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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
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.
· To inculcate in students farming skills.
· To enable students acquire basic knowledge and practical skills in
· 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
· 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
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
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
The urge to improve agricultural science achievement through more
effective instructional strategies has increased the awareness of the importance of
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
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
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 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,
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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:-
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Based on the purpose of the study, the following research questions were
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?
The following null hypotheses (Ho) were formulated and tested at 0.05 level
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
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
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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