Abstract: developmental games programme designed by the

Abstract:

Developing
problem solving ability is an essential competency for sustaining emotional and
mental health among children. The purpose of this experimental study was to
investigate how children’s participation in a systematic movement education
programme has an effect on their problem solving ability. Non-probability based
convenience sampling technique was used to select 50 elementary school children
aged between 5yrs to 7yrs who participated in the study. 25 children formed the
control group and the 25 children that formed the experimental group underwent
a 6 week developmental games programme designed by the researcher on the basis
of the movement education framework. The problem solving ability of the
participants was assessed using a researcher modified assessment tool.
Independent sample ‘t’ test was used for comparing the change in performance of
both the groups, and it was seen that the calculated ‘t’ value (t=5.484) was
significant at 0.05 level of significance (p=0.001). Hence it can be concluded
that a systematic movement education programme has a significant effect on the
problem solving ability of elementary school children.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

_____________________________________________________________________________

Key words:
Movement education; Problem solving; Elementary school children.

 

Introduction:

There are
various options for young children to spend their free time, the particular
choice made by parents and children contribute positively or negatively to
his/her long-term development during the formative years considering the stages
of growth and development. Elementary school age is a period of steady progress
in physical growth and maturation and in behavioural development (Malina,
Bouchard & Bar-Or, 2004) where children learn to initiate play activities,
display intelligence, learn creativity, and decipher how to recognize and
express emotions (Hilborn, Merki, Merki, Cleary & Middleton, 2004). These
developmental years of a child’s life are critical for cognitive, social and
emotional development. Therefore, it is important that educators take every
step necessary to guarantee that children mature and develop in surroundings
where the child’s social, emotional and educational needs are met. There is an
increased risk for compromised health and safety as learning and developmental
delays are often seen in children who live in environments where their
developmental needs are not properly met.

 

Movement should
be at the very centre of children’s lives, meeting all facets of their
development, whether in the physical, cognitive, or affective domain. To refuse
children the opportunity to obtain the many benefits of regular physical
activity is to deny them the opportunity to experience the joy of movement, the
health benefits of activity and a lifetime as confident and competent movers
(Gallahue, 1993). The role of play and movement in children’s lives create
conditions in which children develop and learn. Children play to understand the
world around them, to express themselves, and to practice new skills. Through
play, children actively explore, manipulate and respond to their environments
and experiences. Play is pivotal in the process of daily interactions with
events, people, and things. Play provides the opportunity for children to
interact with the concrete environment allowing children to develop
intellectually and acquire social, emotional and physical abilities (Shipley,
1998).

 

The competency
to develop problem solving ability among children is an essential skill
required for mental development. When this is established, it helps children
make informed decisions about their health and act upon them in a
social-ecological context (Dryfoos, J.G. ,1990). Problem-solving ability is
also, an important component of school readiness among children, which leads to
academic success, stemming from effectively managing emotions and behaviours
(Webster-Stratton, C., & Read, M.J. ,

2004). Emotional
health is closely related to mental health and stress levels, as is well
established (Ciarrochi, J., Scott, G., Deane, F.P., & Heaven, P. , 2003)
and hence the emphasis of developing and sustaining problem-solving ability for
positive child development programs (Weissberg, R.P., & O’Brien, M.U.
2004). An intricate relationship between emotional health, mental health,
stress levels and depression exists. Problem solving ability can be developed
using intervention programs based on social skills training (Mahmoudi-Gharaei,
A., Alavi, A., & Shahrivar, Z. , 2008), and social emotional development
(Fox, L., & Hemmeter, M.L. , 2009). A school-curriculum that incorporates
problem-based learning can help augment scientific thinking, problem solving
ability and conflict resolution skills (Yalcin, B.M., Karahan, T.F.,
Karadenizil, D., & Sahin, E.M. , 2006) and can be a strategy for depression
prevention among school-kids especially those coming from socioeconomically disadvantaged
schools (Yalcin, B.M., Karahan, T.F., Karadenizil, D., & Sahin, E.M. ,
2006) and diverse cultures (Leff, S.S., Gullan, R.L., Paskewich BS et al. ,
2009).

 

The
aim of this study is to portray an instructional strategy for developing
problem-solving ability among school kids. The author believes that such a
strategy can be applied in diverse school settings with a favourable result in
developing problem-solving ability and thus reducing stress, preserving and
promoting emotional health and preventing long-term depression among school
kids. The purpose of this study is to discuss and present in detail the effect
of one of the student centred approach in teaching on the problem solving
ability of elementary school children.

 

 

Material and Methods:

Variables:

After reviewing the
literature in the researcher’s area of interest, various student centred
approaches used by teachers for teaching Physical Education (P.E.) were
analysed on the basis of teaching styles that focus on maximum student
participation. Keeping this in mind the research problem was formulated and the
variables were identified. A Systematic Movement Education programme was
identified as the Independent variable and the Problem Solving ability was
identified as the Dependent variable.

Assessment Instrument:

The
“Exemplars: – Getting started: A Guide to the successful Use of Exemplars.”
Assessment instrument was modified by the researcher to measure the problem
solving ability of the elementary school children, the validity of which was
established by experts in the related field.

The
assessment required every student to undergo a set of 5 attempts to solve a 12
piece jigsaw puzzle under the time limit of 30sec for each attempt. Every
attempt was scored on the basis of the criteria set by the researcher.

Research Design:

For
this experimental study a Pre-Test Post-Test non-equivalent group design was
adopted. This required the subjects to be divided into two groups, the
experimental group that would undergo the programme and the control group which
would not undergo the programme but would be needed to compare the change in
performance. Both the groups would be required to undergo an assessment that would
measure their problem solving ability before the implementation of the
programme and after the implementation of the programme.

Sampling:

The
population for this study were all the children aged between 5yrs to 7yrs of
the Challenger Public School, Pune. 50 of these students were selected as
sample for the study using the non-probability based convenience sampling
technique. 25 subjects formed the experimental group and the remaining 25
formed the control group.

Convenience
sampling technique was used for sample selection as the researcher had to
consider the number of P.E. classes available during the week, the time of the
P.E. class during the day and the convenience of the students for participating
in the programme.

Procedure:

Phase
I:

The
“Exemplars: – Getting started: A Guide to the Successful Use of Exemplars.”
Assessment instrument was modified by the researcher as it used a six piece
jigsaw puzzle to assess the math problem solving ability, where the subjects
who could not assemble any pieces were graded as “Novice”, those who could
assemble two pieces were graded as “Apprentice”, those who could assemble four
pieces were graded as “Practitioner” and those who could assemble all the six
pieces were graded “Expert”.

 

The
researcher found this to be inappropriate to measure the overall problem
solving ability; hence the instrument was modified to suit the main objective
of the study. The modification done by the researcher required the subject to
finish the task in a time limit of 30sec and also out of the six pieces of the
jigsaw puzzle if no piece or at least one piece was assembled “5 points” were
awarded, if two or three pieces were assembled “10 points” were awarded, if
four or five pieces were assembled “15 points” were awarded and if all six pieces
were assembled “20 points” were awarded.

 

To
establish the validity of the modified instrument, three experts from the field
of Physical Education and two experts from the field of Child Psychological
Development gave their valuable opinion.

 

Pertaining
to the feedback given by experts the assessment instrument was further modified,
and now included the use of a 12 piece jigsaw puzzle so as to increase the
difficulty level with regards to age. Each subject would now be given 5
attempts, as less than 5 attempts would prove to be inadequate and more than 5
attempts may result in tiring of cognitive functioning. The time limit and the point’s
criteria remained the same.

Phase
II:

The
problem solving ability of the subjects was measured before implementing the
programme. A Systematic Movement Education programme was then designed by the
researcher on the basis of the movement education framework laid down by Rudolf
Von Laban. This programme was then implemented for a duration of 6 weeks (3 times
a week).

 

The
problem solving ability was measured again after the implementation of the
programme and the data was analysed to study the change in performance of both
the groups.

 

Results:

The problem solving
ability of the 25 subjects that formed the experimental group before
implementing the programme was 44.00 and that after the implementation of the
programme was 73.00 and that of the control group was 41.40 before and 44.00
after.

 

Table 1. Descriptive Statistics for Problem Solving

Group

 

Mean

N

Std.Dev.

Std.Error.Mean

Experimental.

PreTest

44.00

25

10.25

2.04

PostTest

73.00

25

8.16

1.63

Control.

PreTest

41.40

25

10.05

2.01

PostTest

44.00

25

10.25

2.04

Note: Grp – Group; Exp. – Experimental; Cnt. –
Control; S.D. – Std. Deviation; S.E.M. – Std Error Mean

 

Independent sample ‘t’ test was used to analyse the
change in performance of both the groups.

 

Table 2. Comparison of the Problem Solving  ability

 

Group

N

Mean

Std.Dev.

Std.ErrorMean.

Change In Performance

Experimental.

25

29.00

16.71

3.34

Control.

25

2.60

17.33

3.47

Note: Grp – Group; Exp. – Experimental; Cnt. –
Control; Mn. – Mean; S.D. – Std. Deviation; S.E.M. – Std Error Mean

 

An increase of 29 can be seen in the change in
performance of the experimental group. We can see that for degree of freedom 48
the calculated ‘t’ value (5.484) is significant at 0.05 level of significance
(p=0.000).

 

Table 3. Testing the significance for
Problem Solving ability

 

t-test for Equality of Means

t

df

Sig. (2-tailed)

Mn Diff.

Std. Err. Diff.

Change In Performance

5.484

48

.000

26.40

4.81

Note: Mn. Diff. – Mean Difference; Std. Err. Diff. –
Std. Error Difference

 

Discussion:

The purpose of
this study was to portray movement education as one the teaching strategies for
developing problem solving ability in elementary school children. This
technique assisted the researcher in developing the problem-solving ability of
elementary school children.

 

Movement is a
fundamental form of expression for children (Koff 2000; Sansom, 2011). Koff
believes that children communicate how they feel and think by using this
non-verbal expression. Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is recognized as one of
our multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1983), but is one of the most undervalued
in our schools. We seem not to understand that physically learning, including
kinesthetic activities, creative movement, and dance, is natural to most
children.

 

A child’s
learning begins by the physical experiences that he/she encounters in the early
stages of growth and development. It is this trial and error method of
self-learning that benefits the child throughout his/her life. The benefits of  movement education are numerous and
far-reaching, some of these are focus and engage in learning, applying
kinesthetic intelligence, understand concepts and themes, developing and
refining higher-level thinking skills, communicating in unique ways and
appreciating the artistic expression of others, develop spatial awareness,
cooperate and collaborate with each other. (Zakkai, 1997). Movement education
has had a positive effect on a child’s social development (Johnson, 2010), the
Aural perception skills (Lewis, 1985), Percentage of overcoming fear (AbdAllah,
2010) and many other physical and psychological factors.

 

It is our job as
educators to equip children with the skills and strategies to think critically
in order to solve problems. The challenge is how to transform these important
instructional objectives into real, developmentally appropriate activities that
are integrated into lessons across the curriculum. Implementations of these
objectives and strategies may appear difficult, but often requires only a
slight shift in one’s approach to the curriculum. Here is a way how movement
education can be used by educators to help children explore problem-solving
tasks and learn through their own personal and purposeful discoveries.

 

On
the basis of the findings of this study we can see that there is a significant
improvement in the problem solving ability of the subjects. Hence we can deduce
that, implementing movement education at elementary school level will prove
beneficial considering optimum development of the child. The researcher believes
that this strategy, applied to elementary school children in Pune can give
favourable results in other school across the nation.

 

Conclusion:

From this study we can conclude that a six weeks
systematic movement education programme has a significant effect on the problem
solving ability of elementary school children.