Analytical Study of the Implications of Text Illustrations on Lower Primary Pupils' Construal in the Classroom: The Case of Illustrations in Ghanaian Language and Literacy Textbook

Harry Barton Essel, Akosua Tachie - Menson, Anthony Amponsah - Fordjour, Isaac Kofi Appiah


Illustrations used in textbooks for lower primary school teaching form an integral part of pupils’ cognitive abilities. Ghanaian publishers and illustrators give marginal attention to the liaison between textbook illustrations and their corresponding text when illustrating for children in lower primary schools. The incongruities between text and its illustrations in the textbooks pose challenges to lower primary pupils in their quest to understand, interpret and match text with adjoining illustrations. The study adopted qualitative research design to study how the misalliance of text and illustrations in textbooks affects teaching and learning at the lower primary level in selected Ghanaian schools in the Ashanti Region. Illustrations in the Ghanaian language and Literacy textbook (Asante Twi) for the lower primary level was chosen for the study.  Two (2) lower primary schools were sampled for the study based on proximity. One (1) teacher was sampled from each school; and a total of eighty (80) pupils were also censused from the 2 schools with convenience and purposive techniques. Thirty-nine (39) and forty-one (41) pupils were used in school A and B respectively. Prospectively, Seguin’s model evaluates that there are standard illustrations in the Ghanaian language and literacy textbook. Conversely, the study evidenced that misalliances between text and its illustrations in textbook affected teaching and learning thereby resulting in pupils’ abysmal academic performance in terms of their comprehension of the illustrations to the various passages read. The teaching methods adopted by individual teachers also played a contributing factor to pupils’ understanding or misinterpretation of the text and its illustration.  The study advocates that text and illustrations in textbooks should equally match in the passage to enable lower primary pupils make meaning and create appropriate mental models of text and its adjoining text illustrations.

Keywords: Illustrations, Textbooks, lower primary schools, Language and Literacy, Asante Twi, Ghana


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