project work

PROJECT WORK: IMPROVING UPON POOR HANDWRITING USING CHILD CENTERED METHODS AT ST CEPHAS M/A PRIMARY ONE

UNIVERSITY OF CAPE COAST INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION

IMPROVING UPON POOR HANDWRITING USING CHILD CENTERED METHOD IN ST. CEPHAS M/A PRIMARY

BY

AUTHUR MARTINS

OF

ST FRANCIS COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

 

A PROJECT WORK SUBMITTED TO THE INSTITUTE OF EDUCATION OF THE FACULTY OF EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF CAPE COAST IN PARITAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT OF DIPLOMA FOR BASIC EDUCATION.

 

JULY, 2022

 

CANDIDATE DEDICATION

I hereby declare that this project work is the result of my won research apart from references to other people works which have been cited in this work, no part of it have been printed elsewhere

 

Candidate’s name:…………………………………………………………………….

 

Signature:……………………………………………..

 

Date:-………………………………………………………………………………….

 

SUPERVISOR’S DECLARATION

I hereby declare that the preparation and presentation of the project work were supervised in accordance with the guidelines on supervision of project work laid down by the university of Cape Coast.

 

Supervisor’s Name

Signature

Date:-

 

ABSTRACT

Writing is a means of communicating to somebody.  IN every educational institution, writing form one part of the means of communication thereby brining academic success in every institutions.

Nevertheless, the proficiency of improving upon handwriting in our education is a problem on its own nowadays.  Writing which form part as the means of communication is not all that good to prepare them for higher academic challenges.

In this research work, the researcher critically examined the causes of poor handwriting of pupils in basic one of St. Cephas M/A primary. The researcher also made palled remediation activities and suggestions to correct the problem.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

This research work before it was completed went through various forms of inspiration, motivation, supervision and contributions.  The researcher drew motivations and inspiration from Mr. Kofi Kumah, the head of pre-vocation skills department, St Francis College of Education, who first vetted and approved this topic for the research work.

The researcher also woes much gratitude to the Headmaster, staff and pupils (especially class one) of Lolobi Kumasi for their contribution and active participation during the various processes of this research work.

Finally, the researcher is very gratitude to his colleague student researchers in Mr. Sarfo’s Group for their invaluable contributions and encouragement.

 

IMPROVING UPON POOR HANDWRITING USING CHILD CENTERED METHODS AT ST CEPHAS M/A PRIMARY ONE

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

Language is a very essential tool for enhancing co-existence in every human society; communication among humans from all walks of life result from the existence of language.  Many people, both young and old therefore try to learn languages of other people to enable them communicate effectively with such people.

Another essential use of language in every society is for the purpose of education.  In most cases, learners are largely taught the use of their country’s official language among other prominent local languages to enhance effect official communication as well as teaching and learning.  In Ghana for instance, all subjects in the regular school curriculum are taught by means of language which is either written or spoken.  After a particular concept has been tougher, a brief evaluation of pupils understanding is done through oral interactions between teachers and their pupils.  The greater portion of evaluation procedure is executed through writing.

Every language has four main aspects in its study listening, speaking, reading and writing.  Out of these four, many educational stakeholders including literate parents in Ghana pay much attention to reading and speaking at the expense of writing.  This is because, they deem learners’ ability to speak and read it than to spend time writing.  Many pupils including those in Basic one among whom this research work was carried out tend to write very poorly.

At Lolobi Kumasi, the community in whose school this research work was carried out a greater percentage of parents are illiterates, and few completely learned.  As such the fact that formal education is important is not completely recognized let alone “learning to write”.  This situation has again inculcated in parents the idea of buying expensive clothes for their wards at the expense of writing materials which will boost pupils morale in writing.  Parents in this case are basically subsistent farmers who feel that their activities are not affected by any formal educational activity.  As such, they seem not to show cognizance to pupils writing tasks.

The members of the community including the semi-literates appreciate reading and speaking but do not deem writing as an equally essential task.  In most cases  which their children in basic one show writing readiness by scribbling on the ground, they are either beaten up or assigned different tasks for spending time in doing what they term ”unnecessary” work.  Instead of providing materials which will contribute to their writing development, they sometimes advise their wards to observe carefully what their teachers write in order to emulate theirs.

Pupils are deeply involved in their parents farming activities to the extent that, those who could have scribbled on the ground to develop good handwriting do not have time to do so.  Again, their writing needs are also denied attention by parents to an extent aht some children do not have “A1” exercise books in which they can carry out their writing exercises at school.

The teaching of writing at school has been done effectively enough to make the basic one pupils more interested.  Writing activities are basically monotonous and teachers centered.  Children do not take active part in such activities but at the end of it, they are expected to write well.  Their failure to perform well with their writing tasks result in being caned.  Some pupils when asked why they sat idle in a writing exercise claimed it was too difficult and less interesting.

 

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The under listed questions, if appropriately answered through practical activities will help solve the problem of poor handwriting among St. Cephas M/A primary one pupils.

  1. What are the causes of poor handwriting among St. Cephas M/A primary one pupils?
  2. What impact does teacher centered methods of teaching and writing has on Basic one Pupils of St. Cephas M/A primary school?
  3. How can child centered activities be applied to eradicate the problem of poor hand writing on the Basic One pupils of St. Cephas M/A primary school?

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This study report when effectively applied will contribute of effective teaching and learning in the following ways.

To begin with, It will help Basic One teachers to restructure their approaches of teaching and writing by making them more learner centered and ensuring that children are fully engaged in writing activities.

Again, it will help policy-makers in the educational setup to make policies which will let teachers make the teaching of writing more practical and a regular teaching and learning activity.

Also, it will help parents to cultivate the habbit of helping their wards to develop interest in writing.  This will be achieved by introducing parents to ways of applying readily available and cheap materials to enhance improvement in their handwriting.

 

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

To many people, children’s ability to read and interpret what they read is the only importat aspect of their learning process.  As such, ther writing skills which ought to be developed right from the onset of their education is usually left unattended to.  Pupils are found wanting with their writing task when they get to Basic One where formal writing  should begin. The situation is not different from Assin Nkran/Negresi D/C primary one.

Within the first two weeks of my out programme which is usually reserved for observation of mentors and pupils in the classroom, I observed that the pupils in basic one (my class) wrote very poorly not only in the English language, but also in all other subjects areas.

 

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The purpose of this study in broad terms is to identify and find appropriate interventions by means of which the general problem of writing among Basic One pupils of St Cephas primary could be eradicated.

In more specific terms, the study is geared towards the following ambitions.

To identify the causes of poor writing among Basic one pupils of Assin Nkran / Negresi D/C primary school.

To determine in details, the impact of teacher centered methods of teaching writing on St Cephas primary one pupils.

To determine and apply appropriate child centered activities in eradicating poor hand writings among Basic One pupils of Assin Nkran / Ngresi D/C primary school.

 

LIMITATIONS

The weakness of study was that during the collection of data, the researcher got to know that the pupils of Nkran-Ngresi D/A primary one have the problem of poor handwriting.

The researcher also encounter problems like the instrument and the materials for the research.  Also it became a problem during the interview.

 

DELIMITATIONS

As a result of the nature of the course being pursed this research work, though meant to correct writing in Basic One, it findings may not be perfectly applicable to all Basic One pupils since it was only carried out at Assin Nkran/Ngresi D/C primary school.

Again, owing to some pupil’s irregularities in their attendance of school, the research could only be carried out among the portion of learners who were not fond of absenteeism.

 

ORGANISATION OF THE STUDY

This research work has been carefully and systematically arranged. It is make up of five main chapters.  The chapter one deals with the background of the study, the stagement of the problem, purpose of the study research questions, significant of the study, limitations and delimitations.  The chapter two explain how related literature have been used to give support to the research work.

Whiles the chapter three throws light on how relevant data were collected and the instrument used in the collection them, the chapter four discusses how the data were analysed and presented.

Finally the chapter five talks about the summary of the research work and conclusions the researchers has made as well as certain recommendations made by the researcher.

 

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

INTRODUCTION

Poor handwriting among some basic school pupils has for sometimes remained a global phenomenon.  Many authors and researchers across the globe have for that matter conducted several investigations into the causes and solutions to the above stated problem.

Some major findings of these studies which would be very relevant to the topic with regards to influential conditions in our part of the educational world shall therefore be reviewed.  This will ensure that, the generalizations and conclusions to be drawn from this aspect of the study will be very material and comprehensive enough to contribute to the correction of the poor handwriting among Basic One pupils especially those of Assin Nkran-Ngresi D/A primary school.

 

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK OF THE STUDY

To begin with, the definition of the writing is paramount.  The oxford mini Dictionary defines writing as “making letters or other symbols on a surface, especially with a pen or a pencil” Again, the Longman Active study Dictionary defines writing as “ making words, letters or numbers”  In both definitions above, the verb “make” has been used in the present continuous tense.  This has obvious implications.  The implication is that writing does not just occur by any academic evolution or magical means; rather it is brought into existence by a person or persons.  Furthermore, it is an art and this displays the assertion that effectiveness of writing is determined by the skill and competence of the person(s) undertaking it. This has a direct bearing on the teaching and learning of writing of the skills involved from the onset of their formal education.  Yet, to enhance effectiveness in the application of such skills, the activities involved in teaching and learning should have the learner (child) as the central figure around which they rotate.  In effect, there should be activities in which the child fully participates.

Kiefer (1986) admits that just as almost any one can learn to ride a bicycle or hit a baseball, so anyone can learn to read and write…”  The physical skills in writing include hand, eye and brain coordination.

It is clear from this assertion that counting on the children’s capabilities and other features before making a choice of writing activities is very essential.  However, under normal circumstances, every child has the most basic adaptive mechanisms which will enhance effective learning of writing among such learners as those in basic one.  Such mechanisms are those which have been described above as the physical skills in writing.  The second part of Kiefer’s assertion as quoted above indicates that such skills are hand, eye and brain co-ordination.  One may therefore ask “why are many children without any significant disability finding writing so difficult?

Protherough (1983), also states categorically that in almost every setting, children’s unassigned wrting exceeds their writing on assigned topics”.  He add “To such children writing seems a reasonable activity that writing is a natural enjoyable activity like painting, singing or dancing, until something happens to inhabit this form of expression”

The statement issued as written above also adds to the view that every child under normal circumstances, is capable of learning to write.  Again, this view is emphasized by stating that even when children have not been assigned any writing task, they do more than they are assigned.  This also implies that the children are able and interested in writing except that the environmental factors are not favorable for their advancement in developing good writing skills.

 

THE CURRICULUM RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT DIVISION OF THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

A critical analysis of protherough’s view points at two main reason why many children without any significant disability find their writing tasks uneasy.  The reasons are the misdirection of the pupils writing interests and potentialities and also failure to tap the children’s writing capabilities.  Hence, though the capabilities are inherent in the children can engaged in practical writing activities “kills” there capabilities gradually as they climb the educational ladder.  Again, in some cases, materials may be available, yet they will not be properly utilized to suit learners.

To complement this assertion the “theory of decay” in education admits that a concept imparted as well as skills acquired shall be forgotten and lost respectively if not regularly rehearsed or practiced.  Hence, though writing is inherent in basic one pupils, they gradually lose interest and the skills is totally off if they are not constantly engaged in interesting practical activities to sustain their interest and skills.

Heaton (1988), also admits that a successful candidate will have passed an examination designed to test the ability to produce a selection of the following types of writing

Basic level: Letter, Postcard; Diarry Entry; Forms

Intermediate Level; As basic level, plus Guide; set of instructions

From the above, one can clearly notice that nother factor which leads to children’s lack of interest and poor performance in their writing activities is the fact that some tasks assigned to them are too far or below their standard or above their intellectual and manipulative level.  For this reason, any means of eradicting poor handwriting among basic one pupils will be most appropriate if it falls within their intellectual levels.  Again, materials which are presented to children by way of developing their writing skills should be those types which the pupils can effectively manipulated with little  or no assistance.  In the case of Ghanaian basic one pupils, materials such as sand tray and arm board with chalk among others would be most appropriate.  Also, activites in which children should be engaged in include those which make use of locally available materials like sand, blank sheets and gravels.

Arthur Brookes and Grundy (1990) also have a perception which complement the argument raised above.  They state the following categorically; “the learner is centered – he or she needs to be in an enjoyable workshop atmosphere with everyone including the teacher working side by side”  The added “Materials should be generated collaboratively and spontaneously to be worked on”

From the above, it is clear and precise that the immediate environment in which the learner is exposed to the modes of writing development has a great impact on the extent to which the learner masters the skill.  Another influential factor exhibited from this assertion is the kinds of materials used in exposing beginners to writing skills.  The two key terms used in their description ; “collaboratively and spontaneously” clearly describe the nature of materials which should be used in helping children to developo their writing skills.

The word “collaboratively” as used here implies that both the learner and the teadcher should be able to procure such materials as often as they are needed.  This means that such materials should be less expensive and prevalent.

Also, the word “:spontaneously” as used in the description of such materials justifies the concept that such materials should always surround the child.  This also implies that such materials should not be seasonal but always readily available.

C RDD of Ministry of Education (2001) defines writing as follows:

“Writing is the ability to express one’s self clearly and comprehensively in writing”  It added; “It may be in the form of simple sentences , short essays, compositions, summaries and letters”

The systematical arrangement of the kings of writing as quoted above indicated that the writing task to be assigned to a child should proceed in stages or relation to the level of maturation attained.  Hence, though the letters of the alphabet are the basic elements of a language as far as writing is concerned, other tings like tracing, scribbling and drawing patterns should proceed the actual writing of numerals and alphabet.  This is because, these are the activities that the child has their adaptive mechanisms.

 

SUMMARY OF THE LITERATURE REVIEW

The above expressions, arguments and theories propounded by the named writers, authors and researchers respectively denote the fact the “poor writing” among young learners is not strange expect that it has persisted for several decades.  Many researchers have succeeded in finding some solutions to the problem in their immediate environment.

The analysis made so far in this chapter indicate that though influential conditions upon which learners writing capabilities are based are not the same across the globe, they can be suitably applied after some modifications are made.

The chapter began by defining writing and explaining writing as a skill.  The works of the authors reviewed above have also proved that the environment and innate adaptive mechanisms are the most basic determiners of the child’s writing capabilities.

Hence, in the case of the Ghanaian children, materials to be used in writing development should be prevalent and easily procurable.  Also, activities in which the child should be engaged are those that are exactly at this or her level of manipulation and readiness.

Such acts as coming and discouraging comments which make the classroom unfriendly to pupils should therefore be abolished from the classroom during writing lessons.

By so doing, parents, teacher’s nations and the world as a whole will gradually see the “departure” of  “poor writing among basic on pupils”

 

CHAPTER THREE

This chapter sums up and presents a description of the various approaches through which the real research was conducted as well as the instruments and practical procedures for data collection.  The chapter is hereby presented in separate components within the sub-headings underlisted.

  • Research design
  • Population and sampling
  • Instruments
  • Data collection procedure (pre-Intervention, intervention and post intervention)
  • Data Analysis

 

RESEARCH DESIGN

Among the numerous types of researchers undertaken in the area of education, that which was selected based on the criterion of appropriateness, “action research design” was selected for this study.  As such, all steps and procedures for the presentation of the report follows the systemtical steps of the above stated design.

This approach was not adopted for its popularity but precisely for the fact that tit will enhance the accomplishment of my mission as stated in the topic in the very first chapter of this book.  In effect , this approach to research design does not only help in assembling concrete and material facts about the problem at stake but also enhances the adoption of appropriate practical interventions by means of which the entire problem would be solved.  In the case of the topic (correcting basic one pupils poor handwriting at Assin Nkran/Ngresi D/C primary school), it was asserted that y the end of the project, if not the entire class, a maximum number of pupils would have their handwritings corrected.  This was realistically achieved though the design’s own productive interventions.

Again, this approach to research design also engages the variables involved in its information seeking procedure and hence produces authentic information to a large extent.

However, in the case of our discussion, the authenticity of our findings would not be complete because of time inadequacy, absenteeism and other irregularities among the variables involved.

 

POPULATION AND SAMPLING

The topic of this research report indicates that tit was carried out among the entire basic one class of Assin Nkran/Ngresi D/C primary school in the Assin South District of the Central Region, the procedures were not tested among the whole class at first hand.  The numbers selected and the means of sampling them out of the entire population are discussed in the proceeding paragraph.

Of the entire class of eighty-four (84) registered pupils, fourty – six of them are girls and the remaining thirty-eight, boys.  The average age of the class ranges within six years and eight years.  Then entire class was stratified based on their sexes.  Two main groups notably boys and girls were formed.  Five (5) from each strate were selected to represent their respective groups. In effect, ten (10) pupils out of the registered eighty-four were engaged in the exercise at first hand to represent the entire class before further extension was made.

The ultimate reason for this comprehensive sampling is that the problem of “poor handwriting” was seen as being general among the class.  Again, the general believe in difference in performance between boys and girls also prompted this stratified category of random sampling.

 

RESEARCH INSTRUMENTS

Three main instruments were used in gathering data and have been described under this sub-heading.  They include observation, tests and interviews.

 

OBSERVATION

At the beginning of the out segment of our three year Diploma in Basic Education course, I was made to teach in basic one where the researcher spent his first two weeks observing the characteristics of the pupils as well as teacher’s pedagogical strategy and skills.  During this period, the researcher observed that pupils-teacher vocal interaction was very good throughout all lessons which were orally discussed.  Again, the policy of the Ghana Education service that in lower primary the medium of lesson delivery should strictly be the local language also makes interactions very lively and comprehensible.  As such, pupils were very interested in all parts of their lessons including all their activities except when “they were made to write”.  For my first time of observation, I attributed to the teachers hostile attitude towards the pupils during writing lessons.  Anytime the pupil were engaged in writing, they were found wanting.

After barely two weeks of observation, I realized that it was a general problem which had projected from their weak foundation which had been laid in the preceeding stages (nursery and kindergarten).  I therefore took it upon myself to investigate deeper into the problem and find appropriate modes of intervention by means of which they problem could be eradicated.

Observing pupils.  Teachers and conditions by way of collecting information did not just end there; in the course of two tests which were administered, pupils and procedures were still being observed with regards to how they undertook their writing tasks and also the extent to which they had acquired and mastered the skills involved.

 

TESTS

Two main tests were conducted in carrying out this research work.  One of them notably the “pretest” was conducted before the intervention as a diagnostic measure.  And the other labeled  “post test” was conducted after the intervention to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention modes.  The details of these test are discussed below.

 

PRETEST

This is the title given to the diagnostic test which was conducted to detect the extent to which the problem of “poor handwriting” had been implanted in the pupils academic lives.  IN this test, pupils were given horizontally straight-ruled piece of paper each to write the letters of the English alphabet.  They were made to write in lower cases.  During the first instance, in which they wrote in block, I observed that the pupils could not write on the baselines on the sheets of papers provided.  In these cases, letters were seen hanging in between the lines and some even went across the range of lines in which they were to write.

Again, when it got to the writing of curved letters, pupils did not know how to turn their wrists in writing such letters.  Also, they could not properly handle the pencil which was the main writing material.  “In effect, this test made it clear that, their problem did not result from a single hindrance and therefore needed a wide variety of intervention models.

Also, in the writing of lower case letters, it was realized that the pupils could not even identify the letters, let alone write them correctly by properly handling the writing materials.  The very letters which were earlier on identified and pronounced in upper cases could not be identified this timed let alone the pronunciation.  These scenes, as described above indicated that they needed a wide range of child-centered interventional approaches.  In the final instance, they were made to write the numerals but the situation was the same as already described.

In response to the information gathered as described in the preceeding sub-heading, a seven (7) week intervention plan was drawn as follows.

SEVEN – WEEK INTERVENTION PLAN FOR CORRECTING POOR HANDWRITING IN B.S. 1

WEEK                                                INTERVENTIONAL ACTIVITY

One                                                     Scribbling

Two                                                     Writing Curved

Three                                                   Writing in sand tray

Four                                                     Writing in the Air

Five                                                     Writing on the Arm Board

Six                                                       Practicing with numerals

Seven                                                  Post intervention thorough test and analysis

 

DETAILS OF PLAN EXECUTION

Scribbling was the main activity which took place among the pupils.  In this duration, the ten (10) selected pupils were taken through the activity on the first day of the week (Monday).  The purpose was to enable the pupils to write on the straight baselines in their exercise books.  Here, the pupils were guided to as to how they should hold their pencils properly.  Thereafter, I held their hands in drawing some shapes in a straight course.  Just after this activity, the writing of the letters of the English alphabet followed.

After carrying out this activity intensively with the pupils,  I realized that the pupils performance as far as writing on the baseline and between the two lines accurately had improved.  The next four days was used to extend the activity to the other members of the class.

 

 

INTERVIEW

This research instrument was used to gather information after the test had been conducted.  Here, three question were homogeneously asked irrespective of the variations in the degree to which the problem of “poor handwriting” had been implanted in their academic lives.

Below are the questions which each pupils was asked

How do you hold your pencil?

How do you write the following letters? (a, c, f, g, b, o, u) etc.

How would you match these groups of letters? (a, d, g, q, b)(D, G, B, A)

A summary of the pupils responses to the questions depicted such facts as stated in the proceeding statements.  Pupils had not been taught the right way of handling their writing materials (pencil, book/paper).  This also shows that the general problem projects out of the pupils weak foundations which were laid in the lower levels namely nursery and K. G.  Pupils could not properly write the curved letters only because the practice of regular writing is not centered on them.  Again, they could not easily identify the corresponding lower case letters of those they identified and wrote in upper cases.

On elderly pupil said the following after he had been interviewed: we are often not taught the writing of the letters and numerals except after the teacher has finished writing everything on the chalkboard.  So the steps and procedures to be followed in writing are always absent in our case”

From the above the obvious implication is that the pupils see the teacher as a writing specialist whose deeds cannot be imitated”

 

Week Two: – Activities of the second week assumed a different form as exhibited by the preceeding table (Table 1) This time, the pupils were taken through the drawing of curved patterns.  Just as I did in the first week, I took the selected sample of pupils through the drawing of some curved shapes after which they were guided to write curved letters.  When it is deemed effective among the sample, the next four days were sued in the extension of the skills imparted to the other members of the class.  At the end of this activity the greater percentage of the pupils in the class could effectively write the curved letters which were earlier on problems to battle with.

 

Week Three:.  The third week saw the introduction of a more practical and child-centered activity.  This time, pupils were paired and before each pair was a five centimeter (5cm) height box filled with dry loose sand.  Pupils were made to look at the letters of the English alphabet both in upper and lower cases after which they wrote them in these sand-filled boxes.  The objective was to enhance rectification of the errors which were likely to be committed by pupils.  The pupils developed a very keen interest in this activity because, this time, they ere seeing the most useful aspect of a locally available material which formerly served no purpose.  They were free to write in these boxes and as such did it under no pressure, they could therefore move their wrists freely to enhance effective writing of the letters.

I exposed the other members of the class to their exercise when I realsied that the ten selected pupils had derived maximum satisfaction from their participation.

 

Week Four:  This week’s exercise was executed directly among the whole class.  Here, one out of the ten selected pupils was intensively trained with the writing the letters in the air.  He stood before the entire class, lifted the active wrist above the head and moved the hand in the air through the directions in which the letters are written.  The other members of the class did likewise.

The ultimate objective of this activity was to help pupils identify the steps involved in writing the respective letters.  Again, it was to ensure that pupils easily identified and write them accurately.

Week five:  Here again, the ten selected pupils were given an arm board each and a piece of chalk.  I wrote the letters of the alphabet on the chalkboard for them to copy onto their arm boards (slates).  Those who could not easily do this were given some coaching.  They gradually followed the instructions given.  Eventually, they could all do it.  The objective of this was that, I wanted to determine the extent to which the skills acquired could be transferred o their books and pencils.  The remaining pupils also succeeded in doing it.

 

Week Six:  During this week, the skills and knowledge acquired from the five preceeding stages were applied by pupils in the identification, spacing and accurate writing of the first twenty numerals (1-20) and some few tow and three-letter words.

 

POST TEST

Week seven:  All activities of this week were collectively labeled “Post interventional thorough test and analysis” as exhibited in table one above.  It was the final week of intervention.  As such all activities which had taken place in the six preceeding weeks were evaluated.

During this week, a test was conducted to determine the overall effectiveness of all the interventional measures which had earlier on been applied.  IN this case, the pupils were made to write the letters of the alphabet, the first twenty numerals and some two and three letter words in their exercise books.

The details of the ten selected pupil’s results in comparison with those of their pre-test are shown in the table below.

 

From the above, the average performance for both tests can be simultaneously calculated as follows

 

CHAPTER FOUR

RESULTS FINDINGS

Enclosed in this chapter is a discussion of the findings obtained from the various data collection instruments whose applications have been described in the preceeding chapter.  In the preceeding chapter it was unveiled that three main instruments namely observation, tests and interviews were used.  A comprehensive and detailed analysis of the findings have been discussed systematically according to the order in which the research questions were presented in chapter one.  IN brief, the findings have been analysed and interpreted in such a way that they will provide answers to the research questions in the introduction of this research report as presented in chapter one..

 

ANALYSIS OF OBSERVATION RESULTS

The first instrument which was used in gathering data for the purpose of our study is observation. This tool was used alongside the tests as far as the discussion of results is concerned.  This is because, until; the test was conducted, the results of the various intervention models could not have been observed.

The test results have been presented in a tabular form such that the findings can be numerically analysed.  This made it possible to compare the post –test results of the sample population with their pre test results.

A critical analysis of the findings indicated that they were directly related to the questions of the study.  The question have therefore been answered with the findings as follows:

 

Question 1:  What are the causes of poor handwriting among basic one pupils of St. Cephas M/A primary.

A critical analyses of the findings indicated that the causes of poor handwriting among basic one pupils of St. Cephas M/A primary ranged from pedagogical to the nature of the environment in which the pupils live.  Within the introductory stage of the research work, it was clear that some pupils who attributed the problem to pedagogical factors made mention of the teachers’ practice of using cane frequently in the writing class.  Some also claimed the “one way” teaching strategy of writing on the chalkboard for them to write into their exercise books served as a hindrance.  Some others also attributed their poor handwriting to lack of interest in the subject.

The remaining others also attributed their to the influence of their environment in relation to attitude of parents towards writing and the value they have for it.

In view of this, a comprehensive mode of intervention was used in order to eradicate the problem irrespective of the perspective from which it is viewed.  After the intervention, it could be observed that about 96% of the class had become keenly interested in “writing” as a subject Again, it could be observed that their performances had improved after a post intervention test in table two below;

This makes it clear that, the causes of poor handwriting among basic one pupils as stated in the first two chapters of this report are genuine and perfectly match with the intervention s adopted in chapter three.

In short, the question of what causes poor handwriting among basic one pupils of Assin St. Cephas M/A primary school can be answered as follows: “they are both pedagogical and environmental”.

 

Question 2:  What impact does teacher – centered methods of teaching “writing” have on basic on pupils of St. Cephas M/A primary?

As already noted from those whose problem of writing the stemmed from pedagogical factors, most of the pupils laid emphasis on the fact that the teachers approach to the teaching of “writing” was purely teacher centered and that made most of the pupils who fall within this category loss interest in the activity.  This lack of interest had significantly negative impact on the pupil’s performance as their average scores could in no way be compared with that of their post test scores.  A detailed analysis can be made from the table below.

 

From the table above, it can be seen that the total score of the selected sample before the intervention was 28 and the average mark of the entire class was 2.8 which is approximately 3/10.  However, after the interventions which were purely child centered the total marks shot up to 77 giving an average of 7.7 which is approximately 8/10.  From this analysis it is clear that when teacher centered method of teaching were used, pupil’s performance was significantly below average (that is 2.8/10).  Hence, the impact of teacher centered methods on the “writing” of St. Cephas M/A primary one was precisely “poor performance”

Question 3:  How can child-centered activities be applied to eradicate the problem of poor handwriting among basic one pupils of St. Cephas M/A primary school?

As already noted from chapter three, child –centered methods were homogeneously applied as a means of intervention.  That is to say that not only a single child centered method of intervention was applied but a variety which could serve every pupil writing need. By so doing, each pupil problem had its corresponding solution. As to whether the researcher’s mode of application was perfect or not can be determined by analyzing the impact of the intervention as depicted by an extract from the test analysis table below

 

From the table above, it is clear that the difference between the total pretest and post test marks of the class was even greater that their total pretest scores.  That is to say that before the intervention, the total score of the selected sample was 28. After intervention, It shot up to 77 with a numerical improvement of 49 which is greater than their scored before the intervention.  This shows how effective the intervention steps have been.

Again, it should be noted that this total increase in marks was not obtained only from a portion of the class but every pupil had his mark increased.  This shows that the mode of application as far as the adopted str4ategies are concerned was the very best among the numerous.

 

ANALYSIS OF INTERVIEW RESULTS

In this section of data analysis, and interpretation, information obtained from the use of interviews has been made use of.  This information has been analysed sequentially and systematically by way of answering those research questions as done in the preceding section.  It should hereby be notice that, though the answers to the questions in this chapter did not begin as in the previous section, it has the same conclusion as that, each answer follows its corresponding question.  They are thus analysed and interpreted as follows.

Question 1:  What are the causes of poor handwriting among basic one pupils of St. Cephas M/A primary school?

This question can be best analysed by means of a tabular presentation of the interview results as done below

 

The table above indicates how the selected sample of the population reacted to the question of why they wrote poorly from the table, it is clear the first column depicts the question of the discussion whilst the second shows the number of respondents and their percentage in relation to the total number of respondents.

It is clear from the table that when pupils were asked why. It should here again be noticed that it was not only the selected sample who progressed in their writing tasks but when there was a further extension to the entire class, each and everyone had his or her fair share in the eradication exercise .  The pupils were keenly interested in the activity to the extent that they were yearning for it at the expense of other subjects which they themselves formerly claimed to be interesting.

Among the selected sample, the one who had the very least increase in marks had 3 marks in addition to her former score which was 5/10.  On the other hand the one who had the highest increase in marks increased hers by 7marks.  Originally she had 1/10, yet in spite of the different perspectives from which her problems stemmed, she had solutions to all of them and this led to the progress.

For this and other reasons which have not been stated in the table above, it is clearly ascertained that when child-centered methods are to be applied by way of eradicating poor handwriting among basic one pupils, it should be a variety of them but not the repetition of a single strategy which is earlier on deemed interesting.

A repetition of such strategies over and over again will make it monotonous and pupils will gradually lose interest. That is the more reason whey within the seven weeks of intervention, there was regular variations with respect to the weeks of intervention.  Until child centered methods are applied this way, their collective usefulness get nullified.

Thus, the precise answer to the question of how child-centered methods can be applied to eradicate poor handwriting among basic one pupils is that they should be varied in their application to suit every pupils writing needs.

They could not write neatly, three out of the ten selected sample, representing thrity percent (30%) of the total sample attributed theirs to the fact that writing as an activity had not been a regular part of their academic work. This implies that when the pupils are engaged in writing as a regular academic task, those who views their problem from perspective shall no more encounter them. Again, it would be prudent for the parents of such pupils to provide their writing needs at home and engage them in the act after school hours.

The next group who were four (4) in number and represented forty percent of the selected sample also attributed theirs to their inability to determine where to start from. In other words, they did not know the part of a letter or numeral from which its writing to commence.  The obvious cause of this had been the teacher-centered strategy of writing on the chalkboard for pupils to copy afterwards.  In this case, just as the pupils do not see or recollect how the teacher commenced his / her own, they can equally not determine where to start theirs from.  In this regard, it was worth reciprocating the harm that had been done with the child-centered strategies adopted in chapter three.  This is because, after the intervention plans were implemented, the entire group, part of which is the forty percent, experienced some progress as spelt out in their test analysis table (table 2)

The third and final group who were and three (3) in number and constituted their percentage (30%) of the selected sample also claimed that, they often carried out their writing task under a hostile atmosphere in the classroom and that had made them lose interest. Also, that atmosphere led them to the creation of several errors thereby erasing to keep their work dirty.

In brief, it can be said from the pupils statements in the interview that the causes of poor handwriting among basic one pupils of St. Cephas M/A primary are of varied kinds and could not be eradicated by means of a single child-centered strategy.

 

QUESTION 2:  What impact does teacher – centered methods of teaching “writing” have on the basic one pupils of St. Cephas M/A primary school?

This question has been clearly and analytically answered as follows:

From table 6 it can be seen clearly that the sample population who are ten in number were responding to the question of how writing lessons had been to them.  This question of how writing lessons had been to them.  This question was not actually used for its own purpose but to elicit responses as to how teacher centered methods had influenced their writing capabilities.  Pupils responses as depicted by table 6 above, could be analysed as follows.

In reacting to question two, three pupils, out of the ten selected sample claimed that they were not interesting.  The obvious implication of this answer is that the teaching of “writing “as a subject has not been made child-centered.  Hence such pupils will undoubtedly be dull during writing lessons.  If viewed from the perspective of this group of people, it could be seen that the impact of teacher-centered methods on the writing capacity of St. Cephas M/A primary one pupils is simply dullness and inactiveness.  Again, since a whole thirty percent of the sample were less interested it is worthy to saying that teacher – centered methods are not the appropriate means to be adopted in imparting writing to such young pupils as those in basic one.

The second group who were five in number and constituted fifty percent (50%) of the selected sample also made the claim that, writing lessons are not easy at all.  Obviously, as far as writing lessons had not been made to center around them they would obviously not find it easy.  Again, the kind of hostility to which these pupils were subjected would as well not permitted them to find their writing lessons easy.  But one thing should be re-emphasized that, if fifty percent of a whole class claims that an approach to the teaching of a subject makes the subject difficult, such an approach is worth replenishing.

The their group who were two in number and constituted twenty percent (20%) of the selected sample also made the following utterance: “writing lessons are just like any other lesson.  This implies that no other exceptional materials or strategy was used except the usual teacher centered methods adopted in the teaching of other subjects.  These two pupils are the exceptionally good members of the group.  A further analysis of their performances as extended to other subjects indicate that they are generally good and as such saw writing as any other subject.

Yet, one thing should be noted that “penmanship” an activity which is now being imparted to the pupils should not be presented like the other subjects which the pupils have a wide range of knowledge within.

It implies that, the exceptionally good pupils whose response have just been analysed in the preceeding paragraph could have done better if child-centered methods were variably applied.

With the elimination of the last group’s exceptionality, it is sill factual to state that teacher-centered methods are not worth applying in imparting good writing to basic one pupil since the obvious impact is poor performance.

 

Question 3:  How can child-centered activities be applied to eradicate the problem of poor handwriting among basic one pupils of St. Cephas M/A primary school?

Just as in the case of the preceding question of this section, this question can best be answered by analyzing the table below carefully and critically.

Before analyzing table 7 above, it is worth noticing that a variety of child-activities were collectively applied.  Hence, the question in table 7 above was not used for its won sake; it was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the mode in which the child-centered activities were applied.

To begin with, the pupils were made to react to the question above the way of determining how they fared during the seven weeks of intervention.  As seen from the table, six of the sample, representing sixty percent (60%) said that their writing lessons had been very easy and interesting.  This response in a nut shell indicates that not only were child-centered activities appropriate, they were correctly applied.  This again implies that the pupils writing capacities had collectively improved by means of such application.

Also, four (4) pupils, representing forty percent (40%) of the selected sample also claimed that they did better, even though they did most of the work with minimum supervision from the teacher.  It is worthy to note that these pupils in discussion had varied problems.  Yet they all had their fare share in the intervention. This again shows that, the mode in which the child centered methods were applied are the most appropriate.

In conclusion, the sudden tremendous excellence, displayed by the table (table 7) clearly spells out the extent to which child centered activities can help eradicate the problem of poor “handwriting” among basic one pupils.  As depicted by the analysis of both tools and the test, it is clear that even though the previously used “teacher-centered strategies” had influenced the pupils handwriting negatively, they could easily be eradicated by appropriately applying child centered activities.  Tin this regard, it would be more appropriate to forgo all teacher centered strategies of teaching “writing” to basic one pupils whilst replenishing them with a wide variety of appropriate child centered activities.

 

SUMMARY CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION

INTRODUCTION

This chapter embodies a general overview of the first four chapters, possible conclusions to be drawn from the entire research and the recommendation of this report to the appropriate entities.

The very beginning of this research report gave some exposure to the problem of “poor hand writing” among basic one pupils as viewed from different perspectives.  The topic for this research being “                                              .” has therefore been very appropriate.  The problem as indicated in the topic above was as such looked at perspective of St. Cephas M/A primary one class.  From their view it was clear that though the causes of “poor handwriting” were numerous, they could be classified in broad terms as those of “pedagogical origin” and those of environmental origin.  Those labeled as projecting from pedagogical origin include inappropriate adoption and application of teaching and learning materials, failure to assign pupils to writing tasks which correspond with their level (age) and other characteristics and also the fact that writing lessons have not been regular and continuous.

Those described as projecting from the environment include the fact that the community as a whole do not appreciate the value of good penmanship whilst parental illiteracy also make parents neglect their responsibility of assisting their wards with their writing tasks.  They as well do not see the need to provide the writing needs of their wards at home

Comprehensively, these had led to the creation of such a problem and impact was reciprocated by a seven – week child centered amalgamated strategy in which a sample of the class pupils where allowed to manipulate and acquire the expected writing skills.

Throughout the conduct of this research, many facts about the correction of poor handwriting among basic one pupils have been revealed.  These have been described briefly in the paragraphs below.

Before embarking on this research, writing was deemed a complicated academic task.  The review of related literature pointed out the fact that writing is a skill and can be imparted just as in the case of any other activity.  It is therefore very essential that at the foundation level of formal education such as basic one, the appropriate strategies are adopted to impart the most essential skills by means of which good handwriting will become a permanent portion of their academic capabilities.

Again, it was revealed that before the commencement of formal education, children possess some adaptive mechanisms which would in future assist them in their writing tasks.  It is therefore very essential to make these adaptations useful in order to create children’s interest in writing as an activity.  IN this regard, it was clearly pointed out that children’s writing on unassigned topics exceed those they do on assigned work.  In this regard, it pays to convert the children’s interest that already exist in writing activities into a meaningful one.  This could best be done by making writing lessons very interesting to pupil.

It was also found that, no matter the academic capability of a pupil, he or she can not perform well if the assigned task is above his or her standard.  From this a specification of tasks to be assigned to such young learners as those in basic one were made by the researcher whose literature was reviewed as such.  In addition to this, it was revealed that tasks to be assigned to basic one pupils should be very interesting.  In this direction, such tasks as writing curved patterns, scribbling and other forms of pre-writing activities were specified.

Another influential fact which was discovered in the intervention process was that teacher-centered strategies of teaching ”writing” has a significantly negative impact on the writing capacity of basic one pupils.  The pre-intervention data collection pointed out clearly that, no pupil felt lively and active in a teacher centered approach to the teaching of writing.  In most cases, pupils felt dull and inactive whilst their concentrations were very low.  Teachers also create a hostile atmosphere through a continuous use of teacher centered strategies.

After the intervention, it was realized that, child centered activities are the best strategies for correcting poor handwriting among lower primary classes, especially those in basic one.  This came out as most of the pupils were yearning for writing class even at the expense of poetry recitals after the intervention measures.  Pupils had become so interest in writing to the extent that they were found writing numerals letters of the alphabets and some two and three-letter words on the ground during break time

Finally, it was found out that the application of a single child-centered strategy would not be enough to cater for an entire class of more than ten pupils who collectively have the problem of poor handwriting.  This projects from the fact that during the intervention procedure, a greater number of the pupils in the class began to have their problems solved after three different strategies had been applied.

CONCLUSIONS

The title of this research work indicates that an attempt has been made to correct poor handwritings among basic one pupils of St. Cephas M/A primary school.

However, it was realized among other things that, until teacher centered strategies have been eliminated from the teaching of writing as an aspect of the English language the problem will continuously exist.  For this reason an urgent conversion of strategies from the teacher – centered to child centered will be most appropriate.

In this regard, it should be noted that if all the facilities needed in a child-centered writing class are provided and the systematically approaches of eradication in this report are carefully followed a complete elimination of this problem of “poor handwriting among basic one pupils shall soon be met.

RECOMMENDATIONS

As the title of this research report implies, it is geared towards eradicating poor handwriting from among basic one pupils, specifically of St. Cephas M/A primary school.  For the beneficial nature of the findings exhibited by this research work, it is highly recommended to the following personalities for their respective purposes.

To begin with this research report is recommended to all basic one teachers for the adoption of relevant strategies by means of which penmanship among such young learners can be effectively implanted.  Again, it will enhance proper and complete eradication of the problems created by the use of teacher-centered methods in imparting penmanship or mechanical writing.  It will also assist such teacher in making their already existing child centered techniques comprehensive enough to suit the writing needs of all basic one pupils.

Finally on the part of teachers, it will help them to determine the applicability of readily available materials to the enhancement of good mechanical writing.

Again it is recommended to heads of basic schools for the procurement of relevant materials which, will enable teachers to ensure regular and tremendous improvement in the handwritings of their pupils.  It will again assist headmasters of such institutions to introduce and implement appropriate strategies by means of which their basic one teachers will ensure appropriate writing skills among basic one pupils.

Finally it is recommended to the Government of Ghana for guiding and educating both literate and semi-literate parents on how they can assist their lower primary wards in their writing tasks.

 

SUGGESTION

For the fact that language study ahs four main parts of equal relevance, it is sincerely suggested that if a research will be conducted in English language, it should be based on “listening” and “Speaking” since that will help pupils to make oral use of what they write.

REFERENCE

Arthur Brookes and Grumby (1990)

Curriculum Research and Development Division of the Ministry of Education (2001)

Heaton (1988)

Kiefer (1986)

Protherough (1983)

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