1.2 Background of the study

Pictures are instructional materials normally designed as learning aids. They combined visual and verbal stories compiled in a book format. The images in pictures materials, e.g. material, are made from oil paints, acrylics, watercolour, and pencil (Pilgrim and Williams 2017). Teachers resort to using picture materials for instruction as a method through which the familiar classroom environment could be minimized. According to (Printer 2017), learning a language can be difficult for young learners if deliberate efforts are not made towards providing the right environment. Teachers are advised to use learning aids, including picture materials, for enhanced learning. The use of pictures stimulates the development of mental images about the phenomenon under study in classrooms. A picture can also provide comic relief in the class and, by such, help to ensure participative learning. The use of pictures may change a lesson if employed, be it as an additional exercise or create an atmosphere (Grace 2016).

Pictures aid learners not only in oral skills. But also in many other aspects of language learning. Scott and Ytreberg (2019) demonstrated how pictures could be used to achieve various milestones in the instructional process. He used a compiled picture and illustrated the picture could be used in attaining instructional objectives in five very different language areas. The areas in his example included structure, vocabulary, functions, situations and oral skills. The scholar further pointed out that the perspective of pictures is so wide that only its elements could be described in his book. Pictures also serve to provide language context and specificity of reference point or stimulus.

(McDonough & McDonough 2014). This aspect aids a learner in memory and mental concept image association. At the elementary level, learners rely more on their ability to memorize, and associate objects with skills learnt (Brophy. Alleman & Halvorsen, 2016). For this purpose, the use of instructional pictures becomes necessary for training preschool pupils.

Pictures have also been described as suitable for different groups of learners of varying ages and cognitive levels. As such, picture materials can be applied to achieving the basic mental levels of learning as provided by Bloom (2016). Other scholars also listed the advantages of using pictures in the instructional process, including their availability since they could be obtained in print media, the internet, and computer applications. They are also cheap and, in most cases free, can be customized and personalized ( teacher selects them): flexible since they could easily be kept, could be used for various types of activities such as drilling and comparing, and they are always fresh and different since they come in multiple formats and styles. The use of pictures always leaves the learners wondering what comes next (Arends, 2014).

In a classroom environment with pictures as instructional materials, learners are attentive and develop curiosity about the sequences of the learning process. They serve to draw the learners’ attention and create and raise inquisitively, according to the construction by the learners (Arends, 2014).

Pictures, however, have their limitations too. According to a study conducted by Reyna, Corbin, Weldon & Brainerd (2016), images could not be used to sufficiently demonstrate, for instance, the meaning of all words. Such may include words such as perceptions. In such cases, instructional aides.


It could be employed for meaning creation. The use of pictures could also be time-consuming. Caregivers spend a lot of time on specific images necessary for particular activities. As such, teachers must have a collection of instructional pictures. However, this challenge can be overcome because such displays can be used over a long period with different learners (Arends, 2014).

While using pictures, the caregiver ought to be able to apply effective strategies to ensure that learners utilize the input through as many channels as possible. As such, the caregiver should include a variety of stimuli in teaching. The caregiver, therefore, advises that, while using pictures as instructional materials, it is advisable to vary pictures with other methods and not use pictures alone. Additionally, teachers ensure that they continually connect with the spoken and written forms of the word for effective learning (Pilgrim & Ward 2017).

Early Childhood Education (ECE) in Nigeria is an important program to lay the foundation for a child’s all rounded and integrated education; as such, policy documents provided to safeguard ECDE centres emphasize holistic educational approaches. ECDE Teachers are thus trained to sufficiently handle the needs of preschool pupils adequately using appropriate instructional media, including picture material. Preschool education develops a child’s cognitive skills, spurs social development, instils moral standards, promotes spiritual growth, teaches emotional maturity, and provides physical and developmental needs of a child. It is the first formal agent of socialization and, as such, defends the nature of our society. (Ng’asike, 2014).

Teaching and learning materials are critical ingredients in learning. No meaningful teaching and learning take place without adequate materials (Kolb.

2014). Learning materials, therefore, must be made available for learners in adequate quality and quantities and at the required time. These materials serve to inform schemes of work and lesson note preparation. This study investigated the effectiveness of picture materials as training materials in teaching Oral Skills to preschool pupils in login Division, Nigeria.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Language teaching has been described as the foundation of all instructional processes (Skinner, 2016). As such, educationists have been seeking ways through which the teaching of foreign languages could be enhanced. This has led to changing the focus of language teaching to the promotion of oral skills to respond to learners’ needs for effective communication (Hinkel, 2017). One way through which verbal learning skills could be enhanced is through instructional materials such as picture materials. Using the picture material for training preschool pupils makes learning interesting, interactive and relational. This is because it helps the teacher clarify abstract concepts to the young children in their formative years. These picture materials are available and can be used in areas with no electricity supply and are easy to assemble and use. Besides, educationists advise that since the development of language skills in the early years is influenced much by the child’s immediate environment, learning should be organized so that it offers a rich and valid experience that supports and stimulates their development. All of this could be made possible by using instructional materials such as picture material (Stone, 2016). However, studies show that pre-primary school teachers exhibit low utilization of instructional media during teaching.

A study conducted by Wambui (2013) investigated the effects of the use of instructional material on the participation of preschool pupils in the science classroom in Kirinyaga County and concluded that there was a lack of effective use of instructional materials among preschool teachers due to a large number of enrolment and lack of infrastructure to accommodate activities. Another study conducted by Mwalyego (2014) in Nigeria in most school units found that instructional materials were inadequate in most schools. The teacher-pupil ratio in these schools was too large to accommodate instructional materials, including pictures and pictures. Also noted were poor classroom arrangement and small space. The researcher further stated that although picture materials provided an ambient learning environment for preschool children, they were seldom used. He thus recommended increased use of picture materials in preschools across the region.

1.3 Purpose of the study

This study aimed to establish the effectiveness of the use of a picture as instructional materials in teaching preschool pupils—English oral skills in Lagos State.

1.4 Objective of the study

The objectives of the study included to:

  1. Assess teachers of English’s beliefs about the pedagogical value of using picture instructional materials for teaching preschool pupils English oral skills
  2. Establish teachers’ attitudes towards using picture materials in teaching English oral skills to preschool pupils
  3. Establish the perceived effectiveness of using picture materials in teaching English oral skills to preschool learners
  4. Find out the extent to which teachers use picture materials while teaching English oral skills.

1.5 Research Questions

The study sought to answer the following research questions.

  1. What are preschool teachers ‘ beliefs about the pedagogical value of using picture materials for teaching English oral skills to preschool pupils?
  2. How do teachers’ attitudes towards using picture materials in teaching English oral skills affect its use?
  3. What do teachers think about using picture materials in teaching English oral skills to preschool learners?
  4. To what extent do teachers use picture materials while teaching English oral skills?


1.6 Significance of the study

The rationale for doing this study was to assess the effectiveness of using picture material in teaching preschool pupils English oral skills in Lagos State. This enabled the researcher to identify preschool teachers’ beliefs, attitudes, and utilization of picture materials in teaching verbal skills. The findings of this study will inform educational stakeholders like the Ministry of Education, teachers, school inspectors, parents and the Lagos State Institute of Curriculum Development (LICD) and other practitioners on the use of instructional materials and other resources in preschools in Nigeria. Further, the study contributes to the effective utilization of instructional materials, especially the use of picture materials which are often available and easy to assemble. Also, it will be useful for policymakers and curriculum developers in the provision of quality universal education in the preprimary unit and in making instructional materials available for use.

1.7 Delimitation of the study

The study was delimited to sample ECE teachers in the Lagos State of Nigeria. The study involved diploma teachers and teachers with a certificate in ECE centres. The study leaves out the parents and guardians of the learners in the study area together with the community since mainstreaming is expected to take place within the ECE set-up.

1.8 Assumption of the study

The researcher assumed a conducive working environment for teachers to influence their working conditions. It was also believed that the respondents understood the nature and objective of the study and this were as sincere as possible while responding to the questions.

1.9 Definition of Terms

  1. Picture materials: Picture materials are instructional materials normally designed as learning aids. They combine visual and verbal narratives in a materials format
  2. Instructional materials: Refer to materials items designed to aid the learning process.
  3. Preschool: The term here is used for a learning institution enrolling children aged between 3 to 6 years
  4. Perceptions: Understanding developed as a result of interactions between knowledge and practice
  5. Attitude: Refers to ways of thought influenced by knowledge, skill, perceptions and culture
  6. Oral skill: Is the ability to manipulate the spoken language conventionally.

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