The perceptual preferences of a group of Malaysian kindergarten children and the effects of tactile and kinaesthetic teaching methods on their learning of Bahasa Malaysia as a second language : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education at Massey University
This intervention study was undertaken in response to a teacher's desire to acquire more effective language teaching methods to use with a small class of academically able, but disinterested five to six year olds. It was decided to trial the use of tactile and kinaesthetic methods because learning style research literature indicates that these are the preferred perceptual modalities of children of this age and the existing language teaching programme consisted almost entirely of auditory and visual activities. Pre-intervention interviews confirmed the first hypothesis: that the children preferred tactile and kinaesthetic learning. Pre- and post-testing of each lesson also confirmed the second hypothesis: that the class as a whole would achieve greater gains in vocabulary acquisition with the introduction of tactile and kinaesthetic learning activities. In a total of 18 out of 23 instances there was a significant pre-post gain on tactile lessons. In a total of 19 out of 24 instances there was a significant pre-post gain on kinaesthetic lessons. However, the final two hypotheses positing an advantage of the tactile and kinaesthetic experimental lessons over control lessons were less strongly supported. Whilst the experimental lessons were slightly more effective than the controls, yielding three, and virtually four significant gains over the control lessons in six trials (p= .0157, p= .0389, p=.0440, p= .0633), the gains registered for matched conditions did not significantly exceed those for unmatched conditions. Reasons are argued to lie in a spread of effect from the experimental to the control lessons, and the need to consider the influence of other learning style elements.