A SURVEY ON AVAILABILITY, ACCESSIBILITY, AND UTILIZATION OF INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING BIOLOGY IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOL
Background to the study
It is no longer news that one of the most difficult job in the World today is teaching. The challenges that inform this difficulty are numerous ranging from poor remuneration of teachers, indiscipline among the learners, lack of parental support, attitude of the learners towards learning, the challenges posed by English Language as a second language, availability, accessibility and utilization of instructional materials and other teaching facilities, the ability of the teacher to effectively transmit the needed signal that will bring the expected behavioral change in the learner, these and many more challenges are the factors militating against teaching effectiveness. This research shall place emphasis on accessibility, availability and utilization of instructional materials in teaching and learning of biology in senior secondary school.What then is teaching? How much importance has teaching to the existence of human being and the society? Are there possible ways of combating these numerous challenges bedeviling teaching and its effectiveness? For the purpose of clarity and adequate understanding, teaching is a gradual process of transmitting signals, ideas and information to the learner from the teacher using some technique. Similarly, in the view of Atakpa (2000) teaching is defined as a gradual process of transmitting new ideas from the teacher to the learner through careful and selected techniques. In the view of Enekpa (2010) teaching is said not to taken place unless the content of the phenomenon of interest has been transmitted which in turn is expected to bring the expected behavioral chance which distinguished human being from animals. Furthermore, Abu (2000) opined that without teaching, every action of an individual is ignorance. Teaching is therefore imperative and unavoidable if mankind must live peacefully and maximize fully the real essence of existence.
Biologyis anatural sciencethat involves the study oflifeand livingorganisms, including theirphysical structure,chemical composition,function,developmentandevolution. Modern biology is a vast field, composed of manybranches. Despite the broad scope and the complexity of the science, there are certain unifying concepts that consolidate it into a single, coherent field. Biology recognizes thecellas the basic unit of life,genesas the basic unit ofheredity, andevolutionas the engine that propels the creation of newspecies.Living organismsareopen systemsthat survive by transformingenergyand decreasing their localentropyto maintain a stable and vital condition defined ashomeostasis. Seeglossary of biology.
For effectiveteaching and learningto be achieved, the teachers must employ many techniques and diplomacy in such a way that the new idea to be learnt is well communicated. One of the techniques in transmitting these signals is through the use of instructional materials, methodologies of teaching, leadership style at the classroom level, personality training and the ability to take care of the individual differences among learning at all levels of learning. The current study shall be particular about the importance of instructional material, its accessibility, availability and utilization and its effects on the academic achievement of the learners in senior secondary schools in biology.
Instructional materials can be described in the view of Ola (2000) as all those instructional aides which can be visual, audio and audio visual provided in the teaching and learning situation (real or improvised) to concretize learning and remove sense of abstraction from learning. Agu (2011) holds a similar view about teaching aid as any arrangement, object, material, real or improvised brought into learning to enhance the understanding of the learner other than the normal expression of the teacher in teaching and learning. Categorically, we have three basic classes of instructional materials namely: audio instructional materials, visual instructional materials and the audio visual instructional materials.
Audio instructional materials are those materials that occur basically the auditory sense. Examples of this type of instructional materials are radio, tape recorder, speaker etc. Visual instructional materials are those materials that occur only to the sight. Example of this type of materials are posters, pictures, real objects etc. the audio visual materials as the name implies are those materials that occur both to the sense of auditory and the sight. Examples of audio visual materials are television, telegram, video etc.
Instructional materials play a very important role in the teaching and learning process. It enhances the memory level of the students. At this time that education has spread wide and entirely, oral teaching cannot be the key to successful pedagogy; therefore the teacher has to use instructional materials to make teaching and learning process interesting (NIC hulls, 2003; Raw 2006) .
According to Bina (2010), instructional materials are tools locally made or imported that help to facilitate the teaching/learning process. Obanga (2005) view them as materials things which are use to composed ported that could make tremendous enhancement of intellectual use impact the instructional materials. Obanga opined that the use of instructional materials can enhance the learning achievement since it removes the sense of abstract and concretize ideas especially in biology which is more practical oriented. Cronbach (2009) states the important elements ofbehaviour that provides the base for learning theory situation which consists of all the objects, persons and symbols in the learning environment. Experience in situation prepares a person to respond to similar situation in future. Use of instructional materials can appeal to the individual attention by creating interest goal that will help the learner achieve direct effort. Teacher’s problem of motivation is essentially one of arranging situation with instructional materials in which the learner will see goals he want to attain. Brown (2005) summarized the role of instructional materials as follows:
Ø It promotes meaningful communication and effective learning.
Ø They ensure better retention, thus making learning more permanent.
Ø They help to overcome the limited classroom by making the inaccessibleaccessible.
Ø They provide a common experience upon which late learning can be developed. They stimulate and motivate students to learn.
Ø They encourage participation especially if students are allowed to manipulate materials used.
Osuala (2010) in his own contribution said it does not only help to motivate and develop interest on the part of the student, but also help to bring about an enhance respect for teachers knowledge of the subject. Instructional materials are also described as concrete or both to the sense organs during teaching (Aginna-Obu 2000).
The nature of the learning and the wide range of student’s abilities in the average classroom necessitate a high degree of teachers and experience in the method of presenting the subject matter. This has been truncated with the unavailability of instructional materials in schools. However, a common goal a teacher carries wherever he is, is to make lesson presentation vitally fresh, stimulating and testing for their students. This will help the teacher to individualize the learning method as well as the content and also working according to the student’s need. This goal can be reached most effectively through the use of instructional materials. The need to emphasis on the use and importance of instructional materials in any learning and teaching environment cannot be underestimated. For any learning to take place, the teacher has to make use of these materials that would enable him to teach effectively.
Equipment and other instructional materials to some extent determine the method the teacher uses in teaching biology. The method adopted could be demonstration, experimental, discussion etc. It is generally agreed by both teachers and school administrator that apart from the chalkboard and textbooks which are often available for the teacher to use, there are other materials that aid or are capable of complementing the teacher’s effort in teaching/learning process. Those materials are commonly called “instructional materials”. One of the reasons why students in our secondary schools sometime find it difficult to comprehend immediately what is being taught by the teacher is the non availability of instructional materials that can easily convey the message of the lesson to the learners.
Orji (2000) asserts that instructional material is “the guidance of learning activities” that “a teacher uses to motivate and arouse student’s desire to learn” From the fore-going statement, it can be agreed that for effective learning to take place, a student need to be properly guided by the teacher by way of employing various method and means through which his teaching could be meaningful.
It is however noticed regrettably, that in the Nigerian system of education, little or no instructional material is made available. In rare cases when they are available, they are not accessible, when they are accessible; they are not properly utilized to best achieve the most desired goal of the teacher which has to do with the academic achievement of the learner at any point in time. This noticeable problems to the best of the knowledge of the researcher has not been properly researched especially in Enugu South L.G.A of Enugu State, hence the decision of the researcher to embark on the current study.
Statement of the Problem
In spite of the importance of instructional materials to academic performance of students, it is observed that most students complain of being taught principles that seem to be abstract in nature. It was the Indian axiom that says ‘’What I hear, I may forget, what I see I may forget but what I see, hear and touch I will never forget’’ the great problem and question in the Nigerian educational system is, to what extent are instructional materials made available? In cases where there are available, are there sufficient and accessible? In situation where they are sufficient, are they properly utilized? Report has proved severally from the results of WAEC, NECO and other professional examination bodies on high rate of failure of students in different subjects especially in the sciences and this again posed many questions on the heart of the researcher as whether the teachers lack proper skills and training in teaching or are instructional materials not available enough? To what extent are the teachers using the available ones? To what extent are they accessible? It is on the strength of the above problems and questions, that the researcher deems it necessary to investigate the current study to provide solutions to whatever problems that might be associated instructional materials in teaching and learning of biology in senior secondary schools in Enugu South L.G.A of Enugu State.
Purpose of the study
The main purpose of the study was to examine the availability, accessibility and utilization of instructional material in teaching and learning of biology in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State. Specifically, the study will determine the following:
1. To examine the extent to which instructional materials are made available to biology teachers in secondary school.
2. To find out the extent to which teachers have access to instructional materials in teaching of biology.
3. To ascertain the extent of utilization of instructional materials in teaching and learning of biology by the teachers.
The Significance of the study
The study has both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, it can provide support and insight into the current cognitive theory of teaching and learning in schools. Here the theory of Jean Piaget which states that learning takes place in stages. Teachers can sequentially from simple to complex use instructional materials suitable for each stage of learning for the students.
For the practical significance, the findings of this study will benefit the followings: the school, students, biology teachers, government, biology text book writers, and curriculum planners.
The school shall use the findings of this study in making decisions on the importance of making available and accessible of teaching aids in the teaching and learning of biology in secondary school. The reason why the result of these findings will be advantageous to the school is because the school is the centre of learning that houses both the teachers, the students and other academic activities.
The result of this study shall expose the students to the need of learning with instructional materials and invest more effort in acquiring them when need be. The students shall be exposed to the need of seeing, touching and hearing practically the knowledge that is to be learnt to remove sense of abstraction.
The biology teachers shall be more exposed to the reasons why they should use teaching aids in dispensing their knowledge. The teacher shall read from the result of the research the needs to employ instructional material as it tends to reduce stress and energy spent on explanation of an abstract phenomenon..