How Improvisation Of Instructional Materials Can Influence Students Academic Achievement

Education helps in the development of individual’s intellectual ability and functionally in the society. Education prepares individuals to face problem situations and proffer meaningful solutions to them. Education is the process of equipping the individuals with appropriate knowledge, skills and competences for effective functioning in the society. This indicates that there is a total need to improve the quality of education of any nation as to produce quality individuals who will contribute positively towards the development of the nation.

Improvisation is the act of producing and using local resources in the absence of real ones in teaching and learning situations. Improvisation is also the act of using alternative materials and resources to facilitate instructions whenever there is lack on shortage of specific first hand teaching aids. It is a means of making local provision of teaching aids/instructional materials to impact adequate and relevant knowledge, skills, facts and values to the learner for the achievement of better understanding and retention during teaching/learning instruction.

The use of improvised instructional materials grants the learners a first-hand experience during teaching and learning process and reduces the burden of talking too much on the part of the teachers. It creates a clearer picture of the concept taught, makes the lesson interesting and less difficult for the learner to understand. Using improvised instructional materials, assists the teacher economically and also allows students interaction. It makes students use their intellectual ability during learning and teaching process.

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Instructional materials have been observed as a powerful strategy to bring about effective teaching and learning. The importance of quality and adequate instructional materials in teaching and learning can occur through their effective utilization during classroom teaching. Instructional materials here include all the tools that the teachers can use to make the learning more interesting and memorable. Instructional materials include books, audio-visual, software and hardware of educational technology. He further opines that the availability, adequacy and relevance of instructional materials in classrooms can influence quality teaching, which can have positive effect on students’ learning and academic performance.

INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

Instructional materials are essential and significant tools needed for teaching and learning of school subjects to promote teachers ‘efficiency and improve students’ performance. They make learning more interesting, practical, realistic and appealing. They also enable both the teachers and students to participate actively and effectively in lesson sessions. They give room for acquisition of skills and knowledge and development of self- confidence and self- actualization. Teaching aids are those materials used for practical and demonstration in the class situation by students and teachers. Instructional materials are objects or devices that assist the teacher to present a lesson to the learners in a logical and manner.

Instructional materials therefore, refer to those alternative channels of communication, which a classroom teacher can use to concretize a concept during teaching and learning process. Traditionally, classroom teachers have relied heavily on the 'talk-chalk' method during their teaching. But recently, instructional materials help to provide variations in the ways in which messages are sent across. The process nature of communication implies that both the source and the receiver of a message are actively involved in a communication encounter. Infarct, it means that both the receiver and the source share and exchange ideas, feelings in any communication.

More so, instructional materials are visual and audio-visual aids, concrete or non-concrete, used by teachers to improve the quality of teaching and learning activities. Therefore, effective teaching and learning requires a teacher to teach the students with instructional materials and use practical activities to make learning more vivid, logical, realistic and pragmatic. Instructional materials are however, indispensable to the effective teaching and learning activities. Teaching aids are always useful in supporting the sense organs. Despite the fact that instructional materials are essential tools that can make learning practical and knowledge acquisition easier.

BENEFITS OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

The benefits and usefulness of instructional materials in teaching and particularly the teaching of these special needs learners cannot be over-emphasized. Specifically, the main purpose of using instructional materials in teaching and learning is to concretize students’ learning and achieve set goals of education. Classroom experiences reveal better students concentration and achievements when they are taught with instructional materials. Therefore, effective teachers are masters in the effective use of instructional materials to bring about desired behavioral changes of the learners.

Generally, students understand what is taught with different aids than when taught in abstract form. It has been found that what students see make greater impact than what they hear. So teachers must avoid telling the students but rather show them and help them to explore their world and as a result find out important facts. Students tend to understand facts when the teacher’s presentations enable them see and hear what is taught.

  1. The essence of producing instructional materials is to facilitate the teaching learning process. The essence is not to use such instructional materials as objects of decoration in our classroom or as objects to be presented during award winning national exhibitions on improved instructional materials. If the essence of producing instructional materials is to use such materials to facilitate teaching learning, it therefore seems logical that the best approach to adopt in any production exercise is to predict out production on research findings on how individuals learn. Besides, there are for instance, many factors that affect attention of human beings. There are also ideas about how we perceive objects. Hence, for a classroom teacher, who wants .to produce instructional materials, his production has to be on sound principles.
  2. While presenting various learning theories, one has to be sure that a classroom teacher is guided by expert ideas during his production and utilization of instructional materials.
  3. They supply a concrete basis for conventional thinking and reduce meaningless work responses for pupils as it makes learning more permanent.
  4. Instructional materials have a high degree of interest for the learner; for they offer a reality of experience, which stimulates self-activity on the part of pupils.
  5. Instructional materials develop a continuity of thought, this is especially true of motion pictures, as they provide experiences not, easily obtained through other materials and contribute to the efficiency, department and variety of learning. Therefore, the use of instructional materials in teaching/learning process exposes the learner to primary experiences and this enriches learning.

TYPES OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS

Before a teacher can design or produce an instructional material, he/she has to know what these instructional materials are, their advantage and disadvantage, characteristics and limitations etc. Therefore, some types of instructional materials could be outlined as thus- Graphic materials, Three- dimensional materials, still pictures, still projected pictures, motion pictures and Audio materials.

(1) Graphic materials: - This represent these charts, graphic, posters and diagrams, cartoons, comics, maps and globes which we draw on a cardboard paper or on a piece of cloth and present to our learners to help them visualize what we have been laboring so hard o explain verbally. Graphic materials belong to the finally of two- dimensional material and proportional relationships that may exist among variables in a phenomenon. Graphic materials are used to compress information, to focus and captivate attention, to vary stimuli presented and as an aid to recall. Graphic materials when properly produced can help in attaining all processes in the information processing model of learning as well as serve as avenue for applying principles from other learning theories.

(2) Three - Dimensional Materials: - They are different from charts and graphs which are illustration of two- dimensional materials because of the incorporation of a third element- department. Thus, whereas graphs and charts embrace the width and height of a visualized object, a three-dimensional embraces this third element department, a feature that makes the three- dimensional material a replica of the real thing. Different types of three-dimensional materials exist, namely: Models and mock-ups, specimen, kits and dioramas-which is the creation of a scene in an event.

(3) Still pictures: - This refers to flat opaque pictures which we take during festivals or when we are commemorating an event. They also refer to pictures we find in journals and magazines. They are called still pictures because in admiring them, we hold them in our hands or place them on a surface, which is we do not view them with the aid of projector, as is the case with motion pictures or still projected pictures. Like graphic materials, still pictures belong to the group of two -dimensional materials.

(4) Still projected pictures: - Still projected pictures are a class of instructional materials which our learners may not be familiar with. Therefore in order to assist them to better understand what is meant by still projected pictures is the negative format. Still projected pictures can be projected with a projector. The projector has powerful electronic bulbs, which throw light on to the image on the negative, and image is finally projected on to a screen or wall. Therefore, when dealing with still projected pictures, one is automatically dealing with a whole range of materials (such as slides, overhead transparency, filmstrip etc) whose image are imprinted in a negative/film and which has to be projected using different types of projector. A major characteristics is still projected pictures is that the images are projected one frame at a time. This is a major difference between still projected pictures and motion pictures. This characteristic enables a still projected picture to stay for as long as a learner wants it on a screen.

(5) Motion pictures: - Motion pictures are distinct from the other types of pictures because of the speed at which they are projected. It is this speed of projection that intact gives the impression of motion. Motion pictures range from the 8 mm standard format to 8 mm supper and finally to the 16 mm format. The width of the film thus constitutes a basic for classifying them. Motion pictures films have sprocket holes along both edges or along only one edge. The presence of sprocket holes facilitates projection. Motion pictures can be projected at 16 or 24fps (frame per second.) They can be silent or accompanied with sound. Sound films use either a magnetic tape or optical sound track for sound recording. If a film is sound, only one edge bears the sprocket holes while the other edge bears the sound components.

(6) Audio Materials: - This is a class name for tape recordings and discs. A disc or record as it is popularly called here is a round and flat acetate containing grooves, which produces sound vibrations through the action of a needled. Discs usually come in different sizes and play at different speeds. The clarity of sound production from a disc rests on the quality of needle, the speed and state of the grooves. Obviously, in oversea countries records exist for almost all subjects. People in music department appreciate the importance of records in their studies. Special effects such as the sound of thunder the cry of owl at night, the noise produced in a factory during work can all be recorded in disc and synchronized with other events to create special effects during production. To use a record, a teacher has to specify his objectives thoroughly. Hence, students can listen to a record as a group or individually.

STRATEGIES OF IMPROVISATION

There are seven strategies of improvisation

  1. Trust: For a group of teachers to be successful and productive, the members of the group, referred to as “Players”, must trust one another.
  2. Acceptance: This is the “Golden Rule” of improvisation. Teachers must be willing to accept a new idea to explore its possibilities. Teachers must offer to improvise using ideas, words or movement and must build on it. In other words, teachers must say yes, accept the offer, build on it, contribute and discover new ideas. It is this process that harnesses the power of collaboration. The brainstorming that occurs can lead to innovative solutions.
  3. Attentive listening: Teachers must be aware of the partners with whom they are co-creating to increase their understanding of each other and to be able to communicate effectively.
  4. Spontaneity: This allows teachers to initiate words and actions, building trust with the other teachers. This enhances co-creation in the moment, without the opportunity to revise.
  5. Storytelling: This strategy often results in memorable content, when teachers develop the ability to create a story on their dialogue.
  6. Nonverbal communication: This involves the use of facial expressions and body language to help communicate attitude, character, and trustworthiness.
  7. Warm-ups: They are strategies that provide opportunities to develop trust and safe environments, where the teachers can feel free to explore the world of improvisation. These activities focus on changing teachers into an improvisational mode to allow them to improvise verbally and physically.

ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT

Academic achievement or academic performance is the extent to which a student, teacher or institution has attained their short or long-term educational goals. Completion of educational benchmarks such as secondary school diplomas and bachelor's degrees represent academic achievement. It refers to the level at which a student, teacher or institution has managed to reach their educational goals. Achievement may be measured through students' grade point average, whereas for institutions, achievement may be measured through graduation rates.

Academic achievement is important for the successful development of young people in society. Students who do well in school are better able to make the transition into adulthood and to achieve occupational and economic success.

THE INFLUENCE OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS ON ACADEMIC ACHIEVMENT

Instructional materials give room for acquisition of skills and knowledge and development of self- confidence and self- actualization. They are those teaching aids used for practical and demonstration in the class situation by students and teachers. Instructional materials are objects or devices that assist the teacher to present a lesson to the learners in a logical and manner.

 In using instructional materials teachers and students do not only extend the range of sense organs we use but also extend the range of materials used for convening the same message through the same organ. For instance, in teaching a topic a teacher can manipulate real objects or use their stimulators. Instructional materials therefore constitute the media of exchange through which a message transaction is facilitated between a source and a receiver. In addition to extending the range of materials that can be used to convey the same instructional message to learners’ instructional materials also facilitate the 'process' nature of communication.

Therefore, effective teaching and learning requires a teacher to teach the students with instructional materials and use practical activities to make learning more vivid, logical, realistic and pragmatic. Instructional materials are however, indispensable to the effective teaching and learning activities. Teaching aids are always useful in supporting the sense organs. Despite the fact that instructional materials are essential tools that can make learning practical and knowledge acquisition easier and also improve overall academic achievement.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, improvised materials should not only be used or encouraged as useful models where application depends on change and circumstances but should be justified as strategy in such difficult times. But it should be available integral part of teaching even when the school budget is sufficient to cater for standardized materials. It allowed students to interact better in their lesson. It made learning exciting and fun. It encouraged active participation, bringing learning homewards and often improved and enhanced students’ performance.

Finally, hands-on instructional materials show, rather than tell, which increase information retention. A truism often heard in teaching is that if you have not learnt, I have not taught. A reasonable conclusion then is that the importance of instructional materials in teaching and learning science is most efficient illustrated through student achievement result.

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