IMPACT OF BIOLOGY PRACTICAL ON THE EFFECTIVE ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN BIOLOGY IN ENUGU NORTH L.G.A, ENUGU STATE
Background of the Study
Science has been defined as a way of investigating about events in nature. Science is also an objective, logical and reputable attempt to understand the principle and forces operating in the natural universe. Aniodoh (2018), viewed science as a body of knowledge arrived at through systematic and procedural processes based on tentative observation and experiment. Science may be viewed as a way of thinking in the pursuit of understanding nature, a way of investigating and a body of established knowledge, science as a product as well as a process. Ambuonu, Opuli and Eze (2015), noted that without science the world today wouldn’t have been what it is. Technological advancement has completely changed the world into a global village with the advancement and the development in communication, agricultures and building etc.
Science according to Attiji (2018) is a dynamic human activity concerned with understanding of the working of our world. Ali (2010) stated that the word science stands for a variety of information, abilities and operations about the natural environment. As also stated that science is more concerned with various investigative processes and activities with regards to developing, acquiring and controlling knowledge, skills, acceptability and attitudes about the natural factors of the environment. Science is an intellectual activity through which many seek to understand nature. According to Kolani (2015), science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe. Science is typically divided into the natural science which studies the natural world, the social science which study people and society and the formal science such as mathematics. From classical antiquity through the 19th century, science as a type of knowledge was closely linked to philosophy.
Exploration of the universe and improvement in conditions of living in our homes are all based on science and technology in terms of modern equipment and materials. With the world changing, what will save our planet earth is scientific inquiring for solution to solve prevailing problems and others we may face in the future. Some biological research has been carried out by scientists leading to many discoveries in medicine, technology, agriculture and genetics.
Opuh (2014) supported the above view when he said that through science and the help of technological know-how, man is able to construct shelter of various kinds as dwelling, markets, schools, hospitals etc. Science has gained tremendous access into the school curriculum along with its application on man and society. Biology as one of the science subjects is defined as the study of life or living things. It is concerned with the structure, behavior and origin of plants, animals and their relationship with their environment. Eze (2013) stated that biology as one of the science subjects in skill field of studies develops human thinking for accurate observation. He stated that biology education programme should be built on the skills, knowledge and experience developed by the students through
participation in practical. Biology practical assist students in utilizing their knowledge and skills acquired in real field outside their classroom.
Biology according to Sarojini (2015) is the branch of science that includes the study of living things. On its own, Wikipedia (2013), defined biology as a natural science concerned with study of life and living organisms including the structures, functions, growth, evolution, distribution, identification and taxonomy. It is also a natural science concerned with the study of living things in our environment. Biology is the epiculture of all studies in faculties of science education, health, pure or applied science. It is a core subject compulsory to all science students in secondary schools in Nigeria.
Biology plays key role in industrialization and other sectors of the economy. It is a practical subject which equip students with concepts and skills that are useful in solving the day-to-day problems of life. The study of biology aims at providing the learner with necessary knowledge with which to control or change the environment for the benefit of an individual, family or community. The study of biology in senior secondary schools can equip students with the useful knowledge that will enable them face the challenges of life before and after graduation. Traditionally, biology is divided into branches which are as follows: Botany, the study of plants and Zoology the study of animals. Some of the usefulness of biology as pointed out by Sarojini (2015), are follows:
⦁ It helps in scientific research and development of new tools
⦁ Application in medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, agriculture and horticulture.
⦁ Biotechnology which includes field like genetic engineering and hydro technology
⦁ Dealing with ecological issues such as over population, food shortage, erosion including plant and animal diseases, etc.
Unfortunately, Poor performance of students in biology examinations and aptitude tests (WAEC 2018) and the importunity of others who are admitted to pursue degree and diploma in life science disciplines in Nigeria tertiary institutions on the high side. Oluwole (2010), declared that only a little about 50% of secondary school leavers pass SSCE biology at credit level. Hence, the major objective of teaching biology in schools is to ensure that students acquire skills of science that will help them attain to any level of education in natural Science.
Practical biology is the scientific study of life and structure of plants and animals and their relative environment in real or experimental setup rather than dwelling on the theories and ideas (Opuh, Eze and Ezeamagu 2018). West African Examination Council (WAEC 2018) buttressed the need for biology practical in teaching and learning of biology in secondary schools. The syllable was designed to assess candidates in understanding of the structure and functions of living organisms as well as appreciate nature. Acquisition of adequate laboratory and field skills in order to carryout and evaluate experiments and project in biology.
Practical activities are the life wire of biology, its removal from biology teaching is detrimental to understanding of the actual biological concepts. Despite the important of taking biology learning from the realm of theory to practical, schools seem to be set back as a result of non provision or inadequate biology laboratory. One building labeled biology or after y has is seen with little or no materials inside and students rarely or don’t visit the laboratory till S.S.C.E commences: Nworgu(2015).
Eze and Ezeamagu (2018) reported that much emphasis has been placed upon practical work for there is no substitute for it in biology.
Statement of the Problem
Science and technology constitute the basis of advancement in nearly all fields of human endeavors. Obiekwe (2018) reported that all is not well with science instruction in Nigeria secondary schools and noted that science teachers laid extreme emphases on content and the use of chalk and talk method, neglecting the practical activity method which enhances teaching and learning. This negligence and shying away attitude from activity oriented method of teaching has lead to abstraction which made the students less active and more prone to rote learning thereby leading to poor performance. It is Based on this background that the federal government of Nigeria is emphasizing “the teaching and learning of science process principles which will lead to fundamental and applied research in science at all levels of education” (FRN 2013).
A lot has been done to improve science teaching in secondary schools in Nigeria. In spite of all these attempts, students continue to perform poorly in science of which biology is one. This situation has created the need for more effective method. It then becomes necessary to explore the efficacy of alternative method of redressing this situation. Studies have been done on process skills, but there is little empirical evidence so far on impact of biology practical activities on students’ academic performance. Therefore the problem of this study posed as a question is will the use of practical activities in teaching and learning of biology enhance students academic performance in biology?
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to find out the impact of biology practical on the academic performance of biology students in North L.G.A, Enugu state. Specifically, the study intends to:
1. Determine the impact of biology practical on the students’ academic performance in biology.
2. Find out the impact of teachers related factors to students’ performance in biology practical.
3. Identify the impact of school management factors on the practice of biology practical towards the academic performance of students in biology.
The following research questions were raised for this study:
1. What are the impact of biology practical pose on the students’ academic performance in biology?
2. What are the impact of teacher’s related factors pose on students’ performance in biology practical?
3. What are the impact of school management factors pose on the practice of biology practical towards the academic performance of students in biology?
Significance of the Study
The findings of this study would be of immense benefit to the students, teachers, parents, curriculum planners, federal government and the nation or general public at large.
The findings of this study would help the students acquire basic scientific skills and improve their performance and achievement as well. It would equally help the students to be equipped to secure admission in Science related fields in employment and this would in no small measure, make them contribute more meaningfully to the development of the society. The study would enable students to see the need for developing his or her own creative thinking and their own manipulative skill or ability. The study would help students by arousing their interest in practical work.
The findings of this study would provide a basis for decision making among teachers, on the effective teaching methods to be adopted in Nigerian educational system to make science teaching more meaningful and interesting to the students. Also it would enable biology teachers to adjust their teaching patterns and emphasis practical activities and recognize student ownership of ideas which would be negotiated in the classroom. It will be an eye opener to the teachers, on their actual role in teaching and learning which is facilitating, directing and guiding, students taking an active role or participation.
The study would also motivate the parents to provide basic requirements for practical lessons for their children.
This research findings would help the curriculum planners to plan the biology curriculum is such a way that the contents would be filled with activities which teachers and students would do together. It is expected that by involving students in practical activities (laboratory activities), they would not only learn science concepts, but would also acquire science process skills and develop scientific attitudes to problem solving and also to meet with the nations desire which is that of producing students that can live effectively in our modern age. This is exactly the aim of 6-3-3-4 system of education.
The findings of this study would help promote the spirit of entrepreneurship among national development among the general public as it is expected that product of this study would be productive in their quest for improved technology and industrialization.
Finally, the finding would also serve as an eye- opener to the federal Governments to release adequate funds to equip schools with adequate laboratories for practical activities.
Scope of the Study
The study was delimited to the impact of biology practical on the academic performance of biology secondary school students in senior in Enugu North L.G.A, Enugu State of Enugu state..