The Relationship between Television Watching and Language Achievement in First Secondary Students in Jordanian Schools

Article excerpt

This study explores the relationship between TV watching practice, types of TV programs watched, TV watching length, parental educational level, and gender with the language achievement. To that end, a questionnaire measuring language achievement levels among 1st secondary students attending schools within lrbid 1st and 2nd Directorates of Education was developed. The sample (N=500) was selected with the stratum random method.

Results revealed:

* High level of the language achievement among 1st secondary grade students.

* Statistically significant differences in the language achievements attributed to gender, in favor of female students.

* Statistically significant differences in the language achievements attributed to TV watching length. The study found that the language achievement was better for moderate and lengthy viewers than for short viewers.

* Statistically significant differences in the language achievement attributed to parental educational level; in favor of children with parents having college degree.

* Statistically significant differences in the language achievement attributed to type of programs viewed. Results from the post comparisons showed that the language achievement was better for cultural viewers, TV news, and child-oriented program viewers.

Keywords: TV watching, Language Achievement

Introduction:

Media, in general, and television, in particular, has greatly influenced thinking, language, and behavior patterns of people of the age. This influence can be tracked at the global communities' level, where the international communities have become a very small village, wherein people from distant places communicate simultaneously, which contributed to the convergence of their behavior patterns, language and consumer habits. In Jordan specific social, cultural, and language changes are currently taking place which were not recognized before, as a result of the huge media stuff transmitted through the television.

Modern media, especially the television, plays a paramount role in human life, and television, in particular exceeded its basic task as information transmitter, and communication device to the extent of getting involved in the political, social, and educational arenas. The television also contributes to the making of the public opinion, mindset, and providing people language vocabularies.

It is argued by some theorists that the television embarked a revolutionary change in human mood, and people habits, and culture (Watfa, 1993, P173, 182). American authors typically designate the television as "child's spiritual father" (Ibrahim, 1987, P29), and similarly referred to children of the age as the "TV generation", meaning that children are raised by an educational triad involving father, mother and the television set (Dakak, 1989, P117). Some authors argue that the spontaneous learning tends to last and continue longer than the intended learning. Antwan Rahma, on the other hand, argues that incidental learning mostly would be more influential among young adults, and indirectly enhances in them thoughts, attitudes, interests, and habits effectively even more than the systematic learning (Rahma, 1988, P240).

Empirical studies often report results indicate that television is placed among top interests of children and adolescents. This, of course, implies the paramount educational importance of the television in forming perceptions, thinking, language, and referential values of children (Awtfa, 1993, P186). In his article on Media and Children Education, al-Qala argued that audio-video display of content increases retention level up to 50%; children interact with the television programs by imitating voices and acts vigorously and interactively, and that children spend time on TV watching longer than studying at school (al-Qala, 1987, P110, 111).

Learning by modeling theorists (for instance, Bandura, and Waltron) demonstrated that television models are as effective as the automated models that stimulate a number of responses, thereby television can be viewed a significant source of viewer's behavior (Bandura, 1963, PP3-11). …