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THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE USE OF CARTOONS IN TEACHING ENGLISH TO
THE CHILDREN OF GRADE 5: AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY
**Dr. Ammara Farukh
This study examined the effectiveness of cartoons in teaching English at elementary level in
public sector schools. Two objectives were formulated for this study. Sixty four students were
selected through simple random sampling technique. Thirty two students were taught parts of
speech through traditional method whereas the same number of students was taught with the
help of cartoons. A pre-test was taken from the children about their knowledge about parts of
speech. Both groups scored almost the same. After teaching them the decided content, a post test
was conducted and the scores were compared using paired sample t-test. Both groups varied
significantly in scores this time. The study concludes that cartoons have been effective aids in
teaching English. This study underpins the importance of the use of cartoons in teaching of
vocabulary in English.
Keywords: audiovisual media; teaching aids; use of cartoons in vocabulary teaching; variety in
Different techniques are used in the field of foreign language teaching to make the
learning effective. Teachers choose a technique according to the context and availability of
resources in the class. One of the techniques is the use of audiovisual (AV) media in class to
assist learning. Computer assisted animations, and cartoons can be used in the class (e.g.
Kittidachanupap et al., 2012; Karakas & Saricoban, 2012). These are colourful and attractive.
The motion of characters helps teachers save time as they do not need to teach things repeatedly,
the children also get a clear image of the thing which helps them form the foundations
(Phayomyaem, 1990; Somchai, 1995; Phoosuwan & Numprasertcha, 2003).
There are many advantages of using AV media in class (Arsyad, 2008). The first one is
attentive function that helps improve interest and develop a learner’s attentiveness in the lesson.
By the use of AV media in learning procedure, learners’ energy increases. They listen to the
details and thus they involve themselves more in the lesson. Second one is the affective function.
In affective function the learners enjoy the reading of picture texts. The third one is the cognitive
function. It means that by using AV media aids in class we can make the material clear and help
the learners easily understand it. The last function is the compensatory function. It helps the
comparatively weak learners understand the material by presenting another text. According to
Daryanto (2010) there are some other functions of media use in teaching i.e. it: helps the teacher
transfer knowledge to the learners; can save the teacher’s energy; motivates the learners to learn
by seeing the pictures; make the learners focus more on the picture and they try to understand
what the actor says; and increases the amount of teaching and learning as the learners are getting
input both from the teachers and the AV media.
*SESE English, Government Elementary School, 58/KB East, Vehari, Pakistan
**Assistant Professor of English, University of Education, Lahore, Pakistan
***PhD Candidate, Department of Applied Linguistics, Government College University,
****ESE, Government Elementary School, 58/KB East, Vehari, Pakistan
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Karakas and Saricoban (2012) studied the influence of watching cartoons on vocabulary
learning. He selected 42 students from first grade English language teaching (ELT) section from
the University of Mehmet Akif Ersoy, Burdur. The researchers used pre and post tests to
determine the effects of cartoons. Before teaching the class, the pre test was taken from both
groups. After teaching the class, the post test was conducted. The outcome of the pre test
determined that there were same results of both groups. But there was a great difference in the
post test results as compared to the results of the pre test. This difference was due to the use of
cartoons in learning. The lesson was comprehended by learners because of the use of cartoons.
Similarly, Kayaoglu and Akbas (2011) examined the impact of cartoons on vocabulary. This
research used the pre- and post- tests after arranging the students in two groups i.e. control and
experimental. The experimental group consisted of 17 participants and the control group
comprised of 22 participants. Pre test was taken before teaching the class and post test was taken
after teaching the class. Post test was used to determine the difference between the achievements
of students before and after teaching syllabus with cartoons and without cartoons. Control group
was taught through traditional method whereas the experimental group was taught with the help
of cartoon movie in classrooms. A similar performance of the students was observed in pre-test.
Whereas the students did not perform similar on post-test. The performance of the experimental
group was far better than the other group. This betterment in post test results was due to the use
of cartoons. It means that cartoons have positive effects on learning.
Another study investigated the impact of cartoons on English learning in Southern
Hebron (Algilasi, 2010). 60 female and 64 male students of grade 5 were taught two chapters
from their syllabus. The participants in experimental group were taught with the help of cartoons
whereas the participant in the control group were taught through traditional method. The students
in experimental group outperformed the studens in control group in vocabulary learning. Arikan
and Taraf (2010), Nosia Pranatha (2005), and Sun and Dong (2004) also used a similar pattern of
study and reported similar outcomes. All of the aforementioned studies show the results in
favour of the hypothesis of this study i.e. the use of cartoons has supporting effect for language
learning. In the light of these results, the researcher recommended that the teacher must use some
media aid in class. In Pakistan, there is lack of such studies and we hardly find studies with such
objectives (Kausar, 2013). This study, therefore, uses a similar design of research (to the studies
conducted in other countries) and applied in public sector schools in the south Punjab.
A quantitative research design was chosen to investigate the efficiency of instructional
methods in teaching English on primary level through action research. The population was
selected from government primary school of Vehari for the research study. Sample for this study
was the students of Dana Ibrahim Markaz. Class teacher of the students was told about the
purpose of the study. A test was designed to collect the data from the students. This test was
descriptive in nature. The design of this study design is appropriate and is set according to the
objectives in order to investigate whether the use of cartoons is effective in teaching English or
not. The class was divided in two groups i.e. experimental and control. A pre-test was
delivered to both groups before starting the use of cartoon movies. The test contained 15 MCQs,
and each question carried two marks. The cartoon movie consisted of a lesson on parts of speech
which was a part of the syllabus of class 5. The cartoon movie (in which a teacher was
explaining parts of speech to his students) was used for the experimental group to teach a lesson
and they also listened to their teacher describing the definitions of the parts of speech. And the other
Al-Qalam December 2019 Effectiveness of Cartoons in Teaching 289
group did not watch the cartoon movie in learning the same lesson. The research was completed
in six meetings. At the end of the sixth meeting and after using cartoon movie, a post-test was
delivered to both groups. The sample of the study consisted of 64 students distributed into two
groups. One experimental group consisted of 32 students and another control group that was
consisted of 32 students. The participants were selected in experimental and control groups
randomly. The data was collected in the form of test scores and was analyzed through SPSS. The
students attended classes from 9am to 12pm from Monday to Thursday. The cartoons were
shown on L.E.D. TV.
The data were analyzed trough SPSS latest version to find out the outcomes of this study.
Paired sample t-tests were used to compare the scores of the control and the experimental group
on pre- and post-tests. Table 1 shows the results of a Paired T-test showing the difference
between the scores of pre-test and post-test of experimental group.
Table 1 Paired Sample T-Test for Experimental Group
Paired Samples Statistics
Std. Error Mean
Note: Values are adjusted to two decimal places.
To check how these cartoons affected the teaching English of students at primary level,
the paired sample t-test was used to compare the scores of the experimental group before and
after the exposure to cartoon movies. The results were, t-value = -23.57, df = 31, p< .001.The
Paired Samples Test
Interval of the
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students who were exposed to the cartoons on teaching English were significantly different
before using cartoons and after using cartoons. The mean score before using cartoons was 7.28
and after using the cartoon movie was 27.22. The observed t-value is -23.57 and the level of
significance is p< .001. Table 2 depicts the results of the paired sample t-test showing the
difference between the scores of pre and post tests of the control group.
Table 2 Paired Sample T-test for Control Group
Paired Samples Statistics
Std. Error Mean
Paired Samples Test
Interval of the
Note: Values are adjusted to two decimal places
Another paired sample t-test was run to compare the scores of the control group who
were taught through the traditional way of teaching. The paired t-test results for the control group
were t-value = -17.45, df = 31, p< .001. The results show a significant difference in scores. The
mean score before teaching is 2.56 and after teaching is 3.73. From the observed t-value of -
17.45 and the level of significance of p< .001, there is significant difference in pre-and post
scores of the group. Table 3 further explains the comparison between the scores of post-tests of
both groups, which explains that the difference of scores of both groups is significantly high, and
the experimental group performed far higher than the control group.
Table 3 Paired T-test Showing the Difference between the Scores of Post Tests of Both
Test Value = 0
95% Confidence Interval of
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Conclusion and Future Work
The objective of this study was to discover the effectiveness of cartoons in teaching
English to teach the children at primary level. This objective was the core statements to lead this
study and in response it was discovered that the teaching of English with the help of cartoons
was useful and the learners who had been taught with the help of cartoons showed good results
(cf: Karakas & Saricoban, 2012; Arikan & Taraf, 2010; Nosia Pranatha, 2005; Sun & Dong,
2004). As far as the benefits that can be gained through cartoons are concerned, the role of these
cartoons enhances students’ comprehension level. The motion of the cartoons and the
presentation of vocabulary in context make learning easier and attractive for the children. Similar
findings with Pakistani students were also described by Kausar (2013). According to her
Pakistani students efficiently replace boring education atmosphere with wonderful and feasible
It is obvious that the AV media can support students to better remember the vocabulary
items (Kittidachanupap et al., 2012). It may be because of the variety in content presentation, and
particularly through the media which the children like in their daily life. The cartoon characters
also arouse imagination of children and the closeness to reality from the motion of cartoons with
colours and the complement sounds can make them more interesting than regular images for
children. This study is beneficial for the language teachers to apply in the kindergarten and
primary education. The use of such aids is not only restricted to anyone field, but can also be
encouraged to apply to solve problems of the learners in other subjects like sciences,
mathematics as efficiently as for foreign languages.
There is a limitation of the present study that the cognitive abilities of the children were
not taken into account when distributing them into groups which could be given importance in
any future research. The study could be conducted on a large scale to attest the results, and the
AV media in public sector schools.
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