Instructional materials serve as a channel between the teacher and the students in delivering instructions. They may also serve as the motivation on the teaching-learning process. It is use to get the attention of the students and eliminate boredom. Instructional materials are highly important for teaching; especially for inexperienced teachers. Teachers rely on instructional materials in every aspect of teaching. They need material for background information on the subject they are teaching. Young teachers usually have not built upon their expertise whenever they enter into the field. Teachers often use instructional materials for lesson planning. These materials are also needed by the teachers to assess the knowledge of their students. Teachers often assess students by assigning tasks, creating projects, and administering exams. Instructional materials are essential for all of these activities.
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Experience over the years has shown that teachers have been depending on excessive use of words to express, convey ideas or facts in the teaching-learning process. This process is termed the ‘chalk-talk’ method. Today advances in technology have made it possible to produce materials and devices that could be used to minimize the teachers’ talking and at the same time, make the message clearer, more interesting and easier for the learner to assimilate.
Teaching and learning in higher education are changing. Active learning has become an important focus in this time of pedagogical change. While the term encompasses a broad array of practices, collaborative learning, or small group work, remains an important element of active learning theory and practice. Research suggests that students learn best when they are actively involved in the process. “Students who participate in collaborative learning and educational activities outside the classroom and who interact more with faculty members get better grades, are more satisfied with their education, and are more likely to remain in college”. A collaborative learning environment, as opposed to a passive learning environment, helps students learn more actively and effectively.
Teaching as a concept requires that teachers should not only have knowledge and skills in a subject but also the professional competence in the use of methods and materials to be able to influence the behavior of learners by using instructional materials. Instructional materials are ways and means of making the teaching and learning process easy, more meaningful and understandable. More so, instructional materials are designed to promote and encourage effective teaching and learning experiences. In view of the above definitions, instructional materials are therefore, sight tools for teachers at all levels of education process for effective instructional delivery and promote learner’s academic achievement and enable the achievement of the stated objectives of a lesson.
Instructional materials 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. 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. The process nature of communication implies that both the source and the receiver of a message are actively involved in a communication encounter. In fact, it means that both the receiver and the source share and exchange ideas, feelings in any communication
THE BENEFIT OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS
Effective use of instructional materials and its relevance with the topic would enable the learners to effectively learn and retain what they have learnt and thereby advancing their performance in the topic been taught. 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 in teaching process. Therefore, the use of relevant instructional materials helps and enhances teachers to teach effectively and productivity during teaching process. Moreover, who noted that are only the teachers who will guarantee effective and adequate usage of instructional materials and thereby facilitate success in learning. Honestly, a teacher who makes use of appropriate instructional materials to supplement his teaching will help and enhance learners’ innovative and creative thinking as well as help them become believable spontaneous and eagerness in any lesson.
Group study is a learning activity which involves a small group of learners working together. The group may work on a single task, or on different parts of a larger task.
In group study, many groups decide to assign topics to individual group members to research and study and then provide a summary for the group. This strategy allows students to learn a lot more, in a much shorter time, than if they were to study each topic on their own. It makes learning fun.
Study groups encourage members to think creatively and build strong communication skills which also help in refining understanding of the material. It has been proven that those who participate in study groups feel more confident and comfortable about reaching their academic goals.
THE USE OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS IN GROUP STUDY
One of the most recent trends in collaborative learning appears to be the use of technology to advance group work. Teachers should utilize the use of instructional materials in class as well as encourage student participation and group involvement, but not counteract student preference to work alone rather than in a group. Additionally, many instructors use online discussion forums in their face to face classes to foster participation and engagement. This has the advantage of engaging commuter students and students who have jobs in addition to taking classes. Utilizing online or web based might help resistant students engage in and benefit from group work. Overall, it seems clear that when it comes to group work, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. While creating, monitoring, and evaluating groups is a recursive process, active learning techniques are beneficial for students. Supplementing lectures with group work helps students feel engaged and subsequently learn more. Group work helps students develop teamwork skills and social interactions as well as learning about various backgrounds, culture, beliefs, and attitudes. Group work does not have to yield “group hate” and as long as the instructor is properly prepared to introduce and facilitate group involvement and participation, group work can produce very positive and lasting results.
Conclusively, the sole aim of any teacher is to ensure effective teaching and learning on the part of his pupils. Therefore, no teaching is possible at any significant age level without the use of instructional materials. And no teacher who hopes to promote learning can ignore the use of instructional materials in teaching and learning. The use of instructional materials obviously helps the students in remembering and retaining what they have learnt. Instructional materials are instruments used to transmit information, ideas and notes to learners. Also, the role of instructional materials in teaching and learning is one of the most important and widely discussed issues in contemporary education policy. Therefore, instructional materials are paramount important issues in classroom interaction and successful transfer of knowledge from the teacher to the learners.
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.
Finally, there is a well of information about group work and the benefits of collaborative learning. When students spend time meeting in groups, they are able to achieve a deeper learning themes covered in class as well as develop skills, such as writing and communication. The bridging of in- and outside- class work encourages students to spend more time preparing for class, and having conversations with team members outside of regular class time.