EFFECT OF CARTOONS ON PUPILS’ INTEREST AND ACHIEVEMENT IN ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION IN BASIC SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
This study investigated the effect of cartoons on pupils’ interest and achievement in environmental education (EE) in Basic Science and Technology. The specific purposes of the study are to determine the mean achievement scores of primary school pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons; find out the mean interest scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by cartoon method; determine the effect of gender on the mean achievement scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons. Find out the effect of location on the mean achievement scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons; determine the mean interest scores of rural and urban pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons; determine the mean interest scores of male and female pupils taught EE by conventional method and by use of cartoons; The design of the study was quasi- experimental non-randomized pretest-posttest control group. The sample consisted of one hundred and fifty seven (157) primary three (3) pupils in four public primary schools in Enugu South Local Education Authority in Enugu Education Zone. The instruments used for the study were a researcher developed achievement test, Environmental Education Achievement Test (EEAT) and interest scale, Basic Science Interest Scale (BSIS) which were validated by five (5) experts. The reliability method used for determining the reliability was Kudrar Richardson (K-R21) formular. Mean, standard deviation and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) were used for data analysis. Major findings of the study showed that using cartoons as instructional materials greatly enhanced achievement and interest in environmental education. Those pupils exposed to the use of cartoons performed significantly better than those exposed to conventional method of teaching. Gender and location had no significant effect on the mean scores of primary three pupils exposed to cartoons. Urban pupils performed better than rural pupils. Urban and rural pupils taught with cartoons showed more interest than pupils taught with the conventional method. Based on the findings, conclusions were drawn and the educational implications were extensively discussed. Major recommendations from the study were that Federal and State Ministries of Education should make available quality cartoon books to primary schools both in the rural and urban areas, and teachers should be encouraged to adopt and use them, since the use of cartoons has been proven to enhance interest and achievement in environmental education.
Background of the Study
Basic Science and Technology is one of the core subjects in the primary education curriculmu as enshrined in the National Policy on Education (Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004). McGraw-Hills (2005) has it that science is the knowledge about the structure and behaviour of natural and physical world, based on facts that one can prove, for example by experiments. Science and technology can be said to be a system of organising the knowledge about particular subject, especially one concerned with aspects of human behaviour and society.
The term science can be used to refer to a product (body of knowledge), a process (a way of acquiring new knowledge through observation, questioning and experimentation), and an enterprise (an institutioanl pursuit of knowledge of the natural world/environment (Egbuna, 2010). The current development of science and technology has greatly affected the lives of every human being that no one can fane ignorance of their significance.
Basic Science and Technology as defined by Asun, Bajah, Ndu, Oguntonade and Youdeowei (2010) is the foundation knowledge given to primary school pupils to help them learn and understand science and acquire basic scientific training to become creative and capable of innovative thinking. It is an activity-oriented course which follows strick thematic approach whose aim is to make learning science effective through a series of activities and exercises, as well as a modern approach of discovery methods. The overall objectives of Basic Science and Technology curriculum under the Universal Basic Education Programme are to:
i) develop interest in science and technology;
ii) acquire basic knowledge and skills in science and technology;
iii) apply their scientific and technological knowledge and skills to meet societal need;
iv) take advantage of the numerous career opportunities offered by science and technology; and
v) become further prepared for further studies in science and technology.
The interaction of about 150 million Nigerians with their environment creates indelible marks on the landscape. The Vision 2010 Committee of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1997) and Omoogun (2004), catalogued Nigeria’s environmental problems to include soil erosion (sheet, gully, coastal), flooding (coastal, river, urban), over population in cities and urban centres, drought and desertification in the northern parts and deforestation in the southern parts of Nigeria, municipal solid waste and loss of biodiversity,climate change and global warming, urbanization, diseases, all types of pollution and poor sanitation as problems confronting Nigeria and other developing countries. Pollution is the introduction of substances that contaminate the environment and are dangerous to the health of human beings and other living organisms (Onoh, 2007). Corvalan (2005) reported that the world’s biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate requiring important efforts and new decisions on conservation.
According to the McGraw-Hills (2005: 828), the term environment is "the sum of all external factors, both biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) to which an organism is exposed to." Here, the biotic factors include influences by members of the same and other species on the development and survival of the individual. It is important to note that for each environmental factor, an organism has a tolerance, in
which it is able to survive. For this reason, different individuals or species have different tolerance ranges for particular environmental factors. This variation represents the adaptation of the individual to its environment. In general, the environment provides all support systems, in the air, on water and on land, as well as the materials for fulfilling all developmental aspirations.
These impacts on the environment occur as the people attempt to satisfy their seemingly endless desires for food, shelter, recreation, infrastructural facilities and to generally subdue the physical environment in order to achieve economic growth. The quest is based on their mentality supported by two assumptions. Firstly, the earth has an unlimited supply of resources for human use for full exploitation to advance human civilization. People employ advanced and sophisticated technology for the intensification of the exploitation of resources within the environment and to subdue the earth. According to Emeh (1997), there is a gradual but painful realization of the falsehood of this assumption evidenced from the myriads of environmental problems. The second assumption is that humans see themselves as separate from the environment, rather than being a part of it. This anthropocentric view of humans has led to a seeming biological terrorism, an attempt to overcoming nature to fulfill their needs with little regard for the consequences (Asoegwu, 2009).
Although, these wants and desires contribute to the development of the country, which everybody clamours after, the unwise use of the land and its resources produce negative impacts on the environment, thereby leaving the biophysical environment degraded, sometimes permanently. All these negative impacts amount to unsustainable development (Omofonwan and Osa-Ado, 2008), since development is
sustainable if it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland Commission, 1987).
Concerted efforts are being made by national and international communities to save the environment, yet the rate of degradation is moving at an alarming rate. For instance, the United Nations (UN) Earth Summit in 1992, the 1994 UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, and the 2003 UN Decade for Sustainable Development are all efforts to save the environment. The UN Millenuium Development Goal 7 seeks to ensure environmental sustainability in member countries. Sustainability means improving the quality of human life, while living within the carrying capacity of supporting ecosystems (Urbanito, 1994).
UNESCO Tblisi Declaration (1978: 3) defined environmental education as “the learning process that increases people's knowledge and awareness about the environment and associated challenges, develops the necessary skills and expertise to address the challenges, and fosters attitudes, motivations, and commitments to make informed decisions and take responsible actions”. Environmental education helps to create awareness, and will be particularly useful in teaching pupils in the primary school, who are future generations and tomorrow’s leaders, to correct the existing anomaly in the environment and mobilize action by the general public. For this study, EE is the learning process that teaches children the skills, attitudes, and expertise of environmental cleanliness, wise use of natural resources and active participation in environmental improvement and protection.
Nwabuisi (2008: 6) defined Education as “a process of the development of potentialities, and their maximum activation when necessary, according to right reason, and to achieve thereby his perfect self fulfillment.” Education is not, and
cannot be, an end in itself. It is used here to mean the consciously planned systematic imparting or acquisition of knowledge in a system called school. This is known as formal education. A good education consists in giving the body and the soul all the beauty and all the perfection of which they are capable. “Education alone can conduct man to the enjoyment which is best in quality and infinite in quantity”. Continuing, Nwabuisi (2008) insisted that education implies that something worthwhile is being transmitted or has been transmitted in a morally acceptable manner.
Education is, therefore, a means of life and living. The implication of this is that the greater part of education should be functional. The ultimate end of education is man’s happiness, implying the attainment of the “summon boum”, that is "highest good possible" (Nwabuisi 2008: 6). Education as described in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004), is a veritable tool for social transformation and development. It is a dynamic instrument of change, which can be used to bring about redress, correct imbalance in development and make for quick development of economic, political, sociological and human resources of a nation or people. Only an educated people can command the skills, new ideas, guided orientation, expertise, and others necessary for sustainable economic growth and better quality of life.
This qualitative and functional education is what the child needs to survive in the environment. Primary education, according to the Federal Government of Nigeria in the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004), is the education given in institution for children aged 6 to11 plus. Since the rest of the education system is built upon it, the primary level is the key to the success or failure of the whole system. Some of the goals of primary education are: to inculcate permanent literacy and numeracy, and ability to communicate effectively; lay a sound basis for scientific and reflective
thinking; give citizenship education as a basis for effective participation and contribution to the life of the society; develop in the child the ability to adapt to the child’s changing environment and give the child the opportunity for developing manipulative skills that will enable the child function effectively in the society within the limit of the child’s capacity. To achieve these goals, environmental education needs to start at the primary level. If a good foundation is laid on the subjects at this level, there is likely to be no problem at subsequent levels.
Primary education is important for developing countries, including Nigeria, because it provides the competencies required for living, especially to those whose education is terminated at the primary school level (Okafor in Nwabuisi, 2008). It is obvious that no nation can develop if a large number of its people are illiterate. A literate society therefore emerges where primary school education is available, functional and qualitative (Chukwu, 2001).
Environmental Education (EE) according to International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN, 1995) is:
The process of recognizing values and clarifying concepts in order to understand and appreciate the interrelatedness among man, his culture and his biophysical surroundings. Environmental education also entails practices in decision – making and self formulation of a code of behavior about issues concerning environmental quality.
EE is concerned with teaching conceptual knowledge and skills for monitoring and measuring environmental quality, and also with the development of the values and attitudes, which will motivate and empower individuals and groups to work and promote the improvement of natural and social environments. For these reasons, EE
will be practically useful in teaching pupils in the primary school who are future generation and tomorrow leaders to correct the existing anomaly in the environment and mobilize action by the general public. It is a subject necessary for every individual in the society, since every member of the society has something to do with the environment. Basic Science and Technology is still taught with conventional method in primary schools today.
A well-educated populace is the best insurance for preservation of the environment. Ezeanya (1999) asserted that EE is essential to change the destructive relationship between human and the rest of nature. Ukpong (1993) emphasized the importance of EE in achieving the goals and objectives of environmental protection and management. He stressed various educational strategies, such as analysis, sensitization, information and education, among others, that can provoke knowledge that would change the attitude and values towards the environment.
To prepare pupils with positive attitude towards the environment underscores the advocacy for EE, which is seen as a viable means of solving environmental problems. The aim of EE includes helping individuals to acquire an awareness of and sensitivity to the total environment and to develop a basic understanding, skills, values of the total environment and the interrelationship between man and the environment. Since cartoons are popular with children between the ages of 7 and 18 (Yang, 2003), using cartoons to teach EE might improve the interest and achievement of EE in the primary school.
Neylor and Keogh (1999) stated that cartoons are preparatory drawings, any large sketch or design on paper, which represents scenes with or without reproduction of sounds, and are usually humorous. They are drawings that put forward a range of
views about everyday event. The pictures have captivating power that stimulates pupils to discuss their ideas about the humorous pictures. They are used as assessment and teaching tools. For this study, cartoons are amusing drawings that tell story of every day event on a paper or in a video.
Cartoons are adventure stories in picture form representing the daily but dramatic activities of people. They help to explain complicated subjects and contain valuable information in teaching or entertainment forms (Cosby, 2003). Hand (2000) stated that the use of cartoons as instructional materials brought about a new relevance to the educational system in America and beyond. They were added to give more information and boost the narrative flow of stories.
Features of cartoons, according to Naylor and Keogh (1999), include presentation of alternative ideas about a concept, the use of visual images; minimal use of written language; and contexts that are familiar to children. Cartoons can be used at the beginning or mid way through a unit of work, to help demonstrate certain concepts to pupils. Ideas within the class; identify areas of misconception especially when conventional methods of teaching are being employed; stimulate starting points for investigations; offer challenges that may lead to reconstruction of ideas; and effectively review the learning process at the end of a unit of work.
Eneh (2011: 397) observed that poor environmental sanitation habits are exhibited by the growing population of Nigerians, who have “mobile consumption habit” and “throw-away mentality.” This leads to ugly litters and heaps of refuse around schools, markets, hospitals and residential houses, thereby spoiling the beauty of the environment, in addition to environmental health hazards associated with pollution.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS, 2007:79-80 Appendix1 pg 91) reported colossal figures of cases of major diseases and deaths, which point to unhealthy and degraded environmental situation that may require early inculcation of environmental awareness to address. This may help to transfer in-depth knowledge and creation of sufficient interest in children in the value of natural resources, the ecological process that maintains or destroys them.
Hornby (2001) defined interest as the feeling of curiosity to know more. Attribute of interest include: wanting to know more about something; the quality that something has when it attracts somebody’s attention or makes him want to know more about it.
Levels of interest tend to underpin achievement of pupils in the subject. On the other hand, apathy or lack of interest result to poor learning and achievement. Tuckman (1994) submitted that achievement is the degree of success or score in a given study or test.
Gender of pupils may also influence the pupil’s interest and achievement in studies on the environment. Mboto and Bassey (2004) looked at gender as a term that describes the behavior and attitude expected of an individual on the basis of being born either male or female.
The location of the schools may have some influence on pupils’ interest and achievement in studies on the environment. According to Mitcham (1993: 1614), location means “the fact or condition of occupying a particular place: local, metropolitan and cosmopolitan position or a place of settlement or residence chiefly a farm or school”. In this study, rural and urban locations (schools) are identified in Enugu South Local Government Area for experimentation.
Statement of the Problem
A journey through the streets of Enugu South Local Government Area (LGA) of Enugu State, Nigeria reveals ugly litters of refuse. Heaps of refuse abound around schools, markets, hospitals and residential houses, spoiling the beauty of the environment and incurring environmental health hazards through pollution. There is public outcry against mountainous heaps of solid wastes in various parts of neighbourhoods.
The situation calls for aggressive awareness creation on the delicate nature of the natural environment and the need to maintain clean and healthy environment to the point of achieving emotional, social and health stability. Sanitation initiative to address the public outcry against mountainous heaps of solid wastes may require improved teaching of EE to primary and secondary school who will be the future users and leaders of tomorrow. This improved teaching could adopt the use of cartoons, as against the conventional teaching method. Such teaching and learning of EE is aimed at the transfer of in-depth knowledge and the creation of sufficient awareness to help young people understand the value of natural resources and the ecological processes that maintain or destroy them. Other topics or subject matter of EE included in Basic Science and Technology are:
Pollution: Meaning of pollution, types of pollution, harmful effect of types of pollution, control of air, water and land pollution; waste and waste disposal, meaning of waste, types of waste, solid and liquid waste, disposal of solid waste or (refuse), disposal of liquid waste or (sewage), dangers of improper waste disposal, recycling; environmental quality, qualities of a healthy environment, qualities of an unhealthy environment, advantages of a healthy environment; disadvantages of an unhealthy
environment/disadvantages of degrading the environment; ways of maintaining a healthy and beautiful home/school environment.
The conventional method of teaching the primary school pupils appear not to have achieved the aims of teaching the subject matter in schools, hence the mounting environmental degradation. Since cartoons are of interest to children, could their use in teaching EE in Basic Science and Technology have effect on the interest and achievement of primary school pupils of different gender in different locations?
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the study was to determine the effect of cartoons on the interest and achievement in EE component of Basic Science and Technology by primary school pupils of different sexes in schools in different locations. Specifically, the study intended to:
1. Determine the mean achievement scores of primary school pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons;
2. Find out the mean interest scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by cartoon method;
3. Determine the effect of gender on the mean achievement scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons.
4. Find out the effect of location on the mean achievement scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons.
5. Determine the mean interest scores of rural and urban pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons.
6. Determine the mean interest scores of male and female pupils taught EE by conventional method and by use of cartoons.
7. What are the interaction effect of method and gender, method and location, method and gender on interest and method and gender of primary school pupils in environmenal education?
Significance of the study
This study will help the child in the acquisition of EE skills and culture and increase conciousness of environmental cleanliness.
Environmental education ensures that the children and generations yet unborn will live in a clean and healthy environment by sanitation culture. Theoretically, the study will be of benefit to researchers on early childhood education, as it will provide insight into and stress that cartoons attract and stimulate even the reluctant pupils to discuss their ideas, thereby enabling teachers to have access to those ideas.
Practically, school children will benefit from the results, as they get involved in managing and maintaining a healthy and clean environment. They will also benefit from the study, which will improve their performance in Basic Science and Technology, if positive. The problem-solving technique embedded in the study will be of benefit to the child by extending his knowledge and developing the necessary skills for creative thinking and support for the teaching-learning processes.
Children, families and the society will benefit from the study, which will encourage hands-on activities, pupil-led discovering and group activities, to keep the environment clean and healthy. Institutions of higher learning, such as Institutes and Faculties of Education, which offer in-service training to teachers, will benefit from
the results of the study, which will provide information about the use of cartoons in teaching Basic Science and Technology.
The findings of this study, if presented in an educational workshop or seminar, will sensitize curriculum planners on the use of cartoons in teaching of environmental education in primary schools and thereby advocate on the inclusion of cartoons in teaching other subjects especially Basic Science and Technology in the primary school curriculum assuming the use of cartoons in teaching is enhancing. Education curriculum planners will benefit from the findings of the study, if positive, which will provide the enablement for designing enough project activities and opportunities for the teachers to facilitate the natural unfolding process, as they watch the child learn. The findings of the study will also be of benefit to the primary school teachers, as they will learn new skills from it for teaching even the sensitive topics and subjects, using cartoons.
Scope of the Study
This study is delimited to the effect of cartoons on pupils’ interest and achievement in environmental education in Basic Science and Technology of primary 3 pupils in Enugu South Local Education Authority. (The module is "YOU AND THE ENVIRONMENT"), taken from the Basic Science and Technology primary school curriculum modules. (A module is a compact unit of instruction that can be dealt with within a given period of time.) The topics under this module would cover such contents as:
(a) definition of environment and types,
(b) identifcation of the objects that make the environment beautiful,
(c) identification of the objects that make the environment dirty,
(d) maintaining a clean and healthy environment: and tools and materials.
To answer the research questions, the following questions were posed:
1. What are the mean achievement scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by cartoons?
2. What are the mean interest scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by cartoon method?
3. What are the achievement mean scores of male and female primary school pupils in environmental education?
4. What are the achievement mean scores of urban and rural primary school pupils in environmental education?
5. What are the interest mean scores of male and female of rural primary school pupils in environmental education?
6. What are the interest mean scores of urban and rural primary school pupils in environmental education?
7. What is the interaction effect of method and gender on the achievement of primary school pupils in environmental education?
8. What is the interaction effect of method and location on the achievement of pupils in EE?
9. What is the interaction effect of method and gender on location of pupils in EE?
10. What is the interaction effect of method and gender on interest of pupils in EE?
The following hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and were tested at 0.05 level of significance:
HO1: There is no significant difference between the mean achievement scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons as measured by EEAT.
HO2: Interest has no significant effect on the mean achievement scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons as measured by BSIS.
HO3: Gender has no significant effect on the mean achievement scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons.
HO4: Location has no significant effect on the mean achievement scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by using cartoons as measured by EEAT.
HO5: There is no significant effect of gender on the mean interest scores of pupils taught EE by conventional method and by cartoons.
HO6: There is no significant interaction effect of achievement and gender on the interest scores of pupils on EE.
HO7: There is no significant interaction effect on the interest, gender and location of pupils taught EE with cartoons.
HO8: There is no significant interaction effect of treatment and location on the achievement of pupils in EE
HO9: There is no significant interaction effect of treatment and gender on the interest of pupils in EE.
HO10: There is no significant interaction effect of treatment and location on pupils’ interest in EE..