EFFECTS OF DEMONSTRATION AND PROBLEM SOLVING METHODS OF TEACHING ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE

EFFECTS OF DEMONSTRATION AND PROBLEM SOLVING METHODS OF TEACHING ON STUDENTS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN AGRICULTURAL SCIENCE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

Agriculture embraces health, nutrition and food consumption, the use and

conservation of land, water resources, and environmental characteristics of the

food and fibre system. Iwena (2007), defined agriculture as a deliberate effort

made by man to till the soil, cultivate crops and rear animals for food and other

purposes.

Agricultural education is concerned with the teaching of agricultural science

and related disciplines within the school system as well as the design and

implementation of meaningful teacher training programme for the provision and

maintenance of pre-requisite manpower levels for manning these agricultural

related disciplines. Agricultural science is one of the core subjects in Nigerian

junior and senior secondary schools.

Nigerian government has made the teaching of agriculture compulsory as

this will help to promote self reliance in the production of staple food requirements

and make available agro-raw materials. The Federal Republic of Nigeria (2004) in

its attempt to achieve this, outlined the basic objectives of agricultural education at

the secondary school level as follows:

· To stimulate and sustain students interest in agriculture.

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· To inculcate in students farming skills.

· To enable students acquire basic knowledge and practical skills in

agriculture.

· To enable students integrate knowledge with skills in agriculture.

· To prepare students for future studies in agriculture.

· To prepare and expose students to occupations and opportunities in the field

of agriculture.

· To produce prospective future farmers (FGN, 2004:18).

The achievement of the above stated objectives would depend on the mode

of instruction and motivation of students in the study of agriculture by the teachers.

Even though the government made the study of agricultural science in secondary

schools compulsory, many teachers find it difficult to teach some agricultural

concepts thus leading to students poor performance in prescribed examinations like

Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (SSSCE) of West African

Examination Council (WAEC) and National Examination Council (NECO)

(Ibitoye, 1998 and Egun, 2007).

Evidence from WAEC results, between 2002-2006 in Kogi State in

agricultural science, has shown that the number of students, that passed with

distinction and credit grade levels, which will enable them proceed for further

studies at the tertiary education levels were on the decline while those that had

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ordinary passes and failure were on the increase (see appendix C) (WAEC Office

Lokoja, 2007). The students’ achievement from the above, were unsatisfactory and

this has continued to be a major source of concern to schools, parents and public

examination bodies.

Senior secondary school students with low achievement in some core

subjects and indeed agricultural science has been largely attributed to inefficient

and ineffective way the subject(s) is taught (Ibitoye, 1998). There are also

indications that the conventional lecture method of instruction is predominantly

used in teaching students in agricultural science (Adah and Ameh, 2002). They

further added that demonstration method is sparingly used to teach the students the

subject too. Students are mostly known to memorize and regurgitate facts and

concepts without carrying out activities on which these goals and concepts are

based. Nwosu (1991) has also indicated that there is poor quality teaching in

science subjects (including agricultural science) and stated that the class sessions

are more teacher centred than student-centered. Musa (2007) observed that most

students in secondary schools adopt rote memorization. He further added that the

approach has not been effective in learning especially when difficult tasks are

involved.

The urge to improve agricultural science achievement through more

effective instructional strategies has increased the awareness of the importance of

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learners’ centeredness in teaching. Learners therefore must be assisted to learn and

understand concepts very well. Thus, there is a shift in the perception of the roles

of the learners in the learning process. Instead of viewing learners as passive

recipients of information supplied by the teachers, they are looked upon as active

participants in the knowledge acquisition process (Nwokorie and Akpata, 2004).

Teaching of agricultural science at the secondary level requires a solid

foundation in theory and practical aspects by the teacher of agriculture. The 6-3-3-

4 system of education requires that agricultural science be taught as a prevocational

subject at the junior secondary schools and as a vocational subject at the

senior secondary school level (FRN, 2004). Surprisingly, the 2007 Universal Basic

Education (UBE) programme in contrary resolved that agricultural science be

made an elective course but an attempt is on the top gear by serious-minded and

thought provoking experts/educationists to revert it to its compulsory course status

considering its national relevance (Egwu, 2009).

The teacher is recognized as the key factor in determining the quality and

success of curriculum contents in agricultural education through proper

instructional strategies and approaches. Howe in Onimisi (2005) observed that if

the teachers influence what the students learn by stimulating learning styles and

study habits, then the link between the teacher classroom interactions and students

learning, needs greater attention and deeper investigation. Thus investigating into

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the agricultural science classroom interaction and how they influence or affect

students learning outcome becomes imperative. The teacher as an agent of change

employs different learning strategies which go a long way to modify teachers and

students’ behaviour and academic achievement.

In order to improve academic achievement in the students when teaching

agricultural science, it is imperative for the teacher to give proper and adequate

attention especially in the choice of methods(s) appropriate for the inculcation of

knowledge, ideas and skills in students to facilitate a better understanding of the

subject matter (Adah and Ameh, 2002). There are many methods a teacher may use

in the course of his work. None of the available method(s) can be the best which

the teacher must use always.

The teaching of agricultural science at the secondary school level is handled

using the following methods as pointed out by Olaitan (1984):- demonstration

method, project method, discussion, lecture method, problem solving, seminar,

concept mapping, play way method, field trips/excursion, role playing, exhibition,

assignment and so on. Two of the teaching methods – demonstration and problemsolving

were selected and used for the study. The two methods were selected based

on the fact that they were activity and student-centred oriented. The students under

the employment of the two methods were not ordinarily mere spectators but were

actively involved in the learning process. The domineering characteristics of

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teachers and passive posture of the students were reduced to the barest minimum.

Both methods were interrelated as the problem solving strategy involves practical

demonstration.

Demonstration method refers to the type of teaching method in which the

teacher is the principal actor while the learners watch with the intention to act later.

Here the teacher does whatever the learners are expected to do at the end of the

lesson by showing them how to do it and explaining the step-by-step process to

them (Ameh, Daniel and Akus, 2007). Mundi (2006), described it as a display or

an exhibition usually done by the teacher while the students watch with keen

interest. This involves showing how something works or the steps involved in the

process. It is done by explanations by the teacher while the student watches. It

involves the use of materials and provides a visual experience, which is usually

increased in value by verbal explanations (Nwachukwu, 2001). Demonstration

method of instruction is one of the very effective methods applied by teachers in

achieving objective learning in real life situations. In another dimension,

demonstration has been described by Urevbu, (1990), Gbamanja (1991) and Ali

(1998) as an activity carried out by a science teacher (some times students) in full

view of his science students who do not participate but only watch what is going

on. Agricultural science is practically oriented and therefore requires practical

instructions and applications with the use of demonstration method (Olaitan,

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1984). Abimbade (1997) stated that this method can be employed at all levels of

education-primary, secondary and tertiary.

Problem solving method has been defined by many educationists in various

ways with regard to its philosophical and psychological backgrounds. The Gestalt

theorists according to Alio (1997) defined it as an insightful or initiative process

involving the perceptual processes of the solver. To them (the Gestalt theorists)

problem solving is a type of discovery learning whose emergence depends on the

structure of the task and independent of the learners’ previous knowledge. In

support, Idoko and Ibitoye (1998) described problem solving as a manipulation of

the problem statement geared towards achieving the desired solution which is

cognitive in nature or domain dependent.

Problem-solving method involves the identification and selection of

problems arising from individual experiences to the students (Omalle, 1996).

These problems are placed before the learners and they are guided to the solutions.

As a teaching procedure, the method involves steps of scientific method and also

steps of reflective thinking. The teachers also play an important part in clarifying

the problems and providing necessary materials which will help the students solve

the problems. The success in the use of a problem-solving method depends on

sufficient interest and creative mind on the part of the students in activity

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undertaken which should be within the researchable reach of the students. Students

must be willing to succeed on the problem given or selected.

From the above, problem solving is a pathway of getting to a solution of

problem which involves identification of the type of problem to be solved, the

necessary pre-requisites, the strategies, the heuristics or hints and the elements

used in applying the strategies. Problem solving method is highly very useful as it

helps students to gain knowledge through active participation and autonomously

find out information for themselves, thus promoting their level of intellectual

productivity. It also creates the ability to appraise problematic situations

constructively and objectively among students (Olaitan, 1984 and Mundi, 2006).

According to Pekene (2002) over fifteen problem solving models have been

developed by some researchers to enhance the problem solving capabilities of

students and minimizing their problem solving strategies. In this study, Greeno

1973 problem solving model was used. According to Pekene (2002), Greeno 1973

model was a developed model with four phases for problem solving. It’s features

include, it is step wise, highly innovative, activity based and student-centred. The

choice of the model was based on the fact that in Nigeria emphasis was placed on

it as a valuable instructional strategy (FME, 1985). From the psychological point

of view, the model is more effective in students’ achievement in the sciences like

Physics and Mathematics than the conventional lecture method. The model has not

9

been popularly used in teaching secondary school students problem solving in

applied sciences like agricultural science in Nigeria in general and Kogi State in

particular. In these strategies, the students are instructed and provided questions

from the teacher to discover agricultural science concepts. The model would help

the students to acquire appropriate problem solving skills and offer students the

opportunity to work at different levels of agricultural science abstractions. The four

steps known as RRCC are reading and interpreting concept; retrieving relevant

information; constructing solution and carrying out a solution and other operation.

However, some research studies on factors responsible for students’ failure

in examination has been attributed to the teaching approach adopted by agricultural

science teachers (Okorie, 1979 and Daluba, 2008). They further observed that most

teachers adopted the conventional lecture approach to teaching. According to

Ogbonna (2003), this is an approach where older methods or ideas are followed

rather than modern ones. In this approach, curricular activities rely heavily on

textbooks and workbooks. Students are viewed as “blank slates” unto which

information is entrenched by the teacher. In this setting, the teacher seeks the

correct answer to validate students learning and assessment of student learning is

viewed as separate from teaching and it occurs almost entirely through testing. The

focus here is on what is being taught, rather than who is being taught and as such,

it is a teacher or subject-centred approach.

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In conventional setting, success of students in school has very little to do

with true understanding and much to do with coverage of the curriculum. The

curriculum is held as absolute in many schools, and teachers are clearly not

understanding important concepts. Rather than adapting the curriculum to students

needs, the predominant instructional response in conventional setting is to view

those who have difficulty in understanding the unaltered curriculum as slow

learners.

Another important concern of this study is the relationship between gender

and academic achievement. In the past, there has been a general view that males

performed better than females in sciences (agricultural science inclusive). But

Ibitoye (2006) found a high achievement in favour of females in agricultural

science. Agricultural science even though, one may be expecting that the

performance of males could be higher. This may then show that sex could still be a

variable of study in agricultural science problem solving investigation.

Moreover, since agricultural science plays a vital role in food supply, useful

for technological development as well as being one of the basic core subjects

taught in Nigerian secondary schools, everybody should have the same opportunity

to learn and achieve in agricultural science. The use of greeno problem solving and

demonstration approach in agricultural science teaching may have gender (male

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and female students) based implications which is worth exploring as one of the

variables for the study.

The issue of school type becomes pertinent in this present study because the

schools in the study area were single sex male, single sex female and coeducational

(male and female) schools hence, the need to see what effect school

type has on students’ achievement in Agricultural Science using demonstration and

greeno problem solving procedures. Also in this study, many secondary schools are

located in both rural and urban areas. There is therefore, the need to see what effect

the school location has on the achievement of students in agricultural science,

hence, the need for location variable in the study.

From the preliminary study conducted by the researcher, to identify the

topics in agricultural science for which students in the study area do not perform

well, five major difficult topics were identified. The study was conducted using the

WAEC chief examiners reports between 2004-2008. The choice of the difficult

topics was based on the frequency of their occurrence for the five years under

review (See appendix B). The areas include vegetative propagation in plants,

knapsack sprayer (uses, operations and maintenance), digestive and reproductive

systems in birds, some soil related experiments (porosity, capillarity and PH) and

genetics.

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From the foregoing, it become imperative to search for appropriate

instructional approaches that would assist students to learn and in finding solution

to their academic problems with ease. A number of teaching methods have been in

use as earlier cited. Hence the researcher intends to determine and compare the

effects of greeno problem solving, demonstration and conventional lecture

methods on students’ achievement in agricultural science in Senior Secondary

Schools in Kogi East education zone of Kogi State.

Statement of the Problem

The teaching of agricultural science requires appropriate instructional

methods, as their proper application is essential for facilitating the achievement of

the set objectives. The experience of the teacher and his adoption of appropriate

methodology in teaching greatly help in promoting his effectiveness and

consequently students’ academic achievement (Adah and Ameh, 2002 and Idoko,

2004).

From records, it has been observed that students’ achievement in agricultural

science in Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE) has not been

very good. It has been declining for a number of years. For instance, the percentage

ordinary passes and total failures for 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 years were

50.5%, 53.5%, 58.0%, 65.4% and 68.6% respectively. The performance of students

has not been impressive most especially in agricultural science topics like

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vegetative propagation in plants, knapsack sprayer (uses, operation and

maintenance), Digestive and reproductive system in birds, some soil related

experiments (porosity, capillarity and soil PH) and Genetics based on the

preliminary investigation (Kogi State WAEC Office Report, 2007). The West

African Examination Council (WAEC), (2005) and National Examination Council

(NECO), (2005), respective Chief Examiners’ Report showed a decline in students

academic achievement in agricultural science. The decline could be traceable to

agricultural science teachers’ method of teaching the subject.

This trend of students’ performance in agricultural science has led to

students disinterestedness in the subject and low enrolment in tertiary institutions

to read agriculture and its related courses, as very few had credit in agricultural

science and chemistry in the WAEC or NECO certificates (Odumu, 2006). Okoro

(1993) attributed the use of inappropriate teaching methods to be the major cause

of students poor achievement in examinations. Onimisi (2005) and Ibitoye (2007)

suggested that to improve on students’ academic achievement in sciences like

agricultural science, the need for demonstrable, appropriate, skill and practically

oriented methods like problem solving and demonstration approach are advocated.

The type of method or techniques used varies from teachers to teachers thus

students’ academic achievement may and may not likely be the same. Hence,

agricultural science educators (teachers, instructors, technologists, lecturers) are in

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the search of alternative teaching methods and strategies that will enhance

achievement in agricultural science. Two of these innovative teaching methods as

identified by Orji (2006) is the greeno problem solving method (GPSM) and

Olaniyan (2007) is demonstration method (DM). They are commonly used in the

teaching of basic science subjects like chemistry, Biology and Physics and applied

subjects like Agricultural Science, Home Science and Nutrition and Technology

Education. The effect of these methods -greeno problem solving (GPSM) and

demonstration method (DM) which is sparingly used by teachers of agricultural

science in the teaching of basic knowledge and skills in secondary school

agricultural science which is an applied science subject has not been known to the

researcher.

Based on the foregoing, the problem of this study therefore is: could the

demonstration and greeno problem solving methods enhance students achievement

in agricultural science in secondary schools in Kogi East Education Zone of Kogi

State?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study was to determine the effect of demonstration,

greeno problem solving and conventional lecture methods on students’

achievement in agricultural science in Kogi East Education Zone of Kogi State,

Nigeria. Specifically, the study sought to:-

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1. Determine the relative achievement scores of students taught with

demonstration, Greeno problem solving and conventional lecture methods.

2. Determine the academic achievement scores of male and female students in

agricultural science when taught with demonstration, greeno problem

solving and conventional lecture methods.

3. Determine the influence of school type (single sex male, single sex female

and co-educational schools) on the mean achievement scores of students

when taught agricultural science using demonstration, greeno problem

solving and conventional lecture methods.

4. Determine the mean achievement scores of students in different locations

(rural and urban) when taught agricultural science with demonstration,

greeno problem solving and conventional lecture methods.

5. Establishing the interaction effect of method and gender on students’

achievement scores in agricultural science.

6. Establishing the interaction effect of method and school type on students’

achievement scores in agricultural science.

7. Establishing the interaction effect of method and school location on

students’ achievement scores in agricultural science.

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Significance of the Study

The concept of learning is central to many different human endeavours. It is

therefore very apparent to understand and influence this process positively and in

predictable ways. For this to be done, a number of people like the students,

teachers, school administrators, curriculum planners, government, ministry of

education (inspectorate unit), psychologists, examination bodies and researchers

must be involved.

Students acquire information, encode, store and recall information

differently and they think and comprehend differently too. Having known this, a

clear understanding of how they should be well taught for maintenance and

sustenance of the learnt information towards facilitating academic achievement is

important to the teachers and curriculum planners so that predicting their

performance based on a prescribed curriculum could be facilitated.

In particular, secondary school agricultural science teachers need to know

their students cognitive abilities. This study was important to them as it would

reveal students level of performance in agricultural science tasks. Secondly,

selection of matchable teaching method(s) and content in the curriculum in use

would be done with every caution to prevent resistance as well as low performance

on the part of the students.

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If the selection of the content to be taught and the methodology to be applied

are not matchable and the students’ achievement is affected negatively, there is

therefore the need to review the curriculum. The step(s) for this can only be made

possible based on the empirical data from studies of this nature to curriculum

planners, school administrators and policy makers.

The findings from this study would be useful to examination bodies like

WAEC and the National Examination Council (NECO) as the low performance of

the students’ in agricultural science will be enough to trigger worry in the boards to

begin to seek for remedies based on the sources of the prevailing situation. If it was

discovered from the study that the problem of low performance emanated from

either adoption of poor teaching strategy or heavily loaded nature of the

curriculum, the boards may decide to redesign the curriculum and state the exact

matchable method(s) to be employed. This attempt would help to draw the

attention of textbook authors in updating the content of their texts to cater for the

inadequacies.

Theoretically, a lot of assumptions and generalization have been made by

previous researchers based on some relevant psychological theories like gestalt,

Jerome Bruner, Ausubel and Jean Piaget which the current studies stemmed from.

Its application to Agricultural Science students in Nigerian secondary schools

curriculum would assist to strengthen these theories or provide opportunities for

18

their modification as applicable to secondary school students. These cognitive

psychologists would find the study useful.

The findings would be useful as this would help to expand the body of

knowledge in the area of choice of teaching method particularly to the teacher. It

would be possible for the teachers to know the extent to which Greeno problem

solving and demonstration methods could facilitate learning. The study would be

of significance to researchers. In precise terms, the findings from this study would

contribute to the existing information on how gender, school location and type,

classroom interaction and other environmental factors influence students’

academic achievement in agricultural science.

The findings would help in providing useful information to trainers and

trainees in teacher training institutions. This would therefore help to alert the local,

state and federal governments of the need to revigorate their efforts towards

improving the state of these institutions by enriching their method courses or

develop new programmes of instruction based on the findings of the study.

Finally, the result of the study would help to provide feedback to the

Ministry of Education most especially the inspectorate unit of their supervision and

inspection outcome as it relate to students achievement in agricultural science.

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Research Questions

Based on the purpose of the study, the following research questions were

formulated:

1) What is the students’ mean achievement scores in Agricultural Science

Achievement Test (ASAT) when taught with demonstration, greeno problem

solving and conventional lecture methods?

2) What is the academic achievement scores of male and female students taught

Agricultural Science with demonstration, greeno problem solving and

conventional lecture methods?

3) What is the influence of school type (single sex male, single sex female and

co-educational) on the mean achievement scores of students taught

agricultural science with demonstration, greeno problem solving and

conventional lecture methods?

4) What is the mean achievement scores of students in different locations (rural

and urban) when taught agricultural science with demonstration, greeno

problem solving and conventional lecture methods?

Hypotheses

The following null hypotheses (Ho) were formulated and tested at 0.05 level

of significance.

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Ho1: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores among the

students taught with the demonstration, greeno problem solving and

conventional lecture methods of teaching agricultural science.

Ho2: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores of male

and female students taught with demonstration, greeno problem solving and

conventional lecture methods of teaching agricultural science.

Ho3: There is no significant difference in the mean achievement scores among the

students of different school type taught with demonstration, greeno problem

solving and conventional lecture methods of teaching agricultural science.

Ho4: There is no significant difference between the mean achievement scores of

rural and urban students taught with demonstration, greeno problem solving

and conventional lecture methods of teaching agricultural science based on

school location.

Ho5. There is no significant interaction effect of methods and gender on students’

achievement scores in agricultural science.

Ho6. There is no significant interaction effect of methods and school type on

students’ achievement scores in agricultural science.

Ho7. There is no significant interaction effect of methods and school location on

students achievement scores in agricultural science.

Scope of the Study

The study was concerned with determining the effect of demonstration,

greeno problem solving and conventional lecture methods of teaching agricultural

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science on students’ academic achievement. The research is delimited to the senior

secondary schools two (SSII) students drawn from the three education zone in

Kogi East of Kogi State.

Five content areas in Agricultural Science: Vegetative propagation in plants

(budding, grafting process and layering), knapsack sprayer (uses, operation,

maintenance), digestive and reproductive systems in birds, some soil related

experiments (porosity, capillarity and PH) and genetics were selected for the study.

These were the content areas identified to be difficult as contained in the WAEC

chief examiner’s report between 2004 – 2008. The extent of the treatment that was

given to the content areas was based on the agricultural science curriculum for

senior secondary schools (Federal Ministry of Education (FME), 1985).





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