Full Project – PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES OF TEACHING BIOLOGY IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL IN IKOM LGA IN CROSS RIVER NIGERIA
The study examined “Prospects and challenges of teaching biology in senior secondary school in Ikom LGA in Cross River Nigeria”. The study objectives are to: Insufficient numbers of qualified teachers affects students’ mass failure in Biology subjects; Unavailability of instructional materials for teaching of Biology subject affects students’ mass failure in Biology subjects; The previous socio-economic backgrounds of the students affect them in studying Biology subject; and the attitude and interest of students towards the nature of Biology subject contribute deeply to their mass failure in SSCE. The study employed the descriptive survey design. The nature of the problem was duly considered in the study. The research design used for this study is the survey design. The reason why this design was adopted was because the researcher would make use of the primary data obtained through the questionnaire. The area of the study covers students of five selected secondary schools located within Ikom Local Government Area, Cross River, Cross River. The target population consists of public secondary school students in Ikom Local Government Area, Cross River. Simple random sampling technique was adopted for the study. The researcher useD a total of one hundred (100) students from five (5) selected public secondary schools in Ikom Local Government Area, Cross River. The research instrument used was questionnaire. The data collected was analyzed using simple percentage while hypotheses were tested using Chi-Square Statistics. The study recommended that Government both at the federal and state levels should employ more qualified teachers for secondary schools to ensure efficiency and optimal performance in Biology subject. The study also recommended that Teachers should develop positive relationship with students and stress classroom activities, that will involve active teaching-learning process and students participation in the class. The study concludes that insufficient numbers of qualified Biology teachers and instructional materials for teaching affects Biology subject.
1.1 Background of the Study
Effective teaching in the field of education explains the process of setting objectives and determining the means of achieving the objectives. Lacina and Block (2011) stated that planning is the intellectual anticipation of possible future situations, selection of desired situation to be achieved and determination of relevant actions that need to be taken in order to reach those objectives at a reasonable cost. The effective teaching in secondary schools is a major concern in many countries of the world. For effecting teaching to take place, we need teachers who distinguish themselves and set themselves apart from the rest (Laucina & Block, 2011).
The effective teaching of biology is a process by which biology teachers adopt all the possible methods used in teaching in the classroom to make sure that students understand biology and able to respond positively during assessment or to produce a good result (Ezeobi, 2016). She stated that teachers effectiveness is exhibited in the teaching method, classroom management, material as well as the way students are been handled, a good teacher always bear in mind the individual differences of the students while presenting the lesson and frequently check the
students understanding of his or her point to make sure that they are understanding her lesson. This also includes the ability of the teacher to answer questions asked by the students, having knowledge about his or her subject matter and ability to show students how to conduct appropriate researches. Effective teaching is crucial in other for students to reach educational success in and outside classroom setting (Ezeobi, 2016).
The term biology is derived from two Greek words “bios” and “logos” which mean life and study respectively. Biology therefore means the study of life or study of living things. According to stone etal (1985), biology as a science is defined as a scientific study of living organisms. It is therefore a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution and taxonomy. It have several branches; including the two big branches of biology which are botany (the study of plants) and zoology (the study of animals), morphology (the study if external structure of living things) physiology (the study of how living things function), Ecology (the study of relationship between living things and their environments), Genetics (the study of how living things inherits characters from their parents) Cell biology (the study of cell structure and functions). According to Okeke (2000). Students who did well in biology could have prospects of becoming: Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, Dentists, Biology teachers, Medical technologist, Food technologists, Genetic Engineers, Microbiologists, Biochemists, and other science subject.
Biology has its origin from Europe but today all the nations of the world accord priority attention to science and technology in development efforts. The reason for according such priority attention to science and technology being that it carries the promises of great economic improvement and equally serve as a gateway to national development in the age of fast developing technology, has become necessary for all countries of the world especially the developing ones to organize and improve the teaching of science throughout the school stage. It is through science that we get the fundamental bases to develop technology.
Biology often overlaps with other sciences, for example biochemistry with biology and chemistry, Astrobiology with biology and astronomy. Social science such as geography, philosophy, psychology and sociology can also interact with biology, for example in administration of biological resources, developmental biology etc. it is a vast subject containing many subdivisions topics which are five unifying principle that can be said to be fundamental of modern biology.
- Cells are the basic unit of life
- Living Organisms consumes and transforms energy
- Organisms regulate the internal environment to maintain a suitable and constant condition.
- Genes and the basic unit of heredity
- New species and inherited characters are the product of evolution.
Sub-discipline of biology are recognized on the basis of the scale at which organisms are studied and methods used to study them, Biochemistry examines the rudimentary chemistry of life, molecular biology studies the complex interactions systems of biological molecules; then cellular biology examines the basic building block of all life, which is the cell, physiology examines the physical and chemical functions of the tissue, organs, organ of facts and presentation of information about the natural world. The pace of the development of a given country is always determined by the type of education which operates in that country. What is needed in biology is students involvement in the exploration of important ideas of biology.
Effective teaching of biology is a process by which a biology teacher adopt all the possible method used in teaching in the classroom to make sure that students understand biology and be able to respond positively during assessment or to produce a good result. Teachers’ effectiveness is exhibited in the teaching method, classroom managements, the material as well as the way students are being handled, a good teacher always bear in mind the individual differences of the students while presenting the lesson and frequently check the student’s understanding of his or her points to make sure that they are getting of understanding his lesson. This also includes the ability of the teacher to answer question asked by the students, having knowledge about his or her subject matter and ability to show students how to conduct appropriate research.
Effective teaching is crucial, in order for students to reach educational success in and outside classroom setting, therefore, there has been some factors militating against effective teaching of biology in senior secondary school in Nsukka Local Government Area, which some of them are as follows:
Unqualified biology teacher: Inappropriate training background of science teachers especially biology teachers and qualification of biology teachers are the major factor that militate against effective teaching of biology because some biology teachers in some senior secondary school did not undergo enough training to enable them get skills, qualities and enough knowledge of the subject matter and how to impact the knowledge to the students.
Poor method of teaching biology in senior secondary school: For teaching to be effectives one must use different methods of teaching. According to Eke (2001), teaching is effective if only it produces or yields the desired results, the ability of the teacher to adapt to different situations and produce a desired result in the classroom is a mark of teaching effectiveness. Vennier and Faith (2001) are of the opinion that all the teaching activities are supposed to produce learning, so that test of effective teaching will be amount of learning that occurs.
When the following methods are used, teaching of biology can be effective. According to Bigmen (1999), activity method, inquiry method, and discovery method which elicit student’s interests and enhance their level of attainment or comprehension of biology. Activity method the methods that encourage students to participate actively during the lesion while teaching at the same time. Oforkansi (2008) defined activity method as a method whereby the students learn through active involvement rather than being passive or being at the receiving end.
According to Ofokansi (2008), discovery means finding out. Exploration, manipulation and experimentation are components scientific enquiry that help one to discover. This approach demand that the teacher create the problem and allow the pupil/students to find answer for themselves. The author also said that enquiry involve active participation by the student/pupil rather than transmit a preconceived notion about situations.
Inadequte supply of biology equipment: In some schools, many laboratories equipments like microscope, glass tube, Beaker, slide, Bones of vertebrates etc. charts of different animals development, systems, organs, etc, work book for practical and textbooks are not adequate for the students in learning of biology. Biology is a science subject which is all about practical and also when combined with other science subject one will be able to study courses like medicine, nursing, pharmacy etc in higher institution. Beaty and Woolnough (1990) are of the opinion that the obsolete and insufficient teaching of biology in senior secondary schools. They stressed that the teacher may be competent enough and have all the qualities to impact the knowledge to the students but to the obsolete and insufficient availability of biological equipment the aim is defeated.
Teachers attitude towards the teaching of biology: the teachers personalities such as the way the teacher walks, talks, reacts to issues, his/her code of conduct and dressing code has become the major factors which leads to the ineffective teaching of biology. It goes with the saying that the personality of such teacher affect the effective teaching of biology in a great way. Enwieme(2001) continuous to stressed that teachers personality invariably affect the effectiveness of teaching of biology. Oforkansi(2008)opinion that personal qualities do not only enhance teaching and learning but also promotes the tone of the school as well as the profession.
Ineffective of teaching of biology in Ikom Local Government Area could be due to the several reasons such as classroom management, communication, teachers qualification, supply of biology equipment, teachers personality, negligence of seminars, and workshop by the teachers of biology, inadequate illustration and practical aspect of biology is another factors, infrastructural facilities and absences of laboratories etc.
Notwithstanding, it has been observed that there are many problems militating against the teaching and learning of biology in Post primary schools as enumerated by many writers on problem of biology in Nigeria. They attributed the high level of failures in biology to lack of students concentration in the classroom, their view steamed from observed students performance in biology.
Thus, observed failure could be as a result of inability of the students to understand economic terms, lack of finance to buy relevant textbooks, inadequate teachers, inability of the students’ to interpret biology table and graph, inappropriate and ineffective method of teaching, lack of control over the attitudes of students and teachers and others which have contributed to low level of teaching biology in secondary schools.
Okorie (1979: 152) suggested that for the effective teaching to take place, the skillful teacher needs to use the many effective method and techniques effectively because in them his success and failure depends. He further emphasized that the success in the use of methods depends on the intelligent analysis of educational purposes, pupil in the class and the curriculum content of the moment.
A few moment reflection is sufficient to reveal that every society faces crucial issues and problem in education which have very serious economic angles that cannot be overlooked easily for instance, the production of education as well as the acquisition of education both require the use of large qualities of scare resources (Production of education requires conducive classrooms, administrative blocks, personnel, librarians, laboratories while the acquisition of education requires expenditures on tuition fees, book, travels, uniform, lodging etc. and students time.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Biology is been taught in secondary schools in Ikom Local Government Area of Cross River State and it has been observed that students in government secondary school Ajah performed poorly in the 2012 May/June Senior Certificate Examination. It has also been observed that there are lots of factors militating against the effective teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools in the study area.
poor performance in Secondary School Certificate Examination (WAEC) is caused by many factors such as; students ineffective study techniques, quality of teachers and method of teaching, the parents inability to provide useful materials like textbooks, exercise books and school fees and problem of inadequate instructional materials for teaching and learning of Biology in schools.
However, the pivoting problems of biology is complex and can minimally be solved if the teachers and students change their attitude towards teaching and learning in schools generally and to biology in particular.
Biology is one of the core science subjects, which is supposed to be the most interesting subject to students in senior secondary schools. It has been discovered that the effective teaching of biology has been very important. But the rate at which students fails biology in result time’s shows that effective learning has not been attained by these students. Aganga (2000) observed that “Many secondary schools, especially the public schools have insufficient competent teachers as well as biological equipment in their different schools”. Therefore, there is the need to answer certain questions to re-enforce their effectiveness in teaching.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
Study has been undertaken with a view to identify the problems involved in the prospect and problem of teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools and Ikom Local Government Area and factors responsible for these problems. Specifically, the study sought to find out if:-
- Insufficient numbers of qualified teachers affects students’ mass failure in Biology subjects.
- Unavailability of instructional materials for teaching of Biology subject affects students’ mass failure in Biology subjects,
- The previous socio-economic backgrounds of the students affect them in studying Biology subject.
- The attitude and interest of students towards the nature of Biology subject contribute deeply to their mass failure in SSCE.
In assessing the purpose of the study, this research project will answer the following questions:
- Does insufficient numbers of qualified Biology teachers affect students’ mass failure in Biology subject?
- Does unavailability of instructional materials for teaching of Biology subject affects students’ mass failure in Biology subjects?
- Does previous socio-economic background of the students affect them in studying Biology subject?
- How would interest of students towards the nature of Biology subject contribute deeply to their mass failure in SSCE?
In carrying out this research work the following theoretical statements are buttressed to serve as a direction on which the work will be premised:
- H0: Insufficient numbers of qualified Biology teachers does not affects students’ mass failure of students in Biology subject
H1: Insufficient numbers of qualified Biology teachers and instructional materials teaching affects Biology subject.
- H0: There is no significant relationship between availability of instructional materials for teaching of Biology subject and students’ mass failure in Biology subjects.
H1: There is significant relationship between availability of instructional materials for teaching of Biology subject and students’ mass failure in Biology subjects.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research work seeks to examine the factors militating against effective teaching and learning of biology in secondary. The study will be limited to five selected schools in Ikom Local Government Area, Cross River.
1.7 Significance of the Study
There is need to apply knowledge from biology to many area of our life in other to benefit the society. The achievements of the objective necessitates an understanding of the basic teaching of biology. We cannot attain national objectives in the light of poor or average performances in examinations and lack of application of biology to life students.
Without doubt, improved teaching and learning of biology will spur us into greater heights. This study will help to make our educational administrators to see the need to have qualified biology teachers to handle the subject effectively for the benefit of the students and society at large.
This study will help to sensitize the educational administrators to appreciate the need to make available the necessary materials, example, chalkboard, graphs, audio-visual materials etc. that will enhance effective learning of biology if they are not available.
This study will if need be direct the biology teachers’ attention to the need for them to adopt more appropriate teaching method in order to bring about the above mentioned desirable experience in the learners. This study will have a great significance because it is going to provide information to biology teachers for formation and evaluation of their plans.
It will be useful to learners for through this, they will be able to identify the factors militating against the proper teaching and learning of biology. This study will help to produce sound biology students that will function very well in the economy such as:
(a) Knowing how to use scarce productive resources with alternative uses to meet prescribed ends and be able to apply the principles of biology.
(b) The product of biology that should be able to pick employment within a limited employment opportunity in any economy.
This work will serve as a source of encouragement to students and teachers that will come across it. It is hoped that the findings of this study would also form the basis for further research work by future researchers on this issue.
1.8 Definition of Terms
Biology: Biology is the scientific study of life. It is a natural science with a broad scope but has several unifying themes that tie it together as a single, coherent field. For instance, all organisms are made up of cells that process hereditary information encoded in genes, which can be transmitted to future generations..
Instructional Materials: These are materials that are used to aid in the transference of information from one student to another in Education arena.
Teaching: the act or profession of a person who teaches.
Job Performance: This is the work related activities expected of an employee and how well those activities were executed.
Remuneration: Reward for employment in the form of pay, salary, or wage, including allowances, benefits (such as medical plan, pension plan), bonuses, cash incentives, and monetary value of the noncash incentives.
Condition of Work: Regulations governing on-the-job standards and conditions of work such as those affecting health and safety of workers.
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Full Project – PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES OF TEACHING BIOLOGY IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL IN IKOM LGA IN CROSS RIVER NIGERIA