Teachers’ use of play as a teaching strategy in pre-primary schools in Mwanga district, Kilimanjaro region, Tanzania
Johnas, J. Tarimo
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This study sought to establish the determinants of pre-primary school teachers‟ use of play as a teaching strategy in Mwanga District, in the northern part of Tanzania. The Early Childhood Education (ECE) program in Tanzania is a relatively young discipline as compared to other countries in the region. So far some studies have revealed problems in teachers‟ use of relevant teaching strategies to enhance pre-primary children learning at their own pace. Considering that one of the effective strategies of teaching young children is play, this study sought to establish the use of play and factors which influence pre-primary school teachers‟ use of play as a teaching strategy. The purpose of the study was to find out the influence of identified factors on use of play as a teaching strategy. Maehr‟s Personal Investment Theory was used to establish the relationship between factors and the use of play as a teaching strategy. Reviewed literature showed that there was lack of awareness among educators on the potential that exists in the use of play in facilitating teaching and enhancing children‟s learning. A descriptive survey design was employed with independent variables being type of school, teachers‟ training status, teachers‟ motivation, teachers‟ experience and the availability of play materials while dependent variable was pre-primary school teachers‟ use of play as a teaching strategy. Purposive sampling technique was used to select 30 pre-primary schools with all the teachers in the sampled schools forming the study sample. The data collected was coded and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to analyze the data. Descriptive statistics computed included frequencies and percentages. Chi- Square was used to test the strength and direction of relationship between dependent and independent variables at level of significance 0.05 (p<0.05). The study findings showed that 57.5% of the teachers used play as a teaching strategy whereas 42.5% did not use play as a teaching strategy indicating that about half of the respondents did not use play as a teaching strategy. The study found out that teachers‟ level of motivation and availability of play materials emerged as factors which influenced teachers‟ use of play as a teaching strategy. The findings in this study suggest that when teachers are motivated and provided with a wide range of play materials they are more likely to use play as a teaching strategy, a practice which will result in making learning enjoyable and effective. To improve the the use of play as a teaching strategy in pre-primary schools, capacity building and sensitization seminars for MoEVT, school managers, pre-primary school teachers and other stakeholders should be encouraged.