Education Project Topics

Using Practical Activities to Improve Pupils’ Listening Skills During Story Telling at Accra Grammar School in KG2

Using Practical Activities to Improve Pupils' Listening Skills During Story Telling at Accra Grammar School in KG2

Using Practical Activities to Improve Pupils’ Listening Skills During Story Telling at Accra Grammar School in KG2

Chapter One

Objective of the study

The main objectives of this study is to find out how using practical activities to improve pupils listening skills during story telling at Accra Grammar school in kg2. specifically it will;

  1. To examine the extent do teachers implement the use of practical activities to improve pupils listening skills during story telling
  2. To determine the modifications theycan make to the listening lessons they teach
  3. To determine the effect of Songs on listening skills of primary one pupils.
  4. To determine the effect of gender on the listening skills of the primary one pupils



Definition of Listening Comprehension

Listening is much more than hearing. It involves both physical and mental processes, hearing and interpreting. The mental processes are both complex and unobservable. This has two consequences. Firstly, we do not know for sure exactly what happens and secondly, it is not always easy to know where things have gone wrong when listening is not successful (Turner, 1995:2).

Listening is a process that enables the brain to construct meaning from the sounds heard. It is, however, an internal process, which can not be observed directly. This is to say that it is difficult to assess whether the listener has effectively used the skills at a particular occasion, what listening strategies are employed, which source of information is dominantly used, and what problems the listener experiences (Anderson and Lynch, 1988:3).

For Underwood (1989:1), listening is the activity of paying attention and trying to get meaning for something we hear. It is a complex process that allows us to understand spoken language Through listening, we process language in real time employing pacing, units of encoding and pausing that are unique to spoken language (Rost 2001:7).

Listening comprehension is also described by Morley (1990:90) as “an act of information processing in which the listener is involved in two way communication, or one way communication and/or self dialogue communication”. According to this scholar, two way communication refers to interaction listening in which the reciprocal speech chain of speaker listener is obvious to us. In a one way communication, on the other hand, the auditory input comes from a variety of sources (e.g lectures, news, public address announcements, religious services, and films). The listener listens to the speaker but does not react.  Self dialogue communication is the one in which the listener takes internal roles as “speaker” and “listener/reactor” in his/her own thought processing without being aware of it.

What listeners actually do when they are involved in listening activities make it an active process for example, Vandergrift (1999), disregarding the concept of listening as a passive activity, further explains,

Listening comprehension is anything, but a passive activity. It is a complex, active process in which the listener must discriminate between sounds, understand stress and intonation, and retain what was gathered in all of the above and interpreted within the immediate as well as the larger socio-cultural context of the utterance (p. 168)

Vandergrift’s view of listening as a complex and active process is supported by other scholars. Rost (2001) and Cook (2001) argue that as a goal-oriented activity, listening comprehension involves both bottom-up and top-down processing that are assumed to take place at various levels of cognitive organization: phonological, grammatical, lexical and propositional. In the bottom-up processing, listeners attend to data in the incoming speech signals where as, in top-down processing the listeners utilize prior knowledge and expectations to create meaning. It could involve “Prediction and inference on the basis of hierarchies of facts propositions and expectations” (Morley, 1991:87)

From the above explanations given to listening, it is possible to say listening comprehension is a hard task. It requires a great deal of mental analysis on the part of the listener. Messages are interpreted by employing one’s skill and knowledge from both linguistic and non- linguistic sources. In other words, having purpose for listening, social and cultural knowledge and background knowledge is very vital (little – wood. 1981, Richards 1985, Anderson and Lynch 1988)

Listening in the Primary EFL Classroom

The work of teachers of young children is easier if the learners are motivated and enjoy what they are doing. In connection with this, Brumfit et al (1996: 158) state the following

It is up to us (teachers) to ensure that the activities they are engaged in are interesting and/or fun .we also have to be clear about how much we want our children to listen in English. We should provide purposeful and carefully directed listening activities where learners are asked to focus on specific points. We must ensure that the children’s learning is supported wherever necessary.




This chapter deals with the research methods that were used to collect data. It discusses the subjects, data collection instruments, development of the tools and data analysis used to carry out the research.

Study Design

It is a term used to describe a number of decisions which need to be taken regarding the collection of data before they are collected. (Nwana, 1981). It provides guidelines which direct the researcher towards solving the research problem and may vary depending on the nature of the problem being studied. According to Okaja ( 2003, p. 2),” research design means the structuring of investigation aimed at identifying variables and their relationship, it is used for the purpose of obtaining data to enable the investigator test hypothesis or answer research question by providing procedural outline for conducting research”. It is therefore, an outline or scheme that serves as a useful guide to the researcher in his efforts to generate data for his study.

This cross-sectional study used mixed methods (both quantitative and qualitative). It is used to obtain the peoples opinion through questionnaire.

Sampling Procedure

To select the schools, purposive sampling was used. The researcher chose these schools because he had familiarity with teachers teaching there. As a result, he thought that he could get the information needed for the study. Concerning the teachers’ selection, three of the teachers were taken. They were the only ones assigned to teach English language in KG2 in the sample schools. The pupils were randomly selected by their seat position with the help of their English teachers.

Data Collecting Tools

To gather data, questionnaires, classroom observations and content analysis of students’ storybook and teachers’ book were used. Three of the instruments were used to triangulate the information and increase the credibility of the study.


To gather data from the sample students and teachers, two types of questionnaires were designed and administered.

The questionnaire for the students was designed in Amharic, and contained 5 items in the first section which was about the listening lessons in their course book and another 18 items in the second sections which were about the teachers’ practice of teaching listening in the actual classrooms. The questionnaire for the students was mainly used to cross check the information collected from the teachers on the classroom listening teaching practice.







Effect of Song on the Listening Skills of Primary One Pupils

Findings reveal that there was a significant main effect of Song on the listening skills of primary one pupils. Those that were exposed to storytelling with illustration had higher listening skills mean score than those exposed to storytelling without illustrations. This means that storytelling with illustration had significant effect on the listening skills of the pupils. It was found to have facilitated listening more than storytelling without illustrations. This supports the assertions that storytelling with illustration helps in the improvement of the listening skills of children. (Nicolas (2007), Isbel et al,. 2004). It may be because the pupils in the experimental group (storytelling with illustration) were given the opportunity to see and touch the pictures in the picture storybook as they were told the stories by their teacher and they performed better than the children in the control group (storytelling without illustration) who did not see or touch the pictures in the picture storybook as they were told the story by their teacher. This corroborates the argument of Jalongo (2008) that young children often prefer visual and kinesthetic approaches and that listening activities should be complemented with images and activities. Doing this had a remarkable positive effect on children’s listening behaviours and attention span.

On the other hand, the pupils in the control group (storytelling without illustration were not given the opportunity to see and touch the pictures in the picture story book as they were told the stories by their teacher. The lack of opportunity for the pupils to see and touch the pictures themselves explains why the pupils in the control group (storytelling without illustration) had lower mean listening score than the experimental group (Storytelling with illustrations). This finding lends support to the submission of Shin, (2006) that young children have a short attention span and a lot of physical energy therefore without visuals, the attention of young children cannot be captured and it is difficult to keep them engaged in activities.

Effects of photograph on the Listening Skills of KG2 Pupils

Hypothesis two compared the relative performance of boys and girls in both experimental and control groups (Storytelling with illustrations and storytelling without illustrations). The findings have revealed that there was a significant main effect of gender on the listening skills of primary one pupils. Girls had a significantly higher listening mean score than boys in all the groups. That means that the girls in all the groups performed better than the boys. This is not surprising because it is generally believed that women listen more than men. The finding lends credence to Tanner’s (2001) submission that men and women have very distinct communication styles that influences how they listen.

Also, Booth-Butterfield (1984) had opined that males listen to hear facts, while females are more aware of the mood of the communication. The difference in listening style could explain why girls performed better than the boys, because storytelling has more emotions/moods, than facts contained in it. However, the finding of a study by Isbel et al (2004) failed to establish a significant relationship between gender and listening.

Conclusions and Recommendations

There is the need for the Ghana government to provide picture books, other visuals and instructional materials in other to encourage active listening in primary schools. To do this, the government should encourage Ghana local illustrators, authors, storytellers and publishers to produce picture storybooks for primary school pupils in indigenous languages. Apart from this, seminars and workshops should also be organized for the teachers during the holidays to expose them to how to make simple picture storybooks themselves and how to teach storytelling with illustrations.

Lots of brightly coloured visuals and other teaching aids should be provided in all primary classrooms and this should be available for all subjects. Primary school teachers in Nigeria should use the mother tongue or language of immediate environment to teach pupils in primary one. Teachers can deliberately bridge the gap in listening between girls and boys by giving the boys more opportunities to engage activities to build their listening skills. This can be achieved during activities such as listening games, songs, stories, discussions and interviews.

Ghana parents should communicate with their children in their indigenous languages more than the English Language. They should also tell their children their indigenous stories regularly. This should begin even before they start school.

Due to the language policy on pre-primary and lower primary classes, all pre-service teachers of early childhood education and primary education studies should be proficient in at least one Ghana language, since they will be teaching at the preschool and lower primary classes.


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