Abstract : The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of visual aids in enhancing teaching and learning process in public secondary schools in Ilemela Municipality, Tanzania. Specifically, the study sought to describe visual aids used by teachers during the teaching and learning process and to find out the views of teachers and students about the effects of using visual aids in the teaching and learning process. The study was guided by Skinner's instructional theory (1974). A mixed research approach was employed, under which the convergent parallel research design was used. A sample size of 111 participants was selected, including students, teachers, school academic masters, heads of schools, and school quality assurance officers were involved in order to provide the required information. Data was collected through questionnaires and interview guides. The quantitative data was analysed using SPSS version 20 and presented on tables in frequencies and percentages, while the qualitative data was coded and analysed thematically. The findings showed that teachers had the tendency to ignore the use of visual aids in the teaching and learning process. This study concluded that the use of visual aids in the teaching and learning process is very important because it simplifies the concepts taught . It is recommended that MoEST provid es enough materials , seminars and training to teachers for the preparation and usage of visual aids.
Keyword: Visual aids, effect, enhancing, teaching and learning process, students, teachers, public secondary schools.
With the passage of time, new approaches and techniques have infiltrated the field of education, and teachers now use a variety of aids to help students learn more effectively. Visual tools pique students’ interest and make it easier for teachers to convey concepts. Fish, Mun, and A’Jontue, (2016) have defined visual aids as those devices which are used in classrooms to encourage students learning process and make it easier and interesting; they are those sensory objects or images which initiate or stimulate and support learning. For example, visual aids such as animation videos, pictures, maps, charts and models as motivation tools increase interest on reading literary text, which in turn smoothens the learning to students. Raiyn (2016) has further argued that visual aids bring the real thing closer to the students where the learning process becomes more natural and realistic as well as easy for students to form mental images of abstract ideas.
According to Shabiralyani et al., (2015), visual aids are important in education as they encourage students in the learning process, make the lesson to be understandable, arose interest to the subject presented, leads to permanent retention of materials learnt, students increase vocabulary as well as providing direct experience to the students. Gould and Roffey-Barentsen (2018) contend that 83 percent of our learning is achieved through the sense of sight, 11 percent came from the sense of hearing, 3.5 percent through the sense of smell, 1.5 percent through the sense of touch and another 1 percent through the sense of taste. This implies visual aids are important in the teaching and learning process because 83 percent of learning is through the sense of sight. Similarly, Mwila, (2018) argues that effective classroom teaching and learning is only possible when all improvisation elements are taken care of; the use of ICT and teaching aids appear to be appropriate for adapting to the issue of basic education and innovative proficiency, particularly in the poorest populace segments. He contends that ICT integration and the use of teaching aids into the teaching and learning process makes the educative process more proficient and additionally fascinating to students in this way enhancing the quality of education. Mwila and Meremo, (2019) also highlights that learning materials, conceived within the context of quality education; are crucial elements propelling any progressive teaching and learning or academic effectiveness and efficiency. It is therefore necessary to think of visual aids as important factors in the teaching and learning process.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the presence of modern technologies such as computer and interactive whiteboards help teachers to increase possibilities and enhance teaching and learning process. For example, in senior secondary schools Nigeria, teaching English language became more attractive and understandable to students when visual aids were used in teaching and learning process (Agwu and Ogochi, 2019). Agwu and Ogochi study showed that students taught with visual aids performed better than those taught with the traditional method. Also, Adebayo and Adigun (2018), have shown how the physics teachers in Federal Capital Territory (FCT) secondary schools in Nigeria were using instructional aids during teaching and learning process. As a result, there was significant difference in academic performance of students learning by using visual aids as they performed better than those who did not use visual aids during teaching and learning process.
Similarly, the use of instructional media in schools in Kenya, is viewed as the instrument of motivating, stimulating interest, lesson verbalism and acquisition of the result of learning permanent. As opined by Musau (2018), the country realised that students who interact with instructional media learnt more effectively than the ones who were provided with verbal information only. It was also evident that the use of instructional media, in teaching Kiswahili language enabled the learners to interact with words, images and ideas, which develop the abilities in reading, listening, viewing, thinking, speaking, writing and using media and technology (Musau, 2018: 23).
In Tanzania, Kaswa (2015) had shown how visual learning aids such as pictures, drawings or dynamic videos were designed to facilitate learning which had an impact in the teaching and learning process. The sense of sight helped learners to learn effectively. Thus, visual aids were important tools in teaching and learning process, since students were observing physically and practically on the visual aid related to the topic. Failure to prepare and use visual learning aids leads to poor academic performance in secondary schools. Thus, the Tanzania curriculum put considerable effort in teaching and learning process where the educational materials to facilitate teaching and learning process are provided in order to achieve the educational goals (MoEVT, 2007). The government understands that for curriculum to be successful, preparation and production of teaching and learning aids should be handled with greatest care in order to enhance teaching and learning process.
MoEST has been encouraging teachers to use teaching aids, especially visual aids, in order to smoothen teaching and learning process. As posited by Nikky (2010), MoEST understands that visual aids encourage students learning process and make it easier and interesting; it helps to make the lesson clearer or easier to understand, and thus make teaching effective and lead to dissemination of knowledge. Despite this understanding, available scholarly writings in the country like (Feleshi, 2014; Ngonyani, 2018; Kaswa, 2015) had only shown the relationship between the use of visual aids and students’ academic performance, thus leaving a knowledge gap on the effects of visual aids on enhancing teaching and learning process.
In Ilemela Municipality, teachers have a tendency to ignore the use of visual aids during teaching and learning process. Teachers in public secondary schools in Ilemela tend to ignore the use of visual aids in classroom. Due to this negligence, teaching and learning process has been reported to be ineffective, especially for difficult topics. This has constantly attributed to the poor performance of students in national examination due to lack of innovations in teaching and learning process. The use of desirable teaching aids raised an alarm among educational stakeholders. Some researchers (Feleshi, 2014; Kaswa, 2015) in the municipality have been questioning the effect of visual aids on the teaching and learning process. Thus, there was a need for a study to investigate how visual aids enhance teaching and learning process.
2. Literature Review
Visual aids as used by teachers in teaching and learning process attract more students in learning process. Sweller (1994) in the Cognitive Load Theory indicates that, each subsystem of working memory had a limited capacity. So, teachers were encouraged to avoid to overloading students with words alone while teaching but might use pictures and words to elaborate difficulty concepts. Thus, students would be able to remember what they learn.
A study by Patesan et al., (2018) found out that the use of visual aids in English-language helped students to build vocabulary; students were able to speak, to listen and improve the writing skills as well as to be creative in thinking. Additionally, Feleshi, (2014) also reported that well-prepared slides motivate and grab the attention of students because they clarified more about the presented information. Similarly, Jiriko et al., (2015) revealed that teachers use different visual aids in teaching and learning process of agricultural science to facilitate students’ learning. The study argued that most of visual aids used are chalkboard, charts, exhibits, specimens, pictures, field tools, rock samples and apparatus to ensure effective teaching and learning of agricultural science. Jiriko et al., (2015) reported that the use of instructional materials led to effective teaching and learning process.
The use of instructional materials in teaching and learning process has also been reported to motivate and increase students’ interest in learning. According to Tuimur and Chemwei (2015), teachers use visual aids of different types which enhance teaching and learning process. Such visual aids are pupils’ textbooks, teachers’ references, chalkboard, newspapers and teacher made notes. When these visual aids were used in teaching process, they led to effectiveness of students in learning. Thus, students were able to understand the lesson easily. Kaswa (2015) also found out that schools which used learning aids had better results compared to schools which did not use learning aids. This argument suggests that school administration must encourage teachers to prepare and use visual aids in order to increase students’ performance.