Author: Nwamuo, Pat A
Date published: March 1, 2010
Restlessness has been associated with childhood developmental behaviour. Some children outlive this behaviour while others persist and become a problem that prevent them from fulfilling their potentials and achieving the objectives mapped out for them at their primary school level. However, if such developmental behaviour are identified early, they are amenable to treatment, but if not treated, they sometimes merge almost imperceptibility into more serious and chronic disorders as the child passes into adulthood, or they manifest themselves later as different disorders (GeIf ord, Jenson and Drew, 1988).
There are two groups of childhood disorder; they are mainly clinical syndromes and developmental disorders. The clinical syndromes include anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders and conduct disorders; while developmental disorders include mental retardations, austistic disorder and specific developmental disorders (American's Psychiatrics Association, 1987).
The present study is focused on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which is a disruptive disorder. The disruptive behaviour disorders are problems of under control in which symptoms are expressed in socially disruptive activity. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity disorder is characterized by inattentiveness, impulsiveness and over activity.
Inattention/ Distractibility means having hard time keeping the mind on one thing and the individual may get bored with a task after only a few minutes. Nimh (1997) states that inattentive people may give effortless, automatic attention to activities and things they enjoy, but find it difficult to organize and complete a task.
Impulsiveness, the main focus of this paper is acting without prior thought or anticipation of possible consequences. The impulsive child interrupts and intrudes on other children. Impulsiveness is especially prevalent in situations where, the correct answer is not immediately obvious and must be selected from alternatives. Children who are overtly impulsive seem unable to curb their immediate reactions or think before they act. As a result they may blurt out inappropriate comments or run into the street without looking. Their impulsiveness may make it hard for them to wait for things they want or to take their turn in games. Impulsive children often do not stop to think before they act and they say some things and be sorry they said it before they finish, or answer the teacher's questions before he finished asking. They get angry and yell, throw or hit and they do not learn from experience because they cannot pause long enough to reflect before they act. These children, Silver (1990) concludes, get into behavioural difficulties at home and school.
In the homes, these children jump on chairs and tables attracting unnecessary attention and causing parents to be angry at them and their behaviour. In the schools, teachers are very conversant with these children who blurt out answers without waiting to be called or write the first answers that occurs to them. Most times, their answers are wrong and teachers ignore them or call them names (good for nothing, block head) when they fail to give the right answers. At other times, the children are shouted down at or flogged, or sent out of the classrooms. These methods of controlling such impulsive behaviour in children have not yielded results as the children continue in the same pattern of behaviour and they fail and repeat classes. Thus Nimh (1997) concludes that impulsive children have difficulties in inhibiting movement, processing information, performing perceptual and discriminatory tasks and using effective search strategies in solving problems. They also do poorly on word recognition and arithmetic tasks.
Statement of the Problem
In Nigeria, there are many varied disruptive problems in our primary school classroom, some of which are overt and observable while others are covertly not observable (Nwana, 1971; Nwagwu, 1980; Amajirionwu, 1981; Ikediashi, 1988, 1992 and Odoemelam, 1994). Some of these disruptive problems have been managed successfully (Oguntelure, 1978, Oguntelure and Omotalu, 1983, Akinade, 1993, 1994).
Impulsiveness is a disruptive classroom behaviour in which the individuals respond hurriedly, non- analytically and in a trial and error fashion (Mickinry, 1973). Impulsive children also do poorly in cognitive tasks and have higher rate of failure than reflective children (Mickinny, 1973 and AuIt, 9173). Also many researchers have used cognitive modeling in improving behaviour problems in school children (Y ando and Kagan, 1968; Meichenbarn and Goodman, 1971). This study specially sought to determine the relative efficacy of cognitive modeling in this management of impulsive behaviour among primary school children. The study, therefore attempts to provide answers to the following problems: would the participants exposed to treatment show greater reduction in impulsiveness than the control group? Would there be a difference in academic performance between the treated group and the control after a one-month follow-up?
The purpose of the study
The purpose of the study is to find out the following:
(1) The effect of cognitive modeling on the reduction of impulsiveness.
(2) The effect of the treatment programme on improving academic performance.
(3) If the reduction in impulsiveness after one month of treatment will differ between the treated and the control group.
(1) There is no significant difference in the reduction of impulsiveness between the treated and control group at post-treatment assessment.
(2) There is no significant difference in the academic performances between the treated and control group at post-treatment assessment.
(3) There is no significant difference in the reduction of impulsiveness between the treated and the control group at one-month follow-up assessment.
Impulsiveness is one of the primary school disruptive behaviour problem. It is believed that environmental stressors are responsible for the childhood restless, distraction and lack of concentration and thus such impulsive children perform poorly in school work than their peers, fail to follow or remedies instructions or complete assignment more likely to have learning disability, repeat class and be placed in special education classes (Faraone, Biederman KrifeherLehmon, Spencer, Norman, and Seidman, 1993). Although they tend to be of average or above average intelligence, they often underachieve in school. They are frequently disruptive in the classroom and tend to get into fights, especially the boys (Lambert, Hartsough, Sassone and Sandovol, 1987). Olasehinde (1984) found that there is a significant relationship in the student's scores on creativity test and their preferred cognitive style of impulsivity or reflectivity. The reflective students performed appreciably better than the impulsive students on the test of creativity.
Modelling is a form of observational learning in which clients first observe and then imitate others who approach or interact with fear-evoking situations or objects. After observing the model, the client may be assisted or guided by the therapist or the model in performing the target behaivour. The client receives ample reinforcement from the therapist for each attempt. Bandura et al (1969, 1974) pioneered the use of modeling to treat various phobias, especially fear of animals, such as snakes and dogs.
Modelling operated in two phases, the acquisition and the performance phases. Essumam, Nwaogu and Nwachukwu (1990) stated that there are many variants of modeling namely, live modeling, film modeling, symbolic modeling, role playing, behavioural rehearsal or guided practice and bibliotherapy.
Modelling is a behavioural intervention techniques and many clinicians, counseling psychologists and special educators have become interested in using cognitive behavioural techniques in modifying the feelings and behaviours of a client by influencing his or her patterns of thought. Meichenbaun and Goodman (1971) compared cognitive modeling with and without the requirement that the client rehearse the instruction. Although cognitive modeling alone was effective in slowing down the child's behaviour on the matching figure test, errors were not reduced. Slowing down and error reduction were associated with cognitive modeling and rehearsal. Herman (1982) used peer modeling treatment to modify impulsive cognitive style and improved academic performance in the area of reading, spelling and arithmetic.
In Nigeria, Abosi (1986) used modeling and shaping to improve the students' English language achievement; self concept and attitude. Odoemelam (1994) in her study used peer modeling which was effective in reducing behaviour problem and increased self-concept of the pupils. The treatment was effective on children with minor, mild and moderate behaviour problem.
The population consists of all primary four pupils who were repeating the class. The primary four pupils were employed for the study because their age bracket is the age when impulsiveness is fully manifested and their parents and teachers have noticed their inability to stay in one place, finish assignment, obey instructions and accomplish tasks required of their age level. Researchers have recorded that impulsive children have difficulties in inhibiting movement, processing information, performing perceptual and discrimination tasks and using effective search strategies in solving problems. They do poorly on ward recognition and arithmetic tasks.
The researcher distributed one hundred copies of Impulsive- Related Trait Questionnaire for Teachers (IRTQT) to the primary four teachers in a selected school, in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria, for the teachers to identify pupils. Pupils who were scored above twenty points in the IRTQT were given the Impulsive Questionnaire for Children (IQFC) to respond to. Those who scored 10 points and above were rated as impulsive. A total sample of 50 was chosen because the teachers' observations and rating tallied with the children's response to IQFC. The parents of the pupils were also given the checklist on the identification of impulsive children. Two of the children were not rated by the parents as impulsive having a balance of 48 children. Of the 48 children, 20 boys and girls finally participated in the study because of gender sensitivity but the participants were randomly assigned to the two groups of treatment and control group.
Procedure for Data Collection
The twenty pupils were exposed to pre and post test in English and Arithmetic. The pretest aimed at tapping the participants' entry baseline achievement while the post-test aimed at finding out if there were improvements between the pretest and posttest results. The experimental group was exposed to six weeks of training based on cognitive modeling. The cognitive modeling treatment package involved the organisation of retention of behaviour through guided behaviour rehearsal. Careful examination of materials and paying attention to details were skills emphasized. This group had a total of nine sessions of approximately 50 minutes each.
1. They were trained on the skills of observation, identification of similarities and differences as materials presented to them.
2. The skills of observation, imitation and performance of tasks were emphasized.
3. The participants who learned the reading were praised for their efforts and encouraged to improve. Those who did not observe, imitate and perform the task would lose their break play.
4. The participants were guided to rehearse the reading and feedback was immediately given to those who performed well. Tasks and assignment were given to the participant.
5. Progress verification, rehearsal of fourth session with mathematics task demonstrated by the assistant. There is observation of step taken to solve mathematics tasks. Tasks and assignments were given to the participants.
6. New tasks were given and the participants were called to demonstrate the working on the chalkboard. Reinforcement for minimal errors was given while participants were asked to observe their errors and correct them.
7. Demonstration and role playing of tasks while participants rehearsed the sequences as well. Participants were taught to think things over before they engage in any task. They were encouraged to describe distracting behaviour chains (looking out of the window, leaving their seats, playing etc.). To break the behaviour chains, they were encouraged to pay attention in class and that they could be called by the teacher to respond to questions.
8. Progress verification, peer modeling, review of cognitive modeling skills, problem solving and questioning, encouragement and rehearsal. Task and assignment given.
9. Progress verification, cognitive modeling reviewed, role rehearsal. Appreciation for participating in the programme.
To test for relative efficacy of the treatment strategy in the reduction of impulsiveness and post assessment period, the t-test analysis indicated that the treated group had a reduction in impulsiveness than the control group.
Decision: Reject HO
To test for comparison for the academic performance between the treated and control group, the result indicated that there was significant difference in the academic performance.
Decision: Reject HO
To test for comparison for relative efficacy of the treatment strategy in the reduction of impulsiveness and one month followup assessment, the result indicated that there was significant difference.
Decision: Reject HO
The first null hypothesis sought to establish whether there is no significant difference in the reduction of impulsiveness between the treated and control group at post- assessment. The result indicated that participants treated with cognitive modeling showed significant reduction in impulsiveness when compared with the control group. The result therefore corroborates the findings of Meichenbaun and Goodman (1971).
The second null hypothesis states that there is no significant difference in the academic performance between the groups. This hypothesis was rejected, since there was a significant difference in the academic performance between the groups. The participant treated with cognitive modeling performed better in English and Mathematics test given to them at post treatment period. Hermon (1982) used peer modeling, which is an aspect of cognitive modeling, to modify impulsive cognitive style and improved academic performance in the area of reading, spelling and arithmetic.
The third null hypothesis states that there is no significant difference in the reduction of impulsiveness of the groups at onemonth follow-up assessment. This hypothesis was rejected, since the reduction in impulsiveness was maintained after one-month follow-up assessment. This result is in line with Abosi (1986) and Odoemelam (1994) in which achievements and self concepts were improved in their subjects.
The importance of psychological and behaviour modification strategy in the reduction of impulsiveness among primary school children must be recognized and used by counselors. The many impulsive children whose academic families have be relegated to the backgroup must be attended to. The use of cognitive modeling reduce impulsiveness in this study has shown that many behaviour problems encountered by our pupils can be tackled with results.
Also if these disruptive behaviours are reduced in the pupils, they will function effectively like any other children in the school intellectually.
Finally, the study calls the attention of school counselors as well as classroom teachers to identify and assist impulsive children in the schools to become more observant, think and pay attention in class so that they can improve in their academic performance.
The results of the present study do create some significant and useful information on the importance issues of treatment effectiveness in the problem of classroom impulsiveness. The treatment helped to improving the academic performance of the treated participants. The reduction in the impulsiveness was maintained up to one-month follow-up by the treated group.
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Pat. A. Nwamuo Ph.D.
Dept. ofEd. Psych. /G&C