DIFFICULTIES ENCOUNTERED BY TEACHERS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING OF BIOLOGY. A CASE STUDY OF SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN IKERE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EKITI STATE
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Background to the Problem
Science can be defined as the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment or systematically organized body of knowledge on any subject. It involves methods applied in investigational quest or way of thinking in the pursuit of an understanding of nature (Abimbola, 2013). Science and technology are inevitable forces in the current drive towards a good life, peace, security and survival of mankind.
The growth of any particular country and the rate at which it develop can easily be attributed to the level of scientific knowledge possessed by its inhabitants and technological literacy. Iyobhebhe, (2002) stated that science and technology are important components of the wall dividing poverty and prosperity. Science has been regarded as the bedrock of modern day technological breakthrough. Nowadays, countries all over the world, especially the developing ones like Nigeria, are striving hard to develop scientifically, since the world is turning Scientific and all proper functioning of lives depend greatly on Science.
According to Ogunleye (2001) Science is a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding the workings of our world. This understanding helps man to know more about the universe.
Dogara and Ahmadu (2002) stated that science is a veritable tool that brings about progress and development in all spheres of human existence. The idea of science being the basis of technological development is also known to everybody irrespective of his /her level of scientific understanding, since our ways of life are greatly influenced by the achievement of science and technology, for this reason tremendous effort has been made by both Federal and State Governments to improve science and technology in Nigeria after the 1969 curriculum conference on education .These efforts included the establishment of Federal and State Technical Colleges, Federal Colleges of Education(Technical), Federal Universities of Science and Technology, and Technology Research Institutes.
In Nigeria, there are some science developed projects which are developed in an attempt to reform the science curriculum, some of the project include: Aiyetoro Basic Science Project (ABSP), the Nigeria secondary school science project (NSSSP), the Nigerian integrated science project (NISP) and so on. In spite of profound efforts of science and technology on the developing nations like ours, science is yet to become a way of life.
Biology is one of the three main branches of core science, the other two being physics and chemistry.
Biology is defined as the basic science that deals with the study of living things, it attempts to understand the teeming diversity of life on earth, a diversity of level we are all part of (Adegbite, 2005).
Also biology is the study of living things which is sub-divided into Zoology, Botany, and Microbiology (Kimball 2000, Sarojimi 2001) Biological knowledge has played a very important role in the society. It has been used to solve problems of diseases and poor yields in agriculture by production of disease resistant and high yielding plants and animals; overpopulation through the development of hormone based contraceptives; protection and management of the environment. (Maundu, Sambili & Muthwii, 2005; Campbell & Reece, 2002).
In order to encourage the teaching and learning of Biology and science in general, both federal and state government have made a number of policy statement in science education at secondary school level for their citizens, these are:
- Establishment of special science secondary schools.
- Introduction of the 60:40 ratios in favour of science for admission into colleges of education, 70:30 ratios for polytechnic and that university shall be 60:40.
III. Annual investment into teachers-in-service training workshop and seminars
- Distribution of science equipment worth millions of naira to various secondary schools
- Introduction of Junior Engineers, Technicians and Scientific (JETS) Clubs in the secondary schools (NPE 2004)
Despite the contribution of Biology to the development of human kind in areas like medicine, agriculture, genetic engineering, wild life conservation etc and efforts put in by State and Federal government in fostering the teaching and learning of biology, its effect have not been felt to a desired level.
Some of the problems associated with the poor performance of students are teachers’ qualification, teachers’ experience, teaching method and student attitude. The quality of students’ performance remains the priority for educators and this has been the subject of several studies (Adediwura and Tayo 2007, Adu and Olatunbosun 2007).
Teaching according to Oyekan (2000) is a continuous human activity by which the teacher connects the learners and the subject matter drawn from school curriculum. It is the cardinal duty of the teacher to help the students to learn, understand and achieve beyond their current educational status and to effectively discharge the required responsibility. It should be appreciated that teachers are the light of the world that brightens and nurtures the vibrant lives of individuals with useful knowledge, practical skill, and proper value orientation. In modern society, educational institutions exercise considerable influence on the socialization of the child, a process in which the teacher plays crucial part (Agbatogun, 2010).
Teachers have been known to have important influence on student’s academic performance Obadara (2005). Also, teachers play a crucial role in educational attainment because the teacher is ultimately responsible for translating educational policies and principles into action based on practice during interaction with the student (Afe, 2001). Both teaching and learning depend on the teacher; an effective teacher has been conceptualized as one who produces desired result in the course of his duty as a teacher (Uchefuna, 2001). The teacher is the most important factor of the teaching-learning process. The success of any teaching and learning processes which invariably influences students’ academic performance depends on how effective and efficient the teachers are. Wallace (2003) explained that the main qualities of an effective teacher include good knowledge of the subject, perception of the content and effective methods of presenting the curriculum.
Teachers who are the personnel in-charge of teaching and implementing educational policies designed to attain educational goals cannot be neglected, if the educational goals and in fact, national developmental goals are to be attained. No matter how good an educational policy may be on paper, it may fail to accomplish its desired goals if not properly implemented by teachers who are implementers of such policy because of the central position teachers occupy in influencing academic performance of students. Research has increasingly shown that teachers are among the most important players influencing students’ achievement as they hold the key sealing the gaps between students’ achievement and learning outcomes.
There are hues and cries among stakeholders in education over the growing rate of failure and subsequent drop out in Nigerian secondary schools in recent times.
The growing failure rate is noticeable in the yearly declination of students’ performance in their examination results.
Researches carried out by Akugbuo, (2002) show that the performance of student in Biology in West African Examination Council (WAEC) was generally poor and not encouraging. These poor performances has been the subject of several studies (Adediwura and Tayo 2007; Adu and Olatundun 2007; Schacter and Thum 2004; Starr 2002, Cemastea, 2011)
Stakeholders in education blame students for general unpreparedness to study as one of the major causes of students’ failure. Teachers also are to be blame for lack of dedication to their jobs which has inadvertently affected the academic performance of students. However, the general view is that high quality teachers are education’s best resources and assets (Ayodele2004).
Adeogun (2003) opined that the quality of an educational system depends on the quality of its teaching staff and that a school without human resources may not be able to achieve the goal and objectives of the educational system. Highly professional teachers, who are dedicated, are needed in schools. It has been established that there is high correlation between what teachers know and what they teach (Adesina 2005).Thus the ability to teach effectively depends on the teacher’s knowledge which occurs in a variety of forms.
Teacher’s effectiveness is impeded if the teacher is unfamiliar with the subject matter as teachers’ effectiveness is subject-specific. The implication of this for teachers is that they must thoroughly understand the content of what they teach. The teacher whose understanding of topic is thorough uses clearer language and they provide better explanations than those whose background is weaker.
The way the students perceive the teachers in terms of knowledge of content may significantly affect students’ academic performance. Good teachers are essential for the effective functioning of education system and improving the quality of learning process (Panda and Mohanty, 2003).
Teachers’ effectiveness in a subject is prime determinant of students’ performance in the subject. Ineffective teaching in secondary schools arises probably from the quality of teachers recruited to teach science. In many secondary schools, science subjects are taught by people who are neither interested nor qualified in teaching the subject. For instance, undesirable situations showed engineers teaching Mathematics and Physics, Biochemists teaching Chemistry and Microbiologists teaching Biology. In this kind of situation, students who undertake science and mathematics at school may either end up disillusioned or greatly hampered in the development of the mental discipline which acquisition of scientific knowledge demands. Secondary schools’ sciences teachers need to be professionally qualified to enable them work effectively with students in stimulating and directing their growth in desired directions.
There are various approaches a teacher can employ to bring about effective teaching. Seweje and Jegede (2005) noted that the ability of a teacher to teach is not derived only from one’s academic background but it is based upon outstanding pedagogical skill acquired.
The science of teaching, according to Ogunboyede (2011), is referred to as pedagogy, while McCaughtry (2005) and Sidhu, Fook and Kaur (2011) stressed that pedagogical content knowledge refers to the teaching and learning of the subject. Houston, Haberman and Sikula (2002) and Sidhu et al., (2011) claimed that even at the integration of pedagogical knowledge into the teachers’ education in Malaysia, the methodology being used by some science teachers in schools are not child-friendly, hence, effective learning of science could not take place in the classroom.
Statement of the Problem
The overall performance of Students in science especially Biology in public examinations such as WAEC, NECO, and JAMB etc has been below average in spite of government huge expenditure on education (Sakiyo & Sofeme 2008). The low achievement and dismal performance of students in Biology examination has made educational researchers, parents and other stakeholders to be concerned about the causes of the dismal performance. Investigations have been carried out, each investigator has given different official advice to solve the problem, yet the issue of poor academic performance of students in Biology still prevail in our secondary schools.
Fajonyomi (2007) stated that Single Largest factors affecting academic growth of population of students is differences in effectiveness of individual classroom teachers. Teachers are one of the key that determined the extent at which student will be in academic performance. (Daso, 2013; Akpo, (2012) Odiri, (2011) revealed a number of variables which include years of teaching experience, level of educational attainment or academic qualifications, availability of qualified teachers, teacher-student ratio, teaching methods and students attitudes affect students learning outcomes.
Therefore, this study sought to investigate the difficulties encounter by teachers in teaching and learning of biology in selected secondary schools in Ikere Ekiti.
- What are the difficulties encounter by biology teachers in teaching and learning of biology in senior secondary school
- Does class size affect biology teachers in teaching and learning of biology Does teacher method of teaching have effect in teaching and learning of Biology?
- Does school environment affect teaching and learning of Biology
- What are the possible solution to the difficulties encounter by biology teachers in teaching and learning of Biology
Purpose Of The Study
The major objective of this study is to find out difficulties encounter by teachers in teaching and learning of biology in selected secondary schools in Ikere Ekiti.
The specific objective are
- To determine the difficulties encounter by biology teachers in teaching and learning of biology in senior secondary school
- Find out if class size affect biology teachers in teaching and learning of biology
- To investigate if teacher method of teaching have effect in teaching and learning of Biology
- To determine if school environment affect teachers in teaching and learning of Biology
- To profer possible solution to the difficulties encounter by biology teachers in teaching and learning of Biology
- There is no significance difference on the difficulties encountered by by biology teachers in teaching and learning of biology in senior secondary school
- Class size does not have signifianct effect on the teaching and learning of Biology
- Teachers method of teaching does not have effect on the teaching and learning of biology
- School environment does not significance affect in teaching and learning of biology
Significance of the Study
It is hoped that the result of this study would benefit stakeholders in education in Lagos State. The findings of this study would be useful in forming the basis for suggestion and recommendations for educational planners, policy makers, and administrators on the need to develop appropriate feedback mechanisms through regular research and data collection in order to ensure teachers’ effectiveness.
The findings would also sensitize education stakeholders on the problems associated with the teaching of biology and the overall academic performance of students leading to better productivity of the education system.
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Although, covering a large population would have given more accurate information, this study is based on only five selected secondary schools.
This is due to the fact the scope of the work to be covered is too vast compared to the time within the writer’s disposal. I do hope that the schools chosen on which the research is carried out, would serve as a guide to giving a picture of the type of information needed.
If a large population were worked on as all the different secondary Schools are expected to cover the same WAEC syllabus.
Definition Of Terms
PROBLEM –Means things that are difficult to deal with understand that is there are some difficulties in which teachers are facing while teaching biology practical in Schools for example lack of equipped laboratory and inadequate equipment. One to these problems, teacher will not be able to impact knowledge of biology practical into the student and the teaching will not be effective
TEACHING – This is an act of imparting knowledge to the learner in a conducive environment.
BIOLOGY – Is a scientific study of life’s, study of living and non-living things, is a study of life and structure of plants and animals. There are many branches of biology such as histology, physiology, phraseology e.t.c
PRACTICAL – It’s concerned with the reality and action rather than theory and ideas practical works impart good knowledge into the life of learner because it deals with reality and it can not forgotten.
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