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EFFECT OF LABORATORY ACTIVITIES ON STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN CHEMISTRY IN PUBLIC SECONDARY SCHOOLS

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the Study

Laboratory activities have had a distinctive and central role in the science curriculum and science educators have suggested that many benefits mount up from engaging students in science laboratory activities. Over the years, many have argued that science cannot be meaningful to students without worthwhile practical experiences in laboratory. Unfortunately the term laboratory or practical have been used, too often without precise definition, to embrace a wide array of activities. Lots of arguments have been raised in the past to give justification or rationale for its use. Even though laboratory sessions were generally taken as necessary and important, very little justification was given for their inclusion.

Some laboratory activities have been designed and conducted to engage students individually, while others have sought to engage students in small groups and in large-group demonstration setting

Science is a great enterprise which nations depend on, in-order to advance technologically. Science therefore, is receiving much emphasis in education because of its significance and relevance to life and society. Chemistry  as a branch of science and the prerequisite subject for many fields of learning contributes immensely to the technological growth of the nation. This includes medicine, forestry, agriculture, biotechnology and nursing. The study of Chemistry  in senior secondary school can equip students with useful concepts, principles and theories that will enable them face the challenges before and after graduation.

Chemistry  as one of the science subject is bent in making one to be conversation with the environment he/she lives in appreciate the meaning of scientific life, to develop unbiased mind and to be intellectually homes with serve as ideal to the future citizen. Fortunately, it is a fact that Chemistry  is the commonly chosen science subject of most secondary pupils are confirmed by the west Africa Examination council (WAEC) record.

The place of laboratory practical in teaching Chemistry  cannot be over emphasized, little wonder why  Tairab (2014) Opined that practical work has helped students in knowledge acquisition, like Daramola (2013), and Ogunniyi (2007), advocated earlier that science, which would be taught in secondary schools, should be technologically oriented, which means to teach science with its practical application which strengthens the fact that in recent times, science teaching has taken a new trend Science belonged to the laboratory as cooking belongs to the kitchen and gardening to a garden. This is the state where science teaching is best done in the laboratories. Ndu (1980), also emphasized the practical teaching of science by saying that meaningful learning of science cannot be achieved without practical aspect of science stressing that science disciplines are not only the acquisition of facts but also embrace the processes. Woolnough (1994) also found that majority of secondary school teachers indicated that about 40% to 80% of the class time was spent in practical activities. Hodson (2002) in his own work, classified the reasons given by teachers for engaging in practical work into five major categories like to motivate learners by stimulating interest and enjoyment, teaching laboratory skills, to enhance learning of scientific knowledge, give insight into scientific methods, develop certain scientific methods, these coincides with the classification of practical work reported by Gott, Welford, and Foulds (1988) when they identified five types of practical works like, inquiry practical, investigative practical, skill practical, illustrative practical, and observational practical.

Although Abimbola, I.O, Dada, F.(2015) stated that some practical scientific experiences may be acquired in everyday life, the most important part of the experience is through practical work which gives the student the appreciation of the spirit of science. Therefore, there is no adequate substitute for retention of facts and which also makes learning more permanent because, practical work closely linked with theoretical work help to maximize opportunity to practice those scientific methods.

Laboratory Practical activities in Chemistry  provide opportunities for students to actually do science as opposed to learning about science. Nzewi (2008) asserted that laboratory practical activities can be regarded as a strategy that could be adopted to make the task of a teacher (teaching) more real to the students as opposed to abstract or theoretical presentation of facts, principles and concepts of subject matters. Nzewi maintained that practical activities should engage the students in hands-on, mind-on activities, using varieties of instructional materials/equipment to drive the lesson home. Nwagbo (2008) stated that:

The use of practical activities (approach) to the teaching of biological concepts should therefore be a rule rather than an option to Chemistry  teachers, if we hope to produce students that would be able to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and competence needed to meet the scientific and technological demands of the nation.

The search for a more effective approach for the teaching and learning of Chemistry  that will enhance the acquisition of process skills has persisted over the years. This is because, the acquisitions of science process skills are the bases for scientific inquiry and the development of intellectual skills and attitudes that are needed to learn concept

Acording to Nwagbo (2008), a number of factors have been identified as contributing to the non-acquisition of skills by secondary school students which invariably lead to poor performance and one of the factors is the teacher variable, that is, the teachers’ method of teaching. Furthermore, Okoli (2006) indicated that many science teachers prefer the traditional expository/lecture method of teaching that is, a teaching technique in which one person, the teacher, presents a spoken discourse on a particular subject and shy away from activity-oriented teaching methods which are student centered (such as inquiry method, discovery method, investigative laboratory approach). Nwagbo (2008) observed that such teacher-centred approach which places the teacher as the sole possessor of knowledge and the students as passive recipients of knowledge may not enhance achievement or promote positive attitude to Chemistry . Apart from teaching methods, gender is also implicated in students’ achievement in science.

This project will concentrate on the teaching of Chemistry  and the problem of teaching Chemistry  practical in selected secondary School in Akoko South East Local Government Area of Ondo State.

Statement Of Problems

The relevance of laboratory activities on students in Chemistry  cannot be over emphasized. Several researches stated earlier indicate the need for effective practical lesson using appropriate equipment. Yet many Chemistry   teachers tend to avoid organizing laboratory  lesson to their students. Some of the reasons for poor performance of students in examinations include poor science teaching due to teacher’s incompetence. Furthermore, most secondary schools teachers of Chemistry  concentrate on meeting the demand of West African Examination Council (WAEC) practical examinations. This has drawn the attention of concerned individuals on the genesis or causes of the situation.

There are evidence of effective teaching of Chemistry  practical in School and this has affected the performance of student in Chemistry . This could be due to lack of equipment and materials or lack of proper training of the teachers handing the practical.

 

Research Question

  1. What are the effect of laboratory activities on students academic performance?
  2. What is the attitude of students and teachers’ toward the use of laboratory practical in teaching of Chemistry ?
  3. Is there enough equipment in the laboratory for effective teaching?
  4. What are the problem facing teaching and learning of Chemistry practical in senior secondary school

 

Purpose Of The Study

This research study carried out in order to know the effect of laboratory on students academic performance

The specific objective are

  1. To determine the effect of  laboratory activities on students academic performance?
  2. To investigate the attitude of Chemistry student and teacher towards the use of  laboratory in teaching and learning of Chemistry ?
  3. To find out if there are enough equipment in the laboratory for effective teaching of Chemistry ?
  4. To find out the problem students and teacher facing in teaching Chemistry practical

Research hypothesis

Ho. laboratory activities does not have significant effect on students academic performance in Chemistry

H1. laboratory activities have significant effect on students academic performance in Chemistry

 

 

 

 

Significance Of The Study

              This study is aimed at crating awareness on how vital Chemistry  is, not only to the student but also to the public at large with regards to health education. Improvement in science and technology medicine e.t.c.

It is also aimed at making the federal Government see the benefit of providing schools with proper and adequate laboratory, equipment e.t.c.

This study will also help in making adequate preparation for the teaching of Chemistry  practical

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 Chemistry  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 Chemistry  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.

CHEMISTRY  – 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 Chemistry  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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