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Excessive use of the lecture method in teaching science to secondary school students has been faulted by science educators: It leads to low and under achievements among other adverse effects. This study was therefore, carried out in response to the call on science teachers to evolve innovative, and if possible, integrated method techniques as alternatives to the over use of the lecture method. Consequently, the study investigated the effects of Play-Simulations and Teaching-With-Analogy (P-STWA) on achievements in Chemistry among secondary school students. The study was carried out in Owerri Education Zone of Imo State. From a population of 1,202 Senior Secondary School Class 2 (SS2) students, 270 were sampled from nine secondary schools that participated in the study. General Mental Ability Test (GMAT) was used to isolate a pool of students of average mental ability, from where the sample was randomly selected. A three experimental, control group pre-test, post-test design was adopted. Each of the nine schools involved represented a class and in each of the experimental or control groups, three school types were represented – Boys Only, Girls Only and Mixed Schools. While the experimental groups received six weeks of Chemistry lessons in the P-STWA method, the controls were divided into two – one group received their lessons (six weeks also) in the lecture method, the other received no lessons at all. All groups were administered with pre-test and post-test using teacher made Achievement Test in Chemistry (ATIC) research instrument. Four research questions guided the study and four hypotheses were also tested. ATIC was sub-divided into sections A, B, and C with KR21 reliability indices of 0.912, 0.868 and 0.892 respectively. Each section of ATIC tested achievement at a different cognitive ability level – Recall, Comprehension and Application respectively. Mean achievements were used to answer the research questions; Analysis of Co-variance (ANCOVA) was used to test the hypotheses. The results revealed that students taught chemistry using P-STWA method achieved significantly higher than those in the control groups. Among the P-STWA groups however, Boys Only schools achieved significantly higher than Girls and mixed schools only at the level of Application. Implications of the findings were highlighted. One major recommendation was that science teachers generally and chemistry teachers in particular should evolve integrated method techniques instead of relying solely on lecture method in delivering secondary school Chemistry lessons. Further research was suggested, especially in the area of male-female secondary school students’ achievement in science.
Background to the Study
The researcher has noted with much concern observations in literature of secondary school students’ persistent low and under achievements in science subjects (Adeboye, 1986, Ezeudu, 2000). These observations are even more worrisome as they are said to adversely affect these students’ performance in such external examinations as JAMB and SSCE. More so, it is worse in such technologically relevant subjects as Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics (Nweke, 2000).
The attention of the researcher is equally drawn to the great importance accorded the subject Chemistry and its relevance to technological development of any nation (Osuagwu, 2005 a). For instance, Okafor (2000) cited the deplorable state of science education in the country as hinged on poor performance, dwindling interest and negative attitude to Chemistry among others. In the bid to offer an explanation, Olayiwola (2000) opined that over the years, Chemistry lesson delivering in Nigeria secondary schools has proved ineffective.
In seeking how to tap the great potentials of play-simulations and analogous teaching in delivering science lessons and at the same time undermine their possible individual weaknesses, the researcher combined both strategies and evolved an integrated method: Play-simulations and Teaching with Analogy – P-STWA. This is with the hope that their combined effects will reduce, if not totally eliminate their individual weaknesses and thereby lead to even greater effectiveness as
a science lesson delivery strategy. The absence of any research reports in literature of the effects of such an integrated method on achievement in chemistry among secondary school students is a strong drive on the part of the researcher to carry out this study.
The researcher therefore, planned to implement this combined strategy of Play-simulations and Teaching With Analogy – P-STWA, by using a theatre presentation of a drama book titled “Courtroom of Crazy Elements” ( Onwukwe,2005) The book is one in a series for “Teaching and Learning Science through Plays”, specifically prepared for chemistry students. The play is available both in print and electronic forms. Analogies drawn from the different scenes and elements of the play were also planned for use in actual classroom presentations of chemistry lessons to students. In this way, both strategies will actually weave into one: Where play leaves room for triviality, analogy will bring in substance as it creates room for knew knowledge that would otherwise have been very tasking. It is hoped that this also will help do away with doubt. Since analogies will be drawn from one source, the play, digression will be checked on the part of the teacher. The fun and relaxation inherent in the play together with the experience of ease in acquisition of new and relevant knowledge, it is hoped, fear will be transformed to faith among the students as they reach their goals . The T-W-A model itself has in-built checks to eliminate confusion and unplanned use of analogies because the analogies will be written out ahead of time.
By applying the strategy of P-STWA in presenting chemistry to secondary school students, the researcher hoped to find answers to questions like “will an integrated method for presenting secondary school chemistry actually lead the students to achieve at their full potentials?”
“Will such an integrated method as P-STWA lead students to higher achievements in chemistry than the single method of lecture?” Only an empirical study in which variables are carefully controlled and observations keenly made can provide dependable answers to these questions.
Statement of the Problem
Low achievements in science generally, and in Chemistry in particular, among secondary school students is bad enough. This is when viewed from the perspective of their importance in technological development of any nation, especially a country considered to be underdeveloped like Nigeria. The greater worry is even the observation that secondary school students are under achieving and that the use of lecture method of lesson delivery is to blame. Science educators believe that achievement of students at their full potentials could be a function of appropriate lesson delivery techniques of the teachers among others.
The present researcher therefore poised to investigate the effects of incorporating plays and analogies drawn from them into Chemistry lesson delivery among Senior Secondary School students. It is hopped that such an investigation will help the researcher find answers to such questions as: Will play-simulations and teaching with analogy (P-STWA), as a Chemistry lesson delivery technique lead students to achieve better than the traditional lecture method? How will P-STWA influence achievement in Chemistry among students from different school types as well as among the sexes?
Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study was to find out how combining the instructional mode of play–simulations (P-S) and Teaching-With-Analogy (TWA) into one mode, P-STWA will affect achievement of secondary schools students in chemistry. Specifically, the study investigated the following:
i. Over all achievement of students taught chemistry with the P-STWA model of instruction and those taught with the traditional lecture method and those that received no lessons at all.
ii. Achievements of students taught chemistry with the P-STWA method and those taught with the traditional lecture method as well as those that received no lessons at all at three different levels of cognitive abilities namely, recall, comprehension and application of Knowledge.
iii. iii The effects of P-STWA model of instruction on male and female students’ achievement in chemistry at the recall, comprehension and application levels of cognitive abilities.
iv. iv How the P-STWA model of teaching chemistry will affect achievement of students from different school types – Boys only, Girls only, and mixed schools in chemistry at the recall, comprehension and application levels of cognitive abilities.
Significance of the Study
The following groups of people are expected to benefit directly from the study: Secondary school students, science teachers and science teacher educators. Others are education administrators, theatre artists, and parents.
Students will benefit from the study if is proved that play-simulations and Teaching-With-Analogy as a model of science instructions lead to higher achievement in science. They will learn to spend quality time in studies even while enjoying science drama. By so doing, the students will also learn to generate their own analogies, thereby deepening their knowledge of science.
For science teachers, there will be a sure route to follow to take their students to what has remained a mirage in the past – sustained interest and high achievement in science generally and chemistry in particular. The teachers’ creativity will equally be challenged as they will be motivated to sketch plays useable in this model of instruction. These plays if vetted and passed could be produced for use in schools and homes. High level of job satisfaction will follow as one’s efforts meet target objectives – high performance of students. Science teacher educators will have new grounds for fundamental studies in generating, sustaining interest and deepening knowledge in science lessons as may be depicted by chemistry in this study.
Theatre artists will have widened scope of operation and challenges too. Their chief business will no longer be entertainment alone. The re-orientation of adapting plays to the teaching and learning of chemistry and even science in general, will impact positively on their skills for the benefit of national development.
The frustration parents go through to attract their children into science education will ease off finally. What joy to see one’s children learning chemistry, and possibly other science subjects with joyful tears in sitting rooms, something for every one to share even as students learn at the same time?
Finally, Government will be motivated for more investment into chemistry education as she sees previous investments as producing results. Government, in the ministries and commissions of education can create an agency that will encourage research in, production and control of the use of these plays in science instructions. This will even afford the opportunity to diversify national cultural heritage.
Four research questions were raised for this study:
(i) Is there any difference in over all mean scores achieved by student groups taught chemistry by the methods of lecture, P-STWA and those that received no lessons?
(ii) At which of the following cognitive ability levels – recall, Comprehensive and application, did Chemistry student groups who were taught by the P-STWA method, lecture and those that received no lessons achieved the highest mean score?
(iii) Which of male and female student groups who were taught Chemistry by the P-STWA achieved the highest mean score at the cognitive ability levels of recall, comprehension and application?
(iv) Students from which of the following school types – Boys only, Girls only and Mixed, having been taught Chemistry by the P-STWA method achieved the highest at the levels of recall, comprehension and application?
Four hypotheses were also tested in this study:
(i) There is no significant difference in the overall mean achievements made by student groups who were taught Chemistry separately by the methods of Lecture, P-STWA and those that received no lessons at all.
(ii) There is no significant difference in the means achieved by student groups taught chemistry by the lecture, P-STWA methods and the no lessons groups, at the cognitive ability levels of recall, comprehension and application.
(iii) Male and female student groups who were taught Chemistry by the P-STWA method did not achieve significantly different means at the cognitive ability levels of recall, comprehension and application.
(iv) Students groups from different school types who were taught Chemistry by the P-STWA method did not achieve significantly different means at the cognitive ability levels of recall, comprehension and application.
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