PERCEPTION OF STUDENTS IN THE USE OF IMPROVISED INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS IN TEACHING BIOLOGY IN SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
Background of the study
The importance of science in our daily activities can never be underrated. Science has made numerous and unalloyed contribution to the realization and advancement of the contemporary world and it has been attributed as the foundation for technological breakthrough in this modern world. According to Ogunleye (2012), he defined science as a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding the workings of the world we live. This understanding helps man to know more about the universe. Without the application of science, it would have been difficult for man to explore his environment. The objectives of science education according to Maduekwe (2009) in Nigeria include the need to prepare students to observe and explore the environment, explain simple natural phenomena, develop scientific attitudes including curiosity, critical reflection and objectivity, apply the skills and knowledge gained through science to solve everyday problems in the environment, develop self-confidence and self-reliance through problems solving activities in science.
Biologyis one of the science subjects offered at the senior secondary school levels in Nigeria secondary schools (NPE, 2004) Biology is a very important science subject and a requirement for higher learning in a number of science-related professional courses like medicine, pharmacy, agriculture. Biology is natural science that deals with the living world. How the world is structured how it functions and what these functions are: how it develops, how living things came into existence and how they interact to one another and with their environment (Umar 2011) It is a prerequisite subject for many fields of learning that contributes immensely to thetechnological growthof the nation e.g. nursing, medicine etc. (Ahmed, 2008) According to Abuhu (2007) Biology is a natural science that studies-living organisms (plants and animals). The study of biology generally is considered as basics for the preparation of every informed citizens and serves as gate way into numerous career choices in life. Nations that desire to forge ahead scientifically and technologically cannot afford to toy-with the biological knowledge of her citizenry. The basic tools science uses in the learning of science processes are the instructional materials. Instructional materials are essential and significant tools needed for teaching and learning of school subjects to promotes teachers efficiency and improve students performance. They make learning more interesting, practical realistic and appealing. They also enable both the teachers and students participate actively and effectively in lesson sessions. They give room for acquisition of skills and knowledge and development of self-confidence and self actualization.
However, studies have shown that the senior secondary school students are exhibiting low interest in biology (Esiobu, 2015). This low interest has been traced to poor achievement in Biology examinations. Poor achievement in biology can be attributed to many factors such as poor method of teaching, unavailability of laboratory facilities, lack of instructional materials, inadequate time allocation and large class size. Folorunso (2014) linked poor achievement trend in biology particularly to the lack of instructional resources in schools due to poor funding of schools which hinders the principals from providing teachers with adequate instructional materials. According to Etukudo (2009), poor achievement in biology is incontrovertibly attributed to poor instructional delivery approach adopted by teachers in schools. Poor teaching methods adopted by teacher at senior secondary school level in Nigeria have been identified as one of the major factors contributing to poor performance of students in biology (Ahmed and Abimbola 2011; Kareem 2003.
However, evidence from research has shown that instructional materials resources and equipment in teaching biology are in short supply and that some are completely lacking in schools to extent that most teachers end with verbs exposition of scientific principles, facts and concepts. The persistent use of this method makes students passive rather than active learners. It does not promote insightful learning and long-term retention of some abstract concepts in biology Ahmed & Abimbola 2011, and the only way out of this ugly situation is for the teacher to make the teaching of biology concept relevant through the use of necessary and adequate instructional materials in the teaching and learning process of biology in senior secondary schools. Therefore there is need for improvisation. When the real materials that are the conventional instructional materials are not available or inadequate, they can be locally made by using resources in the environment as alternative.
The concept of improvisation, in science teaching has comes to stay with us. No matter how generous and rich and education authority might be, they are generally not always in a position to provide their school with all they need. Improvisation could be seen as the act of providing teaching materials from our locality when there is shortage or lack of the standard ones to enhance instruction. Igwe (2013) defines improvisation as the making or inventing of a piece of science teaching equipment in emergency. It is an essential part of laboratory management for the purpose of maximizing the use of the available resources. In the science class, teaching aids are needed to supplement the teachers oral explanation with the students visible experiences. This is why Abdullahi (2012) stated that scientific materials used in teaching enable the students to become actively involved intellectually. Perceptually and physically in the learning process. Improvisation requires a considerable development through imaginative planning and good knowledge. Improvise instructional materials when effectively improvised and utilized can turn a dull students intellect to a great academic achiever. This is because students learn best when the subject matter is brought practically to their senses since the more the senses are stimulated the more a person learns and the more he retains. In line with this, science teachers should exhibit resourcefulness by improvising materials in place of the standardized ones. Even the collection of these teaching materials by the students themselves is in itself rewarding and a stimulating learning source experience. Two much verbalism encourages authoritarian approach and makes learning difficult and uninteresting.
Statement of the problem
The performance of students in biology in SSCE over the past few years in the study area has not been impressive. Evidence from the studies reviewed shows that failure rate in biology at senior certificate examination is high. This could be caused by a number of factors. One of such factors is shortage or complete absence of instructional materials. In teaching and learning biology, instructional materials play a key role towards concretizing learning. It makes learning more meaningful and help to improve students academic achievement. However these advantages of instructional materials have reflected in the education system because of the dearth of these instructional materials in our schools. Hence, the need for alternative instructional materials called improvisation. Bassey (2008) pointed out a good relationship between the teaching of biology and using of instructional materials to enhance teaching and learning.
Biology is resource intensive, and in an era of poor funding or scarcity of resources, it may be difficult to find some of the original materials and equipment for the teaching of biology adequately in schools. The researcher feels that the teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools in Ezeagu. Local Government Area in Enugu state would be hindered seriously if improvisation of instructional materials were not encouraged. These observations then motivated the interest of the researcher to examine the perception of students in the use of improvised instructional materials in teaching biology in senior secondary schools in Ezeagu.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to find out the perception of students in the use of improvised instructional materials in teaching biology in senior secondary schools in Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State.
Specifically, the research will further look into the following specific purpose:-
1. Determining the extent of the use of improvised instructional materials by biology teachers in senior secondary schools in Ezeagu.
2. To investigate the attitude of biology students towards the use of improvised materials in teaching biology.
3. To determine the influence of the use of improvised materials on students academic achievement.
Scope of the Study
This research work is based on the perception of students in the use of improvised instructional materials in teaching biology in senior secondary school students in Ezeagu Local Government Area. The study is mainly limited to public secondary schools in Ezeagu Local Government Area, Enugu State.
Significance of the Study
This research aims at producing results and adding values to teachers, students, parents and the society at large.
On the part of the students, they will be in a better position to access the usefulness or otherwise of their involvement in the improvisation of teaching materials for biology lessons. This will go a long way to make them become more interested in the activities of improvisation and also be able to handle and preserve improvised materials better. In addition, these findings will enable teachers and students appreciate the usefulness or otherwise of their environment as it concerns their performances in biology examination and total living.
On the part of the teachers, they will be in a better position to justify or otherwise the time, effort and even money they invest in improvising biology teaching materials. The finding will also guide their subsequent steps or strategies towards enhancing better biology teaching with regards to improvisation of teaching materials.
Parents will be better informed on how to encourage and help their words to produce improvised materials. This may be in form of sourcing local materials and providing fund for those that cannot be found in their environment.
The result of this study could provide information to researchers interested in working on student teachers generated improvised materials in other subject areas. This may help them to get more information on the efficacy if improvisation, especially researchers in the area of science and technology.
On the society at large, the findings of this study will enlighten the society on the value of the environment. This will enhance better preservation and protection of the environment. This finding of this study will review the usefulness and value things in the environment from what science teaching materials are improvised.
Generally therefore, the finding of this study will guide policy makers, educations curriculum planners and all concerned with biology education review, to reaffirm on withdraw their individual views or collective views about improvisation of biology teaching and learning materials.
The following research questions have been formulated to guide this study.
1. What is the extent of the use of improvised instructional materials by biology teachers in secondary school in Ezeagu Local Government Area?.
2. What is the attitude of students towards the use of improvised materials in teaching of biology?
3. What is the influence of the use of improvised materials on student academic achievement in biology?.