Dynamics of learning among pre-primary school learners in Uyo Senatorial District, Nigeria: an exploration of formal and informal education processes.
Atakpa, Arit Okonobong.
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The concept ‘Early Childhood Education’ (ECE) or pre-primary education as it known in Nigeria is referred to as Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in the Republic of China. It is also called Early Childhood Development in Tanzania and South Africa. In the United States of America, this phase of education is known as ECE. In spite of the many different names given to this level of education by different countries, this is the kind of education which children between the ages of three and five receive. Therefore, the focus of this study was to explore the dynamics that surround the way pre-primary school learners learn in formal and informal education settings. In specific terms, the purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth description on the forces that impact learning of young children between the ages of three and five both at school and home. By engaging in research into the learning among pre-primary school learners, I shed some light on the dynamics that impact ways in which children learn both at school and home. In the light of the above this study therefore seeks to achieve the following objectives: to examine the language pre-primary school learners adopt for learning; to examine the impact of language on pre-primary school learners’ learning; and to understand the dynamics that surround the way pre-primary school learners learn in formal and informal education settings. Based on the research objectives stated above, three key research questions were developed to guide the study. The questions are: what language do pre-primary school learners adopt for learning? How does language impact pre-primary school learners’ learning? What are the dynamics that surround the way pre-primary school learners learn in formal and informal education settings? Based on the nature of the study which bordered on the social phenomena, a qualitative approach was adopted. In line with this approach, an interpretive paradigm was adopted in order to make sense of and to have an in-depth understanding of the dynamics that surround ways in which pre-primary school learners learn in formal and informal education settings. Individual and focus group interviews were designed and administered to 15 teachers and 8 parents from three schools. The transcribed data was subjected to an open coding and the emerging themes were subjected to thematic analysis. From the findings, it was discovered that the language of the immediate community, the mother and English language were the languages used in the teaching of the children in formal and informal settings. In line with the second question, it was indicated that identification, presentation, discussion of objects, development of literacy skills, and promoting communication had a possible impact on language in pre-primary school learners’ learning. In addition, the dynamics that influenced ways children learned were through playing, imitation, story-telling and folktales, and drawing enhanced by children’s readiness to learn, children’s willingness to learn, children’s maturity, availability of instructional resources, and parents’/teachers’ attitude towards children . One of the recommendations was that children who come from ethnic group different from where the school is located, and who want to attend pre-primary school in area, should first and foremost, be subjected to six months training in the language of immediate community or mother tongue and that subjecting the children to six months language familiarisation will assist them to adjust immediately in the class as well as ensuring uniformity of language in the classroom.