PROBLEMS HINDERING THE EFFECTIVE TEACHING OF BIOLOGY IN THE SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN EBONYI L.G.A. OF EBONYI STATE
This study was intended to examine the problems hindering the effective teaching of biology in the secondary schools in Ebonyi local government area in Ebonyi state. This study was guided by the following objectives; to highlight and discuss the relevance of well-equipped laboratory to the teaching of biology in the secondary schools, to identify the impact of regular test/assessments both practical tests and problems-type tests on students’ proficiency in biology and to ascertain the effect of the use of professional biology teachers (resources teachers) on the teaching of biology in secondary schools. The study employed the descriptive and explanatory design; questionnaires in addition to library research were applied in order to collect data. Primary and secondary data sources were used and data was analyzed using the chi square statistical tool at 5% level of significance which was presented in frequency tables and percentage. The respondents under the study were 100 staff/teachers in Ebonyi Local Government Area in Ebonyi state, Nigeria. The study findings revealed that there is are problems of teaching biology in senior secondary school in Ebonyi Local Government Area in Ebonyi state; based on the findings from the study, government should equip laboratories while principals should provide biology teachers with fund for consumables.
Background to the Study
Science and technology have proved significantly useful in man’s daily struggle to control his immediate environment and build a virile world. Specifically, Jegede and Brown (2008) opined that sound national development emanate mainly from the areas of science and technology. Okeke (2007) stated that science and technology are like two inseparable twins that mainly hold the National development and sustainability. Science is a systematic process of obtaining testable knowledge about nature and natural occurrences, utilization in careful manner of the observation and experimentation. Technology, on the other hand is the process of designing and utilizing techniques to convert resources to material object. Most developing nations as a result of visible role of science and technology now make frantic efforts to improve on the study of science and allied science subjects in their schools, for instance in Nigeria, the National policy on education stipulates that admission into the Nation’s tertiary institutions should be based on 60:40 ratio of science and Arts related subject respectively (Federal ministry of Education (FME, 2004).
The study of biology is essential for nation’s building, scientific and technological development. Without sound knowledge and wholesome attitude towards biology, the much needed and vouched technological breakthrough may not be achieved. For instance, the knowledge of biology is brought to play, in the area of manufacturing and processing industry, medicine, food production and pharmaceuticals among others. Osuafor and Okoro (2013) said that science education is imperative for useful living in any society. It is the centre for producing resources necessary for socio-economic, scientific and technological development need for advancement of any nation.
From the above, notwithstanding much has been said about factor that hinders the effective teaching and learning of biology and has caused a lot of backward and poor academics performances of senior secondary school student in Ebonyi State and Nigeria entirely. The implication of this persistent poor performances of students in biology due to a lot of factors created greater percentage of them to fall to get good grades that will take them to higher institution of her studies. This has been a source of problem to well-meaning Nigerians, parents, governments, researchers and science educators.
Researchers in science education in Nigeria have continued to seek for ways of improving the situation and maximize meaningful learning of biology by the students. Biology is described as a science of life and plays vital roles in the life of every human being. It is very vast with many decisions including zoology, botany, ecology, genetics, morphology anatomy, physiology histology, microbiology, biochemistry evolution and the more advanced cell biology, molecular biology among other. Apart from the interrelatedness that exists among these branches, biology is close related with other science subject like agricultural science, chemistry, Geography, mathematics and physics. Little wonder that biology finds application in many specialized areas like medicine, pharmacy, food production and processing industries, biotechnology, genetics engineering, agriculture and horticulture, agriculture and environmental protection, tourism industry among other (Osuafor and Okoro 2013).
Considering biology’s many branches and vast application in every field of human endeavor as enunciated above the importance of biology in the nations economic development cannot be over emphasized. It is therefore becomes very necessary that effort are geared towards finding a last solution to the students academic poor performances in the subject. To this end several factors have been identified by researchers as been responsible for the effective teaching and learning which definitely lead to poor performances. These includes the following; lack of qualified and experienced teachers, lack of educational instructional materials like textbook, visual and audio visual aids, laboratories, conducive learning environment, over loaded syllabuses, lack of interest on the parts of the students, poor teaching method/interaction pattern on the parts of the teachers, large class size/high teacher, family background (Nwagbo, 2011).
Ncharam (2008) has established that students inability to seat down and study, comprehend what the curriculum talked about and this highly result to poor performances in external examination. This also results to general backwardness in technological and scientific advancement. Akpan (2009) rightly documented that proper understanding of concept and concentration science related subject and this contribute to no small measure to better the academics achievement and performances of students. He went further to say that, to such students there is therefore no nature of manipulated questions that might be posed to them in that particular concept that they cannot be able to provide solutions to, since they have mastery and regular practice of the concept involved in the question. This would give the students the opportunity to think ethically, manage and use available resources within their environment effectively to develop the Nation.
Statement of the Problem
The poor performance of the secondary school students in Biology examinations (such as in SSCE and JAMB examinations had been a matter of concern to both the government and the Nigerian society. This is because Biology is one of the most important science subjects since it deals with life and living things. In addition, a sound knowledge of Biology will prepare the student for degree programme on such vital courses as medicine, pharmacy, microbiology, nursing and many others. Despite all the efforts being made by the various ministries of Education in the country to enhance students’ performance in Biology, the problem still remains. Why do students perform poorly in biology examination? What are the current methods of teaching biology in secondary? What are the strategies for effective teaching of biology in secondary schools? These questions present the problems that necessitated this research.
Objectives of the Study
The purpose these researches are as follows:
To highlight and discuss the relevance of well-equipped laboratory to the teaching of biology in the secondary schools.
To identify the impact of regular test/assessments both practical tests and problems — type tests on students’ proficiency in biology.
To ascertain the effect of the use of professional biology teachers (resources teachers) on the teaching of biology in secondary schools.
This study will be guided by the following research questions:
To what extent does the use of well-equipped biology laboratory affect the teaching and learning of biology in the secondary schools?
What is the impact of regular tests/assessments on students proficiency in biology?
How does the use of professional biology teachers (resource teachers) affect the teaching and learning of biology in the secondary schools?
Significance of the Study
The findings to be made in this research if implemented will benefit both the teachers and the students in many ways. Firstly, study will boost the understanding of the students on the subject (biology/and will enhance their performance in biology examinations. It will also help teacher educators to design an effective training programme for the teachers to improve their worth such as workshops, seminars, conferences etc. Secondly, the study will reduce the excessive workload of the teachers and will provide them with more time to effectively evaluate the students’ proficiency.
Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The scope of this study borders on the problems hindering the effective teaching of biology in the secondary schools. This research will be limited to the biology teachers of the state owned secondary schools located in Ebonyi L.G.A. of Ebonyi state.
Limitations of the study
The demanding schedule of respondents at work made it very difficult getting the respondents to participate in the survey. As a result, retrieving copies of questionnaire in timely fashion was very challenging. Also, the researcher is a student and therefore has limited time as well as resources in covering extensive literature available in conducting this research. Information provided by the researcher may not hold true for Biology department in science base schools, but is restricted to the selected science schools used as a study in this research especially in the locality where this study is being conducted.
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Finally, the researcher is restricted only to the evidence provided by the participants in the research and therefore cannot determine the reliability and accuracy of the information provided.
1.8 Definition of Terms
BIOLOGY: Is the scientific study of the life and structure of plants and animals and their relative environments in real or experimental set-up rather than dwelling in the theory and ideas.
NPE: National Policy on Education
FRN: Federal Republic of Nigeria
NRC: National Research Council
AAAS: American Association for the Advancement of Science
SAPA: Science A Process Approach
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