PUPILS’ ACTIVITIES AND LEARNING PROCESS EFFECTS
Milena Pejchinovska, Jove D. Talevski
Faculty of Education, Sv. Climent Ohridski, Bitola, Vasko Karangelevski Street, Bitola
Pupils’ activities are the essence of the educational process and bound to be the outcome of the teaching
content and objectives. The success of the teaching objectives realisation depends on the quality,
structure, planning, systematization and differentiation of the pupils’ activities. At the same time, the
learning process effects are conditional upon the didactic-methodological features, the quality and
systematization of pupils’ daily activities.
Key words: pupils’ activities, learning, success in teaching
The numerous projects in the Republic of Macedonia realized in the past two decades2 have resulted in
improvement of the programmes in all of the areas of the educational process indicating the very
methods, strategies, and class-teaching forms which point out the significance of active inclusion of the
pupils in the teaching-learning process. Despite the innovations in the educational process, the teacher’s
daily practice still contains the problem of operationalization of the objectives generally set in the subject
plan and their optimal realisation with a choice of most adequate didactic-methodological solutions.
Thus, the teacher’s task becomes more complex due to the necessity to bring the pupils’ activities into
correlation with the subject curriculum content and the aims. On the other side, nowadays, the
curriculum content for primary school subjects already offers pupils’ activities and those are often
applied by teachers when teaching although they are to be used only as examples which would spur
more creative solutions and not to be regarded as ready-made everlasting samples. So far, the analyses
of the course curricula of the first and second cycle of primary education have shown that a large number
of the objectives of the subject curriculum content are designed to develop competences in acquiring
knowledge and the utility of the same, which makes the selection of activities fall upon the realisation
of those objectives. In order to indicate the essence of this problem, our paper also focuses on the
activities aiming at the development of cognitive competences, emphasizing that - in practice and in the
further research of the said, a greater attention should be paid to the definement of the activities which
are to influence the affective aspect of personality development. Namely, the complexity of the affective
sphere is the cause for the difficulties when determining the precise objectives and arranging of the same
on the scale of hierarchy according to their complexity, which largely determines the teacher’s selection
of activities for this field.
Therefore, with our paper, we want to give an illustration of the educational practice, from the aspect of
pupil’s activities, more accurately, about their characteristics and their significance. We would also like
2 A list of projects realized in the educational field in the Republic of Macedonia, in the past two decades, see Б.
Камчевска. (2006): 52-78.
to indicate the fact that the didactic-methodological solutions in the realization of the teaching objectives
must be in correlation with the structured pupils’ activities, which will contribute to the improvement of
the effects in the process of teaching. In that regard, this paper is an attempt to set a base for using the
empirical research knowledge to initiate further profound analysis of the complex problems associated
with the pupils’ activities concerning operationalization, structuring, differentiation, optimal realization
etc. It will necessarily improve the process of learning the subjects of the natural sciences and social
sciences3 in the first and the second cycle of the primary education, as well as it will the process of
learning in all fields in general.
2. THE COMPLEX NATURE OF PUPILS’ ACTIVITIES
In order to be able to successfully grasp the nature of pupils' activities, it is essential that our starting
point be S.Adamcheska’s stand on teaching activities, according to which they are related both to the
teacher’s actions during a class and the pupils’ activities of the cognitive nature performed indoors and
outdoors. In line with this, the activities to be implemented in accordance with the functional and
educational tasks are classified as: pupils’ activities within the framework of educational tasks and
pupils’ activities within the framework of functional tasks, which, depending on the field of activity, are
classified as: psychomotor and cognitive activities4. We can define the comprehensive nature of
activities if we consider the stand of N. Havelka by which it is stated that learning is a set of activities
that change the personality of the pupils and that the activities performed with awareness bring about
permanent positive changes in pupils’ personalities5. Depending on the objective of the class and
depending on what competences are being developed with pupils, according to some authors, the
following types of activities can be distinguished: cognitive, motor, receptive, productive, reproductive,
There are numerous pupils' activities that constitute the contents of the teaching. In order to clarify the
subject of this paper research, we present our insight into some of the types of activities, their
classification, and key features. Namely, on the basis of the analysis conducted, and depending on the
part of the personality development that is to be spurred and developed, we will classify the planned
pupils’ activities as: activities for development of cognitive competences, activities for development of
psychomotor competences and activities for development of affective competences of pupils. For
instance, within the cognitive development domain (acquisition, development and application of
knowledge, and cognitive skills), some of the specific activities that spur and stimulate cognitive
3 In our country, the subjects of natural and social sciences in the first and the second cycle of the primary education
encompass contents of various natural and social disciplines, which are pedagogically and psychologically
elaborated and included in the subjects Introduction to the Environment from the first to the third grade, Nature,
Society in the fourth and Natural Sciences and Society in the fifth grade.
4 See С. Адамческа. (1996): 59-60.
5 See N. Havelka. (2000): 67-68.
development, thinking, and intellectual development6 are: observation, description, comparison,
grouping, understanding, analysis, synthesis, application, evaluation etc.7
Pupils’ activities must be planned in advance and correspond with the type of the class to be being given.
Teachers decide upon pupils' activities for the introductory, main, and closing part of the class when
preparing the operational plan based on the determined tasks. In line with this, according to the stages
of the class, class activities are classified into: activities in the introductory part of the class, activities
in the main part, and activities in the closing one (reflection activities and evaluation activities, such as
analytical diary activities, five-minute writing activities etc.).
Based upon the application of the activities in various class strategies, such as the strategies of teaching,
learning, experiencing and expression, exercising, creation etc., we can classify the activities as activities
of teaching through conversation, dialogue, programmed teaching etc.; learning through research,
problem solving, discovering, projects and games etc.; receptive and productive activities;learning the
learning, practical skills, the native language or a foreign one etc.; procedures that encourage different
forms of creation.
The most signifcant features of the pupils’ activities to be pointed out are as follows:
The feature of being specific. Specific activities of pupils means a set of activities that are determined
upon on the basis of the type of the class (depending on whether new knowledge, skills, habits, and other
competences are being learnt or the ones already learned are being revised and practised), as well as on
the basis of the nature of the tasks and objectives that are to be realized. In this sense, if the teaching
situation indicates that problem elements are predominant, then the specific activities will be of the
research types of activities in the implementation of the class sequences.
Activities structure. Structure of activities means that each activity has its beginning,progress and end.
Differentiation of activities. Differentiating the activities means determining structured activities
according to individual pupils’ characteristics, as well as learning and development of pupils in
accordance with their individual abilities, affinities and interests. Each pupil of different abilities and
different intellectual development progresses at his/her own pace, and the teaching objectives are
determined according to the average pupils. Any uniformity in the teaching approach based upon
average pupils practically leads to their success only whereas the cognitive, emotional and other needs
of the pupils with under-average achievements in the class, as well as those of the ones with above-
average achievements in the class, will be neglected. The differentiation of activities is to produce high-
quality learning and success for all of the pupils8.
6 We are led by some authors’ opinions that intelligence is hereditary, but when it comes to intelligent pupils,
whose intellectual development is not stimulated and developed, there is a great possibility that their intellectual
development will stagnate and their innate dispositions will remain undeveloped.
7 In the professional literature on development and improvement of the cognitive competences, as well as the
psychomotor and affective competences, there are numerous activities, see Адамческа. (1996): 59-69.
8 In practice, where the number of pupils in the classroom is larger than 20, the conditions to differentiate the
activities according to individual pupils’ characteristics are much more difficult. Grading is even more difficult,
due to the fact that formation grading of the process of learning is still in its initial phase, and the effective feedback
from each pupil, on each activity, under conditions of unclear grading criteria is difficult V. Janusheva, M.
Pejchinovska. (2011): Sliven, Volume 19: 71-76.
3. PUPILS’ ACTIVITIES – INDICATORS OF THE EFFECTS OF THE LEARNING PROCESS
The essence of the problem examined in this paper is at the base of the educational process, i.e. the class,
in which the process of personality development and education is implemented, and pupils’ personality
is being changed progressively and with awareness. On the basis of the given curricula and teaching
plans, the teacher has to select the most appropriate methods and forms of work in accordance with the
time available for optimal teaching and development of pupils. Thus, important questions arise: How to
do this? On what basis will they determine the optimal didactic and methodological solutions? How will
they monitor the pupils' achievements and improve the process of learning at the same time enabling an
optimal realization of the objectives? In order to get to the answers, we refer to N. Havelka who points
out the forms and methods of teaching work which introduce pupils with the realization of activities in
all class stages, and the realized activities are those that by themselves are significant developmental
and educational achievements. Therefore, optimal didactic and methodological solution in the
realization of the teaching objectives is what ensures that the structure of pupils’ activities corresponds
with the program aims9. Or, what we want to be the result of the learning must be given in a certain
form from the very beginning of teaching, for instance, if the aim is to develop creative and critical
thinking with pupils, they must be faced with concrete situations through activities that will require from
them to reach creative solutions and discussion, or with situations that will require from pupils to be
critical10. We can call the stated activities specific, because their purpose is to influence the development
precisely of the stated specific areas of pupils’ personality.
In that regard, for improvement of the process of learning in the fields of the natural and social sciences,
as well as in all fields in general, it is necessary to design certain methodological models guidelines for
identifying teaching situations of determined type and quantity of activities that the pupil has to perform
in cooperation with the teacher and the other pupils. Thus, the degree of performed real11, structured
pupils’ activities is the criteria to evaluate the efficiency and quality of the process of learning in the
teaching process and the indicator of the success/failure in class.
4. METHODOLOGY OF RESEARCH
According to its nature, the conducted research, which is a segment of a Master’s research, is active and
realized with the aim to improve pupils’ learning process12 in Introduction to the Environment, Nature
9 See Havelka. (2000): 67.
10 Creativity and critical thinking are competences that cannot be developed in just one class or during several
classes and they are processes and skills relating to progressive development in the affective sphere of individuals.
In addition, activities relating to the development of creativity and critical thinking are hard to measure, since the
skills themselves are characterized with inexactness. We will not go into a more detailed explanation of the
specifics of the process skills and their measurability in this part.
11 Clearly manifested pupils’ activities in the teaching.
12 In the wider sense of pedagogy and psychology, learning is a developmental activity which aims at realisation
of envisaged personality changes or changes of individuals’ behaviour. See Havelka. (2000): 67. Learning is an
individual process which depends on the developmental characteristics of the individual on his nature, character,
interest, attention, motivation, and many other objective and subjective factors. Bearing in mind that cognitive
categories such as memory, understanding, motivation, interest, attention etc., are psychological categories, we
shall not go into their further interpretation and analysis for the aims of our paper. The paper focuses only on the
and Society, by introducing models with planned and organized activities for the pupils and the teacher.
The time framework of the research covers the period from October 2008 to March 2009. Within this
period a survey was conducted encompassing the pupils and teachers, pre-knowledge diagnostic testing
of pupils, 12 model classes with systematic observation twice a week, and a final testing of pupils’
acquisition of the lessons taught. The examinee sample numbered 315 third-grade and fourth-grade
pupils and 35 teachers from 9 primary schools in the urban and rural area of the t. Bitola, Republic of
Macedonia. The examinees sub-sample for the realization of the 12 model classes numbered 160 pupils
and 12 teachers from 5 primary schools in the urban and rural area of the t. Bitola, Republic of
Macedonia. Experimental factors (x) were introduced in the experimental group (E group) and the
common teaching procedures were applied in the control group (C group). The E group was subjected
to measurements of the dependent variables before, at the time of, and after the experimental factor
The research procedures and instruments used for collecting data on the examined issue are: a survey
and a questionnaire for examining the pupils and teachers’ stands and opinions about the examined
issue; a systematic observation and an observation protocol applied to obtain data on the efficiency of
pupils’ activities in class; and testing and tests for determining the level of the achievements in the initial
phase and in the final phase, after the introduction of the experimental factor. Statistical procedures for
data collecting were: measures of central tendency – arithmetic mean; measures of variability – standard
deviation and coefficient of variability; t-test and х2 – test.
5. ANALYSIS OF THE RESEARCH DATA AND DISCUSSION
Based on the results of the action research and the conducted analysis of the problem related to pupils’
activities, it was determined that the pupils in the E group had better results in the tests in the categories
of understanding and application of concepts from the content they were being taught with the help of
the introduced methodological models. The curricula contents in the E group were implemented with
clearly determined pupils’ activities arising from the objectives and contents of the teaching. In this
sense, by proving the hypotheses of the hypothetical frame, a general conclusion has been reached that
the determination and application of high-quality, structured, specific pupils' activities improve the
quality of the acquired knowledge, thus improving the general achievement of pupils in the teaching
process. The following distinct conclusions has arisen from the confirmed and accepted distinct
1. Quality13 systematic and structured pupils’ activities in the observation of a well-selected subject for
this purpose lead to successful discernment of the significant elements of the observed objects,
phenomena, and processes, thus resulting in better achievements in the categories of knowledge,
understanding, and application of the concepts from the realized contents; 2. If quality, structured
activities are applied in the teaching, in the research procedures that lead to discernment, comparison,
analysis, synthesis and conclusion, the formation of notions and concepts is more effective; 3. The higher
the quality of the structured pupils' activities organized and conducted in the field (direct natural
surroundings and social environment) when teaching natural and social sciences subjects, the higher
the quality of the acquired knowledge; 4. When quality structured and systematic activities are
real, visible, manifest changes in the learning when pupils are being taught by means of certain quality structured
13 Carefully selected so that they correspond to the goals and contents of the class and well-organized activities.
undertaken in the observation of visual resources (images, sketches, schemes, and illustrated maps), the
notions are clear and serve as a basis for future generalizations.
The grounds of the above-mentioned conclusions were confirmed with the final evaluation in which the
pupils from the E group showed greater achievements in the results of the final tests in the topics Traffic
Education and Features of the Environment and Orientation in it14.
The quantity indices in the statistic processing reflect the above said. Furthermore, the acquired quantity
results of the t-test have shown that the difference is neither accidental nor statistically insignificant.
The difference between the two arithmetical means i.e. those of Е and C group final results is - t = 5,16
иt = 2,85,with the degree of freedom of - 9 in the first, and degree of freedom of 6 in the second case,
(with the significance level of 0,05) and thus statistically significant.
Hence, the arithmetical means of the results obtained from E group is 32,70, and the middle value of the
results of C group is 29,83. The difference between the two arithmetical means i.e. those of Е and C
group is 2,87 in favour of Е group.
Table 1. Results from the final examination of the pupils’ achievements on the topic Traffic
E group C group
SD 3,85 4,16
CSD 11,77% 13,95%
t = 5,16
Table 2. Results from the final examination of the pupils’ achievements on the topic Features of the
Environment and Orientation in it
E group C group
SD 4,83 6,62
CSD 13,80% 20,43%
t = 2,85
14 See М. Пејчиновска. (2010): 62-68, Master’s thesis.
Analysis of the data has shown that the achievements quantity difference that this testing has shown
goes in favor of E group, which is obvious in the results from the final testing of the knowledge,
understanding and application of concepts from the content Traffic Education presented in Table 3.
Table 3. Pupils’ achievements at the final testingon the topic Traffic Education
tasks 12345678910 ___
group 2,07 5,88 2,70 2,63 2,22 2,89 3,48 1,34 6,75 2,74 32,70
Control group 2,08 5,61 2,51 2,37 2,10 2,81 2,80 1,06 6,59 1,90 29,83
group % 68,89 97,94 90,16 87,62 73,97 96,19 86,90 67,14 96,46 68,57 86,04
%69,21 93,49 83,81 79,05 69,84 93,65 70,00 52,86 94,15 47,62 78,50
Difference % -0,32 4,44 6,35 8,57 4,13 2,54 16,90 14,29 2,31 20,95 7,54
In the statistic procession of data the quantitive indices have also shown a difference regarding the
achievements in the final testing with Е and C group on the topic Features of the Environment and
Orientation in it. The average achievements with Е group is 35,04% i.e. 2,63% higher than the average
achievements with C group which is 32,41%. The analysis of the data has shown the E group has had
better achievements than the C group in almost every of the tasks given in the final testing, presented in
Table 4. Pupils’ achievements at the final testingon the topic Features of the Environment and
Orientation in it
tasks 1234567 ___
Experimental group 7,93 3,66 3,73 5,13 3,43 5,26 5,59 35,04
Control group 7,94 3,43 3,58 3,83 3,40 5,13 5,13 32,41
Experimental group % 99,06 91,56 93,13 85,42 85,63 87,71 93,13 92,20
Control group % 99,22 85,63 89,38 63,75 85,00 85,42 85,42 85,30
Difference % -0,16 5,94 3,75 21,67 0,62 2,29 7,71 6,91
The pupils in E group have also shown higher quality of the achievements acquired in reference with
the categories comprehension and skills, confirmed with the statistic procession of the data in the х2 -
test. This is indicator of the effect of the introductory methodological models over the process of
learning as well as the confirmation of the influence of the same over the better quality of the acquired
notions in reference with both topics.
In the final examination we examined the achievements of the pupils from E and C group on the topis
Traffic Education and Features of the Environment and Orientation in it regarding the categories
comprehension and application of the concepts. The analysis of the obtained results from the tasks has
confirmed both the quality of the acquired achievements and the effect of the introductory
methodological models over the process of learning (tables 5 and 6).
Table 5. x2 – test on the categories of comprehension and application from the topic Traffic Education
tasks C - points Е - points All points
1218 217 435
5220 233 453
8111 141 252
10 200 288 488
Total 749 879 1.628
SS = (r-1)(k-1) = (4-1)(2-1) = 3, x2= 9,495 > 7,815
Table 6. x2 - test on the categories of comprehension and application from the topic Features of the
Environment and Orientation in it
tasks C - points Е - points All points
4272 274 546
5286 298 584
6306 410 716
7410 447 857
Total 1.274 1.429 2.703
SS = (r-1)(k-1) = (4-1)(2-1) = 3, x2= 8,096 > 7,815
On the other side, the analysis of the research results has shown that the achievements in both groups
regarding the category of knowledge do not depend on the introductory methodological models, which
can be seen in tables 7 and 8.
Table 7. x2 - test on the category knowledge from the topic Traffic Education
task C - points Е - points All points
2589 617 1206
3264 284 548
4249 276 525
6295 303 598
7294 365 659
9692 709 1401
Total 2.383 2.554 4.937
SS = (r-1)(k-1) = (6-1)(2-1) = 5, x2= 4,814 < 11,070
Table 8. x2 – test on the category knowledge from the topic Features of the Environment and
Orientation in it
tasks C - points Е - points All points
1635 634 1269
2274 293 567
3286 298 584
In all 1.195 1.225 2.420
SS = (r-1)(k-1) = (3-1)(2-1) = 2, x2= 0,512 < 5,991
In addition, the analysis of the data from the observation protocols helped to confirm the conclusion on
the efficiency of observation, research in the natural environment, modelling, and creation of illustrated
maps15.These higher results in the finals are due to the precisely determined quality, structured activities
in the introductory, main, and closing part of the class, the great interdependence of research in the
field16 and the pleasure, interest, and motivation of pupils in the immediate contact with objects,
phenomena and processes, as well as to the application of visual and other teaching resources to serve
for successful realization of pupils' activities. Furthermore, the data from the observation protocols has
shown that pupils' achievement depends on pupils’ interest, activity and motivation17.
The real pupils’ activities in the closing part of each of the classes, or in the closing part in each separate
one of the series of classes, enable the determination of the quality of the educational curricula and the
realisation of the set class objectives, at the same time indicating the teaching success/failure. Pupils’
15 See Пејчиновска. (2010): 148-161.
16 64% of the total number of examined pupils (315 pupils from nine primary schools from the urban and rural
area of Bitola) responded that research classes outdoors, in the immediate environment, were interesting, see
Пејчиновска. (2010): 150.
17 Пејчиновска. (2011). Мотивационата функција на повратната информација во наставата по ЗО,
природа, општество и подобрувањето на успехот на учениците.Оценување за учење во 21-от век, Охрид.
activities such as observation, recognition, identification, comparison, note-making, drawing etc., in
organizational research, observation (as a research procedure) and modelling improve pupils’
achievements. In the course of the research, the quality, structured and systematic activities in the
framework of 12 methodological models and the didactic-methodological solutions which served for
the purpose of a successful realization of pupils’ activities, resulted in improvement of the achievements
in the test problems which required knowledge, understanding, and application of concepts of the lessons
already taught. It has confirmed the connection between pupils’ activities and the learning process effect,
which is only one aspect of the subject of this research or only the starting point for a further profound
research of this complex problem from all of the aspects. In that sense, we have the next objective
imposing itself before us: conduct of comprehensive, quality analysis of curricula of the first and second
cycle of primary nine-year education from the aspect of the given objectives and operationalization of
the objectives, and the selection of pupils’ activities on that basis; analysis of pupils’ activities that are
performed in our educational practice and finding out whether they are in correlation with the set
objectives and with the contents given in the subject curricula (planning modes, types, organization and
realisation of activities); qualitative data on the type of pupils’ activities performed when teaching
subjects of the natural and social sciences; finding out whether appropriate types of activities are being
performed to spur the development of certain competences with pupils (cognitive, psychomotor, and
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