FACTORS INFLUENCING EFFECTIVE TEACHING AND LEARNING OF BASIC SCIENCE
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
The role of basic science in a nation’s development cannot be over-emphasized. Basic science have become the basic tools for the development of modern society; a measure of the development of a nation can be ascertained from the quantity and quality of its basic and applied scientific output J.C. Amazigo (2005).
The development of a nation depends largely on the level of scientific and technological literacy (Ivowi 1993, Okebukola 1999 and Ukpene (2005). Science is indispensable to the technological development of any nation. According to Okecha (1993), science has helped in the development of Modern technology through the application of its principles to Modern invention.
A nation that neither develops a scientifically literate citizenry nor attracts its best minds to the basic science s and technology is doomed to remain underdeveloped no matter its natural resources. Any nation with ambitions for development must have its home grown expertise in basic science .
Nigeria’s policy makers and scientific and technological communities appear to understand and may be accept these basic axioms but they have not taken adequate evolutionary steps to identify, solve and address the major factors militating against the teaching and learning of Basic science .
For about two decades now, it had become clear that Nigeria’s educational system had been deficient in the production of adequate number of competent man power in basic science to man Nigeria schools, colleges, universities and industries.
Students’ performance in sciences in both Junior School certificate examination (JSCE) and senior school certificate examination (SSCE) results for more than 20 years have persistently been poor in public examinations conducted by examination bodies like NECO, WAEC, NABTEB and JAMB.
A number of teaching methods have been used by basic science teachers in the past. Such methods as discussion, questioning, guided discovery, exposition, etc. studies have shown that these methods have not yet yielded expected results (Abimbola and Okebukola 1998 and 2001, Inomiesa and Unuero 2003, Ukpene 2004 and WAEC Chief Examiners’ report 1998, 1991, 2002 and 2003.
Efforts must be made by the science teachers and technology teachers to make students acquire meaningful learning in basic science by making the teaching of basic science subjects exciting, purposeful and participatory. This calls for the use of an instructional method that would make students develop adequate assimilation and understanding of the concept taught and acquire process skills in basic science .
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
Common observations indicate in alarming rate the certification of unemployable science, technology and mathematics graduates who prefer paper certificates to knowledge and skills required for the survival of an individual and the entire society. This trend has really caused the phobia for and lack of interest in Mathematics, Basic science and led to uncontrollable examination mal practice in our total school system.
Conspicuous gross incompetence of the science, technology and mathematics teachers in handling science, technology and mathematics mislead the students and the society at large to think that it is very difficult to study sciences, technology and Mathematics. This incompetence has led to the certification of people better referred to as Ignoramuses since no one can give what the one does not have. This condition if not checked in any society threatens to destroy completely society order, man power and national development among other things and replace them with social crime, underdevelopment and other vices.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The study aims at determining the factors militating against the teaching and learning of basic science in secondary schools. Specifically, it will address the following:
1. The attitudes of students to mathematics, sciences and technology and the reasons for the poor performances in mathematics, sciences and technology among secondary school students.
2. The apparent irrationality on reaction to mathematics, basic science and the students’ rating of Mathematics, sciences and technology.
3. The background of mathematics, basic science teachers as one of the factors militating against the teaching and learning of basic science .
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of the study will be useful to a number of people in different parts of the country. The beneficiaries of this study will include: the learners, teachers, parents, the ministries of education, policy makers in basic science education matters who would want to produce outstanding personalities, the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), colleges of Education, Universities and industries among others.
The society at large will actualize the goals and aims set in education if the hypothesis of this study is supported by the findings and the recommendations implemented by the government, school authorities and other necessary bodies.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY/DELIMITATION
This study on the factors militating against the teaching and learning of basic science in secondary schools was carried out in Enugu Education zone of Enugu State. A random selection approach was used and 4 secondary schools were picked from each local Government area out of three LGAs that make up Enugu Education zone. As a result, 12 schools were used. The targeted population is 25 junior student and 50 senior students from each school with a sample size of nine hundred (900) participants. This is because of financial and time constraint.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The study will attempt to answer the following research questions considering the researcher’s set objective and significance for the study:
1. How do students rate mathematics, basic science generally?
2. Does the attitude of a student contribute to the student’s performance in Mathematics, Basic science ?
3. What are the students’ assessment of their teachers in science, technology and mathematics and to what extent does the quality of the teacher affect the proper teaching and learning of basic science .
1.7 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
Two null hypothesis guided the study.
1. The phobia attitude and other negative attitude of students towards mathematics and sciences as a result of poor primary school background in mathematics and sciences have been discovered to be the greatest factors Militating against the teaching and learning of basic science in secondary schools.
2. The academic background of teachers has a very big influence on learners’ academic achievement in basic science .
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