like: slide-projectors, TVs, pictures, charts, etc. Some of the schools possessed overhead-projectors, VCRs, and filmstrip-projectors, too. Though the teachers were in favor of using visual aids in teaching English, the survey very strikingly revealed that the aids were hardly used. The teachers were not "motivated" even to use pictures and charts in the class. They argued that students' examination oriented learning tendency prevented them to use visual aids.
The brief review of literature and the situation in schools motivated the investigator to undertake the present study.
OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
To study the impact of visual aids in teaching English as a second language to secondary school students.
Sample. A sample of 92 boys and girls studying in two classes of standard 8 was selected randomly from a Gujarati medium secondary school at Bhavnagar city. These 92 students were randomly stratified into experimental and control groups of 46 each.
Tool. A test, consisting of 24 objective type items, was constructed on the topic "prepositions: in, on, near, and under" to assess the achievements of both the groups of the students for experimental and control teaching. The same test was used for both the groups.
Experimental design. In the present study control group only post-test experimental design was applied. Following each type of the teaching - experimental and control- a five-step lesson plan was drawn to teach the topic "prepositions: in, on, near, and under ". The lesson plans were executed using direct method, though the mother tongue was used judiciously to instruct the students in the beginning of the lessons. In the teaching of control group, only the blackboard and match-stick drawings were used with lecture method. While teaching the experimental group, pictures, charts, slides, and match-stick drawings on blackboard were used. Each session of the teaching took 45 minutes.
Data collection. At the end of the each teaching session the post-test was administrated. Students noted their responses in a normal classroom situation.
Data analysis. Each item of the test scored 0, and 1 for incorrect and correct responses, respectively. The maximum possible score for each exminee was 24. The mean and standard deviations were calculated for each group. The t-test was applied for checking the significance of the mean difference.
The means, standard deviations, and t-ratio for both the groups are presented in Table 1.
Mean, SD, and t-ratio for Both the Groups =======================================
Group N Mean SD t-ratio
Experimental 46 21.38 3.93
Control 46 17.98 3.62 4.30*
*significant at 0.01 level.
The observation of Table 1 reveals that the means and standard deviations for the experimental and control groups were 21.38 and 17.98, and 3.93 and 3.62, respectively. The t-ratio for the difference between two means was 4.30. It was significant at 0.01 level. The difference between the means was in favor of experimental groups. From this, it can be interpreted that there was a significant difference in teaching with and without visual aids. The use of visual aids in teaching English grammar resulted better learning.
The findings of the present study indicated that there was a significant difference between the achievement of students in experimental and control groups. Therefore it can be concluded that the use of visual aids in teaching resulted better acquisition of English grammar. These results were consistent with the results obtained in the previous studies reviewed in this paper.
The results of the present study can be interpreted as one source of evidence supporting the conclusion that the use of visual aids in teaching English is significantly advantageous.
As this study had a limited scope and resources, larger scale studies are required in the field. A national survey of technology use in indian schools is also badly required.
Joshi, B. (1995). The role of visual communication in teaching English. The Progress of Education, 9, 266-268.
Spotts, T, H., & Bowman, M. A. (1995). Faculty use of instructional technologies in higher education. Educational Technology, 35(3), 56-64.
Vissa, U. S. (1994). Teaching a unit of educational psychology to B.Ed. students. The Progress of Education, 68, 215-219 & 222.
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