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BASIC SCIENCE TEACHERS’ RESEARCH AWARENESS AND UTILIZATION

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BASIC SCIENCE TEACHERS’ RESEARCH AWARENESS AND UTILIZATION

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

Background to the Problem

The purpose of education is not only to make students literate but also to improve their knowledge, self-sufficiency and their ability to think rationally. In any society, education is tool for growth and progress because it not only imparts knowledge, skill and right type of values, but, also builds human capital which breeds, drives and sets technological innovation and economic growth. Many advances in science and technology have helped nations to promote efficiency, self reliance and the overall wellbeing of humanity through invention/innovation in telecommunication, transportation, health, agriculture etc.

In Nigeria, the National Policy on Education (FRN, 2004) clearly spells out the objectives of science teaching from pre-primary to tertiary level. Specifically, at the Secondary level, it entails equipping students to live effectively in our modern age of Science and Technology. It is aimed at all ages of learners of all abilities and interests. Science is a process that helps in the development of the society. The global change in science curriculum arising from knowledge explosion and new wave in science and technology development demands for qualitative science teaching.

 

From the range of evidence in the science education literature and studies by Awodi (1984), Akpan (1996), Madu (2004), Okebukola (2005), it is clear that science education in Nigeria is faced with numerous problems that need to be addressed. Such problems include the inability of students to engage in complex problem solving activities and also the inability of Nigerian Students to apply school knowledge to real life problems in work place. The problems need to be addressed so that the goal of equipping students to live efficiently in our modern ages of science and technology as well as the acquisition of appropriate skills, mental, physical and social abilities and competences to live in and contribute to the development of the society, as formulated in the Nigeria National Policy on Education (FRN, 1981; 1998.) is achieved.

Buseri (2010) contends that to meet up with the rapid scientific progress in technology requires the presence of well-trained, efficient, knowledgeable and skillful teachers who are versatile in discharging their duties and responsibility. The persistent poor performance of student in science subjects at School Certificate level and the studies by Achor (2003); Umoren and Ogong (2007); Ogbeba (2009) has given rise to an assumption that most science teachers in secondary schools in Nigeria probably do not make use of varying form of teaching strategies to be able to cope with some specific difficulties associated with the teaching of science. In order words, it implies that teachers are knowledgeable in science content but not in pedagogical aspects. Ezeliora (2004), pointed that most of the time, science is taught to the learners using descriptive or lecture method instead of hands- on approach.

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). Life is not a simple concept, which may be one of the reasons why the teaching of biology is important (Adegbite, 2005). There are two major branches of biology namely; Zoology (the study of animals) and Botany (the study of plants) and sub-divisions such as ecology, physiology, histology, mycology, entomology, virology, anatomy, etc. The teaching of biology is very important because the knowledge of biology helps in improving the quality of life, as it helps to solve many societal problems relating to health, poverty, food shortage, crop production and environmental conservation.

The learning of biology in real life context is necessary for personal development and also, the development of scientific and technological world. The use of multiple and relevant learning and teaching strategies, and assessment practices will provide a basis for this. In any research work in Science education, more attention is placed on science education; this is because biology is one of the various subjects that explain science and also in Nigeria, biology is the general basic science subject. In an attempt to ensure result oriented biology delivery in schools, Akubuilo (2004) suggested the use of activity-oriented strategies such as guided-inquiry, cooperative learning, demonstration, thinks and do, use of analogy and many others. Thus, research in Science Education in Nigeria has continued to seek better ways of teaching biology in order to improve academic performance of students (Okebukola, 1998).

 

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Science Education is said to be the most appropriate and fastest vehicle for the planned transformation of any society (Jegede, Lagoke & Oyebanji 1995). Despite its‟ importance to mankind, the effort of researchers to improve its‟ teaching and learning, as well as it being the general science subject, students‟ performance in biology compared to the other pure science subjects taught in Nigeria remains low. This observable problem has been blamed on a number of factors, namely, inadequate teachers, inadequate material resources, lack of using effective methodology for the teaching of the subject in secondary schools etc. Further, it has been observed based on previous studies that the present methods used in teaching science in general and biology in particular in Nigeria secondary schools do not produce maximum result (Maduabum, 1994; Okebukola, 1998).

Researchers in science education have studied on the various innovative teaching strategies like, problem solving, field trips, individualism, cooperative learning, use of analogy, constructivism, computer assisted instruction, inquiry, among others and how they can be used to improve the teaching and learning of science in general and biology in particular, examples of such researchers are

Olatoye & Adekoya (2009), Yusuf & Adedeji (2010), Oludipe & Oludipe (2010),

 

Jiya (2011), Udeani & Okafor (2012) among others. Most of these researchers studied on the effectiveness of these strategies, some compared these strategies with conventional methods, Olatoye & Adekoya (2010) etc. without examining the awareness of in-service teachers on the existence of these strategies, their level of awareness and the degree of application of the ones they are aware of. Thus, this study was set out to investigate biology teachers‟ awareness and utilization of innovative teaching strategies in public schools in Oyo South senatorial district, Nigeria.

Similarly, Samba, Achor and Ogbeba (2010), examined science teachers awareness and utilization of 19 innovative teaching strategies in Benue State, but the variables involved were: age, teaching experience and profession and is different from this study as this involved only biology teachers and took into consideration teachers‟ gender, teaching experience and qualification. Khurshid & Zahur (2013), compared the awareness and utilization of 16 innovative teaching strategies in Private and public sector schools in Islamabad, the variables they took into consideration included teachers‟ gender, age, teaching experience and professional qualification. The study did not specify on any particular subject, and was general compared to this study which was specifically on Biology teaching at senior secondary level.

 

1.3 The Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study was to investigate the biology teachers‟ awareness and utilization of innovative strategies, specifically the study determined:

  1. The secondary schools biology teachers‟ awareness of the innovative teaching strategies.
  2. The level of awareness of the innovative teaching strategies by the biology teachers.
  3. The extent to which the innovative strategies are put to use by the biology teachers.
  4. The difference in the utilization of the innovative teaching strategies based on the biology teachers‟ teaching experience.
  5. The difference in the utilization of the innovative teaching strategies based on the biology teachers‟ qualification.
  6. The difference in the utilization of the innovative teaching strategies based on the biology teachers‟ gender.

 

1.4 Research Questions

 

  1. Are the biology teachers in Oyo state, aware of the selected innovative teaching strategies?

 

  1. To what extent are the biology teachers aware of the innovative teaching strategies?
  2. To what extent are the innovative strategies put into use in the teaching of biology in Oyo state?
  3. To what extent does the utilization of the innovative teaching strategies differ based on the biology teachers‟ teaching experience?
  4. Does qualification of the biology teachers influence the utilization of the innovative teaching strategies?
  5. How does the utilization of the innovative teaching strategies differ based on the biology teachers‟ gender?

 

 

1.5 Research Hypotheses

HO1: There is no significant difference in the basic science teachers research awareness and utilzation.

HO2: There is no significant difference in the utilization of the innovative teaching strategies by qualified and unqualified biology teachers.

HO3: There is no significant difference in the utilization of the innovative teaching strategies by male and female biology teachers.

 

 

1.6 Significance of the Study

In an effort to improve the teaching of biology in Nigerian secondary schools and make the learning of biology more attractive to students, this study may make the following important contributions to knowledge and education.

 

This study would provide science educators and government with detailed information about the actual picture of biology teaching, biology learning, and effective ways of improving the situation. It provides information on different innovative strategies that can be used to improve biology teaching and learning in senior secondary schools in Nigeria.

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