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INFLUENCE OF SPORT ACTIVITIES ON SOCIAL SKILLS ACQUISITION OF PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS IN IREPODUN LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF KWARA STATE

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INFLUENCE OF SPORT ACTIVITIES ON SOCIAL SKILLS ACQUISITION OF PRIMARY SCHOOL PUPILS IN IREPODUN LOCAL GOVERNMENT OF KWARA STATE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background Of Study

It is no doubt that the future of any society is built on healthy children. According to Zahra,  & Zohreh, (2020), building healthy primary school children encompasses various dimensions, including physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. Physical health involves promoting regular physical activity, nutritious diet, and adequate sleep to support growth and development. Mental health initiatives focus on providing resources for managing stress, building resilience, and fostering positive self-esteem and self-image. Socially, creating inclusive environments and promoting social interaction through activities like team sports and group projects can help children develop communication skills, empathy, and cooperation. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to know how children’s physical and mental health are developing especially in early childhood which is a critical time for the development of social skills in children. 

As argued by Udoka (2019) social skills allow people to form social connections at different stages of life, facilitate social adaptability, establish and maintain social connections, and have both long- and short-term effects on a person's life. Social skills enable children to build successful relationships with others, aid in school readiness, and improve adaptation to the formal school setting (Zahra& Zohreh (2020). Shahrum (2012), revealed that often relate the concept of social competence with the concept of social skills. Social competence together with social behaviors and skills entails understanding, planning and performance to achieve better social interaction. He states that social competence has a constructive role in shaping adjustment abilities both in childhood and adulthood.  Azunna (2021) assert that social competency is defined as a part of social skills, even as developing social skills is a crucial aspect of maintaining mental health and serve as a general indicator of how well someone interacts with others. According to Whitley and Kite (2016),  a social skill is any competency that facilitates engagement and communication with others where social rules and relations are developed, transmitted, and changed in spoken and nonverbal ways. Social awkwardness can result from a lack of these abilities. Social skills are the ability to interact with others, learn, seek assistance, meet needs appropriately, make friends, form healthy relationships, and defend oneself.  However, the process of gaining these abilities is known as socialization.

  Apparently in the school environment, social skills acquisition by pupil can be hone via extracurricular activities and sport activities precisely. Certainly the planned instruction social development through sport and Physical Education has become a key player. In the model of instruction by Makwin (2019  the teaching of personal and social responsibility focuses on teaching students to be personally and socially responsible and inculcating in them the basic social skills. The model has been used to build a sense of responsibility for personal development, well-being and learning, as well as to others inside and outside the gym. The model helps students develop social skills that can improve their social competence.  According to Yilmaz & Ilhan, (2016) extracurricular services are the services provided in school which students participate apart from the necessity of gaining a certificate. These extracurricular services (i.e. sports and social activities) provide additional advantages for students to manage stress and to grow the level of their skills, experiences, and functionality.  Adeyemo, (2020) maintained that extracurricular activities experience has become an important component of students’ school life as many students today engage in various activities that they cherish. Sports provides the opportunity for social acceptance among students as they participate in games and group activities drive, increase your chance of success in community. Indeed, physical education is often a subject where the interests of the students are more related to socialize to learn content. 

Makwin (2019) argued that pupils' social skill acquisition is very important as it influences how the child is likely to make an impact on society. Abdullai (2021) asserts that even though social skills are important because they can help you communicate more effectively and efficiently, social skills are learned behaviors based on social conventions and let people engage with others in society.  as a result, pupil build, maintain and grow relationships with peers, family and  society. Sport activities can not only help children develop psychomotor skills, but can provide psychological benefits through the development of personal and social responsibility, and correct social behavior. However, the social growth of students is not an automatic result of participation in physical activity. Studies by Umana, Ekong and Ubong (2022) identified certain social behaviors that influence school performance and children's learning. This includes listening and following directions, adequately participate in groups, staying vigilant in the work and the organization of work materials. These behaviors are known as "social skills related to learning" and are directly related to the success and adjustment of school-age students.  

Therefore, owing that the role of sports in promoting mental well-being and emotional resilience among primary school pupils is undebatable, a study by Adegboyega et al. (2018) maintained that schools are to invested substantial resources on extracurricular services and they are expected to provide a wide range of these services to provide a balanced education. More so, through regular participation in sports activities, primary school children acquire coping mechanisms for stress management, build self-confidence, and develop a positive self-concept, all of which are conducive to healthy social interactions (Adegboyega et al., 2018).

1.2 Statement of the problem

The integration of sports activities into the curriculum has been recognized as a promising approach to enhancing social skills acquisition and social competence thus has been a subject of increasing interest due to its potential impact on the holistic development of primary school pupils.  Research by Odukoya and Fowowe (2019) emphasized the positive impact of sports participation on various aspects of social development, including communication, teamwork, and leadership skills. By engaging in sports activities, pupils have the opportunity to interact with peers in a collaborative environment, fostering the development of interpersonal skills essential for effective social interaction. As highlighted by Olagunju et al. (2020), sports activities offer a level playing field where children from different backgrounds can come together, transcending cultural, ethnic, and socio-economic barriers. Through shared experiences on the sports field, pupils learn to appreciate diversity, develop empathy, and cultivate mutual respect, thereby fostering a sense of belonging and social cohesion within the school community. 

While sports are traditionally associated with physical health benefits, recent research has indicated their profound influence on social skills acquisition among children. However, despite the growing body of literature emphasizing the positive correlation between sports and social skills development, there remains a gap in understanding the specific dynamics of this relationship within the context of primary education in Irepodun Local Government, Kwara State. Additionally, the scarcity of empirical evidence regarding the influence of sports activities on social skills acquisition among primary school pupils in Irepodun Local Government underscores the urgency of this research endeavor.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of the study is focused on the influence of sport activities on social skills acquisition of primary school pupils in irepodun local government of kwara state. Specifically, the study seeks to:

Assess the current level of participation in sports activities among primary school pupils in in Irepodun Local Government.

Investigate the influence participation in sports activities has on Pupil’s acquisition of social skills in Irepodun Local Government.

Examine factors that may influence the effectiveness of sports activities in fostering social skills acquisition among primary school pupils in Irepodun Local Government.

Identify recommendations for designing sports activities to optimize the acquisition of social skills among primary school pupils in Irepodun Local Government

1.4 Research Questions

What is the current level of participation in sports activities among primary school pupils in in Irepodun Local Government?

What is the influence participation in sports activities has on Pupil’s acquisition of social skills in Irepodun Local Government?

What are the factors that may influence the effectiveness of sports activities in fostering social skills acquisition among primary school pupils in Irepodun Local Government?

What are the recommendations for designing sports activities to optimize the acquisition of social skills among primary school pupils in Irepodun Local Government?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

Ho1: The current level of participation in sports activities among primary school pupils in Irepodun Local Government is low.

Ho2: There is no significant influence of sport activities on social skills acquisition of primary school pupils in Irepodun local government of Kwara State

1.6 Significance of the Study

Practically, the findings of this study can inform educational policymakers, school administrators, and educators in designing and implementing effective sports programs aimed at fostering social skills among primary school pupils. By identifying best practices and recommendations for integrating sports into the curriculum, the study offers practical guidance for enhancing the quality of education in Irepodun Local Government and beyond. Moreover, the study's emphasis on socio-cultural and environmental factors underscores the importance of contextually relevant approaches to sports education, ensuring that interventions are tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of the local community, thereby maximizing their impact on social skills acquisition among primary school pupils.

Theoretically, the significance of this study lies in its contribution to the existing body of literature on the relationship between sports activities and social skills acquisition among primary school pupils. By investigating the specific dynamics of this relationship within the context of Nigeria, particularly in Irepodun Local Government, Kwara State, the study fills a significant gap in knowledge. It offers insights into how sports participation influences various aspects of social development, such as communication, teamwork, empathy, and conflict resolution, providing a theoretical framework for understanding the mechanisms through which sports contribute to holistic child development.

1.7 Scope of the Study

The content scope of this study involves a comprehensive investigation into the influence of sports activities on social skills acquisition among primary school pupils in Irepodun Local Government, Kwara State, Nigeria. It encompasses assessing the current level of sports participation among pupils, examining the relationship between sports engagement and the development of social skills such as communication, cooperation, empathy, and conflict resolution, and exploring the socio-cultural and environmental factors that may impact the effectiveness of sports programs in fostering social skills. Additionally, the study will analyze the integration of sports into the educational curriculum and its implications for promoting holistic development and enhancing the quality of education in the region. The geographical scope of this study is focused on primary schools in  Irepodun Local Government in Kwara State, Nigeria.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

Like every academic endeavor is encumbered by weakness, the study’s limitations is centered around the scope, sample data collection and reliance on survey design.  The potential for sample bias due to the focus on a specific geographical area Irepodun Local Government in Kwara State, Nigeria is a limtation. While this localized approach allows for in-depth exploration within a particular context, it will limit the generalizability of the findings to broader populations. Additionally, the reliance on self-reported data or subjective assessments of social skills acquisition and sports participation among primary school pupils could introduce response biases or measurement errors, affecting the validity and reliability of the study's results. Furthermore, the study's survey design will only provide a snapshot of the relationship between sports activities and social skills development, without capturing longitudinal changes or causal relationships over time. Lastly, logistical constraints such as access to resources, time limitations, and administrative barriers of primary schools may pose challenges to data collection and analysis, potentially impacting the comprehensiveness and depth of the study's findings.

1.9 Definitions of Terms

Sports Activities: For the purposes of this study, sports activities refer to structured physical exercises or games involving organized participation in sports such as soccer, basketball, athletics, swimming, etc., either within or outside the school setting. These activities may include both competitive and non-competitive sports events, physical education classes, and extracurricular sports clubs or programs.

Social Skills: In this study, social skills are operationally defined as observable behaviors and competencies demonstrated by primary school pupils in Irepodun Local Government, Kwara State, Nigeria, including but not limited to verbal and non-verbal communication, cooperation, empathy, conflict resolution, and teamwork. 

Primary School Pupils: Primary school pupils are operationally defined as children between the ages of 6 and 12 enrolled in primary or elementary schools within Irepodun Local Government, Kwara State, Nigeria, comprising grades 1 through 6. Data collection will focus on this specific age group and educational level.


This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research



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