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  • Background to the Study

The first steps in learning can be said to be listening and speaking, therefore storytelling can be an excellent strategy or method for improving these learning skills in children. A good number of African preschoolers start kindergarten between the ages of three and six when they are still in their early development which is still considered as early childhood. The fastest phase of human growth occurs during the early years of life, according to the World Bank (2015).  Even as every child develops at his or her pace, all growing children go through a recognizable cognitive, emotional, physical, and social cycle. For young learners, listening skills seem the most difficult to acquire because of their shorter attention span than adults. During this kindergarten age according to Anthony (2016), children are in the second stage of Piaget’s preoperational period, which is when they begin to learn how to utilize language. Children frequently think and communicate about themselves. Most times, children enjoy stories or tales about animals, trees, and other non-living things because animism is one of the traits that kids exhibit at this period.  The idea that inanimate objects have human emotions and goals is known as animism (McLeod, 2012). Supporting a child’s schema (her foundational knowledge) surrounding animals and ecosystems is a great method to increase the child’s thinking and understanding of the world, even though part of this thinking really fosters creativity (Anthony, 2014). Additionally, because children in this age group are tangible learners (Thomlinson, 2009), learning should be reinforced in the classroom with a lot of pictures or actual items.

Listening is a mode of language and one of the four skills of language along with speaking, writing, and reading. According to Grayson (2015), speaking, reading, writing, and listening exercises/ drills can help young learners develop their literacy skills. Listening is the cognitive process of understanding and responding to verbal and non-verbal messages. In listening, a learner’s active participation is needed. Children can develop their reading comprehension skills by practicing listening comprehension (Jalongo, 2018).  This may be the rationale for Brown’s (2017) argument that it is essential for a child to have good and effective listening skills to be able to learn the necessary literacy skills and to succeed academically. Children who can listen well are better able to discover their distinctive abilities and potential and can also take in what they hear faster than their peers. Tramel (2018) found that when children develop effective listening skills, they may also have better memory and concentration.

Listening is a very essential skill since it develops the earliest and is used most often among all the language skills that young infants acquire. (Roskos, Christie, and Richgels, 2016). Between 50 and 90 percent of an infant’s communication time is said to be used for listening, the studies on children’s listening both inside and outside of the classroom, suggested. (Wolvin and Coakley 2016).   The development of a child’s other skills, such as survival, social, and intellectual abilities, depends on their ability to listen. (Wolvin and Coakley 2016). According to Brigman, Lane, and Switzer (2011), one of the abilities that best predicts long-term, all-around academic performance is listening to comprehension. Young learners are often not taught how to listen effectively despite the importance of listening to learning. This affirms Smith’s (2016) finding that, while being the language skill most often used, listening is the one that is least taught in schools. The reason that listening has been ignored or inadequately taught may have resulted from the misconception that it is a passive skill, and that teaching listening comprehension just requires exposing students to spoken language (Call, 2015).

On the importance of storytelling as a means of boosting listening skills, Gallets (2005) and Philips (2016) disclosed in their studies that children’s listening abilities are improved by stories. Storytelling has been in existence and served much usefulness in the Traditional African education system even before the advent of Western education. Melo (2001) ascertains that storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication both for information and illustrations.

 Zevenbergen and Whitehurst (2003), asserts tales and stories are beneficial and helpful listening resources for children to build listening comprehension and literacy in both their primary and second languages.

In summary, stories, and tales most times contain illustrations and animism and may be an effective method of improving listening skills among children of kindergarten age for learners in this age bracket love listening to stories as well as creating story characters.

  • Statement of the Problem

Children in kindergarten may struggle to focus and concentrate during storytelling sessions due to their short attention spans. This may make it more difficult for them to pay attention and understand what is being said, which could jeopardize their listening abilities’ general development. Language difficulties can hinder young children from understanding and participating in the storytelling process given that they may come from different linguistic backgrounds. Young learners varying degrees of language ability can affect the development of listening skills and may also hinder their understanding.

When narrating stories, there may not always be activities that motivate pupils in kindergarten to actively participate. They may be less able to actively take in information and develop their listening abilities if they only listen passively without having the chance to respond or interact.

A lack of resources may prevent some schools from accessing a wide range of storytelling tools, including books, audiovisual materials, and storytelling props.

The absence of these various materials can affect the children’s ability to listen and make it challenging for them to stay interested and engaged. Teachers may not get appropriate professional training on effective storytelling methods to improve listening skills.

These teachers may be less able to develop captivating storytelling activities that encourage active listening and understanding in kindergarten students as a result of their inadequate knowledge. As listening abilities are measured in a subjective way, assessing how storytelling impacts listening skills can be difficult. It may be challenging to assess development and identify areas that require work due to a lack of standardized evaluation methods and instruments specific to storytelling and listening abilities.

In order to promote effective storytelling and enhance listening skills among children in kindergarten, these challenges need to be addressed.

These possible challenges can be removed by providing teachers with specialized support, resources, and opportunities for professional development and by implementing interactive and culturally inclusive storytelling methods.

This way, storytelling can be used effectively in early childhood education to foster the development of listening skills.

  • Objective of the Study

This study’s main objective is to assess the effects of storytelling on kindergarten pupils’ listening skills in Abidjan District, Cote D’Ivoire (A Case Study of Grain De Soleil School, Abidjan). The sub-objectives are to: 

  1. To determine the difference in the performance of pupils in listening activities in experimental and control groups before they were exposed to treatment.
  2. To determine the differences in the performance of pupils in listening activities in experimental and control group after they were exposed to treatment.
  3. To find out the cumulative performance of students exposed to storytelling strategy and those not exposed to it in listening activities.
    • Research Questions

The following research questions guided the study:

  1. What is the difference in the performance of pupils in listening activities between the experimental and control groups before they were exposed to treatment?
  2. What are the differences in the performance of pupils in listening activities between the experimental and control groups after they were exposed to treatment?
  3. What is the cumulative performance of students exposed to the storytelling strategy compared to those not exposed to it in listening activities?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

H0: There is no significant difference in the performance of pupils who were exposed to storytelling strategy and those who were not exposed to it in listening activities

Ha: There is a significant difference in the performance of pupils who were exposed to storytelling strategy and those who were not exposed to it in listening activities

1.6     Significance of the Study

The significance of the study on storytelling and listening skills among kindergarten pupils at Grain De Soleil School in Abidjan District are:

  1. Educational Impact: By assessing the effects of storytelling on the development of listening skills among kindergarten pupils, this research work addresses a vital topic and concern in education. Knowledge of how storytelling can be used to improve listening skills will be of great benefit to educational practices and curriculum development in early childhood education.
  2. Practical Application: Educators, teachers, and policymakers at Grain De Soleil School and other comparable educational establishments in Abidjan District may find this research’s findings informative and insightful and may benefit from its valuable recommendations. It may aid them in employing effective storytelling methods that will encourage learners in kindergarten to develop active listening skills.
  3. Student Learning and Engagement: The study intends to improve the participation of students and increase learning outcomes by examining the efficacy of storytelling interventions. Improved listening skills in kindergarten pupils can increase their general ability to learn or academic performance as well as their cognitive development, which will build the basis for future learning.  
  4. Cultural Preservation: Many cultures and communities highly value storytelling. The study emphasizes the cultural importance of oral traditions and storytelling practices by looking at how storytelling affects listening abilities. It emphasizes conserving and incorporating storytelling into educational settings to maintain culture and foster identity.
  5. Holistic Development: The study addresses the holistic development of kindergarten students and emphasizes the importance of nurturing listening skills alongside other cognitive, social, and emotional skills. Listening skills are crucial for effective communication, comprehension, and critical thinking.
  6. Research Gap Filling: By working primarily on the context of Abidjan District and Grain De Soleil School, the study contributes to filling a research gap. It offers knowledge that could contribute to the existing research on storytelling and listening skills in early childhood education by offering insights into the beneficial effects of storytelling interventions in the local context.
  • Scope of the Study

This study is focused on Abidjan District in Cote D’Ivoire. In order to provide the study with a specific perspective or context, the research will be carried out at the Grain De Soleil School in Abidjan District. Participants:

Participant: The study will focus on kindergarten pupils enrolled at Grain De Soleil School in Abidjan.

To ensure a homogeneous and representative sample of children in kindergarten, the study will focus on a specific age range within the school. The primary variable of interest is the effect of storytelling on listening skills among kindergarten pupils. The study may also consider other variables. These other variables will include socioeconomic status, linguistic ability, and cultural considerations that might affect the development of listening abilities.

  • Definition of Terms
  1. Storytelling: The act of describing or retelling a narrative or sequence of events orally. Storytelling frequently uses expressive language, gestures, and visual aids to captivate an audience and impart a message or lesson.
  2. Listening Skills: Actively taking in, deciphering, and understanding verbal or audio information. It comprises of the ability to pay close attention, follow instructions, understand the meaning, and respond effectively to verbal communication.
  3. Kindergarten Pupils/ Kindergarteners: This term defines children who are enrolled in a kindergarten or pre-primary school and are usually between the age range of four and six. In this study, explicitly refers to the target population of pupils attending Grain De Soleil School in Abidjan District.
  4. Assessment: A systematic procedure for collecting/ gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data with the objective of evaluating or measuring one’s knowledge, abilities, or skills. Assessment in the context of this research applies to the study of kindergarten pupils’ listening skills.
  5. Intervention: A planned move or plan of action used to bring about a certain improvement or change. In this study, it is the use of storytelling as a deliberate/ intentional method to improve children in kindergarten’s listening abilities.
  6. Perceptions: An individual’s opinions, judgments, or own interpretations of something or phenomena. Perceptions in the context of the study are relevant to the opinions and points of view of teachers, pupils, and parents on the efficacy of storytelling on listening skills.

  • Format: ms-word (doc)
  • Chapter 1 to 5
  • With abstract reference and questionnaire
  • Preview Table of contents, abstract and chapter 1 below

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Bank Name: United Bank of Africa (UBA)
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